Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I have written about Parabo Press products in the past. I have tried out two different companies to have Instagram prints done, and this one has a lovely product. I received a message about a free set of prints (I paid for the shipping), and placed an order. I received the following email alerting me to my Parabo Press shipment.

The content of this email is good – I love the reference to the obsessive tracking that some of us definitely do while waiting for online orders. Where it goes wrong for me is significant though, because this is a shipping confirmation email.

The tracking link is under “Square Prints” in a larger, bold font. It isn’t immediately obvious that this is the link to my tracking information. I would MUCH prefer that this link said something different, even a “click here to track your order” would be fine. In addition, there needs to be some spacing between the listing of the item I bought and the link for my shipping.

Another strange addition is “if you are not going to be present leave a note with your signature so we can leave your order.” I don’t remember ever getting this kind of messaging from any other company, and while I appreciate the warning that I might have a FedEx door sticker in my future, it is in no way clear or helpful.

Here’s how I would change this email:

Once I clicked the link in this email, I was taken to the Parabo Press Aftership page. Aftership is another company that e-commerce companies can use to better present their shipping information to customers. I do not know if my problems with the shipping page is specific to Aftership, or if my issue is with how Parabo Press is customizing the Aftership page.

Let’s look at the page I see when I click the shipping link:

It’s a very simple page, as you can see. I have more issues here:

  • The tracking number is not a link to the tracking information available via FedEx.com. I understand that part of the point of using Aftership as a service is to translate tracking into a single page that better aligns with your brand, but I don’t see an issue with having this link open a new tab.
  • The “view tracking history” is a link to expand the page, but it isn’t very clear! It isn’t underlined, it doesn’t feature an arrow or another symbol that would indicate clearly and prominently that all of the information from FedEx is being translated into this Aftership page.

Here’s how I would update this page.

Why have such a service in place if you aren’t going to utilize it in a way that is clear and easy to use?

I would love to know more about the decisions made by companies with regard to things like this. Is “good enough” really good enough? It just isn’t impressive or surprising, and Parabo Press makes a lovely product. To me, it is disappointing that a company would have good focus on their product quality, but don’t necessarily have the same commitment to a quality experience throughout the purchase process.

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Mpix “Dreaming Big” Email | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on August 15, 2017

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I have written here about Mpix before. I don’t remember when I first heard of Mpix, but after my first order, I was SOLD. I order images and other photo products from Mpix because I know the quality will be great and I’ll be happy.

So in my continued efforts to share email communications from brands that I really enjoy and am impressed by, I present this recent email from Mpix, telling us about their slow season, and what they do during that time. Take a look:

Another set of thumbs up to Mpix for continuing to deliver quality email content that isn’t always directly trying to sell us something.

This kind of content is sadly missing from many companies, companies that DEFINITELY have processes and such that are not trade secrets and that would be interesting to their customers.

Email ideas for companies that make things:

  • Our product development timeline
  • Product and/or company facts
  • Employee features – what do they do, how do they fit into the entire process
  • Customer features – who are they, how do they use our products

I will keep looking forward to more emails from Mpix.

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Link Tank #44

by Jamie Sanford on August 8, 2017

Click here for all of the link posts on JamieSanford.com.

Throwback to happier times for McLaren F1. And really enjoyable ads featuring F1 drivers.

Nine Inch Nails is BACK, and playing festivals this summer and fall. Here’s the full livestream of their set from the Panorama Festival.

We didn’t go to the festival, but the next morning, got an invite to a surprise Nine Inch Nails show at Webster Hall. It was ridiculous and hot and packed but super fun.

These bookshelves are being specified for a baby’s room on a Beautiful Mess but I think they would be good anywhere.

Hidden features and third-party program for Spotify improvements.

From the Kitchn: the ultimate guide to cleaning your kitchen cabinets.

From Advanced Style, an advanced love post from a couple that have been married for 60 years!

I saw a recent photo of Queen Elizabeth and was stunned by this tiara with aquamarines. It turns out that this piece has a long history.

Jamie Beck’s French adventures are already making me envious, but her Provence self-portrait series is next level. Her version of The Last Supper is stunning.

David and I were out on a random day of estate sailing and I saw this house and stopped immediately, because it looked so much like a Frank Lloyd Wright house. It turns out that the Kessler House was designed by an architect who trained under Frank Lloyd Wright, John Rattenbury. You can learn about the house, and its restoration, here and here.

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Coopertown Airboats Everglades Tour | In My Travels

by Jamie Sanford on August 1, 2017

To see all of my travel posts, click here. All images made with the Sony Alpha a550.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links.

You cannot go to the Everglades without taking an airboat tour. This isn’t an official requirement, but it should be, because it is super fun. We ended up taking the last trip of the day back in February, which was great for lighting and a small crowd. Our wonderful tour was with Coopertown Airboats.

Airboats at the ready!

We didn’t get a chance to check out the wildlife exhibit.

We saw this large alligator before the boat even left the dock.

Beautiful light.

They turn the boat into high gear when you’re out in the more open areas. It is LOUD and windy is an understatement.

Close encounter.

Awkward-looking takeoff.

Great Blue Heron.

No time for checking out the restaurant. Always time for puns though.

(Phone photo) They let me hold a little alligator after the tour! Look at how happy I am.

We made our way to the other side of the highway to enjoy the sunset after the tour.

There are a lot of choices for airboat tours in the Everglades, and I don’t have experience with them all, but I really enjoyed our experience with Coopertown Airboat Tours. I highly recommend checking it out the next time you are in the Florida Everglades.

Happy trails!

Hilton Hotels

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Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I’ve been very into emails for Brand Experience posts lately. Mostly, I managed to review the shopping and purchase experience of many of my go-to online stores, and I’m not currently interested in making purchases of things that I don’t need right now, so I will hold off on the full experience reviews until I try a new retailer.

In the meantime, I received another incredibly transparent email from a retailer that was unexpected and impressive, this time from eShakti. You can read a previous post about eShakti here.

Read the email and keep scrolling for my thoughts:

I could not get over this email when I received it. The majority of companies would quietly raise the prices and hope that it would just go by without issue. eShakti is even in the position of having a rotational offering of items, and so they could have absolutely gotten away with saying nothing. However, their CEO sends an email laying out the issues that face their business, and lets you know exactly what they are doing in order to keep their business in business.

I can attest to the shipping delays mentioned in this email, and after this email was sent, I found myself being more than mildly annoyed that not only was my item delayed, but I didn’t receive any sort of update on the timing.

However, this post is meant to highlight this email in particular, and I don’t want to take too much away from what I think is a great example of honest and straightforward communication with customers.

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