Archive for December, 2010

Mobile Gift Cards: Taking advantage of the rise of mobile ecommerce

American Eagle’s website currently highlights gift cards as a great holiday gift idea. One of the three giving options is a mobile gift card. I figured that this would be an interesting test of mobile technology, mobile user experience and mobile ecommerce, so I decided to send myself a $25 gift card and give it a whirl.

The first step in the process was to customize the look of the card. There are many styles to choose from, many with AE branding or holiday themes. Next, I chose my gift amount and wrote a message. Finally I entered my billing information and submitted my payment. Setting up the mobile gift card was a breeze. It let me know that the recipient would also receive an email confirmation for their records. It didn’t let me know that the transactions takse a day or two to complete. So although I set up the card on Wednesday night, I didn’t actually receive it until mid-day on Friday. There are obviously reasons for the delay, like ensuring that the payment clears, but it would be logical to call this out to the user so that they don’t expect the recipient to get the card immediately.

The text notification was clear in it’s copy: “Congratulations! You have received an American Eagle gift card. You can view it at What are you waiting for?!” The URL worked fine, so no complaints there. I would suggest that the copy include the name of the gift giver so that there is no confusion in regards to whether this is a legitimate message or if it is spam.

Upon clicking the link, the browser took me right to a mobile card with my message (“Testing a mobile coupon for MCDMMOB!”) with an account number and pin number. It explains that the card can be renewed in-store or online. I decided to try to do the entire shopping experience on my mobile phone so that I could also gauge the usability of their mobile optimized site.

From the gift card, the navigation options are:

  1. Wish List
  2. Store Locator
  3. AE Gift Cards
  4. Help

They should absolutely incorporate a clear CTA to start shopping. There was no direct link to go to the website, which seems to be the most reasonable next step. I entered in the browser and was pleased that it detected my mobile phone and redirected me to the mobile site. The site was laid out nicely, with clean navigation through the shopping experience. I found a couple items, filled my basket and went to check out.

Completing my transaction from the mobile device was seamless. There are a lot of forms to fill out (billing and shipping address, method of payment etc), but American Eagle thought through the forms and made sure that they were logical and well laid out, optimized for touch and had auto fill options.

Ultimately, I thought this was a great mobile execution. I don’t know that I would necessarily browse for clothes on their mobile site again, mainly because I like to compare more than one thing at once. Also, I am more likely to take my time on a stationary site, where as the use-case for mobile sites typically incorporates a short engagement time. That being said, the mobile gift card was a cool experience and would be a fun way to surprise a friend.

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