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Email: It just doesn’t work anymore.

Real talk, fam.

It’s been said before, but this is the “definitive” post about email notifications. It’s 2021, and while email has been a staple of our world for a time, it’s based off decades-old technology. While there have been major leaps and bounds in email technology, it’s still fundamentally the same. However, as the ‘world network’ has gotten more and more complex, getting emails to work as you would want them to work has gotten tougher. With the difference in quality of provider, service and availability to networks, it has become impossible to provide a consistent stream of info from us to everyone. Add in the human factor (listen, I know it’s hard to believe, but people f%#k up entering their own emails ALL THE TIME, and sometimes have notifications turned off), and it gets even sketchier.

Now put all that on to a form of email list communication that was never intended to be a “fast solution”, specifically an “in-stock notification” system, and it’s the wild wild west out there. Who’s in service, who’s server is undergoing maintenance, who’s spam folders are sketchy, who’s email app is set to retrieve new emails instantaneously, and who is actually paying attention to those notifications, etc. We aren’t going to get too technical here, but there are a lot of factors why someone might get their email slower than someone else, or never get it, most of which have nothing to do with the sender. Basically, while in stock notifications work great to let 20,000 people know that their favorite big box store got 200,000 reams of paper in, it SUCKS at letting 500 people know that 15 doodads are in stock. It was never meant to be good at that, but has been shoehorned into that role.

We’ll admit, it was something we relied on for a long time because there was no real alternative with our way of selling gear (which you can read up on our blog post, Monkey Edge Limited Edition Releases and Checkout – An Abrasive Yet Helpful Guide). And there still really is no better universal solution at the moment. No, we are not taking email notifications off of the site, and no, you should not stop using it because it DOES work very well in some cases.

However, we have to face facts: it’s 2021, and the last year’s heavy shift to online shopping and communication has really stretched and broken ‘old’ electronic communication systems. Email killed fax, text messages killed pagers. Something WILL surpass emails for a universal instant notification. Until that time, it’s up to you to be crafty.

The good news is, there have been lots of advances in easy to use monitoring programs and apps and services that let customers know when things are changing in a site. We’re not talking bots that buy stuff without user input, that’s lame and something we will combat. But a program that tells you, “hey, there is something new on Monkey Edge” is not cheating. And you better believe some customers are using and have been using that sort of thing for years. No, we aren’t going to link to any. But internet search engines exist, and enough reddit posts and forum posts are out there to let even the most tech-illiterate figure it out. While you might not like it, the shift in electronic shopping has brought a shift in how consumers tackle challenges. Adapt or not, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. Basically, while we get it sucks, email is not a great notification system and if you rely on it solely as the only way to stay in the loop, you are intentionally lowering your chances to get certain releases.

TLDR: email sucks, don’t rely on it, and do not cry to us if it doesn’t work for you. You have been advised on its shortcomings.

 

10 replies to “Email: It just doesn’t work anymore.”

  1. Rory Radovich says:

    I’m grateful you guys actually try to help people score the badass products you sale.

  2. Emilio Mei says:

    Thanks for the info

  3. Lucas Simon says:

    I know some dealers use text alerts maybe somehow you could implement that on your site but still would have to be fast as f@ck I am not crying just a thought

    • Tommy Leatham says:

      It’s a possibility. There are issues with the text services though, and none is perfect. Neither is email, but it’s just trying to find the right balance of ‘works enough’.

  4. Pete says:

    Hi Monkey Edge team;
    Have you looked into using telegram for notifications?
    Lot of knife dealers are using it for in-stock notifications currently.

    It’s as simple as creating a Telegram channel and having a shareable link for users to subscribe to it. When you share a message to the channel it will send a notification out to all your subscribers.

    • Tommy Leatham says:

      It’s an option but comes with its own set of issues. Another method of contact both parties have to manage, another app, another server and service that will have issues at times, etc. I personally don’t want yet another app or push notification on my own device, so it’s hard to want to have to make others do it and also have FOUR channels of communication to maintain and monitor on our end (Email, Instagram, and Facebook are already in place). Since it’s not a universal communication method built into every phone and computer, some dealers will use it, some will use another service, and before you know it we have 5-6 more apps for various sites and what not. Then we get yelled at because some one never got there notification, but they didn’t actually get the right app but though it was the right one, etc. We are a small shop, and we don’t have the manpower to troubleshoot another communication method, unfortunately. The reality is, whatever we do or change, a certain segment of the market is going to not like it. Our main system is to release gear unannounced and as a surprise – so at the end of the day, if the solution is to do blind releases and let users find theirselves or though their own methods, that is preferable to sending something that half our user base gets in a timely manner. That is pretty much what is in place already since so many releases go out of stock before emails land.

  5. Frank Napomoceno says:

    What about text alerts? Do you guys have the capability to do that? A lot of the sites are converting to that and it seems to be much more efficient

    • Tommy Leatham says:

      It’s an option, but it still has its own limitations and problems. Still dependent on many factors like signal, international availability, relying on a third service that WILL have issues at times, and we change our headaches from one thing to another. Not to say it’s not viable but it is not an absolute solve-all solution.

  6. Dan says:

    RSS Feeds work really well for such things, but just don’t seem to have caught on.

    • Tommy Leatham says:

      RSS works great for some formats, but like you said, it never really caught on. Most web users don’t know what it is, or how it works. As the ‘publisher’, unless the site had some pretty slick auto-RSS code, it would be a nightmare to manage for many releases. It also opens up the floodgates of hate if we say, RSS 3 releases, and then forget on the 4th. People get dependent on that one method, get content when it works, and then lose it when a change happens. I guess the whole point of this article is that no one should be relying on any method to let them know that something released, and use any and all tools they can to stay competitive since other people already are doing it.

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