Time Is Of The Essence! Effectively Moving Holiday Merchandise Via E-mail Offers in a Cluttered Retail World

It’s the time of year when a never ceasing bombardment of e-mail offers pours into my inbox. I’m sure you find the same. From Black Friday through New Year’s, e-mail offers build from “Cyber Monday,” to “Last Minute” gift ideas, to “Making the Most of those Unwanted Presents.”

I can’t speak for you, but most e-mail offers are never even opened, especially those that seem to grow yearly on Cyber Monday, because of sheer volume. I have a job and don’t have time to fish through a mountain of offers. I found that those retailers and marketers who took a step back and sent their e-mail offers either later in the week after Cyber Monday or the following week were more likely to at least get a cursory glance because I was able to handle the lighter volume and select those that were of interest.

This leads me to those e-mail offers that I found to be most effective at getting my attention and enticing me to actually click through to the respectives site(s) to learn more, or, more importantly, place an order.  A good example would be any e-mail that promoted “limited number available to first x number of customers to respond” at a special price and similar limited offers that are truly limited.  I’ve been receiving these types of e-mails weekly from the Discovery Channel Store promoting offers that are available to the first 550 customers to respond.  I like the number 550 because it gives the customer a sense of “I can really take advantage of this before they’re all gone, so, I’ll click through and try to get the offer” rather than something that’s more of an “act now…the first 5 customers to respond…” which immediately tunes me out, because I know that there are thousands more people than just me and four others who are receiving the offer, so, I don’t even bother.

Also, as shown here, the site, once clicked into, effectively uses the countdown that shows the number of specially-priced items that remain, and the green, yellow, and red bar to add another layer of urgency.  As a marketer, and I know that this sounds lame, I’ve even enjoyed going to the site and hitting the refresh button to see how quickly the special offer depletes in quantity and sells out.  The store’s offer for a specially-priced remote control helicopter, again in a realistic quantity of 550, was gone before I even clicked through to the offer on the site. 

The “groupthink” type of offers are hot right now and don’t seem to be played out yet.  I’m thinking of the Groupons/Grouponicus offers of the world as well as these types of e-mail offers from the Discovery Store and others that get people involved, engaged, and bring out the competitive spirit to “win”.  I think this is why Ebay is successful.  Everyone likes to compete and beat out somebody else out for bragging rights.  Right?


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