Flooring The Consumer Explores Getting Found In-Store and Online, aka the Customer Retail Experience

How Not To Get More Business: 7 eMail Retail Experience Horrors!

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Jan 9, 2012 9:45:00 AM

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How not to get more business: 7 email retail experience horrors

So, you survived the holidays and the associated retail frenzy while maintaining the spirit of the season! How did you do it? Was it all mellow and relaxing? Or, did you encounter retail experience horror stories? I did... in the form of eMail messaging on steroids - a barrage of them attempting to convince me to spend more and generate more retail business.

Did you notice the same?

No wonder, then, that Stores Shower Procrastinators With Email caught my eye. According to the article:

"...stores are a little desperate themselves, sending a record number of emails, reports Responsys, a marketing software company. Tracking 100 of the nation’s top retailers, the company says that the average retailer sent subscribers 5.6 promotional emails last week, an 8% jump week-over-week, and a 26% hike year-over-year."

I believe those numbers are understated. I received daily eMails from the likes of The Children's Place, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy and BuiltNY to name a few. The frequency of these messages was mind-numbing! They were also counter-productive in encouraging me to spend more.

However, if you're looking how not get more business via eMail communications, let me detail 7 eMail horrors that will be sure to detract from your retail experience!

  1. Excessive emails will ensure that your brand becomes a commodity. It will no longer be special. Rather than being valued, it will be viewed as clutter and tagged as 'junk mail.'
  2. Too many email sales pitches create feelings of regret, particularly if your customer has already purchased from you. She will worry that she paid too much and feel like a fool for having bought too early.
  3. If your shopper hasn't bought from you, these excessive sales pitches will be sure to paralyze her into permanent inaction. Perhaps the next email will feature an even better deal.
  4. Excessive promotional email messages cheapen the brand and call into question the reasonableness of profit margins. If everything in your store is 40% off for the holidays, then the rest of the year your prices must be 40% too high.
  5. Emails bombarding the recipient with constant deals communicate that the retailer doesn't listen well to customers. If s/he did, the messages would be different. They would acknowledge previous purchases and suggest relevant news ones and offer related information to add to the value of the original purchase. They would make the recipient feel special.
  6. Excessive retail emails create 'noise' that recipients can easily ignore. They even become grateful when the holidays end and they stop hearing from you! If you're lucky, they might even never notice that your emails are no longer coming in.
  7. A senseless onslaught of retail emails creates bad karma: customers will stop sharing their email addresses. You will have lost the privilege of communicating directly to them because you abused them.

What else?

If your aim is to get more business, here's the Retail Experience Lesson: think holistically about your customer's retail experience and how you communicate with him/her. Don't assume the holidays are their only spending opportunity.  Maintain a longer term horizon and don't get desperate. Focus on creating a valued relationship.

If not, then go for it and let me know what other email retail experience horrors you can come up with!

BTW, for data and perspective on retail emails, check out The Retail Email Blog.

Tags: customer experience, retail experience

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About C.B. Whittemore

About C.B. Whittemore

Flooring The Consumer History

Flooring The Consumer is a marketing blog about improving the consumer experience, particularly in flooring.


The blog was launched in June 2006. It is featured as a case study on this site with more detail on the Simple Marketing Blog.

If you're curious about our archives from 2006 to 2011, visit Flooring The Consumer.