Eastern Mountain Sports Email Review: What’s the Big Deal?

Eastern Mountain Sports Email Review

Eastern Mountain Sports Email Grade: [C-]

Subject Line


Preview Pane


Eye Path


Clarity of Message


Call to Action






Sense of Urgency

Email grades are based on a 5-point scale: A = 5, B = 4, C = 3, D = 2, F = 1

May 3, 2016

Organization Overview

Eastern Mountain Sports is a retailer of top-quality outdoor clothing and equipment that is headquartered in Meriden, Connecticut. Founded by two mountain climbers in 1967, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, the company currently operates more than 60 retail stores located in 12 northeastern states.

Eastern Mountain Sports is also known for its six outdoor schools that offer classes in climbing, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding for people of all ages. In 2012, Eastern Mountain Sports joined the Vestis Retail Group, which is owned by Versa Capital Management.

Subject Line Success: To Be Determined

This email was sent to an Eastern Mountain Sports customer who signed up (when making an in-store purchase) to receive email promotions. Upon first reading the subject line – “TBD” – the recipient thought the acronym stood for “to be determined” and that marketers had inadvertently hit the send button too soon. But once the email is opened, it is apparent from the headline – which is an animated GIF – that TBD actually stands for “Three Big Deals.”

Did this unusual subject line pique the curiosity of the company’s target audience and successfully drive opens? Or did many of the recipients simply ignore or delete the email? It would be interesting to see the performance metrics to answer those questions.

Preview Pane and Eye Path Could Be Designed More Effectively

In the preview pane without images, alternative text describes the “three big deals” offered in the email. The calls to action, however, are not included. In addition, the headline is also missing, which would leave recipients who don’t download the images wondering about the meaning of the “TBD” subject line.

The eye path is straightforward, with the animated GIF leading recipients’ attention down toward the three offers that are presented in declining value from 70%, to 60%, to 50% off. Plus, the message of the email is simple and clear. Because the offers are not apparent in the copy above the fold, however, recipients have to work (continue to scroll down) to see the entire email’s message and offers.

Calls to Action Blend Into the Background Design

The “SHOP” call-to-action buttons are small relative to other design elements in this email. The buttons also blend into the background, because no colors are used to help make them pop. In fact, it’s hard to even see the second call to action that’s been placed over an image.

The Offers Are Great, But Not Well Promoted

When it comes to offers, you can’t get much better than 70% off. So, why not lead with it, such as in the subject line and headline? If these offers had been more effectively promoted, we would have given this a top score of 5 (rather than 4) on our rating scale.

There’s also no sense of urgency in this email. For example, setting a deadline for how long the offer is available or indicating that supplies are limited are a couple of ways to help drive more online sales.

Eastern Mountain Sports is known for its quality outdoor sports clothing and equipment, which contributes to the high credibility of this email. In addition, the navigation bar at the top of the email, attractive product images, and customer service link and phone number at the bottom of the email all work together to help build credibility.

Overall, this email needed to do a better job of promoting the great discount offers available, which likely would have driven more opens, clicks, and conversions for the campaign.

Disclaimer: FulcrumTech does not have access to the performance data relating to this promotional email, so any tests performed on this email can’t be reflected in FulcrumTech’s commentary.

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