Email “Couponing”

In a few days, it’ll be my birthday.

Already, I’ve received congratulations from Starbucks (free drink on my birthday), anthroplogie (25% off in-store coupon) and RW&CO. (25% off in-store coupon).

There is nothing pretty about this. Fail.

I admit it: I sign up for e-mailing lists.

Partly because as a graphic designer and communications specialist I need to understand and see the latest email marketing trends. Partly because I like deals.

Essentially, I’m impervious to the annoyance of having ten new emails each morning, none of which from people I know.

Sure, I’ve deleted my subscriptions to more than a few over the years, but in general, if someone asks me to put my email down for a draw, or if it’s an optional field when I’m signing up for a store’s rewards card – and if I can reasonably assume I’d be interested in the products or services offered at some future date – I don’t mind getting their emails.

At present I get emails from the following retailers:

  • Banana Republic
  • Anthropologie
  • Harvey’s
  • Starbucks
  • RW&Co. – I think at this point the last time I shopped here was my last birthday
  • Eddie Bauer – they have great tank tops and end-of-season sales
  • Ruche (
  • Groupon – good for dates
  • IKEA
  • Moo – business cards
  • Clearly Contacts – only really useful when you need new glasses/contacts
  • FH Canada (food for the hungry) – charity
  • World Vision: ACTS – charity, I like to know what my money’s doing
  • – an online pharmacy with free shipping, handy for sales
At some point, I’ve given my money over for the services/products/charity of all of these.
It’s reasonable to assume I’ll do it again.

I don't know what you're trying to sell me, but I'm not buying it. (I will, nevertheless, enjoy LOOKING at this strange pansy fairy.)

Most of the stores above with physical locations are local. Hence, useful. They got my email when I went in and bought something.

But a lot of them are still out of my price range.

For stores like anthropologie and Banana Republic, I look at the emails like I would window shop – to see what’s in style and what looks nice – I have no intention of buying.

RW&CO. has the added benefit/financial hurdle of not selling things online. You’d actually have to GET UP and GO OUT to spend money. So you’re much less likely to, but you still get that birthday discount if you’re willing to leave the house.

I used to get emails from Aldo, but I cancelled that, because their shoes are always on sale and it was super tempting and it is totally unrealistic to buy shoes online (I made the mistake twice before learning my lesson).

Aldo accessories, however, are nice – so when I was in the market for a new purse, I signed up for the mailing list to get 10% off (a discount code usable once). Then promptly unsubscribed.

I know my limits.

Because other than the free Starbucks drink on your birthday, the deals aren’t amazing. Every now and then I’m in the market for something, and that’s when I start paying attention. Being on the mailing list means I can find the discount code for it. It is a good strategy to sign up for a “store card” or “rewards card” if you shop some place a lot, too, since that sometimes will get you a discount – but it’s only worth if a) it’s not a credit card, and b) it doesn’t cost you anything.

The risk, of course, is you’re essentially signing up to be marketed to (and no one is impervious to marketing). 

I should probably unsubscribe from this for the next year... I don't need anymore new glasses, no matter how cool they are.

I’ve bought my fair share of shopruche… their product is amazing and their prices are reasonable. But it’s also because of their email marketing (they have incredibly talented graphic designers and photographers working for them so the emails are downright inspiring). They also have this ingenious way of reaching people on Facebook and twitter, by posting all their new stock whenever they get it.

Warning: when stuff is beautiful and reasonably priced, and you have it in your inbox, twitter stream, and Facebook feed, it’s a bit like walking past a beautiful store everyday, multiple times a day. You will be much more likely to buy, and buy often. 

Remember, if you need to watch your spending, being on these lists would be detrimental. Unsubscribe. The deals will be there when you can afford them.

Lesson: search for coupons when you’re ready to buy something, or foresee needing something in the near future. Signing up to receive every coupon ever invented risks you believing that you need something you don’t.

Tip: search “promo code” or “coupon code” + the store name where you’re about to make an online purchase, to see if there’s any coupons you’re not aware of (check RetailMeNot or another such site).

Do you subscribe to any email lists? What stores are you a member of?


One thought on “Email “Couponing”

  1. My birthday is right after Christmas and the stores are always out of the gift or not accepting coupons due to Boxing Week. Sigh 😦 But otherwise, a great idea the rest of the year.
    Happy Birthday!

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