Don’t overwhelm with e-mail

Jul 01, 2009 9:30 PM  By

When not Shopping at a Store, I regularly shop by catalog and almost never purchase online. Once e-mail took off, every catalog mailer asked me for my e-mail address so that they could confirm when the order shipped. I have always declined.

I recently decided to provide my e-mail address to a select number of multichannel retailers when three family members registered with their bridal registries. For these purchases, I thought that I had opted in only for the confirmation of the wedding present delivery. Was I wrong!

True, I received e-mail confirmation when my gifts were sent, but soon after, I started receiving e-mails not only from the stores my relatives had selected, but for other brands in the corporate family. What followed was a tidal wave of e-mails from Nov. 1, 2008, through to April 15, 2009 — 4.5 months — 846 messages! These marketers took my “permission opt-in e-mail address” far beyond my original intention to share it.

None of the retailers on the chart below seems to value my relationship to them. I am just a name/e-mail address to “mass blast,” an asset, not an individual. It’s just cheaper and more efficient for them to market to me via e-mail than by the other channels I prefer.

NEIMAN MARCUS X 7 I seldom shop in the store or online; the retailer must have gotten my name through my catalog purchases.
HORCHOW X 102 I rarely buy from Horchow, but it’s part of Neiman Marcus, which must be how the company got my name.
BERGDORF GOODMAN X 298 I haven’t purchased from Bergdorf’s since I left New York in the ’90′s. Bergdorf’s is part of Neiman Marcus Corp.
BLOOMINGDALE’S X X 296 I purchased a wedding present through the Bridal Registry
MACY’S X 25 I don’t shop much at Macy’s. Macy’s is now the parent of Bloomingdale’s.