There are many considerations when harvesting the email address of your customer. How much information do you ask for? How hard do you push the sign-up? What do you include in a welcome email?
For luxury brands, the purchase decision is surely all about education and information. Giving those moneyed customers knowledge of new lines and must-haves will keep them returning, in fear they're missing out.
Most luxury brands sell 'lifetime' pieces, and so to hook the customer ahead of your competitors, every word of your comms should entice and exude the charm of a private members club.
Here's how some of the most searched for US luxury brands do email welcomes.
Vera knows her stuff.
Clear email signup at the top right of the homepage. It’s a link that takes me to another page, below. The page is fairly stylised, and clearly only wants a little information from me.
This could be advantageous in tempting more users to complete the process.
Vera does something that others don’t, and is a really nice touch. There’s a link to check out a sample email at the archive, and there’s some really nice copy explaining what the email delivers.
Subscribe to Vera's weekly e-mail newsletter, XO, Vera, filled with real weddings, celebrity news and the latest information on Vera Wang bridal gowns, fashion, accessories and more!
From the archive, you can send emails to a friend, and the content speaks for itself. Competitions, editorial and links galore.
Granted, these wedding dresses are higher ticket items that sold at, for example Marc Jacobs, but this attention to detail is still to be lauded.
Once I’ve signed up, there’s a classy note to say thanks, signed by Vera.
The welcome email I received was very simple.
I love the way it’s distinctly branded as XO Vera, and I am pointed to Vera’s blog and Twitter if I want to keep in touch more often than the newsletter allows.
To the other end of the scale. Tom Ford is pretty bad at email.
The homepage is really strong, but unfortunately there is no link to email signup. The menus across the top, and most of the text, has poor contrast against the imagery, so it’s hard to read once it drops down.
I had to flick through imagery to read the links below the fold at the bottom. They say ‘undefined’ and ‘create the group’. They also don’t go anywhere, and there’s a field where it looks like I’m meant to enter an email address, but nothing happens when I try.
It’s only later, when I select a different image, that I can see the ‘enter email’ call to action.
I then tried heading to another page on the site to attempt to give my details. On the brand page, I could see that little panel again, with an ‘undefined’ call to action.
Entering my email and clicking ‘undefined’, I got the below partial message in the text bar.
So I’m assuming I managed to sign up, but I didn’t receive a welcome email, so who knows what’s happening.
Diane Von Furstenburg
Diane VF is the first site I came across that served an overlay on arrival. Pushing me to signup before I look at anything else.
It’s easy to close this form, but I still think it will annoy some visitors to the site. Obviously, one wouldn’t want it to appear once I’ve signed up or dismissed it.
The form has a decent degree of personality, with some emotive copy. This is also the first example where offers are used to encourage signup. For luxury brands it’s debatable whether discounts are needed to entice some customers, but an obvious money-saver in return for an email address is fairly compelling.
When I tried to sign up, however, I had a few problems. First an error, which I couldn’t quite pinpoint, and which I wasn’t offered further info about. Then I entered the address again and the form seemed to submit, but I didn’t get acknowledgment of success, and the form just hung around, empty once more.
I suspect the problem was Chrome’s autofill adding unnecessary characters in the field perhaps. Anyway, I tried once more and was this time definitively successful. But the page I was taken too was really low rent and didn’t have an escape route. D’oh!
I tried hitting back, and successfully returned to the homepage, but a little bit tired, and conceivably with less time for shopping.
On the homepage, there is a discreet email signup bar, and if one uses that, the overlay is once again served.
All in all, not bad at highlighting the newsletter, but a little tetchy. However, I did get a very good welcome email once I had signed up. You can see it below. Clear discount code I was promised, nice navigation to take me to the shop, and some imagery and warm copy. Pretty effective, I’d say.
Interestingly, Tory Burch was the only brand that requested just my email address. I popped it in, and got a thank you as below (it also initially offered me an overlay form, which was nice and clear)
This seems like perhaps Tory Burch is missing out on asking me for more details, but on the other hand, the abandonment rate of the process will be miniscule – it’s one click. Then, if Burch is clever, it’ll be able to look at what I open and what I click on, both on email and website, to tailor future emails via automation.
The welcome email was very good. It didn't want to display in browser, but it had some nice features. Details on shipping and returns (complimentary), 10% discount for subscribers, and an incredible range of social platforms that I can click through to.
The content itself is simply a welcome, and three picture links to new arrivals. Very nice indeed.
Again, easy to find prompt to sign up at the bottom of the home page.
This time the form is ‘brought to me’, rather than the site sending me to the form. The screenshot shows the signup form is an overlay on to the homepage. I like this. It feels seamless, and almost like Marc Jacobs is casually taking my details, rather than issuing me into another room to sign something.
The form asks for my gender and it’s nice that it sensitively offers ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘other’. It’s easy to alienate with forms and automated emails, so making sure there isn’t any pigeonholing is important.
There is something to improve on though. At the bottom for the form there’s the option to create a MyMJ account. Although one can assume this is simply to shop with, there are no details explaining what it is, or indeed offering an incentive to tick this box.
Notice this form does ask for my birthday, and also for preferences, so I can't receive tailor-made emails to begin with (no pun intended).
Once I’ve hit ‘submit’, I get this nice lightbox. Top marks for quirky copy from Marc Jacobs – ‘This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!’
Strangely, when my welcome email arrives, it doesn’t really have any personality. It does, however, do what the form on site didn’t, it explains what the benefits of starting a MyMJ account are – ‘store shipping/billing info, create a lovelist, shop easier and faster’. Not so hard was it?
Easy to sign up – a simple prompter field at the bottom of the homepage leads to the sign-up page shown below.
I like the pointers to ‘required fields’ and the assertion that ‘you may unsubscribe at any time’. There’s a clear benefit of signing up – ‘Be the first to know’. The imagery is nice – a lovely handbag and an incredible helicopter.
Then when I submitted my form, there was an interesting additional form that I haven’t seen too often. Add the email addresses of your friends! I’m not sure if they’ll appreciate the unsolicited spam, but it will certainly grow Michael Kors’ email list.
If you don’t want to include your friends, you can continue to shop.
The welcome email itself continues the classy woman and helicopter vibe. There are links to site category pages, social channels, forward to a friend, and unsubscribe all available. Simple and effective, but little to email home about.
For example, no request for my birthday, so they can’t personalise a message on my special day, but this is perhaps seen as a sensitive question. However, there’s also no defining what I’m interested in, or not as the case may be.
Again, this can perhaps be solved by dropping cookies and tailoring an automation programme. Michael Kors isn’t adding anything that pricks up my ears here, but it's solid.