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  • December 16, 2010

AM Inbox: Free shipping is standard shipping

The Retail Email Blog monitors the email marketing campaigns of more than 100 top online retailers. Here are highlights from my inbox this morning:

Crate & Barrel, 12/15 — Gift ideas for the entertainer. Free Shipping ends 12/22.
I’m seeing more retailers this holiday season messaging the end of free shipping when they mean the end of standard shipping in time for Christmas delivery. This shift in language is recognition that free shipping in some form is pretty much the status quo during the holidays. The only snag I see is that retailers are always crying wolf when it comes to the end of a free shipping deal—Free standard shipping ends only to be replaced by free expedited shipping or some other free shipping deal. But with Christmas getting so close, consumers are likely to believe retailers when they say free shipping is ending, especially if it’s ending on Dec. 22 like Crate & Barrel’s does. In this email, Crate & Barrel does a great job of really reinforcing that order-by deadline. It’s in the subject line, preheader text, header and secondary message block toward the bottom of the email. When something’s important, it bears repeating.

Click to view this Dec. 15, 2010 Crate & Barrel email full-sized

Sports Authority, 12/15 — [25% Off] Friends and Family Event Extended One Day! - In Store Only‏
I first thought this email was accidently missing its usual header and navigation bar, but Sports Authority followed up this email with a “final hours” email later in the day. Headers serve a valuable function: They aid in the quick recognition of your emails in the inbox. Especially during the hectic holiday season when subscribers’ inboxes are overflowing with promotional emails, it’s unwise to make it difficult for subscribers to tell who your emails are from.

Click to view this Dec. 15, 2010 Sports Authority email full-sized

SUBJECTIVITY SCANNER: Select noteworthy subject lines
Coldwater Creek, 12/15 — HUNDREDS of last-minute GIFTS + Free Shipping & 25% OFF‏
Nordstrom, 12/15 — Last-Minute Gifts from MAC, Bobbi Brown & More + $5 Shipping (Details Inside)
Spiegel, 12/15 — There's Still Time! SAVE on Last-Minute Gifts!
Hanna Andersson, 12/15 — Last Day Free Shipping + First Peek At Spring 2011!
Finish Line, 12/15 — Last Day for Free Shipping in Time for Christmas!
Orvis, 12/15 — Don't wait - order now for Guaranteed Delivery!‏
Sephora, 12/15 — Fancy a free stocking stuffer?
Crutchfield, 12/15 — Crutchfield freebies - give more, pay less‏
Hallmark, 12/15 — Wrap up holiday shopping with a deal from Gold Crown‏
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