As we pointed out last year, consumers are well aware of the difficult driving conditions, and expect that deliveries may take longer. Most retailers, for their part, are reassuring customers with up-to-date delivery information. Ethical Superstore, for example, suspended its next-day delivery option on 29th November until further notice due to adverse weather conditions in the north-east of England. Whilst John Lewis, Mark & Spencer, and Argos amongst others, all display notices of possible delays on their home pages. But, just as we said last year, inevitable delays will not deter people from shopping online. Indeed, as Alison Quill, managing director of toys and games cataloguer BrightMinds, posted on Twitter, rainy weather contributed to a significant rise in sales last month, “Will snow gave same effect as rain on mail order, or will customers be nervous about deliveries? Time will tell”.
So how exactly are direct sellers attracting those who are snowed in to visit their website? An email from Hotel Chocolat received this morning urged recipients to “Avoid the snow and order Christmas gifts online TODAY + Free Gifts Offer”. This, however, was the only mention of snow in the entire email. It was as though Hotel Chocolat had planned a Christmas-themed email and added snow to the subject line as an afterthought.
An email from the Fish Society, with the jolly subject line “Let it snow”, was actually rather brusque: “We will NOT despatch your order if delivery is threatened by snow”. Of course it makes perfect sense not to despatch perishable goods if they are unlikely to reach their destination before they spoil, but I feel the email could have had a more reassuring and sympathetic tone.
Another email, this time from gifts and gadgets etailer I Want One of Those, buried the snow theme halfway down its email titled “Give better gifts with IWOOT & 10% off Photogifts”. Another rather bland example is Crew Clothing which sent an email titled “Snowed in? Buy your Crew Winter warmers online!”. Exclamation point aside, there wasn’t much to get excited about.
So far, I haven’t received a snow-related email that was truly engaging. Perhaps retailers are all too busy trying to work around the snow in the run-up to Christmas to really get creative.
However, I did get an email from the dedicated folks at Derbyshire-based Dolls House Emporium. Most of them had been out in the car park this morning with shovels and makeshift snowploughs to clear and grit the way for the delivery vans. They even sent me a photo to prove it.--MT