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Unsubscribing to Boring Retail Email Marketing: a New Trend?

UNSUBSCRIBE! Bore off, I am not interested in you shoving products down my throat - seriously, it's getting boring now and instead of nurturing me you're actually agitating me.

So, I'm taking back control and unsubscribing.

Put that into your demographic, tiering buckets and smoke it!

Ok, so this maaaaay seem a little harsh but COME ON can brands please be a little bit smarter when it comes to landing in my inbox?

Email marketing has long been a practice for retailers to communicate with their customers and promote their products or services.

In the beginning, I guess it was new, fresh, exciting!

But these days? My goodness isn't it noisy?

So much rubbish is being sent out and for what?

To 'stay top of mind' and 'keep customers in the funnel' yeah, good one we all know about this so how about you surprise us with something better?

Many retail marketing emails really fail to provide a positive customer experience, leading to poor engagement and a burning desire to unsubscribe.

In this blog, we will explore the reasons why customer experience is often subpar in retail marketing emails, and why unsubscribing might be a valid solution for frustrated consumers like myself.

Disclaimer; I actually like receiving great emails...but they're aren't many around right now...!

Ok, let's get into this, ready?

1. Cluttered and Overwhelming Content

One of the main reasons why customer experience is poor in retail marketing emails is the cluttered and overwhelming content.

Many retailers try to include too much information in a single email, resulting in a full and often confusing layout. With excessive images, multiple call-to-action buttons, lengthy paragraphs, and flashy graphics, it becomes difficult for customers to quickly understand the purpose of the email and take appropriate action.

This leads to frustration and confusion, ultimately resulting in customers ignoring or deleting the email, or even unsubscribing from the mailing list. Like I did recently with FOUR well-known established brands.

Solution: Retailers should focus on creating clean, concise, and visually appealing emails that are easy to scan and understand. Emails should have a clear and concise message, a single call-to-action, and relevant visuals that support the content.

Throw in some humour; make people smile or laugh for goodness sake. We all like to feel good, right?!

Avoid overcrowding the email with unnecessary information or irrelevant promotions that I (or your customers) not interested in.

A clutter-free and visually appealing email design can significantly enhance the customer experience and encourage them to take the desired action or maybe visit your store the next time they are out and about! Winning!

2. Irrelevant or Repetitive Content

Another common issue with retail marketing emails is the inclusion of irrelevant or extreme repetitive content.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen the same product in new colours or a new fragrance or some kind of alternate design in the space of only a few weeks.

Look, I'm happy for you that the 500gram black glass candle is also available in gold...and white...and pink. Allow me to roll my eyes into the back of my head before predicting what the next email is going to contain before even opening it...!

Customers are more likely to engage with emails that are personalised and relevant to their interests or past purchase history.

However, many retailers seem to send generic emails to their entire mailing list, without taking into consideration the preferences and behaviours of individual customers.

This can lead to customers receiving emails that do not resonate with their interests, resulting in disengagement and, you guessed it - potential unsubscribes.

Solution: Retailers should invest in data-driven marketing strategies to segment their mailing list and send targeted and personalized emails. Why is this not a standard practice by now?

By analysing customer data, such as purchase history, browsing behaviour, and demographics, retailers can tailor their emails to the specific interests and preferences of individual customers.

This will surely result in more relevant and engaging content, which is more likely to resonate with customers and enhance their experience. Another win!

3. Excessive Frequency of Emails

Many retailers send emails to their customers with excessive frequency, bombarding their inbox with a high volume of promotional messages.

Recently I received several emails referring to online only discounts (errrrm I've actually never bought anything on promotion from your brand) and a couple of weeks later another email highlighting end of season offers.

It was simply another attempt to get me to spend. Grrrrr!

This very heavy sales approach can lead to email fatigue and annoyance among your customers, as they will start to feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of emails, leading to a negative experience and poor impression of your brand.

Moreover, sending emails too frequently can also dilute the impact of each email, as customers may start to ignore or delete them without even opening them.

As a result, I have started to swipe the email aside not even interested to see what could be inside...the step after that? You guessed it; unsubscribe.

Solution: Retailers should carefully consider the frequency of their emails and aim for a balanced approach.

For example, if your brand is doing good work with communities, charities or you have some kind of wellness initiative to help me with mindset for could share that! Tell me about WHY I should support your business.

My money can go to almost any brand - so why are you the best choice?

Are you doing good in this world?

Are you taking care of your employees?

Are you giving back?

Showcase this a little bit more (instead of showcasing new products, birthday discounts, end of season sales) etc.

Avoid bombarding customers with too many emails in a short period of time.

Instead, establish a consistent and reasonable email schedule, and respect customer preferences for email frequency.

Providing options for customers to customise their email preferences, such as selecting the frequency of emails they wish to receive, can also help improve the customer experience and reduce the likelihood of unsubscribes.

4. Desire for Minimalism and Simplified Living

Minimalism and simplified living have gained popularity in recent years, I personally am a huge fan of reducing choices in my life. You know, have a few 'go to' dresses, have 1-2 lipsticks, keep training in the gym simple.

With many people embracing the concept of decluttering and simplifying their lives try to match that trend with your email approach.

Unsubscribing from retail emails aligns with the minimalist mindset of keeping things simple and clutter-free.

If your brand is sending out full mails that selfishly talk about 'buy this, buy that' which doesn't compliment a simpler way of living, then my customer experience of your brand is totally misaligned. We can no longer be friends!

It might sound abit harsh, but people are highly protective of their time; so stop wasting it with commercial emails that trash my mind.

Solution: ASK your customers what their preferences are. Host a customer day where you invite a focus group and hold open conversation about e-mail layouts, messaging, CTA's, content pillars etc.

Present them with 'this or that' examples. There is so much juice you can get out of this.

Yes, you will not capture the thousands of people (or millions) in your database BUT humans are, well, creatures of habit...sheep...we go with the flow.

So the chances are MOST of the learnings will be weighted in one direction.

Use this data well.

Then ask again; hold these sessions every month if you can with different customers.

5. Complex or Confusing Calls to Action

The calls to action (CTAs) in retail marketing emails play a crucial role in driving customer engagement and conversions.

However, when your CTAs are complex, confusing, or not clearly visible, it will negatively impact the customer experience.

For instance, if the CTAs are buried in lengthy paragraphs of text or hidden in small fonts, customers are less likely to press those buttons. Oh, and if your CTA's are only 'buy this' or 'order now' or worse 'price only available for 24hrs' deserve to see more unsubscribes.

I said what I said (and you know it's true).

Solution: One CTA is enough. Too much too much.

Let me share something with you - Lidl have recently been identified as the best and cheapest supermarket. Do they have ten options of beans to buy? No. Do they offer twelve brands of soya milk? No.

They have leaned into simplicity and gone deep on the products that people want/need.

Complexity causes confusion which leads action or buying things we don't need...soooo we return them. Not great eh?

Get clear on one quality CTA!

It's time for a customer experience re-set. From the shopfloors right through to the digital customer experience

Sales announcements, discount codes, or new product updates, retail emails can quickly clutter our inbox and become really annoying!

As a result, a growing trend among consumers is to unsubscribe from these tedious, repetitive retail emails.

So HOW then, can you do better?

How can you offer outstanding customer experience throughout all touchpoints of your business?

Isn't this the golden discussion at your content strategy meetings? To hit that bullseye and improve key metrics is the ultimate moving target.

Fear not! Allow me to share some insights with you to help you along that tumultuous journey of navigating customer experience online.

A few ideas for your brand...

1. Craft Compelling Subject Lines

The subject line of your email is the first impression you make on your recipients.

It's the determining factor on whether your email gets opened or sent to the trash bin.

Invest time and effort in crafting compelling subject lines that pique curiosity, offer value, and create a sense of urgency.

Avoid generic or spammy subject lines that might trigger spam filters or fail to capture your audience's attention.

A well-crafted subject line can significantly improve your open rates and boost the overall success of your email campaign.

Gone are the days of "ends midnight" and "for a limited time only" (errrrrmm you said that last week, and the week before, we all know you're in a permanent markdown)!

Customers are smart. Treat them with respect.

2. Create Engaging Content

Once your email is opened, happy days!! This means the customer is now HOOKED like a fish on the the content needs to captivate your audience and hold their attention.

Avoid long blocks of text and instead use a visually appealing layout with images, maybe a short video or reel, and concise copy.

Use clear and concise language, and focus on the benefits of your products or services.

Use storytelling techniques, real customer testimonials, and user-generated content to create an emotional connection with your audience. I cannot emphasise how important this is; particularly if you are aiming to reach the pockets of younger millennials and gen z!

Additionally, make sure your emails are mobile-responsive, as a significant percentage of emails are opened on mobile devices.

3. Add humour

There is a reason why people are scrolling through miles of content every single day

They are seeking inspiration, entertainment, time to 'zone out'

So when a very serious, buttoned up corporate email lands it kinda feels like work to read it. Which let's face it, we are looking at ways to enjoy our work more! So don't bring that serious tone into your email marketing.

Check what is trending right now. Is there a funny GIF to share or a 'team blooper of the week' to share or I don't know, a fabulous customer selfie testimonial video (with a subtle link to buy next to it).

There are smart ways to keep subscribers; if you add humour I'm sure you'll see a positive impact.

We are in the business of attention - and never has there been a time where this is harder than ever to capture

So, is it time to re-assess?

Is it time for your brand to take a fresh approach and deliver quality customer experience online and offline to ensure your community continues to grow, they read your mails and they buy in ways that feel good for them - not when you dictate it?

My retail services will help you with this.

For almost 20 years I have worked with a broad range of retailers and have partnered with iconic brands solving complex customer-team-strategy matters...because retail was my path that gave me so much, and that's why I'm here to serve, give back & help businesses grow in ways that feel good for teams and customers.

Check out our website if you fancy a nosey!

If you're still here, reading this I think it's time to book a call to chat, you can do that by clicking this button.

Thank you for your support, I truly appreciate you being here!

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