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Retailers try to get voters from the ballot box to their online stores

November 8, 2016 01:34 PM
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Retailers, much like political candidates, worked to get out in front of shoppers on Tuesday, hoping to win their vote on Election Day.

Macy’s Inc., No. 6 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, is running a 24-hour Election Day sale, offering discounts on more than 42,000 items online including an extra 25% off clearance items.

Book publisher Harper Collins is offering 30% off select election-themed books on its site and free shipping for a limited time when customers use promotion code VOTE2016, and AmpliVox Portable Sound Systems is giving online shoppers 30% off (through Tuesday) an online purchase if they use promotion code ELECTION.

Toys R Us Inc. (No. 35) sent an email early Tuesday with the subject line, “Vote For Fun During Our Red, White & Blue Sale – Online Only!” alerting shoppers to online deals of up to 15% or more off select toys.

Toys R Us wasn’t the only retailer looking to capitalize on the election excitement, however. Here’s a look at some of the other email subject lines that retailers sent Tuesday to consumers:

  • Banana Republic (parent company Gap Inc. is No. 20 in the Top 500) sent an email with a check mark in the subject line informing shoppers, “We’re voting for these styles” and offering 40% off online purchases.
  • Foot Locker Inc. (No. 50) sent an email with the subject line “Cast your vote, then stop by Foot Locker.” The athletic apparel and footwear retailer is not running sales or promotions on Election Day; the email it sent to shoppers simply came with a link to the store locator on its website.
  • Edible Arrangements (No. 108) tried to reel shoppers in with an email with the subject line “Red or Blue … Free Treat For You!” The email offered shoppers a smaller fruit bouquet for free (valued at $39) if they spent $79 or more.
  • J.Crew Group Inc. (No. 49) tried to give shoppers a mental break from the election with the subject line “This email has nothing to do with the election.” The apparel manufacturer offered shoppers an extra 20% off all online orders of $100 or more or an extra $25% off all online orders of $125 or more.
  • Williams-Sonoma Inc. (No. 21) sent two emails Tuesday with Election Day-related subject lines: "Election Day Savings! 20% Off Your Favorite + KitchenAid SALE – In Stores & Online" and "VOTE For Your Favorite! 20% Off 1 Item – TODAY ONLY!"

Meanwhile, online personalized gifts retailer CafePress.com (No. 249) was running an ad on its home page with the words “Raise your voice without saying a word” and linking to election-related merchandise. Maheesh Jain, CafePress’s co-founder and chief marketing officer, said earlier this year that sales of political items will account for about 10% of its sales this year. Bobbleheads.com is offering 30% off Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump bobblehead dolls through the end of Election Day.

These retailers aren’t the only ones that seek cash in on the excitement surrounding this year’s presidential election. Last month, online lingerie retailer Yandy.com capitalized on the instant viral popularity of Ken Bone, a rural Illinois resident who asked a question during a presidential debate, by rushing a “sexy undecided voter” costume to market in Bone’s visage. Yandy.com isn’t running a special promotion on its home page on Election Day, but it is offering 30% off the Sexy Undecided Voter costumer.

Other retailers are promoting Veteran’s Day, which is Friday, in their email subject lines this week. Here are a couple of examples:

  • FragranceNet.com Inc. (No. 170) sent out an email with the subject line “Veteran’s Day Savings – Free U.S. Shipping on ALL orders – no minimum.”
  • Buy Buy Baby (Parent company Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. is No. 67) sent out an email with the subject line “U.S. Military & Veterans – 25% off ENTIRE Purchase In-Store Offer!” The retailer is not offering a similar online sale.
 

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