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The latest in marketing strategy, technology, and innovation.

  • January 25, 2011

AM Inbox: Upside down layer cake

Retail Email Year-End Trends for 2010: Download the free 8-page report.

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

Kmart, 1/21 — Toys Clearance Event! Plus, save on winter clothes and women's boots.
In the past I’ve warned against trying to cram too many submessages into an email, which results in the dreaded layer cake effect (see Nov. 5, 2009 AM Inbox). In this email, Kmart creates an upside down layer cake, where are there are three preview pane banners before the primary message block. That, combined with the two-line navigation bar, creates a rather inhospitable wall of calls-to-action, especially in the first 300 pixels of the email. Increasingly, less is more when it comes to email design.

Click to view this Jan. 21, 2011 Kmart email full-sized

The Company Store, 1/21 — Loads of Sheets & Up to 40% Off!
The Company Store has redesigned their footer, giving some attention to this oft neglected email element. The biggest change is that a lot of the text links, which made the footer very busy looking, have been consolidated or rationalized. The result is more emphasis on a few calls-to-actions, including their “gift card,” “catalog request,” “Like Us on Facebook” links and a couple of guides. I would have liked to see the “unsubscribe” link highlighted better, but since there’s much less footer text it is definitely easier to find. The other thing that stood out as a weak spot was the statement that subscribers should allow 7-10 days for the Company Store to honor opt-outs. With 88% of top retailers honoring opt-outs either immediately or within 3 days, according the 2010 Retail Email Unsubscribe Benchmark Study, the Company Store is putting themselves in poor company with their long opt-out window. My guess is that this is probably legacy language or in there at the request of legal, but it seems that you’re inviting subscribers to turn to the instantly effective “report spam” button by saying that it takes that long to be unsubscribed.

Here’s the new footer:

Click to view this Jan. 21, 2011 Company Store email full-sized

And here’s the previous footer design from a Jan. 19:

Click to view this Jan. 19, 2011 Company Store email full-sized

SUBJECTIVITY SCANNER: Select noteworthy subject lines
Frederick’s of Hollywood, 1/21 — What’s better than flowers or candy for Valentine’s Day?
Oriental Trading, 1/21 — Top-rated Valentine values! $0 shipping + no payment until April‏
Sports Authority, 1/23 — Gear Up For The Big Game With Sports Authority! + Save When You Order Online‏
Sony, 1/21 — HURRY for HUGE Game Day Deals SAVE UP TO $1299 on a BRAVIA HDTV + More‏
Alibris, 1/23 — It's a match: Google eBooks & Alibris‏
Neiman Marcus, 1/21 — A fresh & flattering TREND for Spring‏
J. Jill, 1/22 — Forecast Update: 20% off EVERYTHING continues! Ends Monday.‏
Petco, 1/23 — Snow or no snow, it’s cold outside! 15% Off Sitewide + FREE Shipping!
Dell, 1/22 — Dell's new all-in-one touch screen desktop‏
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BROWSE... Archive / Post Categories / Selling Seasons / Topics Covered / Retailers Tracked

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