Gmail is playing Hide and Seek with your store’s emails


Have you noticed more of your email offers and store updates are going unread lately? Are you not feeling the love? Take heart. It may not be your fault.

What happened?

Google loves to challenge the status quo, the cheeky rascal. Recently, it turned its attention to the humble email and the result has been a big change to the way emails are received in a Gmail inbox.

In an attempt to reduce inbox stress, Gmail now automatically categorises your incoming emails and moves them into new folders. The traditional inbox has been split into three tabbed sections to accommodate this – ‘Primary’, ‘Social’ and ‘Promotions’.

The Primary tab is always on display and is intended to collect email from close connections, like your friends and family. The Social tab will capture emails from social networking sites, such as updates and friend requests, and Promotions is where you will find commercial emails such as yours. And ours. Hmmm.

Why it’s an important change

Emails from your ecommerce site, like your newsletter or special offer, won’t land in the main inbox, but will be diverted to the Promotions tab where they can be easily missed. Or they could languish there for days if the user deems Promotions a less important tab.

The result? Your customers and subscribers may be blissfully unaware of your latest news or offer. Not great for generating interest in your 24 hr sale or a subscription confirmation.

What you can do now

1. Don’t panic. The latest intel from the big email companies shows that although it seems to be impacting open rates, the drop is fairly minimal.

2. If you use Gmail yourself, you need to ensure important emails like messages about your Spiffy Stores account are delivered straight to your Primary tab. To do this, check the other tabs regularly and drag any emails you’d prefer not to miss into the Primary tab. You will be asked if you always want emails from that sender in that tab. Just say yes.

3. Check your mailing and customer lists. How many of them are using a Gmail account? Send them an email asking them to do #2 above. It’ll go into their Promotions tab but hey, they’ll find it eventually.

4. Add a note to the thank you or confirmation pages on your website reminding the user to check their Promotions tab for any resulting emails if they use Gmail.

5. Make your emails even more unmissable. Pack them to the rafters with quality information or offers, spin a humdinger of a subject line and have your subscribers chomping at the bit to read them.

For more information about Gmail’s tabbed inbox, check out the low down from the big G here.

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About Alison Hardy

Alison Hardy Alison is a freelance copywriter and content marketer. She specialises in dynamic online copy that helps small businesses reach and connect with the people that need them.

With a Southern Pommie accent and an unAustralian dislike for seafood, Alison came to Australia at the end of the last century. Despite these obvious disadvantages, she was offered a job in the ecommerce department of a local Internet company and has been working in digital communications ever since.

In the heady days of the first dot com boom, before she became a queen of copy, Alison helped produce websites. But project management wasn’t creative enough for this sassy lassie so she switched her attention to marketing and communications. Much more fun!

She spent the next 10 years in marketing roles, promoting businesses in the education, art, technology and online retail industries. This invariably involved writing persuasive copy online, offline and sometimes even in the line at the post office. Her talents helped her produce powerful copy for a wide range of purposes like websites, flyers, adverts, enewsletters, emails, social media and blog posts.

In 2012, she became one of the growing number of fearless people who take a leap of faith to work for themselves. Nowadays, you will find her in her slippers with a cat on her lap, wrestling sentences to create smart content to bring businesses to life.

A wordsmith, online champion, creative problem solver and a lover of strong tea, Alison has been working with us at Spiffy Stores for many years. She has helped us with marketing advice and writing content for our website, blog and knowledge base.

She’s pretty nice to work with, and thankfully has learnt to polish off a prawn or two so she can’t be all that bad. If you would like to hire her to write great copy for your website or marketing materials, visit for samples of work and her contact details.