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Victoria’s Secret capitalizes on in-app messages to drive repeat usage

Victoria’s Secret’s new iteration of its iPhone application plays up a message center where the brand will continuously push out content.

In-app messaging and push notifications play a significant role in how the lingerie retailer brings back repeat traffic to build sales. While these kinds of features may appear to be small changes, the overall effect has a much bigger impact on how Victoria’s Secret is lining up its app to be a key part in its mobile, digital, social and in-store strategies.

“A message center can help facilitate transactions and other engagements by providing informative updates,” said Zak Dabbas, CEO/cofounder of Punchkick Interactive, Chicago.

“However, it’s easy for messages and push notifications — which are also incorporated into the Victoria’s Secret app — to become ignored, so it’s critical for retailers to focus on highly relevant and deeply selective messaging,” he said.

“A retailer like Victoria’s Secret might choose to put a message center in the forefront of its app because it has a good understanding of what its customers want, and is looking for a straightforward way to deliver that messaging and content.”

Mr. Dabbas is not affiliated with Victoria’s Secret. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Victoria’s Secret did not respond to press inquiries.

Instant messaging?
The message center pops up immediately when consumers open the app at the bottom of the screen. The feature also has a dedicated section within the left-hand menu bar.

According to the retailer, the new section will be updated weekly with new content.

Victoria’s Secret also regularly pushes out messages about deals, promotions and events through the app, but the revamp highlight the significant role that content plays for  the brand.

For example, the app also includes offers, promotional pictures and a scanning feature for loyalty members.

Upping app engagement?
Many of Victoria’s Secret’s mobile initiatives rely on getting consumers to regularly interact with the app’s content for more than shopping, particularly for its Pink brand.

Earlier this year, the brand used the app as a central part of a four-week digital and real-world scavenger hunt that incorporated image recognition (see story).

The brand also runs a number of in-app games around certain times of the year.

During back-to-school shopping, for example, Victoria’s Secret launched football-themed games within the app (see story).

Victoria’s Secret’s iPad app also takes a similar approach with shoppable and entertainment content (see story).

The retailer is certainly leveraging its message center for time-sensitive deals and offers, but should also consider tying in location-specific content or offers based on past purchases.

As the role of branded, stand-alone apps grow for retailers to better control the in-store and online shopping experience, retailers can takeaway several lessons from Victoria’s Secret’s efforts, especially about how the brand leverages social media and real-world interactions to capitalize on its tech-savvy demographic.

“Victoria’s Secret, like any retailer, can push its message center towards success by focusing on creating a highly customized experience,” Mr. Dabbas said.

“Maybe users can customize the types of messaging they see in the message center based on specific shopping preferences,” he said.

“Maximizing the Victoria’s Secret app’s message center will come from an understanding of customer data, and a focus on providing content that is both relevant and valuable.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York