I can feel your desperation

Dear Lands’ End,

It started out well between us. I bought a few things, and yes some went back, but it didn’t mean I was angry or unhappy. I thought we were okay. I thought you were okay. I actually kind of almost liked the new catalog. Sure it was a little long on branding and short on product, and it had a lot of ease of shopping issues, and the reverse type was hard to read, and small. Okay, okay and there wasn’t enough copy to actually make a purchase, and some of the images shown didn’t seem to be sold so I had to go online to even find the price. BUT it was pretty and the grandfather was hot. (Yah, I just said that.)  And then the emails started. At first I just thought it was a phase. Some inventory issues you had to work through. I thought you’d get over it and go back to being, well, you. But it got worse. And then every day, twice a day, you were begging me to come back. Offering me 50% off this product category, and 50% off that product category, and 30% off everything else. It became very clear you were desperate and needy and that’s when I started backing away.

I’ve attached your emails (below) so you can talk about them with your marketing team. They don’t make me want to take you back, even though the creative was good. Now I feel like I paid too much when we were together. The only thing you seem to be able to say is “50% off and 30% off everything else” and I just want it to stop. I thought you had more to offer than price, I thought you had depth. (I know I should unsubscribe, but if it goes to 75% I could shop. I’ll feel dirty, but I’ll do it.)

I’m sorry things aren’t working out. I miss the old you with the comfy 100% cotton tees, before you went all 10% lycra and 30% modal. I don’t know who you are anymore. Are you outdoors? Are you street wear? Are you cheap stuff I can buy at Walmart? I think it’s time to admit you have a merchandise problem and some serious discount abuse issues. I’m not trying to hurt you, I’m just being honest. 50% off emails are crack. You need to get help.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

All the best,

Sarah Fletcher

Did you enjoy this post? Sign up for more.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Catalog Blog covers opinions and information on all things catalog. Have something to add? Leave a comment below. Catalog University is devoted to helping you get ahead in the fun and fascinating world of catalogs. If you want even more information about cataloging, including FREE Pub Talks, be sure to also sign up for the Cat-U mailing list. You’ll get a free copy of The Great Catalog Checklist and we’ll never share your name with 3rd parties.

Comments

  • Marylou
    Reply

    I love the way this blog was written but I don’t agree with the premise at all. I love Lands End even more, and I’ve bought the 50% off and the 30% off and the 40% off. I’ve bought the full price too. Every email got me to open it and I’ve actually gone to my Gmail tab and looked for the Lands End emails. I’ve bought twice as much as I would have because of the emails. I’ve gone to the physical store as well. I’m sorry things didn’t work out between the two of you but there’s probably twice as much of me to make up for the loss. Oh, and I agree, the grandfather was HOT, HOT, HOT. Great blog!! But I’m still in love with Lands End. 🙂

    • Sarah Fletcher

      Hi Marylou, It isn’t that I don’t love Lands’ End, it’s that I don’t believe they can sustain their current brand with a 50% off strategy. These emails came in just after Thanksgiving up till last week. Prime holiday shopping. 50% off is liquidation level, I shouldn’t be seeing that till after Christmas. It almost feels like the old JC Penny over reliance on discounts that got the company into trouble but customers loved. Glad you liked the post!

  • Lauren
    Reply

    The problem is that they are now training their costumers to not buy full price. Sure, sometimes they do, but, just as you said, you’d jump on a big percentage off. You’re waiting for that sale, rather than buying the full priced item the second you fall in love. By “you,” I don’t necessarily mean that you may do this, Sarah. Just an example! I really enjoyed your approach and you were able to add a great point to an argument I’ve been having on my own.

    • Sarah Fletcher

      Agreed. Deep discounts increase sales volume, and customers love them, but once they get hooked it’s hard to get them unhooked. Based on my purchase history I should be a best customer—the most likely to purchase. Turning me into a web centric discount shopper was throwing money away. I was very likely to make a full priced purchase if there was something I wanted.

    • Marylou

      Really the problem is much bigger because many retailers are training their customers to wait for a bigger discount. Bed, Bath and Beyond, JC Penney’s, Macy’s, Younkers…so how does Land’s End compete? Penney’s tried to cut out discounting and it almost ruined them. Lands End clothing isn’t high end enough to hold full price. It’s retail’s dilemma, one they’ve created themselves and the consumer is driving the experience.

      • Sarah Fletcher

        It’ll be interesting to see which way they go: higher prices and bigger discounts to cultivate a devoted discount loving customer base, or traditional pricing to maintain margins with last minute and end of season discounts to move excess inventory. They sell exclusive apparel so they aren’t tied to Amazon or other discounters’ pricing strategies.

  • Lauren
    Reply

    The economy is a major contributing factor to this dilemma. I don’t see anything resolving, and companies should keep doing what they need to do to stay in business! The real fight is to keep costumers coming back (and keep their respect) without them noticing any desperation and drawn out tactics.