Thursday, December 06, 2007

Is it the Season to Annoy Your Customers?

Apparently. Well, it happens every year; it's the busiest retail season of the year, so retailers put their email marketing (along with all other marketing) into high gear.

I used to like getting my weekly Borders email. I often use the coupons they send. The emails work; they get me into the store.

But I hate their holiday emails for several reasons.

  • I get one every single day. There is no retail store in the world I need to hear from every day. I could not possibly shop anywhere enough to justify getting something every day. The emails that I used to like getting now register to me as borderline spam and it'll be a Christmas miracle if I haven't opted out by the time the holidays are over.
  • They bombard me with a ton of products, most of which don't interest me. I'm part of their rewards program; they know what I've bought. Maybe they could try targeted content?
  • They include coupons that are only valid for a day or two. Why even bother to save the email if I know I won't have time to get to the store before the coupon expires? DELETE.
  • There are so many different coupons that it becomes too much effort to even try to sort through them. Am I better off with today's 25% off (but only if you come in right away) or will tomorrow bring a buy two, get one free offer? This is one is just for books, but this one is for DVDs. Wait, this one is for holiday cards, but it expired. Wait... screw it, let's just shop an Amazon.

Here's what Borders could have done to get me into the store: send me an email with, say, a holiday gift giving guide - maybe a list of topics with links to suggestions on their site, something that would make me think, "Hey, Diane really likes mysteries, maybe I can find something nice for her there." Include a coupon or two that's good until Christmas. Put one in there for a coffee at the in-store cafe - seriously, it would make a holiday shopping trip more pleasant.

In other words, send me something that's useful to me. And don't bug me every day.

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