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Vineyard Vines sparks in-app sales with limited-edition giveaway

Apparel retailer Vineyard Vines attempted to boost in-application sales yesterday by promising mobile shoppers a limited-edition golden whale sticker signed by the brand’s well-known co-founders.

As the battle between purchasing on mobile Web versus a mobile app continues, brands are coming up with creative ways of enticing consumers to make room for apps on their smartphones and engage in regular buying behavior. Vineyard Vines’ strategy of promising shoppers on mobile a limited-edition giveaway item enables the retailer to better connect with younger customers while offering an aura of exclusivity for those who have already downloaded the app.

“Mobile in-app sales have certainly struggled compared to other digital channels, so I think it makes sense to incent people to try it out, particularly if the retailer thinks they have a good experience there,” said Nikki Baird, managing partner at Retail Systems Research. “And I like that [Vineyard Vines is] giving away something that fans of the company would value more so than your average shopper – driving fans to use the mobile app is a good idea, because they’re more likely to keep it and keep using it (vs. a casual shopper).”

Getting the golden ticket
Vineyard Vines first alerted its Instagram followers to yesterday’s giveaway, posting an image of someone holding a fistful of golden whale stickers up to the camera. The caption invited consumers to shop in the Vineyard Vines app to receive a limited-edition golden whale signed by the brand’s co-founders, colloquially referred to as Shep and Ian.

The post saw a flurry of activity in the comments section, with fans voicing their excitement for the golden whales and making plans to purchase items later.

Vineyard Vines’ co-founders have maintained a strong presence on the brand’s social media accounts, a strategy that likely fueled excitement among consumers wanting to get their hands on the limited-edition stickers. Instead of offering a giveaway item with little meaning, the retailer sought to give mobile shoppers an autographed reward, as well as a memorable experience.

The brand has been making a significant push for app downloads and renewed customer engagement over the past few months.

Last November, Vineyard Vines tapped cutting-edge mobile features such as 3D Touch, a shoppable Instagram feed, geofencing and Touch ID to update its app and drive holiday sales (see story).

Fans considering buying a Vineyard Vines product likely made a mobile purchase yesterday. Gifts with purchase are a favored tactic by many retailers, as they have the ability to transform an undecided customer into an active shopper.

Social-first contests
Vineyard Vines is also keeping excitement high on social media this week, as evidenced by the slew of entries into the retailer’s #1 fan contest. The apparel marketer is searching high and low for its number-one biggest supporter by asking individuals to click the link in its Instagram bio to apply.

The winner will receive a trip to Vineyard Vines’ headquarters as well as a complimentary shopping spree. Several contenders’ photos have already been reposted on the brand’s official account.

Additionally, the company has been celebrating fan appreciation week on Instagram, showcasing how brands can give back to their core audiences in a way that feels organic and fresh. Announcements featuring prizes and other gifts with purchase have been permeating users’ feeds in a bid to drive more sales.

For instance, Vineyard Vines celebrated #WhaleHatWednesday by giving customers a free whale hat in exchange for making a purchase totaling $50 or more. The brand’s official logo is a whale, and can be seen on much of its merchandise.

Ultimately, while the marketer has been rolling out a slew of mobile-first initiatives that are bound to appeal to its customers, many of whom belong to the millennial demographic, it must also ensure not to overwhelm social followers with too many campaigns.

“I think retailers all need to spend more time thinking about how to use these channels for their original intent – for sharing stories and connecting with fans – and less time on promotions,” Ms. Baird said. “There are so many other ways that retailers can let consumers know about promotions, and there are so many better ways that they could be using social channels.

“Retailers just need to be careful not to be so over-promotional here that consumers shut them off or tune them out.”