Most stores in my neighbourhood collect email addresses. From the large multi-store organizations to the small boutique business - it is clear that many companies still see and are benefiting from acquiring email.
Here are some cases:
Heather Reisman's latest new business venture, Pistacio, an eco-friendly gift shop, will give you $5 off your purchase over $30 when you supply your email address. Already a customer? Don't worry, they will email you a coupon (I got one!)
My favourite lingerie store, Beestung Lingerie, lets clients in their email database know about in-store sales prior to announcing them to the public. I went into the store to see what was on sale the day after I got the email, and it was pretty busy. All women clearly were there for the sale.
As a new mother, I am weary of the toys my little girl plays with. Afterall, I hear about product recalls all the time. Mastermind will inform parents of any products that they have sold that are being recalled and also announce their major sale of the week. I don't think there has been one email that wasn't worth opening.
So, if you are thinking of starting your own retail email database, here are a few tips:
1. Be consistent with the email you send out. If you tell your customer you will be sending them every week, make sure it is every week.
2. Make sure the content is valuable to your customer. If not, they WILL mark it as spam.
3. Make sure to offer the proper opt-in and opt-out functionality.
4. Offer a valuable incentive to customers to aquire their email. Once you have them, reward them. AND make sure that same reward is not offered (or at least offered later) to customers whose addresses you don't have.
5. Don't have a system set up yet but want to start collecting? Go old school and collect them in a notebook for re-entry later. Make sure to do a double-opt in because some people may forget that they gave you their email address a while back.
Have a program already and want to give it a boost, here are some tips:
1. Make it forward-to-a-friend friendly. Test it. Many look awful or lose some of the content when you do this.
2. Collect preference information for more targetted email.
3. Start looking at mobile. Look into one-day sales and only deliver the code via email.