Quick Hits: Retail eMarketing Blunders

My wife typically does most of the online purchasing, but likes to use my name and email when ordering. As a result I get lots of email from companies where we’ve purchased from such as Chadwicks, Lands End, Target, Boscovs, etc.

I was getting so many I began routing them all to my Junk Mail folder which I scan once or twice a day before deleting.

In the interest of the upcoming holiday shopping season, I’d like to make two observations – there are way too many email communications from retailers and increasing errors in copy.


Today, I got two emails from Boscov’s within five hours of one another delivered at 1:01 a.m. and 5:53 a.m. Two a week from a company would be too much for me, within five hours, unacceptable.

Compound this with sending email when virtually no one is checking them. If I have an inbox with a reasonably clean forty messages when I sit down in the morning, I probably won’t even get to the subject line of one from a retailer before hitting delete. This is why I now route them all to junk mail.

The date and time email is delivered is critical to its being opened. Email services now allow you to distribute and account for time zone differences – take advantage of this!


On Tuesday I apparently received an email from Target on an upcoming sale, based on an email I got Wednesday apologizing for an error in the banner copy. The initial message read, “Save 50% on Top Ten Gifts” and the apology note stated it should have read, “Save up to 50% on Select Gifts.”

This isn’t a small slip up, this is a huge difference. The fact that it took a day to make the correction leads you to believe it may have been intentional to drive traffic to the store and/or Web site.

In the small print below the ‘apology’ was this copy, “Pricing, promotions, and availability may vary by location and online. Descriptive, typographic and photographic errors are subject to correction and Target shall have no liability for such errors.”

Target is not the first company I’ve received an ‘oops’ email from, but this one was so big I thought I’d point it out.

If it wasn’t an intentional ploy, you have to wonder what kind of control is in place and how no one could have picked up on such a big difference in messaging.


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