Consumer Engagement in Digital Channels-The Marketing Strategy of Victoria’s Secret
Taylor Scruggs and Kaitlin Parsley
Context and Background Information
Size, Product, and Location
Victoria’s Secret is part of the Limited Brands Company. It is based out of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Victoria’s Secret specializes in lingerie, swimwear, beauty products, sleepwear, hosiery, etc. Currently operating 1,017 stores in 49 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada, the company annually generates around $4,564,000,000 of revenue in their stores. Victoria’s Secret consists of Victoria’s Secret PINK, Victoria’s Secret Beauty, and Victoria’s Secret. Victoria’s Secret Direct, their combination of catalogue and VictoriasSecret.com, generates an annual revenue of $1,557,000,000. (Brands, L)
Victoria’s Secret’s target market is the middle class woman, or a man shopping for a middle class woman. They expanded on reeling in this market group further in the 1990’s by signing relatable supermodels, such as Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, and Karolina Kurkova. As for capitalizing on the men shopping for women’s lingerie, the original intent when designing the Victoria’s Secret retail store was to make a gentleman feel comfortable while shopping for lingerie for gifts. (Secret.Ezinemark.com) While their target market is the middle class woman, Victoria’s Secret PINK line often attracts people slightly outside of that market, such as the younger, college age woman. The bright colors, trendy prints, and younger and smaller attire appeal to a more casual, laid back market than the traditional Victoria’s Secret line. The product selection of that line often inspires young teens and high school age girls to shop at the store.
Victoria’s Secret capitalizes on value proposition by employing some of the most beautiful, charming women in the world. Models such as Gisele Bundchen, Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosia, Candace Swanepoel, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, and many others have all been “Angels” for the company. The Victoria’s Secret Angels are the face of the business, and the company is very selective when choosing who their next “face” will be. Victoria’s Secret’s intent when choosing their next Angel is to choose a woman who, not only will appeal to a man, but specifically to a woman. They choose a model that has a beautiful face, along with a beautiful body. All of their models are charming and well liked by the general public. Victoria’s Secret consistently turns down models that they do not feel are up to their standard of class and beauty. By employing these models, Victoria’s Secret inspires their consumers to believe that by purchasing the lingerie, they will look as beautiful and angelic as the models wearing it. Notice that none of the Victoria’s Secret models ever look sleazy or cheap; they always look classy and sophisticated, even when wearing a bra and underwear. By using these models, Victoria’s Secret gives value to the consumer, helping them to believe that they could look that way in their garments or by using their beauty products. Victoria’s Secret promises and fulfills an idea of beauty and fantasy to their consumers.
Current Marketing Strategy
Victoria’s Secret is currently operating under an Omni integrated digital strategy.
They are active in social media; their Facebook page is the 2nd most popular retail store on Facebook with 18.5 million fans. It’s the 18th most popular brand on Facebook. Not only does Victoria’s Secret make use of the website Facebook, they are also popular on Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. (Wakefield, 2012)
Victoria’s Secret also relies heavily on email marketing. Whenever a new style of bra, underwear, sweats, is produced, they “email blast” their customers, by sending them multiple emails a day. They also email blast when a large sale is going on in-store or online.
As far as mobile marketing goes, Victoria’s Secret has an application for Android, IPhone, IPad, and IPod. On this app, their online selection can be browsed and shopped. Not only is there an application for Victoria’s Secret, there is also one for their separate PINK line. They also use texts alerts that are sent directly to a customer’s cell phone. (VSAllAccess)
Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
Victoria’s Secret holds a fashion show every year, broadcasted on CBS. Currently, 17 fashion shows have been held and they are immensely popular, with men and women tuning in to view. The fashion show typically has a $12 million budget. (Mau, 2011)
Every year, the day after the fashion show has been broadcasted, Victoria’s Secret holds a promotional event in store where shoppers can receive a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show t-shirt with a $75 purchase. This event always energizes their business the day after the show has been aired.
Victoria’s Secret is active in television advertisements as well. Their Super Bowl commercials are always very popular and sell the idea of Victoria’s Secret, rather than the product. The first Victoria’s Secret Super Bowl commercial lured more than 1,000,000 people to their website, which in turn, crashed and was shut down temporarily. (Howard)
Semi Annual Sale
Victoria’s Secret is notorious for their semi-annual sale, which they hold twice a year. At this sale, bras and underwear are sorted into pink bins by size. The products are thoroughly reduced, and always draws a large crowd.
VS All Access
Victoria’s Secret All Access is a page located on their website. On this page, additional information such as makeup tips, supermodel biographies, an insider’s look at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and news events are shown. VS All Access gives the consumer a more personal experience with the brand. (All Access, VS)
Victoria’s Secret will often mail out a “free panty” card to their shoppers every month. This is a no purchase necessary coupon. They also email out “$10 off a bra” cards. These coupons really get the customers in the door. (Smith) Even though this is a no purchase necessary coupon, rarely do consumers leave without purchasing something else.
On their website, victoriassecret.com, numerous offers will appear. These offers often include $25 off your purchase, free shipping, etc. Currently the website is offering free shipping with a $100 purchase offer code. They are also currently hosting a 20% off clearance items on their website. (Victoria’s Secret.com)
One strength of Victoria’s Secret’s current marketing strategy is that they are utilizing all of their social media platforms. They are extremely active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They also utilize television commercials, rather than just completely relying on those who follow social media. By participating in traditional and digital advertising, they are impacting a larger audience. Victoria’s Secret also has strength in numbers. Because of the large amount of stores that they offer, they are able to reach a large consumer base. They are a well-established brand, so their name is already renowned in the market.
Victoria’s Secret has very few weaknesses to their marketing strategy. They could benefit from a more seamless flow between channels. If their product selection were offered at all locations, the customer would have an easier and more predictable shopping experience.
Victoria’s Secret has opportunities for more business. Several retail stores such as The Buckle and Nordstrom’s offer guest loyalty programs. When a customer comes in and is drawn to a certain type of product, the sales associate or the store manager can let that customer know when more arrives. Nordstrom’s also does personal phone calls whenever a storewide sale is taking place. Victoria’s Secret could benefit from personalizing the shopping experience at their store.
Some threats to the profitability and success of Victoria’s Secret could be the current economic situation and their competitors. Competitors to Victoria’s Secret include Aerie (American Eagle) and Gilly Hicks (Abercrombie and Fitch). Gilly Hicks and Aerie both specialize in loungewear, lotions, body products, lingerie, and undergarments. (Kerr, 2010) Aerie and Gilly Hicks are both very active in social media as well. Recently, Aerie pushed users to “Like” their Facebook page. By doing this, the consumer would receive a text message rewarding them with free shipping. (Johnson, 2012) Victoria’s Secret currently doesn’t offer any “rewards” via their social media pages.
Deficiencies in the Current Marketing Strategy
Victoria’s Secret is highly active in their social media. They utilize all of their platforms, and they quickly and efficiently respond to consumer questions on their social media pages. They post statuses and pictures that engage and inspire interaction between consumer and retailer. However, one deficiency in Victoria’s Secret’s marketing strategy is that their email blasts are not targeted in any way. Many times, the products mentioned in the email are not even available in stores near the person receiving the email. This can lead to frustration with the company and potential loss of business. Another deficiency is that the same merchandise is not carried across all channels. Online, Victoria’s Secret carries every product they offer. However, some stores do not offer swimwear and none of their stores offer the clothing that is shown online. Their product selections need to match up, so that the consumer knows what to expect when entering into any Victoria’s Secret. Another deficiency in the Victoria’s Secret marketing strategy is all aspects of their PINK line are not offered at every store. Some stores in Texas do not carry the Texas Rangers, Texas Longhorns, or the Texas A&M line. By offering these lines in all Texas stores, Victoria’s Secret would gain more sales driven by the fans of those sports teams. Victoria’s Secret would also do well in offering a coupon or promotional offer through their social media pages. A “Like this Picture” offer would be appropriate for them to do. This would draw consumers to their social media platforms.
Digital Marketing Strategy Including Financials
Check In Store Option
A tool that Victoria’s Secret could implement in order to grow their business would be a “Check In Store” option on their website, along with a Pick Up in Store tab. This currently is not offered on their website, but would definitely be useful for consumers looking to try on the product before purchasing. Their PINK page on the website offers a “Find Which Store Carries Your Team’s Gear” option, but their traditional page does not offer it for swimsuits, bras, underwear, or any other products.
This would be a relatively easy installation for Victoria’s Secret. Stores already keep a continuous track of their inventory levels and what products they have on hand, which corporate offices are aware of generally. The only cost of implementing this strategy would be to pay the Webmaster to install it on the website, and to continuously synchronize the Check In Store option with their current inventory levels. Implementing this tool to their website would tremendously help in the sales of products such as swimsuits, makeup, bras and other items that the consumer would prefer to see in person before purchasing.
Incorporating a tool like this to Victoria’s Secret would give them one more leg up over their competitors. By having a Check In Store option, online consumers will quickly become in store consumers. This gives Victoria’s Secret a chance to personalize their exchange more so than if they were just shopping online. The success of the Check In Store tool could be measured by the use of metrics. Metrics that could be used include online surveys of consumer satisfaction with the Check In Store option. Cookies could be used to track the amount of time consumers. Victoria’s Secret could also measure the success of the Check In Store option by analyzing the shopping carts. If consumers are adding items to their shopping carts, but purchasing less frequently than before, they are most likely purchasing the product in store now.
Improving Upon Design of PINK Website
Victoria’s Secret could also improve on their current PINK tab on their Victoriassecret.com website. Currently, the PINK tab is formatted with the same layout as the original Victoria’s Secret part of the website. By changing the layout and perhaps making it trendier, Victoria’s Secret could even further appeal to the younger and more hip consumer that PINK attracts. Some editing that Victoria’s Secret could implement to the PINK portion of their website would be to change it from the traditional pink and white color scheme that the entire website uses. Victoria’s Secret PINK provides a lot of bright colors in their product range, as well as trendy prints. Leopards, stripes, floral, and polka dots are all seen on their product assortment, and this would really help the product identity better match the website identity. PINK products also can be seen in neon colors: lime greens, hot pinks, fluorescent oranges, fluorescent yellows, etc. It would be helpful if the website mirrored this design.
A full website overhaul can cost anywhere from $1,000 for a smaller company, to $18,000,000 for a larger company. (Ralph, 2012) For a company such as Victoria’s Secret, they would be looking at spending upwards of a $1,000,000 to master the PINK aesthetic on their PINK website.
By revamping the layout of the PINK portion of Victoriassecret.com, they can really capitalize on their brand image and increase brand loyalty. By having the website mirror the product that is sold, brand cohesiveness and continuity are really exemplified. Very few things that PINK sells are unique to them; they sell sweats, bras, panties, perfume, lotions, bags, clothing, etc. By having a cohesive brand image, they will create brand loyal consumers who shop at PINK not just for the product, but for the image that the brand has created for itself.
The success of the new layout of the PINK portion of the website could be measured using online surveys. These surveys could be posted on Victoriassecret.com and would measure consumer satisfaction with the website revamp. Cookies could also be used to track the amount of time that consumers are spending on the PINK portion of the website with the new layout, and to track if it is increasing as opposed to the old layout. Victoria’s Secret could also analyze their shopping carts on the website and see if the click to shopping cart rate has increased, as well as the shopping cart to buy rate.
Strengths of the Digital Marketing strategy that will be implemented include a more cohesive brand image. By updating the PINK segment of the Victoriassecret.com website, a more cohesive brand image will be formed. This will increase brand loyalty among their consumers, and further set them apart from their competitors. Another strength is that the Check In Store option will put them on pace with some of their competitors. Aerie already offers a check in store option on their website, and Victoria’s Secret needs to do the same in order to stay competitive.
Weaknesses of the Digital Marketing strategy that will be implemented include cost. Revamping the PINK portion of the website could cost upwards of a$1,000,000. Victoria’s Secret is a highly successful company, but that is a lot to take in. Seeing as their PINK brand is already immensely successful, the cost of this redesign could be a weakness. The Check In Store option of the Victoriassecret.com website could possibly not end up being entirely accurate. In order for it to be fool proof, nationwide inventory levels would have to be continuously monitored.
Opportunities of the Digital Marketing strategy that will be implemented include sales. By having a Check In Store option on their website, those products that require greater decision making time would be much easier to buy. Products, such as swimwear and makeup, are more appealing to buy in store, rather than online. By updating their PINK website, there will be an opportunity to further distance the PINK line from the traditional Victoria’s Secret line. PINK is already opening stores separate from the Victoria’s Secret stores, and it would make sense for them to distance themselves by reformulating their website layout.
Some threats that Victoria’s Secret might incur due to the Digital Marketing Strategy that will be implemented include consumer dissatisfaction with the new layout of the PINK portion of Victoriassecret.com. Consumers might find the new layout unfamiliar, or be turned off to the bright colors, etc. The smaller market of consumers who do not fit PINK’s target market may feel that the brand no longer appeals to them due to the brighter colors, etc on the website. The Check In Store option could also decrease Victoria’s Secret’s E-commerce business. Consumers might heavily prefer shopping in store rather than online, and might choose that option over online shopping all together
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