Thursday, February 21, 2019

Booting up a deal

I normally rail against pop-up appeals to join some scheme or other that impose themselves when you arrive at a site's home page - but at least this one offers 10% discount on your first order.

Given the price of their boots, that's an acceptable bribe from Doc Martins. 


Roamers get it right

Purveyors of desert boots, Roamers, have put some thought into their e-commerce site.

Here's a couple of things that I liked.

First there's a nice sales 'trick' - though I mean that in a positive way. Like most clothing, there is always the issue of size - is their size 10 really a 9? To address that issue - in sales we'd call it a barrier - for just a pound you can buy a returns label. On a 30-odd pounds product, that sounds like excellent insurance.


The second thing I liked was the out-of-stock message. It didn't end with the message, it offered to email me when they were in stock. The double whammy for Roamers with this is not only am I pleased at the service - they get my email address: that is ... the email address of someone who is actually interested in their products.



Why adidas is going uphill - in more ways than one

OK, so I've been a fan of adidas for, well ... longer than most folk reading this have been on the planet [I got my first pair of sambas in 1971, I didn't dare tell my mum how much I paid for them].

But, that has no influence when I see good or bad practice - and this is excellent.

I came across a marketing article about how the sports and leisure wear company was entering a new marketing - hiking - and, at the same time, changing hiking's 'stale' image ... so introducing the pastime [sport?]  to a younger, trendier audience. 

Win-win all round; adidas sell more product; people get fit, adidas tick the box for doing their bit for the heath of  everyone on the planet.

Having read the story, I thought I'd take a look at the product in question - Free Hiker Shoes [I'm assuming 'shoes' will sell more, they look like boots to me?].

And sure enough, there is an online [only?] campaign to launch the shoes, which, as it happens, is tonight [full marks to adidas' PR folk for ensuring the marketing story was published today].

And here's the relevant web page on adidas.co.uk ...



Nice clean page design. All the necessary info is there. And there's a countdown clock to add a sense of urgency [always good to encourage sales]. If was into hiking I would want a pair. Heck, I walk a lot, I do want a pair.

PS If you're thinking 'that page has no price' - the price was on the link that took me to this page. And that price? Nigh on 170 of our English pounds. Pricey? Yes. But not for the target segment adidas is aiming them at.

Why M&S is going downhill, an example ...

So I was surf-shopping on the Interweb for a jacket.

Amongst the opinions presented to me by a  Google shopping search was one at Marks and Spencer. 

This means someone at M&S had made the effort to ensure their product appeared as a result of this search. 

However, sizes are a funny thing, and I wanted the jacket for when I travel abroad for work, so it needed to be 'roomy' to be comfortable on flights. Which meant I wanted to try on several sizes, essentially to buy one that is - by size - too big for me.

So I clicked on the 'find in a UK store' link, where I put in my postcode - and got this:



That's it. One store. 

Yes, it is the one closest to me, but they [the digital marketing team at M&S] obviously think I am incapable and/or unwilling to travel to any one of the numerous stores they have in my area. Perhaps I do only want to shop in Sunderland, but they could try and tempt me to another by telling me where the jacket is in stock. Indeed, one of their biggest stores in the country is at Gateshead's Metro Centre, which is just down the road.  

And here's the kicker - and it relates to my non-marketers in digital marketing rants - if I was in a store and they didn't have my size, any decent sales person would ask 'shall I see if they have one in another branch?' and then ask where I would be willing to travel to.

And if decent sales folk were involved in the development of e-commerce sites they would tell the techies to make that happen online. 

It ain't rocket science, it's just good old fashioned customer service. Or is that good old fashioned sales?

This data-driven marketing really works ...

... errr, think again.

Check out this message I got in an email this morning.





It's for a theatre I've never been to in a town I've never visited. Which is bad enough in itself, but it is in Tunbridge Wells, which Google Maps tells me is 309 miles and a journey of five and a half hours away.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Would you buy a used car from this company? What about a website?


I get a lot of these emails, but this one is particularly bad.


To start with; it is illegal to send unsolicited emails. This one is unsolicited, ergo; illegal. Strike 1.

The subject line is not grammatically correct. I’ll go further, it doesn’t make sense – I originally thought it was from someone for whom English wasn’t their first language. Strike 2.

The sender uses a gmail address. For a business email. From a business that has its own domain name? Strike 3, and I haven’t even read the message [in baseball, you’re out after 3 strikes]

In marketing terms the message  is not personalised e.g. the sender has obviously not read the content of the website. Strike 4.


Let’s take a look at the key points raised by the sender:

Are you looking to redesign your website with new modern and as per the latest industry standard look and feel?  There is no ‘latest industry standard look and feel’. Strike 5.

5 important reasons to redesign your website:-

1. Your content management system or website technology is out of date. So is my car – it’s 33 years old but last summer it took me 4000 miles around Italy. Old does not necessarily mean not fit for purpose. Strike 6.

2. Your website design looks old and outdated. That would be a matter of opinion – see (1) above. Strike 7.

3. Your website is not mobile – friendly. Google says it is. Strike 8.

4. You are not getting the results you want. And what results would they be? Strike 9.

5. Your business focus changes. Well … it’s not a commercial website, so it has no business focus. Strike 10.

Note that the name of the seller is not included in the message. Reminder: the subject line included reference to brand. Strike 11.


At the bottom was this legally required message [part of the mailchimp package]


Well, I thought, although I’m very careful maybe I have signed up for something [e.g. a digital marketing newsletter] where the small print said that my email address might be passed to organizations who sell services in that industry … so I clicked on the ‘why did I get this’ link – which should tell me who has passed on my email address. I got this …





Yep ... after the 'you were subscribed because:' message, it should [legally, I think] tell me why I was subscribed. Strike 12.

So I had a look at the website of the anonymous seller – I got the URL from the message above.

I simply cannot be bothered to comment on the whole website – and I’m running out of strikes to give out. 
However, that it timed out while I was surfing [a WordPress issue?] deserves strike number 13.


And no, I checked, nothing to do with my Internet connection. 

However, I did take a look for the marketing manager who sent me the email, and got this …




So, as they provide an address in a public forum, I thought I’d take a look at the location of akriga.com.


… and it is a private house. In itself this is not necessarily a problem. A lot of ‘mom and pop’ type setups operate successfully from a home. But I’m afraid for a web services company, it’s strike 14.

Talking of operating from home – it is perfectly valid for, say, a vintage wedding car hire company. Which is exactly what the 'Quaint and Quirky Motor Company' shown on the map is. And full marks to the owners of that business for making sure it’s on Google’s small business lifting and so appears on any Google map. Note however, that the company offering digital marketing services [for a fee] isn’t. Strike 15.

I gave up at this point.

Footnote: one of the services listed on the Akriga site is social media monitoring.

So when you read this Ade, Ian or Jenifer: Hello … and your copyright notice still says ‘2018’.