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Do you suffer from email exhaustion?

We’ve eaten too much and are fed up with the sport overload on TV, so let’s have a mass exodus to the shops! (I suppose very much like Boxing Day). And traditionally this is when the real bargains are made, but things may be different this year.

When I first moved to New York I walked around the city with my little note book and wrote down details of my favourite stores. Then I met up with friends and swapped details of brands and e-tailers and (perhaps stupidly) signed up to everyone’s newsletters. Since the economy hit the brakes it’s been email galore and I am suffering from special deals overload.

I appreciate that in tough retail times direct marketing or e-promotion takes on a different role. It is fast, inexpensive and let’s not forget environmentally friendly, but most importantly a company’s instant reaction to sales figures and current stock holding. My issue is just that when a brand sends you five emails in one week, maybe it’s time to consider the diluted impact this could have, before hitting the send button.

Bluefly.com, who sell designer goods at reduced prices is sending a new daily email, entitling them Deal of the Day. Today’s offer is an additional 15% off shoe prices, but as it’s only three days since Bluefly had a 15% off promotion on cold weather boots and five days since I received an OMG! 25% off everything today, the offer is lost on me. I am not even excited or bothered about checking tomorrow’s deal.

BCBG Maxazaria, a high profile brand and one of my favourites, is close to be considered spam. In the last month I have received on average three emails a week, announcing various promotions and new styles arriving in store. All very stylish emails, but they are clogging up my inbox. First it was the announcement of the 50% off winter sale on the 6th of November, followed by 30% off all non reduced merchandise, then 30% off all chic bag styles and today’s email is telling me that it’s cold outside, but I’ll feel the warmth by buying one of their cashmere pieces at 50% off. Stop! I can’t actually take it anymore, neither can my credit card.

Gap Inc is another sinner in my inbox. Old Navy has tried every promotion under the sun, my favourite (yes, I can still appreciate clever marketing) was $14.92 for any pair of jeans on Columbus Day, but Banana Republic is beginning to look desperate. And maybe they are, but don’t let your potential customer know! In the last two weeks email promotions have included Friends & Family 30% off, extra 20% off sale, Banana Republic cardholders receive 25% off everything to the current 40% of selected fall styles (about half the shop floor, I went in to have a look).

The list of culprits is getting longer by the day - Century 21, Club Monaco, American Eagle, Nine West, Macy’s to name a few more - and I am toying with the idea of changing my email address. It is not that I don’t understand the desperation the industry is currently feeling - fashion, unlike fine wine, doesn’t get better with age - but constantly bombarding potential customers with new offers creates a confused, if not irritated state, rather than a must shop now moment. If the purse strings are tight, and for most people they currently are, wouldn’t we all just rather sit back and wait tunil retailers really get desperate and start throwing around the 70% off reductions? I know I would and that’s why I have spent my hard earned money on a vacation for Thanksgiving, I just hope that when I get home my inbox isn’t full.

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