The power of exclusivity

The subject line of the first email I received from Reiss successfully piqued my interest by promising that I was “the first to know” about the 50% sale.

This offer of exclusivity not only makes the customer feel valued (ignoring the fact that thousands of others also got the same email) but helps to create a sense of urgency as it makes you want to get in there and buy all the good sale items before the riff raff find out.

Reiss is also trying to get people to visit its stores with the offer of an exclusive preview, which is an interesting example of how email can be used as part of a cross-channel sales promotion.

Consistency of CTAs

Though the sales pitch and content has altered with each email, the headline offer and call-to-action have remained constant.

Each email opens with the same graphic and text; “Sale, up to 50% off” followed by a red “Shop now” CTA.

This means that it stands out from the rest of the content, which largely follows a black and white colour scheme, but more importantly means that the navigation remains consistent.

As the content of each email varies it’s a good idea to retain the same basic CTA so that when a recipient is eventually swayed by one of the sales messages they know where to click to begin shopping.

Frequency of emails

The first sales email came through on June 18 and I have since received eight more at the rate of one every three or four days.

At any other point in time this would be overkill and I’d unsubscribe, but as consumers we tend to give emails promoting a time limited sale more leeway and have probably been conditioned to expect several in a short space of time. 

It’s also worth noting that having recently bought a suit from Reiss I have a decent perception of the brand so I’m less likely to lose patience with a constant stream of sales emails.

Different subject lines

When you’re sending out emails every three or four days it’s vital to mix up the subject lines so your customers don’t lose interest and unsubscribe.

Six out of the nine emails included the word ‘SALE’ in capital letters in the subject line, while the others included more subtle references as the copywriters correctly assume that the recipient is already aware that there’s a sale on.

The first couple of emails are clearly aimed at raising awareness of the ‘SALE’, but from then on the tactics change to try and attract customers who weren’t swayed simply by the offer of a 50% discount.

Instead the emails contain “top sales picks” and a look at the “bloggers’ suiting edit,” suggesting that the content is tailored specifically for the recipient.

To maintain interest the attention turns to “New lines” and the “latest SALE reductions,” before moving onto “Free Delivery” and finally an even bigger discount.

It’s a fairly standard progression of sale discounts and offers, but it was certainly effective at maintaining my interest.

The lure of free delivery

Free delivery is an incredibly powerful sales driver online, so it’s a clever tactic to offer the service for a limited time as it creates a sense of urgency.

Data from comScore shows that when asked what aspect of online shopping customers wanted to improve, 58% chose free or discounted shipping. This was followed by ease of returns/exchanges (42%).

Reiss already offers free returns so free delivery is the only weapon in its arsenal in that respect. 

Notifying customers that it’s their “Last chance for free delivery” is therefore a convincing subject line, even though the company normally only charges £3.95 for delivery anyway and also offers free in-store collections.

Range of items

The content of Reiss’ emails follow a pattern that repeats itself every three or four messages.

It begins with an email that simply advertises the sale in general, before subsequent emails then promote specific products.

This is a good way of maintaining variety in the barrage of marketing messages, plus the very first email was focused on enticing customers with the offer of an ‘exclusive preview’ so didn’t necessarily need any product recommendations.

Even so, I do feel that there’s an opportunity to delver more targeted product offers as at the moment they appear to be quite random.

For example, I’ve clicked through from several of the emails and I’ve always browsed the suit and tailoring section. I even added a suit to my shopping basket at one point but didn’t buy it, which resulted in Reiss sending me an abandoned basket email.

Therefore Reiss knows the kind of items I’m interested in but then sends me emails recommending cut-price leather jackets and short-sleeved shirts.

If the email offers were tailored to my previous browsing history then it would make it far more likely that I’d click through to the site and might even persuade me to make a purchase.