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Lesson Learned in Shutterfly Email Slip Up

On May 14, many Shutterfly customers received a surprising email. The email contained a message that congratulated the customers on their “new arrivals.” The message took many by surprise as they have not had a new addition to their families. Shutterfly intended the email to only go out to those customers who had recently purchased baby-related items from them.

Some on social media pointed out there were individuals who received the email who may have recently lost a child, or were purchasing baby-related items for someone else. Shutterfly saw numerous social media comments on the email and apologized to individuals accordingly. Shutterfly also sent out another email later that evening with this message:

Please accept our most sincere apologies. We mistakenly sent an email that was intended only for new parents who recently made baby-related purchases at Shutterfly. We’re truly sorry if you received this email in error. We realize this is a very sensitive issue and we did not mean to upset you in any way.

We care about our customers above all else and have taken measures to ensure this will not happen again. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at and we’ll get back to you.


John Boris
Chief Marketing Officer
Shutterfly, Inc.

A simple lesson is learned by this mistake: Take responsibility and respond to a crisis with a calm and collective response, especially if it a sensitive issue to some of your customers. In today’s online-driven world, it’s crucial to have an appropriate approach to handling an error you or someone in your company has made. It may not fix the issue completely, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Published on: May 15, 2014