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Victoria’s Secret bets on augmented reality to boost holiday sales

October 14, 2013

Victoria's Secret taps augmented reality

Victoria’s Secret is one of a few different retailers this holiday season that is incorporating augmented reality into its own branded application for both driving sales and engagement.

The retailer is using augmented reality that has been built specifically into the Victoria’s Secret mobile application. Victoria’s Secret is launching the new feature to work with the brand’s new winter style guide catalog.

“It makes total sense for Victoria Secret to integrate augmented reality into their own app as opposed to using a third-party branded app,” said Ritesh Bhavnani, chairman of Snipp Interactive, Washington.

“For starters, it allows them to push the technology out into their existing base of app users easily,” he said.

“Additionally as a brand you want to reinforce your brand identity as opposed to a third party app brand. It provides your users with a more coherent experience. It’s also easier to integrate related promotions and other brand messaging when you control the entire app experience.”

Mr. Bhavnani is not associated with Victoria’s Secret. He commented based on his expertise.

Victoria’s Secret did not respond to press inquiries.

Augmented shopping
Victoria’s Secret has updated its Android and iPhone application with an image recognition section that leverages a mobile device’s camera to let consumers unlock exclusive content from the brand.

Each page in the catalog can be scanned with Victoria’s Secret app to direct consumers to the retailer’s mobile site to buy the product featured.

To use the feature, consumers simply point their mobile device with the feature open at the image that they want to shop.

Once the image is recognized, consumers are then directed to the exact page on Victoria’s Secret’s mobile site, where they can learn more about the product, read reviews, find additional sizes and check-out.

A page from the catalog

An insert in the catalog includes a call-to-action that instructs consumers on how to use the mobile-enabled pages with the app.

There is also an online version of the catalog at

According to Victoria’s Secret, there will also be other specially-designed icons for consumers to unlock content from in addition to the catalog.

Given the growing connection between print and mobile, it is likely that more retailers will harness the power of augmented reality within print and catalogs to trigger sales and engagement this holiday.

Augmented reality in particular is playing a bigger role for brands as an alternative to QR codes and other print-to-mobile technologies.

What is interesting about how Victoria’s Secret is using augmented reality is that the entire experience takes place within the brand’s own apps, which likely gives the retailer a way to track and measure what types of content consumers are interacting with.

The mobile-call-to-action on the catalog’s insert

Mobile tester
Victoria’s Secret is one of the few brands that continually tests new types of mobile engagement.

Most recently, the company ran a college football-themed promotion within its mobile app with a series of games that triggered consumers to stay engaged with the retailer (see story).

Additionally, the brand ran a photo and Instagram campaign in May that incentivized consumers to join the retailer’s program to enter a sweepstakes that encouraged consumers to upload photos directly through either the app or Instagram (see story).

Since Victoria’s Secret’s main demographic is young consumers who are more than likely to own smartphones and tablets, mobile serves as more than a way to simply drive sales. Instead, the brand is equally as focused on providing an entertainment value with its mobile efforts.

“AR is definitely seeing a lot more pickup this year verus last year, and you’re starting to see brands push utility applications for AR, which is great, so it’s moving beyond the ‘gee whiz’ stage to being part of a unified toolkit to drive awareness and sales,” Mr. Bhavnani said.

“I think we will continue to see brands and retailers experiment with the technology this holiday season to see what works for them and what doesn’t,” he said.

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

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