J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler famously called steep discounting a disease of the retail industry. He said emails promising one-day sales and steep discounts condition the consumer to expect to see the brand on sale. True to Drexler’s words, discounts may have indeed gone too far. At our Omnichannel Breakfast event, L2 Head of Research Maureen Mullen presented a slide showing more than half of emails in the Apparel & Accessories, Big Box, and Home categories promoted a discount in the subject line.
Best Buy and Target were two of the biggest offenders, with 100% of their marketing emails featuring a discount in the subject line. About 70% of Best Buy emails and 60% of Target emails promote a 60% off of merchandise. J.Crew is an offender as well; 85% of its marketing emails are discount-focused, and more than half offer discounts in the 50% to 58% range.
While these emails might have great open rates, they chip at companies’ bottom lines. And, the expectation of a discount can negatively impact future full price sales. Perhaps, a better email marketing plan would emphasize convenience, service, and in-store events.