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 Buy.com 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 Wal-Mart.com, 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 MusiciansFriend.com offer incentives for signing up for its newsletters. One MusiciansFriend.com 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.
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. Amazon.com 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.