The Inside Line

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Targeted Shopping

I purchase many clothing items online from Sierra Trading Post. They sell numerous brands that I like, including Columbia, Patagonia and Simms, for discounted prices. Sometimes they’re last year’s fashions, but I’m no Derek Zoolander, so being right on top of the latest styles has never been all that important to me.
 
While I order less than once a month, I get an email from Sierra nearly every day. It almost always has a coupon code for a certain percentage off, or for discounted shipping, or perhaps it describes new clearance items. I also get emails from them any time they add new items from any of the favorite brands I’ve entered. I’m sure now that they know which sorts of promotions I’m most likely to respond to and purchase from, and while I’m sure it violates all sorts of privacy concerns, for now I’m ok with it because it helps me to be a more efficient and thrifty shopper.
 
Why haven’t the retailers and e-tailers in the fishing world picked up on this model? I’ve made many dozens of orders from Bass Pro Shops over the past three and half decades, and they certainly have more money behind them than Sierra, yet I continue to get the same old non-targeted emailers and fliers from them. Email offering me no interest for six months? I’ve gotten it many times and I’ve never used it. A flier offering me a half price sale on a ladies pink shawl neck Natural Reflections sweater? Not in this lifetime. It’s pretty much wasted ink or bandwidth.
 
It’s more or less the same with Tackle Warehouse. My wife and my accountant would all be horrified to learn of how many orders I’ve made from them since discovering that virtual crack house. They’re clearly good at setting up sales and discounts, but they’re all generic. Certainly they have enough data about each of us that they are nearing the point where they’ll be able to target sales directly at specific customers, regions or types of clients. I fully expect that in the coming years I will make more and more orders because my in-box will increasingly be full of messages that seem to miraculously offer exactly what I “need.”