We are living amidst an ongoing pandemic which has resulted in many deaths. Retailers this year appear to have become increasingly sensitive to the devastating effects Coronavirus has had on many families.
In 2021 more major retailers than ever participated in this voluntary opt-out scheme. Tesco, M&S and Boots have joined the scheme. Very.co.uk sent out their opt-out email back in February. Online greetings card and gifts retailer Moonpig did something similar (see image below):
Social media users shared the Moonpig email on Twitter with one person saying: “Wish more companies offered this.”
Sainsbury’s and Waitrose also took part. Waitrose has also decided to extend the option to Father’s Day on 20th June.
Many consumers welcomed the option and expressed support of the sensitivity being shown, whereas others felt the opt-out messages are more upsetting than the marketing itself. Receiving multiple emails reminding you that Mother’s Day is coming up – whether an opt-out email or not, can still be painful. Similar patterns must also occur in relation to births, deaths and marriages.
Retailers find themselves in a strange position given the rise in direct digital marketing in the last 20 years. It has almost gone unchallenged that email campaigns ‘work’, delivered better ‘Return on Investment’ than almost any other tactic and can always be ‘pushed harder’. Perhaps we have reached an era of ‘peak email’ where brands need to revisit some retailing mantras that echo through history: ‘the customer is always right’ and ‘less is more’.
Why would those affected want to change their minds next year? Perhaps the opt-out should last a lifetime by default? These retailers must now continue to adopt a sympathetic approach in asking their customers how they feel about these new options, choices and controls. In setting up an account we may well be invited to add discretionary information that shows how we would like to be treated by the retailer in future. It is definitely a potentially awkward digital topic, but it will be up to the brand to keep open the opportunity to close down certain uncomfortable channels of communication.
One customer put it bluntly: “Please do this permanently and don’t ask me next year. My mum is not coming back (from the dead) and I don’t need reminding”.
For help and support if you feel impacted by the occasion please contact:
Cruse Bereavement Care https://www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/helpline