We can all agree that email is a powerful sales tool, and a primary means for direct sellers to contact their customers. So when email goes wrong, it can have a big impact on the sender. Not least in lost sales, but also brand damage.
Just last week, I was contacted by a reader--let’s call him Mr C. Mr C had received an email from a children’s furniture cataloguer/etailer promising 20 percent off selected items in the new spring range. The well laid-out and colourful email highlighted a number of items in the main body copy. Mr C therefore assumed, as I’m sure we all would, that all the products featured in the email would be eligible for the discount. They weren’t. Three out of the nine products featured in the email were excluded from the promotion, making Mr C a very frustrated shopper. He took the view that the email was trying to “manipulate the trust of a customer”, and said he had no faith in the brand any more. Did it lose the sale? Yes.
I had a similar experience this weekend. I received an email from an etailer with a sale on wallets. Feeling tempted by a half-price offer I clicked through to the page and tried to add the wallet to my basket. Despite the website telling me that the item was in stock, my basket remained empty. I tried adding other items and coming back to the wallet, but to no avail. This company did not want to part with its wallet. Did it lose the sale? Yes. Did someone else get the sale? Yes.
Unlike Mr C though, my experience hasn’t put me off the wallet company altogether. Maybe I am more forgiving. Or maybe it’s because the items he was shopping for were pricey exclusive designs, whereas my same wallet could be found just a click away—albeit at full price. Would either of us shop at those companies again? Possibly, but it won’t be our first port of call.
I wouldn't go as far as saying these email blunders delivered killer blows to the brand, but they certainly dented confidence.—MT