Due Maternity times e-mail delivery

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Clothing retailer Due Maternity found that most of its customers would like to receive two promotional e-mails a week.

The San Francisco-based retailer sent survey e-mails to determine this frequency. They regularly send newsletters and communications about promotions and events to permission based e-mail customers.

"We have a double opt-in on our site," said Albert DiPadova, co-owner of Due Maternity. "It's nice to know that we aren't bothering our customers."

Due Maternity was born out of a bricks-and-mortar store in Santa Barbara, CA, that opened three years ago. Now the store has five locations including stores in San Francisco, Austin and Atlanta, as well as an e-commerce Web site. The retailer sells designer clothes for the pregnant woman who doesn't equate being pregnant with losing style.

Popular items include designer jeans by the likes of Chip and Pepper Maternity and Paige Premium Denim, which run between $84 and $198. To extend the customer lifecycle in a high turn-around market, the retailer also sells baby gear and skin care.

The retailer uses Vertical Response, San Francisco, to segment its e-mail correspondence. Mr. DiPadova said that the retailer does not want an online sale to hurt a bricks-and-mortar store, so some promotions are sent out based on geographic segmentation. E-mail is also used to drive customers into a store for events and sales, so geo-targeting does the trick.

Its e-commerce site at www.duematernity.com does more than $2 million a year in online sales. The site has fun and games to attract customers like "Things You can Due," a dashboard for expecting moms who want to create a baby registry wish list and calculate a due date.

Moms-to-be can also check what's in the stars for the yet-to-be-born with baby astrology and Chinese New Year pages.

"We want the Web site to be entertaining for our customers," Mr. DiPadova said. "We also have an online community and a blog so that customers will return to the site."

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