Balancing Expectations and Email Permissions

For many webmasters, a key goal is building a list of emails. This makes sense when you have a newsletter or want to communicate to your audience outside of the site.

In the case of eCommerce sites, the email can be crucial as you may need it to communicate about order progress or problems. In setting up for emails, you need to balance expectations as there is always a tipping point where the prospect or client won’t proceed.

Where’s the Beef?

This all started because I was on the hunt for a good meat provider that offered things like grass-fed beef. It’s not so easy to come by and the industry isn’t standardized when it comes to terminology. That’s one reason why I was relying on people who research this stuff. One vendor that I repeatedly heard was called Butchers Box so I decided to head to their site.

The site is nicely laid out. However, when it came to getting specifics on the different boxes, I encountered a block. At the top of my menu bar was a menu item that was highlighted in red labeled “See Our Boxes”. It definitely caught my eye especially as I wanted to know the details. Was I going to get all ground beef and ox tails.

Dialog asking for email and zip code

You’ll notice in the screen snap above I need to give both my email address and zip code before I see the boxes. This is a barrier for a lot of people, but sometimes it makes sense for the business to use these tactics. For example, these data points can be used to qualify people especially if the sale isn’t immediate or it’s a complex sale.

From the first looks, it appears that the zip code is used to determine deliverability. In some ways, that makes sense. If you’ve ever bought beef online, you know shipping isn’t free and can require things like special containers, dry ice etc.

Careful What You Ask For

I can see a case where the zip code could be useful at this stage. Honestly, I think it’s used more for marketing purposes at this stage. If it’s used for deliverability, it probably requires some sort of database lookup.

The part I didn’t like is they ask me for my email address. Why is this needed to see if service is available in my area? I’m not getting the cow as an attachment to my email. OK, maybe if I opted for the pork package I could get it in my spam folder 😉

Before committing my email address without truly knowing what is on the other side, I like to find out what people will do with my email address. I don’t necessarily mind people sharing my email address if it’s known at the beginning. To the company’s credit they do lay out what they do in a lot of cases. (You can click the image to see a larger version.)

privacy policy use

The above stuff looks pretty standard.

Thanks for Sharing

The key question for me is how do they use my data? At this point, I’m just a prospect but need to give up my email address just to see the goods.

sharing info

After reading the above text, 2 questions pop to mind for me:

  1. Does submitting my email address sign me up for the newsletter?
  2. Will my email address get shared?

My guess is the company is very responsible, but they’ve left room for doubt. As webmasters, we need to think about how we use data collection on our site and what questions and concern your prospect might have. Will this barrier cut into their sales? I don’t know. I can see that the company is using several marketing tools like Optimizely and HotJar so hopefully they are testing this strategy.