General Question

funkdaddy's avatar

When should stores use your previous buying habits in marketing? What's too much?

Asked by funkdaddy (17765points) January 12th, 2011

More and more retailers are using the information they have to tailor your experience with them.

Some examples would be:
* suggesting items based on your previous purchases (Amazon and iTunes do this fairly prevalently)
* suggesting items based on your browsing history or wish list (if you’ve been looking at waffles, Amazon shows you tons of other waffles)
* emailing you asking to review items you’ve purchased (Netflix sends you a request when you return a movie for example)
* contacting you when an item is about to run out (“We noticed you bought <these items> 30 days ago, need some more?”)
* contacting you with specials related to your previous purchases ($10 off oil change, haircut, teeth cleaning, whatever)

Retailers use the information generally because a specific offer will get a much better response than a general one.

When do these efforts cross over from a helpful service to something that freaks you out a little bit? Does it depend on the type of products? The retailer? How the offer is presented? (email vs. on a website vs. a postcard for instance)

When is it no longer a positive thing?

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6 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Sometimes it’s useful, and sometimes I just feel like the companies I buy from are stalking me…

nellybar's avatar

I have found that pages I have browsed e.g. watches on amazon will then come up on adverts on the pages in my email account, which I have found to be a bit annoying – If I’ve come away from those pages, I don’t want to be continually reminded and almost pushed to look at the same items again!

Having suggestions of films on say a DVD rental site based on what Ive got previously can be useful though, as I am rubbish at knowing what films are out there or what I might like to watch.
It can be positive when there are offers on something I am likely to buy for myself, e.g. books, or restaurant vouchers, but when I feel pushed to buy items Im not interested in (e.g offers that spring up because Ive bought a gift for someone else at some point) then I find it can be annoying.

YARNLADY's avatar

The grocery store seems to, with coupons printed on the check-out receipt based on what I buy.

Arbornaut's avatar

I hate this sort of thing, there are so many organizations collecting information about us all the time. I don’t purchase online, use credit cards at all, or have any rewards card type of memberships. I like to use cash at all times.
Apart from internet advertising based on searches, I manage to avoid most it. But of course i have to constantly say NO! when Im asked by the clerk if i have a ‘so and so rewards card’ which is annoying.

downtide's avatar

I hate it. It is acceptable to me only if they have asked first and I have said yes (which I would, for certain stores – such as my favourite bookstore).

JLeslie's avatar

I am fine with the grocery store sending me coupons that make sense with my past purchases. I do not like the idea of my internet activity being tracked. I don’t mind that certain ads pop up on facebook because of groups I belong to on facebook, but I don’t want my information shared with the company. I don’t want to be reminded I am running out of something.

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