Saks Fifth Avenue: How to Almost Lose an (Email) Customer in 10 Days

A few weeks ago, I enrolled in Saks Fifth Avenue Online Customer Care (I wanted to pay down my Saks Credit Card). At the end of the process, I opted in to receive Saks emails. Below is a day-by-day timeline of what ensued from the moment I hit “confirm.”

Day 1: Opted-in – Redirect to a thank you page, but…no welcome email

Day 2: One day after sign-up, the welcome email arrived. I would’ve like to see it immediately, but a one-day lag time is not the end of the world. I thought the subject line – Welcome to We have a special offer for you… – wasn’t great, but at least was very clear and direct. The body of the message contained a call-to-action that included a 10% discount. Pretty good overall.

Day 3: Not 1, but 2 messages from Saks in one day. Oops?
—Message #1: Subject Line – SAKSFIRST Double Points + From the Heart, received at 10:31AM EST, Valentines Day call-to-action
—Message #2: Subject Line – Get SAKSFIRST Double Points!, received at 3:53PM EST, Double Points call-to-action

Day 4: Subject Line – SAKSFIRST Double Points + Have-To-Have Handbags

Days 5 and 6: Nothing (Super Bowl weekend)

Day 7: Not 1, but 2 messages from Saks. Hard to believe that they would make this same “mistake” only 4 days later.
—Message #1: Subject Line – Dior…Take it Away!, received at 10:08AM EST, Women’s Shoes call-to-action
—Message #2: Subject Line – Video Exclusive! Days 1 to 3 of Fashion Week, received at 4:51PM EST, “Fashion Week” call-to-action

Day 8: Subject Line – Fabulous Valentine’s Gifts

Day 9: Not 1, but 2 messages from Saks. Another “mistake” 2 days after the 2nd one (3rd double email day in past 6 days)
—Message #1: Subject Line – David Yurman Gifts, received at 9:47AM EST, Women’s Shoes call-to-action
—Message #2: Subject Line – Day 4 Video of Fashion Week, received at 5:05PM EST, “Fashion Week” call-to-action

Day 10: Subject Line – NEW: Reyes, Wayne… + SALE

Day 11: I clicked on their unsub/change preferences link, fully intending to unsubscribe. But, alas—they did it right! I was able to edit my preferences and elect to receive updates only “Once a Week.”


1. Over a 7 business-day stretch, I received 10 emails (including 3 days with 2 emails/day).
2. Call-to-action was one big image—could’ve easily used a text-image combo.

1. Their opt-out allowed me to “receive fewer Saks Fifth Avenue updates.”
2. For the most part, subject lines were creative, unique, direct, and consistent with the body of the message.
3. Preheader gave me (some) instructions to add to my address book (see Make it Pop!: The Preheader Express for more on preheaders).
4. While the body of message included one big image, the headers and footers were consistent.

Overall, for as critical as I’ve been, I applaud the effort of Saks. We all know that most online retailers don’t get it right. Saks, on the other hand, does many things well. I’m not a big fan of an average of greater than 1 email per week, but they did allow me to change the frequency. It would have been nice if I had this option up front. Why risk losing a consumer only to try and salvage them when they are ready to opt-out? Kudos to Saks. They’ve won me over…assuming they honor my frequency preference change.

—DJ Waldow of Bronto

One thought on “Saks Fifth Avenue: How to Almost Lose an (Email) Customer in 10 Days

  1. Dan, that does beg some questions. However, in the two years that I’ve been tracking Saks’ emails, I’ve never received multiple emails a day except for on a few occasions (during the holidays), with them averaging about 5-6 emails/week. Have you tried to unsubscribe?

Comments are closed.