Emails & Reviews for Christmas ’08

Emails & Reviews for Christmas ’08

My Inbox is under siege!

Retailers, desperate to make hay with what is left of the holiday shopping season, have attempted to take our relationships from a really casual “hey, see you around!” level to trying to get me in the sack (without buying me a drink) seemingly overnight.  Frequency of emails has increased, drain-circling discounts have been framed as everything from private promos to secret sales, then there’s the “exclusive product” strategy such as the Hard Rock Cafe’s email about their new goth punk Barbie (To all those who have been searching for something to get that angry teenager on your list: you’re welcome).

While I have spent gobs of money online, none as been the result of any one of these emails.  The ONLY thing these emails have inspired me to do, actually, is go to the trouble of unsubscribing.  When you email me once a month, i delete; once a day, I unsubscribe.  Has the desperation of the recession officially forced retail email to jump the shark?

When I have been shopping for gifts, I have relied heavily on ratings and reviews.  When asked to purchase a gift in a category on which I’m a novice, I hesitated to buy a toy that was new to the market explicitly because that meant it had no ratings.   Conversely, on I was shocked to see not just the ratings and reviews, but contextual data.  In addition to comments and ratings, the site captures the age range, skin type, and eye color of the rater.  Once I saw a particularly divisive set of ratings (1 star vs. 5 stars), I was able to find the most relevant opinions and weigh those more seriously.

So, in the course of 3ish years, ratings have gone from an interesting oddity to an absolute e-commerce decision necessity.  And email has gone from a great way to get reminders from my favorite stores to unsubscribe breakups.  Maybe this is the silver lining of the recession?!

My Christmas wish is that email marketing clutter will lose its efficiency and be rethought in the marketing mix and retailers that empower recommendations and connections between customers will be rewarded with solid Q4 revenue.  Or at least that’s my marketing Christmas wish.  Like a good beauty queen, I’m still planning to ask Santa for World Peace.

One Reply to “Emails & Reviews for Christmas ’08”

  1. I saw your Twittered link to Goth Punk Barbie a few weeks ago and sent it to an email list of women music writers, which sparked an obvious mini-debate, and then it ended up on Idolator, whose editor is in our group. So, maybe they’ll sell one or two, for irony? But yes, the hourly emails are killing me.

Comments are closed.