A textual analysis of American Eagle Outfitters' Facebook fan page reveals information that brand managers would kill for: what irritates the teen apparel store's most loyal customers.
More than 106,000 Facebook users have signed on as "fans" of American Eagle, and the retailer takes advantage by posting links to its site, photos of clothes, sale announcements, and places for people to compare notes on fashion.
Developers of an analysis tool called Leximancer took a look at postings on the message thread called "The only thing I don't like about American Eagle Outfitters." A casual reader might dismiss the postings as random complaints from teenagers: its jeans are written off as "boring" and one poster notes the long lines for fitting rooms, but adds, "however I can talk to girls for asking a date."
Under Leximancer's microscope, however, some clear patterns emerge. A correlation between "quality," "price" and "expensive" suggests further education is needed on American Eagle's loyalty program, the All Access Pass, which gives big discounts to regular shoppers.
And the tool finds strong overlaps between "AE" and "love" (and "buy" and "clothes") â€" not a surprise on a fan page, but indication, on a thread about complaints, that even the complainers feel an overriding loyalty toward the store.
Leximancer offers to analyze data for free if companies agree to share the results on its Customer Insight blog. Other recent posts take a look at United Airlines, Sprint, Yelp posts about Dunkin Donuts, and comments about W Hotels on TripAdvisor.com.
Photo of an AE store in Pittsburgh by C C Chapman, CC 2.0