Deliver on Your Promises

I tend to have a Cerberic view of my inbox and little patience for promotional emails that don’t deliver great content or offers. In fact, I’ll delete anything even slightly irritating faster than you can say, “opt-out.” Often, high frequency sending will turn me into an unsubscribing fiend. The same holds true when senders don’t deliver what they promise.

Let’s look at offers – discounts, free shipping, BOGOs. If you use them to grow your list, don’t make subscribers wait for what you promised.  Failing to send a follow-up, or sending a follow-up email that tells your new subscriber that she’ll receive the offer “soon,” may not only disenchant her, it may prompt her to unsubscribe, and take her business elsewhere.

Consider this: I want a chair for my living room.  Last Sunday, I popped into a Pier 1 store to test drive their merchandise. The following day, I checked out their website for sales and promotions. Sure enough, a pop-up appeared offering new email subscribers 10% off their first order. SOLD! Or, so I thought. After I entered my email address, I received a welcome email without a discount code, button, or link. Three hours passed… still nothing arrived. I called Pier 1 customer service and asked what happened. Their rep explained that the discount code would take two to three days to arrive.


In late 2012, Alex Smith, CEO of Pier 1 told Forbes Magazine that he wasn’t sold on e-commerce. In fact, he estimated his on-line sales would barely break 10% of total revenues through 2016. As an email marketer, I’ll grant that my perspective may be skewed, however, if you’re making web customers wait days to take advantage of promised savings, that might be one of the reasons your online sales are suffering.

In two days, I could easily visit the Home Goods store located two miles from my house and buy the chair I know is priced far less than the model I liked at Pier 1. Or, I could visit West Elm’s website and sign up for their list. As with all Williams-Sonoma brands, a welcome email with a 10% off code will arrive in my inbox within moments of hitting the submit button. Hello discount and new chair! All in less time than it took to type this. (For the record: I *just*  received my discount code. Five days after I requested it.)

With 67% of shoppers abandoning their online shopping carts, retailers should pay close attention to the approaches that keep folks happy and buying. After all, it doesn’t matter how amazing an offer is, if you can’t deliver it in a timely fashion.

Simple enough – let’s get emailing!

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