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Risky Business

November 23, 2009  

"Having an offer for your products or services that is truly risk-free might be just the ticket you need to really make a difference in your email marketing campaigns," says Janine Popick in a post at her Vertical Response blog.

She points to retailers like these that generate customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth with some impressive, genuinely risk-free policies:

  • Zappos gives customers a full year to make returns, and it offers a buying and return process that is quick, easy and free.
  • Nordstrom is famous for its liberal views of customer satisfaction. "You need to have your receipt, or your item tag," she notes, "but you can even return worn items without a problem."
  • Walgreens gives its customers a month to decide whether they like the make-up they purchased. "I'm sure they got a lot more in sales than they ever would in returns," Popick says.

Although offering some of these liberal policies may be too much for a smaller business to manage, it's clear that consumers love them. And loading a promotion with restrictions and fees can serve to annoy customers—and even destroy any trust you've built with them.

So what's the middle-of-the-road message for marketers here? Whether your campaign, large or small, promotes general policies like these or presents a unique one-time offer, just make sure it lives up to any risk-free promises it makes.

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