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  • July 20, 2009

AM Inbox: The rare and elusive side-scroller

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

Abercrombie & Fitch, 7/17 — Check out our preppy plaid
Abercrombie & Fitch sent out this horizontally scrolling email that clocked in at a bit more than 2,100 pixels wide. Side-scrollers are very rare in the U.S., but I hear are a bit more popular in Europe. The last side-scroller sent by a major retailer was last October when Urban Outfitter sent one (see Oct. 7 AM Inbox). When I commented on this email on Twitter on Friday, @RaynaNyc replied, “Curious on comparative metrics on how horizontal scrolls convert. Consumer testing in past has shown them not to be a fav.” I haven't seen any stats on side-scrollers, but I’d bet that they do throw some subscribers off. While perhaps not very user-friendly, I like the novelty of them, especially considering how difficult it is to stand out in the inbox today.

A&F did four things right with this side-scroller that others could learn from: (1) They kept the primary messaging on the left so readers don’t have to scroll to see it. (2) They used a single wide image. One of the weaknesses of the Urban Outfitters side-scroller is that side-by-side images may not be a strong enough signal to readers that they need to scroll. A single image does that better. (3) They picked a subject that benefits from the wide format. In this case, the format stresses their wide assortment of plaid shirts. And (4) by centering their footer, I could only see about half of in my viewing pane. That provided another signal that there was more content to the right.

Click to view this July 17, 2009 Abercrombie & Fitch email full-sized

NFLshop, 7/17 — NEW 2009 New York Giants Player Hat - Order Now!
NFLshop gives us a good example of segmentation by sending alert emails to subscribers promoting the 2009 hat for their favorite team, as indicated in their preference center. Because I’m a Giants fan, I got this email. While the segmentation is a great idea that boosts relevancy, the design of this email doesn’t take full advantage of this opportunity. At only about 500 pixels wide, the email has room to promote some secondary items, like the Giant jerseys and other products. They put all their eggs in one basket by only promoting the team hat.

Click to view this July 17, 2009 NFLshop email full-sized

Staples, 7/17 — Can you say FREE?
In this email banner, Staples promotes a Facebook app that allows you to virtually shred photos of you that you don’t like posted by other people. Retailers have been very slow to promote such apps via their email programs.

Click to view this July 17, 2009 Staples email full-sized

SUBJECTIVITY SCANNER: Select noteworthy subject lines
Sports Authority, 7/19 — Back 2 Sports Pre-Season Sale - $25 Off $100 Orders!‏
Linens ’n Things, 7/18 — Back to School Savings: Free Shipping Over $99‏
Macy’s, 7/17 — Campus cool: $5 SHIPPING on back-to-school must-haves!
Dell, 7/17 — Don't Miss Back-to-School Deals- Up to 50% Savings on Electronics & Accessories at Dell!‏
Toys “R” Us, 7/19 — Shop Our Christmas in July Sale!
J&R, 7/17 — Black Friday in July: 3 DAYS ONLY!‏
Neiman Marcus, 7/17 — GREAT SUITS take your look to the next level‏
Abercrombie & Fitch, 7/18 — The EPIC Hollister store is now open‏
Dell, 7/18 — Chad, Shop New Offers from Microsoft at Dell!‏
J. Jill, 7/18 — Meet our new boyfriend jacket. Plus, take 40% off!
Target, 7/19 — Stuff people love: Items top-rated by guests, plus coupons.
Alibris, 7/17 — Expiry notice: Your $15 coupon ends soon‏

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