Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

4 Victoria’s Secret Marketing Tricks That Get People Through the Doors

Victoria’s Secret implements amazing marketing strategies, plain and simple. It’s also one of my all-time favorite stores, which is why I get roped into shopping there whenever they advertise something new.

In order to keep good business flowing, stores need strong marketing strategies. If they do not have people coming into their store, they obviously will not have much business. Victoria’s Secret is well aware of this, and they constantly give customers reasons to visit by sending them coupons, special offers, and best of all — free stuff!

The following “tricks” seem to work exceptionally well to draw in Victoria’s Secret customers:

Freebies: The “Free Panty” coupon is one of my favorite methods. Victoria’s Secret sends these out every month to all of their customers. The best thing about this coupon: there’s no purchase necessary to use them! Many times when stores give out coupons to receive free items, it is required that you buy something first. However, people love this particular offer because they can receive a free panty just by walking into the store and handing over the coupon.

How does this help Victoria’s Secret? Giving away a free item gives customers a reason to go into the store. There aren’t too many people who will just go in the store, get their free item, and then walk out. Every time I go in to claim my prize, I always end up stopping to look around at everything else (and usually end up falling in love with something that I really did not need). I end up spending money every time, and that’s a nice profit for Victoria’s Secret. They’ve gained more business just by handing out a small panty that most likely costs them very little!

Exclusive, Limited-Time Coupons: Another one of their great techniques is when they send coupons for “10 dollars off any Pink purchase.” In this situation, customers would receive $10 off any Pink brand item bought in the store. Pink is extremely popular for Victoria’s Secret, and there’s a wide selection in this line. There’s something for everyone. Why not see if you can save on a higher-priced item you may have had your eye on?

How does this help Victoria’s Secret? They may provide $10 off, but they’re getting you to spend money there. Again, the incentive gets customers through the door and the sought-after merchandise urges them to stick around and do some more shopping.

Clearance or Bargain Sales: Victoria’s Secret also holds their Semi Annual Sales to drum up business. These sales occur in the winter time (usually every January) and also every summer. These sales are huge (some ladies ransack the displays to find the best deals) and they get tons of people into their store. I don’t think I have ever been to a Semi Annual Sale where I didn’t have to wait at least 15 minutes in line to pay for my purchases — that’s just the way it goes. Many of the items that go on sale during this time are usually discounted between 40 and 70%. People who love Victoria’s Secret go crazy over these prices, because on a regular day, their prices aren’t usually that cheap.

How does this help Victoria’s Secret? Bargain-hunting customers usually buy as many pairs of unmentionables as they can, which not only brings in cash but also clears out previous-season merchandise. This frees up space for new designs, which people catch previews of while they’re waiting in line to pay for their purchases.

Incremental Incentives: Not every patron sees the appeal of waiting in lines for the best prices, and VS understands that. That’s why they incorporate online-only deals…one of which got me just the other night. For example, they may give a $15 discount for every $100 spent, $30 off for every $150 spent, or maybe even $75 off for $250 spent. This incremental technique is another way for the store to gain new business.

How does this help Victoria’s Secret? Incremental incentives encourage people to buy more for a price break or discount. This is especially beneficial for customers who may be near a price break — let’s say you have $90 worth of merchandise in your cart. Wouldn’t you be likely to add one more item if you knew you could then use the coupon for $15 off? I would.

Now, I am sure there are some people out there who may not think these are good marketing strategies, or that they’re deceitful in some way. But I’ll say one thing: they at least get people like me into their stores to spend money!

How else do stores encourage customers to spend money? Anything else we can learn from Victoria’s Secret’s marketing initiatives?

Image credit to Lucero Design, amanda cabral, and Lucero Design.


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  1. Kelly

    Great post Jaimie, all wonderful marketing techniques and by the volume of clientele they always have in their store they are all very successful. 🙂

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thanks, Kelly. Yeah, VS is a very successful business. Many times I have found a good chunk of my paychecks have gone to them. 🙂

  2. Alex Brodsky

    Whoa! Free panties for NOTHING?! Like, actually free?!?! You NEVER see that! Especially with something that a person would need.

    Give me free ANYTHING, and I’m most likely going and picking it up. That’s a great strategy because it gets people in the door, and that’s when things get dangerous. “I’m not spending $15 on Item A, so now I can buy Item B for $25!” It’s terrible logic, but logic so many people fall for (myself included, though rarely at Victoria’s Secret).

    • Jaimie Smith

      YES ALEX! free panty FO FREE!
      I agree its teribble logic but if it works then all power to them!

  3. amy

    I liked how you showed how other companies can use Victoria Secret’s marketing tips in their strategies. Nicely done, Jaimie!

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thank You, Amy! 🙂 I feel if VS can be successful with these strategies, other companies can be too if they try hard enough.

  4. Mandy Kilinskis

    Victoria Secret definitely knows how to get people in the door. And they also have some of the most ravenous brand advocates out there! They’re definitely a company that’s doing “it” right.

    Great post, Jaimie. 🙂

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thanks, Mandy. Yes they are definitely doing it right. I love the company so much. I know some of their prices aren’t exactly cheap, but everything I buy from there I feel is worth it. I have never been unsatisfied with anything I have bought (or have even gotten for free) from there.

  5. Rachel

    Great post, Jaimie! The point about incremental incentives is one strategy I see all over the place — one big example being and their Free Super Saver Shipping. I rarely buy less that $25 at one time on Amazon anymore, even if I don’t actually need $25 worth of stuff, because I don’t want to pay for shipping! Granted, I could probably get what I *need* for under $25 even after shipping fees, but why not buy a little more so that shipping is FREE! Like Alex mentioned above, it’s a flawed logic, but one that many people fall for, myself included. 🙂

    • Jaimie Smith

      Yes EXACTLY! Like I said in the post, it got me the other night. I was buying several pairs of shoes off their website, I was about to submit my order then they show me that deal, so then I went back and picked something else out. They get me every time.
      And yeah, like you said, free shipping is a big one. I’m pretty sure almost EVERY store i have shopped online from offers free shipping after a certain amount. It is very smart of them. Because some might think they do not want to pay for shipping so they decide to buy more, even if that ends up making their order more expensive than if they were to just pay for shipping. some people look at it as “getting something for free (or almost free)” even though they really are not. Brilliant if you ask me.

  6. Joseph Giorgi

    Hard to believe that a company in the habit of giving away part of its inventory for free is doing so well. But it seems like the higher-ups at VS know exactly what they’re doing. “Victoria’s Secret” is a household name for a reason, and marketing tactics like the ones you mentioned are a big part of it. Great post! 🙂

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thanks, Joe! and yeah, I find it hard to believe too, but I am pretty sure the things they do give away really do not cost them much, especially when they are making so much on their other sales.

  7. Cybernetic SAM

    I have been to this store once, and I was really unhappy with the customer service. But you are right they do know what they are doing when it comes to marketing themselves.

    • Jaimie Smith

      omg you didn’t like it there? that’s crazy!! I guess there is one thing I am unhappy about as well, I do not like how they are very pushy on some of their sales, or getting people to apply for their “Angel” card. That can get pretty annoying.

  8. Eric

    I wish they’d a male equivalent for Semi-Annual sales. Closest things I’ve found are sales immediately prior to, and immediately after, the Christmas holiday. This past holiday season, I went into the Polo Factory store and – between a coupon I had and the clearance sale – scored $80 neck ties for $8 a piece. 90% discount on designer label merch? Yes, please! Quite honestly, it’s a model I wished more stores used: trying to sell more items for a lower price to as many people as possible, rather than hoping a few items will sell at full price to an average amount of people. 99% of the year, I’ll avoid shopping at the mall, but you give me good enough of a sale, I’ll definitely be there.

    • Jaimie Smith

      NICE! its always fun when you score a good sale like that. I spend so much money as it is, but when I end up getting what I want for even cheaper, it feels awesome!!
      And yeah, sucks to be you males to not have a semi annual sale 🙂

  9. Jen

    Great post idea Jaimie 😉 I love VS online, they always have awesome sales and I can shop in the comfort of my own home to avoid the creepy guy that wanders around the store. The great thing about the freebie panty coupon and the $10 off coupon is that they can be applied to online purchases too! BAM! The online shopping is also awesome because they always have the size I need and the color I like, whereas the store can sometimes be a disappointment and not have what I want. Great post girl!

    • Jaimie Smith

      Thanks Jen! And I am glad you liked the idea lol. 🙂 But yeah I love online shopping, I don’t think my checking account likes it so much, though. oh well. I still love shopping in the store, though. Both online and at the store at VS is fun to me. Some people don’t like shopping with me because they know I could spend hours in that store. I think you know who I am talking about. (coughDUSTINcough) 🙂

  10. Jeff Porretto

    I have to say that whatever VS does gets my wife hook, line, and sinker. Every single coupon, freebie, you name it and she’s there in a jiffy.

    Now, I would like to point out the obvious that (duh) sex sells. And I’m sure a lot of extra sales are made at VS because Men don’t seem to mind their significant others “wasting” money there =]

    “You spent HOW MUCH? I can’t believe you would….. oh….hmmm… that looks very nice…. what was I saying?”

    Nice post Jaimie!

  11. Jaimie Smith

    LMAO! Jeff that cracked me up.

    Well, I am glad that BOTH you and Laura enjoy VS. lol

    • Courtney

      I am using this as a supporting document for a research paper and I was wondering when it was posted so that I may correctly cite this as a source?

      • Mandy Kilinskis

        Hi Courtney,

        This post was published on February 22, 2012.

  12. Candice J.

    VS is very sneaky with their marketing strategies, but hey it works! Maybe that’s Victoria’s Secret! Nice work Victoria, nice work! Great blog Jaimie!

  13. jackie

    How many do they give free? One every month?

    • Jill Tooley

      They used to give one free every month, at least the last time I had a VS card a couple of years ago. They send coupons, too!

  14. AMD2600

    Freebies, cupons and sales are tactics to get the customer into the retail space… not marketing strategy.

    Victoria Secrets marketing strategy (since the late 1990’s) has been conflating “cute” with “sexy”. The female is comfortable with “cute”; the male desires “sexy”. But beggars can’t be choosers… I’ve never understood why so many cannot recognize these distinctions.

  15. Evol Me

    If you are smart you can use it to your advantage. I am an angel card holder, so one month they sent me a $10.00 reward card, I didn’t use it until they had a sale for panties that where $5.00 each, I ended barely paying anything. I try not to buy on impulse but when the deal is good its good, I mostly shop when there are coupons and deals, best bang for your buck. The savings I get is amazing, when I get the free panty deal. I get it and then kindly walk out

  16. Nicole

    I loved your post! I shop at Victoria’s Secret all the time but I never get any freebie coupons in the mail. Do you know how I’m supposed to get those, I get deals in my email but non in my mailbox. Do I have to have an angel card or can I just sign up online?

  17. Kristen

    Hey Girl thanks for the article it helped me out a lot for my Marketing assignment on Victoria Secret!!!! Awesome Love all what you had to say about the tricks VS does to get their customers!!

    • Kristen

      I totally agree with all what you said too!!! Thanks again 🙂

  18. Jessica

    I just went there yesterday to claim my free panty coupon at both VS and VS Pink. Just the panty though, I can no longer afford to by $40 bras like I used to. Usually they just lead me to the panties, but yesterday both ladies asked me if I had seen the other coupon that comes with the free panty trying to get me to buy something else. 😛

  19. Courtney

    I would like to use this as a source in a research paper about VS. In order to cite you correctly, I would like to know when this was published. Thank You.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Hi Courtney,

      This post was published on February 22, 2012.

  20. Dominique

    You forgot to mention the free scratch-off cards. Usually I get $10 on them but once I found a $50 one!

  21. Edwina Dhillon

    Wow, stunning site. Thnx …|

  22. Nancy Perez

    Hmmm, i’m not so sure about that.

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