27 Apr, 2015eCommerce Marketing Email Targeting -Weekly Spotlight 3
Would you buy or not? Importance of targeting
This is the third article in our series of articles about how retailers apply different eCommerce marketing tools to engage their customers.
The first article discussed the importance of email marketing and included reviews and ratings of emails from Snuggle Bugz, Holt Renfrew and Old Navy. (http://www.eradium.com/ecommerce-marketing-tools-email-spotlight/).
In the second article, we reviewed the following emails: Tommy Hilfiger, Sears and Hudson’s Bay.
In this article, we are reviewing eCommerce marketing emails from the following retail brands: Children’s Place, Crocs, and Mastermind Toys.
All emails will be rated from 1* to 5*, where 1 means poor and 5 is great.
We review on a weekly basis:
- Colors – colors have good contrast, consistent
- Typography – fonts have readable size, clear titles
- Images – clear, visible, easy to understand
- Formatting – blocks follow each other in an easy to navigate pattern
- Mobile Optimized – all elements are visible and formatted correctly on the mobile phone
- Subject line – signals urgency and clear main offer that will be found inside the email
- Clear offer – one main offer with clear call to action
- Urgency to purchase – time, stock, shipping that motivates the buyer to purchase
- Product highlights – clear description of the products to evoke the interest of the reader
This week we are reviewing eCommerce marketing emails from the following retail brands: Children’s Place, Crocs, Mastermind Toys.
The Children’s Place (TCP) is an American specialty retailer of children’s apparel and accessories founded in 1989. They became publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange in 1997 under the ticker symbol PLCE. The Children’s Place is headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey, and currently has 4,100 employees.
Email 1: Children’s Place
Subject Line: Entire Store Up to 60% Off! 25% Off Savings Pass – Everything is on Sale!
- Colors:3* – the choice of using yellow color in the prime area to highlight the promotion offer looks very unprofessional
- Fonts:4* – Easy to read, good choice of colors and size
- Images:3*– the product shots are not very appealing, the way products are laid out in the image is not visually appealing. There are only boys’ clothes in the picture and there are no samples of products for girls. If this is a specific offer for boys then it is not targeting the right audience since I only have girls and no boys in my household.
- Formatting:4* – clearly defined blocks that display in a nice to follow format
- Mobile Optimized:4*- good color contrast that easy to read on the phone
- Subject line:2* – too many offers appear in the subject line, should be specific and urgent
- Clear offer:2* – there are too many discounts, limitations, it is not clear what is the actual discount, the main 60% discounts in store only which is not clear from the subject line
- Urgency to purchase:3* -there is no immediate call to action to make a purchase, the end date is hidden is the footer which should be front and center as it is the driving factor to push the shopper to make an immediate purchase
- Product highlights:2* – there is no mention of the products showcased in the photo, or a clear enough visual to identify them in the store. Should have included more products to appeal to a wider market instead of just families with boys.
Overall rating: 3*
Conclusion – BUYING FACTOR: NOT
The email was not visually appealing, had confusing offers and most importantly it was not targeted. Getting an email about boy clothes is a bit offensive, since it shows to me that the store does not really “care” about my needs. Retailers need to wake up and really embrace personalized communication with offers targeted to consumer’s needs, instead of sending 1 generic email to everyone and hoping for the best.
Crocs, Inc. is a shoe manufacturer founded by Scott Seamans, Lyndon “Duke” Hanson, and George Boedecker, Jr.—to produce and distribute a foam clog design acquired from a Quebec company called Foam Creations. The shoe had originally been developed as a spa shoe. The first model produced by Crocs, the Beach, was unveiled in 2002 at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show in Florida, and sold out the 200 pairs produced at that time.
Email 2: Crocs
Subject Line: Spring treat: 25% off sitewide!
- Colors:3* – spring colors, some good use of brand colors, the gray footer is too heavy and takes away from the overall email layout
- Fonts:2*– fonts are hard to read, too small and font colors are not optimal for reading
- Images:2*– products are not appealing and not clearly visible, in order to showcase a limited number of products they need to be visually appealing and correspond to the overall message of the email
- Formatting:4* – the email consist of clearly defined offer blocks
- Mobile Optimized:4* – the email displays better on mobile phone than on a desktop, all blocks realign nicely to form a single column
- Subject line:4* – clear, relevant and inviting offer
- Clear offer:4* – there is a clear discount offered, there is no confusion what the reader will get if they make a purchase
- The urgency to purchase:4* – there are a clear start and end dates which create the pressure to make a purchase soon. The use of the phrase “last chance” is really engaging.
- Product highlights:4* – the featured products are clearly identified
Overall rating: 3.7*
Conclusion-BUYING FACTOR: YES
Even though the visual representation of the email is not very appealing, the clear offer makes this email a winner. The crocs brand has a broad audience base and by offering a clear discount on all the products, they will capture a large audience looking to purchase a pair of crocs for the summer.
Brimming with an unparalleled selection of over 10,000 unique, educational and fun toys and books, our 30+ locations across the country, along with our online store mastermindtoys.com, are the ultimate shopping destination for toys lovers of all ages. Founded and operated by brothers Andy and Jonathan Levy, Mastermind was started in 1984 in a 300 sq. ft. location in North Toronto, offering educational computer games to parents in the burgeoning home PC marketplace. Shortly after, the Levy brothers discovered there was a need for specialty toys and started to travel the world to find the very best in toys and books to bring to their customers. Today, Mastermind Toys is Canada’s largest specialty toy and book retailer – the perfect place to find the right toy or book for any occasion.
Email 3: Mastermind Toys
Subject Line: Brand New Our Generation is Here! Camping Toys, Hair Grow Dolls + More
- Colors: 2*– too many dark colors, this design is more for a print campaign, not a digital screen
- Fonts:2* – fonts are very small, low contrast between background
- Images:3* – there are too many images that are hard to follow since email is not a single page layout. It is important to understand that email is not a print ad and should not be designed as one
- Formatting:3* – the reader can only get a full effect from this email layout if they can see it in one page but in real life the reader can only see parts at a time. This is not a proper email formatting to expect the reader to see a full page spread on their mobile devices.
- Mobile Optimized:2* -the font is too small to read, there is too much information for the small screen, colors are too dark. This email is way too busy for a mobile screen.
- Subject line:3* – long and very specific for a limited target group, once again such emails only work well if sent to the right audience
- Clear offer:4* – if someone is looking to buy this type of doll they will find this email very educational
- Urgency to purchase:2*– there is no specific urgency to make a purchase based on the information provided in the email
- Product highlights:5* – product information is labeled, readers can easily find the products based the information provided with specific call to purchase
Overall rating: 2.5
Conclusion- BUYING FACTOR: NOT
The email is designed to be a printed ad and not an effective email campaign. The email has great product showcase but due to the poor design they are hard to identify. This email should be highly targeted in order to be effective, once again a great opportunity missed by bad execution.
Just for Fun
I was surprised to receive this email in the middle of April from the “great” Amazon. It is targeted since I did purchase a pair of mittens back in December, but it should not be sent the spring. Amazon please re-factor seasonal purchases into your all mighty algorithm!
2 important lessons we learned this week:
- Very targeted messages must be sent to the right audience otherwise the message will not only be deleted, but readers might find them offensive.
- Do not design emails as if they were printed brochures or postal cards, please invest time and efforts to optimize the design for digital screens.
Relevance and timing are still 2 of the most important factors to influence a purchase. They seem very trivial but still not many companies are getting it right.
Please do not send boy clothes only promotions to a mother of 3 girls or mitten offers in the spring.