B2C marketing: It’s all about managing expectations


I have been doing quite a bit of online shopping recently, resulting in many retargeting ads and email newsletters. You know the drill – once the customer is on the website and shows interest, try to capture that interest.

What caught my eye was one thing even large brands such as Wayfair or Home Depot consistently get wrong: Managing the customer’s expectations. When I click on something, I show very high interest (we all know the low CTRs and newsletter open rates, so a click is like finding a gold nugget). There is a very good chance I am going to buy. But the experience after the click is nothing short of a desaster because I do not see what I expected to get. Not only do I loose my interest in buying, I probably won’t click on future ads and open new email newsletters any more because you tricked me.

Let me give you two examples.

Wayfair: Clickbait with cheap prices
I was looking for a comfortable chair on Wayfair but couldn’t find the right one for the right price. Later, retargeting ads popped up in my Facebook stream with a chair I had considered but was now offered almost 50% cheaper. Wow, what a bargain, I thought, and clicked on the ad. Well, it turned out that the price hadn’t changed at all. Wayfair support said that it was a “starting price for similar chairs” – notice the “starting at” at the bottom of the ad. Yeah, that makes sense, especially if you show the chair picture and the chair name in the ad. What a turn-off. I will never believe the Wayfair prices shown on Facebook again.

The Facebook ad – price $261,99:


The website after clicking on the ad – price $489,99:


Home Depot: Poor user experience
I signed up for the Home Depot newsletter to get their weekly specials. This is a great idea with poor execution: When clicking on the email, you get to a product category page where all products are listed. It’s up to you to find the special deals. What a turn-off. I don’t want to sift through all products to find the deals. Why isn’t there a special page?

The Home Depot email:



The Home Depot website – only one special offer visible:


Amazon: Meeting my expectations
Sometimes I wonder why people don’t just copy Amazon’s marketing. Amazon also showed me retargeting ads but – compared to Wayfair – the price was correct. Clicking on the ad met my expectation. Sounds easy, should be easy.

The Amazon Facebook Ad – price $699:

The Amazon website – same price:


So ask yourself: When designing an online marketing campaign, what does my customer expect to see when he clicking on the link. And then deliver exactly that. Or better: Give a little bonus, exceeding expectations (free shipping, a personal $2 off coupon, …).

Now let’s get back to work.

1 thought on “B2C marketing: It’s all about managing expectations”

  1. You are so right here and this is an international thing.

    I think this will eventually separate the successful from the dead companies.

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