~ What is Victoria's Secret? ~
~ What is Victoria's Secret? ~
Bedtime Glamour!
You never know who you are going to meet in your dreams!

The Victoria's Secret lifestyle: sophisticated, sexy, modern, feminine and loaded with attitude. They are a fashion company that focuses on bedtime glamour. Glamour that ones partner cannot but notice.

As the leading specialty retailer of lingerie and beauty products, they are dominating the world with modern, fashion-inspired collections, prestige fragrances and cosmetics, celebrated supermodels and world-famous runway shows. Victoria's Secret lingerie and beauty stores, the catalogue and www.VictoriasSecret.com allow customers to shop the brand anywhere, any time, from any place.

How it relates to MIS~

To market the Victoria Secret Brand, they use four vehicles.  They use the “Bricks and Mortar” Stores, Victoria’s Secret Catalogues, Victoria’s Secret Beauty Products and Victoria’s Secret’s online website

Victoria’s Secret uses product differentiation as their business-level strategy. They focus on adding brand loyalty to their products by developing new and unique products that cannot be easily duplicated by their competitors. The distribution of their catalogues and the construction of their website are used to increase their sales in the global markets in the most cost-effective way.

The “Bricks and Mortar” stores aptly known as Victoria’s Secret place a huge emphasis on visual merchandising. In the Manhattan, Herald Square store, for example, in certain points in the store, are upholstered walls that serve as display units with giant, oversized video screens playing Victoria's Secret's familiar marketing campaign and fashion shows. At the end of the first floor hall, a horizontal slot features a relaxed-looking mannequin, combined with a plasma screen presentation to draw shoppers back.  There are 22 cash registers throughout the store to deal with the heavy traffic. If needed, 11 of the pods are mobile, ensuring that customers can be rung up anywhere in the store.  The Victoria’s Secret stores are trying to implement this system into all their stores, worldwide.

Victoria Secret Direct mails over 400 million catalogues a year. They have a database system of all clients that visits the mall stores and the website.  This information is then used to mail catalogues whenever they are published.  They also use this information to send online coupons and deal alerts.

The online website is a clicks and mortar business for e-commerce. This provides the convenience of direct sales to its consumers.  Visitors can view all available products, sizes and styles of lingerie that are listed in the catalogues and some of the "online only" deals. This site also includes a size chart link to ensure customers order their correct sizes.  They offer a catalogue quick order, for those who don’t have the time to surf the site and a store locator for those that are still not trusting of the internet for purchases.  Customers can also Request a catalogue, Purchase gift cards, and Apply for the Angel Credit Card which is used exclusively at Victoria’s Secret.

Before submitting the order customers can view their “shopping cart”. This reflects all items selected for purchase and gives the option to make changes to the number of items desired and/or to remove unwanted items. Customers can also calculate the shipping and handling charges to see what the final charges will be before keying in their payment information. The customer can use coupons or special offers that are applied to the total costs of the order. If the order is a gift, there is an option gift wrapping.

After submitting the order, customers can check the shipping and delivery status of the order and/or email a customer service representative to ask any questions that can not be answered under the FAQ link.

All products can be purchased electronically using a credit card or the Angel Credit Card. After registering with a user name and password, credit information is stored in a digital wallet to be utilized for each and every purchase thereafter.  For added customer awareness whenever a customer visits the Victoria's Secret website, a cookie is dropped on the hard drive. This enables the website to recognize the user’s computer and acknowledge them each time they visit the site.

Hmmm, so that’s how they know it’s me....


Findings~

In 1999, Victoria Secret attempted to do the first ever live Fashion Show, exclusively via web cast.  They had, unfortunately, underestimated the technology because within minutes they had millions of hits.  This caused technical problems as more and more viewers logged in to the web cast, the more distorted the video became. They lost a lot of customers because of this web sites inability to support the traffic.  By the next day, it was recorded that the web site had 1.5 millions visitors worldwide.  These results encouraged the retailer to do again the following year.  This, however, required website improvements.

Victoria’s Secret had a number of business objectives for their website:
 Deliver a fast and engaging web site,
 manage millions of site hits from around the world, and
 Avoid purchasing hardware that may sit idle most of the time. 

To do this, they realized that had to research partners with a proven track record for delivering large amounts of global content across the net.  They made their final choice on IBM for web hosting and Akamai Technologies, Inc. as the outsourced e-business service and software.

Akamai's EdgePlatform is the world's largest distributed computing network, consisting of more than 18,000 servers worldwide, which act as an optimized 'overlay' to the public Internet. By overlaying the existing Internet with a network of secure, performance-optimized server hardware - supported by one of the world's preeminent software design and optimization processes - Akamai is able to provide its customers with a predictable, scalable, and secure platform on which to run and deliver a wide variety of content and e-business applications.

Victoria’s Secret saved $1,000,000 in hardware infrastructure investments.  The bulk of service requests and glamorous images flow through Akamai’s servers which frees up the company’s servers to perform core e-commerce transactions.  This has created a competitive advantage from competitors by allowing their pages to load faster.

Akamai’s Network Operations Command Center, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts enables proactive monitoring and troubleshooting of all servers in the global Akamai network. In addition, the NOCC has the industry's best view of the real-time condition of the Internet. This enables Akamai to deliver rich media content and applications, regardless of network traffic volume. The NOCC is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by expert network operations personnel.


Conclusion~

We chose Victoria’s Secret because we thought it would be interesting to understand how they use technology to sell lingerie.  This made me assess my understanding of the versatility, uses, shapes and sizes (hardware) of computers and the internet.

Victoria Secret not only does a fabulous job with its sales through their websites but most of its profits still come through it land stores. They employ more than 100,000 associates and have approximately 200,000 shareholders. Its main goal is to build its family of fashion brands in order to create sustained growth of shareholder value.

It’s very easy to find a store near you. Almost every mall in the state will either carry a Victoria's Secret or one of its other sister stores. As technology grows, so will their in-store capabilities and their online customer base.  With faster ways to check out its customers, the shopping experience will be much more enjoyable during the busy seasons.  Also, as more and more users of the internet are “logging on” that will allow sales to potentially grow above and beyond what any V.S. execs ever predicted. 

Bedtime Glamour
Some interesting links:
Charmaine Cann
Cynthia Aguilar
Victoria's Secret
Who is Akamai?
My Info:
Name: Charmaine Cann
Email: chmainecann@hotmail.com
1