L2’s Intelligence Report: Omnichannel Retail finds retailers have been increasingly using discounts to lure consumers into opening their emails. In the first quarter of 2014, 55% of the 3,800 email sent by the 100 brands in the study advertised discounts vs. 49% in the previous year’s study. And 38% advertised the discount direct in the subject line. The discounts varied greatly by category. Home was the worst offender with 88% of its emails promoting a discount and 68% of emails having a discount in the subject. Beauty brands promote the least discounts via email, opting to offer samples instead.
J.Crew, Tumi, and Ralph Lauren were among the worst offenders outside of the home category. J.Crew offered discounts in 85% of its emails, Tumi in 71% and Ralph Lauren in 50%, a radically different strategy from their brick-and mortar stores.
The widening gap between physical and online store strategy can be a barrier to Omnichannel maturity. An example that made headlines was Walmart. A customer found an item online at a lower price than in the physical store, but the store would match the price despite its price-matching policies. The consumer was forced to order online and pickup in-store. Coordination of prices and sale policies could eliminate such situations.