What happens when a retailer allows individual stores to control local customer communications?

I guess it depends on the level of training and guidance afforded to staff, but oftentimes things can go awry, especially when it is patently clear that there’s no kind of instruction from head office.

Take Oddbins, my local wine merchant that regularly uses email to invite some of its clientele to wine tasting events. This appears to be coordinated from the store’s Outlook account, rather than via any kind of centralised email marketing platform, and while the staff are to be applauded for their initiative, there are some lingering concerns.

Thankfully, they have stopped using the CC field when emailing several hundred local customers, but unfortunately they continue to rip up the email marketing rulebook.

There’s no subject line, for starters. Nothing.

The from address doesn’t say ‘Oddbins’ or ‘Oddbins Battersea’, but just ‘Battersea’.

There are no contact details contained within the email.

The email is sent as plain text, by default.

There are a bunch of typos / grammatical errors, alas.

The body copy includes multiple exclamation marks!!!

And, most importantly of all, there is certainly no kind of opt-out / unsubscribe message.

Retailers should help local staff to communicate with customers using best practice methods, as well as making sure all of the legal obligations are met (specifically, in this case, a way of unsubscribing and the inclusion of contact details).

I don’t blame the local Oddbins staff for not knowing about this – after all, they know a hell of a lot more about wine than I do – but head office should be supporting this kind of proactive marketing with basic training in email techniques.

Further Reading

Email Marketing Buyer’s Guide 2008

UK retailers failing to follow best practice