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How to make “Thank You!” Feel like “x!@$%# You!”

2010 December 26
by Steve Lawson

How to make “Thank You!”
Feel like “x!@$%#  You!”

Macy's thanks its customers with a 20% off coupon filled with exclusions

Happy Boxing Day!  Or should I say, “many happy returns!”

Our family received this advertising mailer (above) from Macy’s on Christmas Eve.  It was disguised as a “thank you” card with a very special offer inside.

On the front of the card was the Macy’s star.  Beneath the star was the headline, “two magic words.”

I couldn’t wait to open the card to see what those “two magic words” might be . . .

Much to my surprise, the magic words were “Thank You!”  And pasted just to the right of those two magic words was a nice 20% off certificate.  Did you get one too?

Then, as in most Macy’s ads, written in teeny tiny print were the words “exclusions apply , see reverse for details.”  So I ripped the card out of it’s holder and stared blindly at 13 rows of copy describing in great detail what I couldn’t buy with that nice coupon. Wouldn’t it have been easier to list the one or two items “Storewide” that actually were available to purchase with the coupon?

Hasn’t the social media phenomenon taught marketers to make it easy for consumers, and be transparent?  Is it just me, or do you just laugh when you are invited to Macy’s latest “Exclusions Apply” sale.

PS.  The mailer went right into the round file, along with the rest of Macy’s direct mail.

This isn’t the Thank You note that Macy’s sent me
but is my perception of their actual sentiment.

Why do Macy's coupons have so many Exclusions

2 Responses leave one →
  1. March 12, 2011

    Coming from retail, I know why they have to do this. It has to do with vendor relationships. It’s part of their franchise agreement. Typically, an “exclusive” vendor will have some sort of contract that reads to the effect of, “We’ll give you money to promote our products via advertising, merchandising aids, sales incentives, etc. as long as you don’t advertise below a Minimum Advertised Price.” See, it’s legal because they’re not technically telling the dealer they can’t discount the product line, only that doing so will curtail certain benefits.

    You’re correct, of course, that putting the vendors before customers results in bad situations such as this one with Macy’s. Groupon gets it right. It appears that restaurants that want to coupon with Groupon can’t put restrictions on what the coupon can apply to. (Most restaurants won’t include alcohol in typical promotions, for example, as that’s where their highest profit margins lie.)

  2. June 27, 2011

    Spot on, Steve.

    It IS irritating to have to comb through all the exclusions before deciding whether even to bother keeping the “Star Rewards” card.

    If Macy’s really wants to learn how to treat their customers like stars, they could learn a thing or two from Amazon, for instance, or Cabela’s – two shining examples of customer-focused, customer-friendly merchants.

    Thanks for a great post!

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