Inbox Insider: Endless e-mails are not the way to go

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About a week and a half ago I ordered a pair of sandals from Endless.com and since then, the e-mails have seemed endless.

While I have been an Amazon customer for years, this was my first time ordering from their independently run e-commerce shoe store. So like any good e-commerce store, it sent me a confirmation e-mail to let me know that my purchase had gone through, as well as a follow up e-mail the next day to let me know that my product had shipped. These two e-mails are a great use of e-mail so far.

But then the blasts began. It seemed like every day for a week, I got an offer for free shipping on some other kind of shoe. It felt overwhelming that I had ordered a product from this new company and instead of sending me an introduction e-mail detailing the offers that it would send, or even an option to opt in to receive savings, I was automatically being bombarded with marketing messages. It was also surprising because I had unchecked the box to sign up for the e-mail program. While I know, my purchase alone was a non-direct opt-in to subsequent messages, most best practices would not have persisted with marketing messages to a customer who had not directly signed up for offers.

I was very surprised by this over blasting of e-mails, because Endless is an Amazon company and Amazon has a very sophisticated e-mail program that uses demographics, browsing behavior and past purchases to inform triggered e-mails at key times in the shopping cycle. It was surprising that its company would be sending so many untargeted blasts.

This is not the way to build a relationship with an existing customer. The offers didn't seem relevant to me, after all my order had free shipping so I thought it was a standard and I wasn't in the market for running shoes. I'm not sure where this offer came from, as I hadn't browsed the shipping page or the running shoe page on my visit, so it seemed untargeted and irrelevant to me.

Since then the e-mails have died down. Perhaps Amazon is tracking click behavior and after five or so blasts, it has realized that I am not listening. This is a good practice and I commend them for it. But what I would like to see is them embrace my new customer status with a softer approach to e-mail and maybe an incentive that could be more relevant to me, or perhaps a coupon with a percentage off to reward my purchase or an e-mail about their loyalty program. It seems to me that this would be the way to build a relationship would be to send occasional e-mails to remind me of their brand and not to attack me for having been a good customer.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the PR department at Endless.com for more information on the company's outbound e-mail marketing strategy. I'll keep you posted.
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