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How Customer Relations Programs Work

Customer Relations Programs and Incentives
Customers can sign up to receive early sale notices.
Customers can sign up to receive early sale notices.
Photo courtesy Dreamstime

Did you know companies often offer price breaks, coupons and special deals to buyers who sign up for e-mail newsletters and catalogs? These incentives aren't just limited to companies such as and Target; restaurants, bars and even concert venues are turning to customer-relations technology to develop relationships with customers.

Most retailers use opt-in, weekly or monthly e-mail newsletters to offer early notification of new products, discounts and special offers. A good example is, which offers e-mail notifications and newsletters, including a Wal-Mart Entertainment newsletter focused on the latest releases in music, movies and games available online and at the store. You can sign up for these e-mail newsletters at the company's Web site.

Signing up is usually simple and requires only a valid e-mail address. It's common to get a confirmation e-mail asking you to click a link or respond to the confirmation message before you start receiving e-mails. This protects you from being added to the mailing list against your will. Some sites like offer incentives for signing up for its newsletters. One contest featured a $600 merchandise credit as a grand prize for someone selected from its e-mail newsletter mailing list. Some sites offer the opt-in e-mail newsletter as a standalone product, while others connect them to creating new accounts, preferred customer accounts and other customer service options.

Site Registration

Many retailers offer a registration feature on their Web sites. Home Depot, for example, lets you create a permanent account allowing you to store your credit card and shipping information, but it also gives you optional access to a special weekly Home Depot e-mail advertisement, unadvertised sales and the Home Depot print catalog. Registering requires the following information:

  • Home address and phone number
  • Credit card numbers and expiration date
  • Creation of a username and password
  • E-mail address

JC Penney calls its stored payment and shipping system a wallet. has a similar option, but goes a step further, offering multiple profiles with combinations of payment methods and delivery addresses. Offered over secure Internet connections, these services require logins and passwords to use for each shopping visit.