NEW YORK: Coach, the fashion brand, believes that Apple's iMessage platform offers various opportunities to connect with consumers – and even withdrew its app from the iOS store in order to focus on this channel.

Dana Randall, Senior Director/Global Innovation at Coach, drilled down into this subject during a session at Advertising Week 2016 in New York.

More specifically, she discussed how Coach was leveraging iMessage, Apple's peer-to-peer messaging service, which was recently updated with numerous additional features, such as audiovisual tools and a dedicated app store.

Users of Coach's iMessage app can create personalised "looks" mixing dresses, accessories and bags, then share these ensembles with friends, who are able to suggest improvements within the consumer's original "mood board".

"The experience … is a bit of a collaboration, a mood board, a messaging experience," said Randall. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: Coach taps Apple's iMessage – and abandons its branded app.)

"This is not as well-publicised as a feature. A lot of people are talking about the stickers or iMessage apps, but there's also this feature about collaboration. So far, the response has been very, very good."

Alongside rolling out its iMessage experience, Coach decided to remove its branded app from the iOS store – a bold choice, but not one that impacted a source of direct sales, as the application was strictly an engagement play.

"We didn't pull a commerce, revenue-driving app out of the market," Randall said. "We didn't get the usage that we needed to really keep this app up. It was no longer really viable."

In this context, tapping into new possibilities on iMessage added an interactive layer onto the mobile experience, reflected consumer behaviour, and reduced the need for Coach to try and push people towards its own app.

"We wanted to be where the consumer is, instead of begging them to come and play in our party over there," Randall told the Advertising Week delegates.

"We don't have to remind them, 'Hey, remember this app you downloaded three years ago? It's still on your phone. You need to use it.'"

Data sourced from Warc