We need better opt-in options

I’m torn…

On one hand, I try to live an efficient existence. I live and die by plans, routines, checklists, etc. This works for me because a) it’s in my nature and b) I want to get the most of out my time… always. Oh, I appreciate unstructured, spontaneous time as much as the next person (okay that’s a lie… not as much as the next person, but I do appreciate them). But I plan for that too. All I ask is that the rest of the world respect my need for efficiency. With me so far?

On the other hand, I appreciate the surprise of new and unexpected inputs. If everything is so planned and so efficient, after all, how can anything change? If things can’t change, how can I learn and grow as a person? So I desire to be informed of “what’s new in the world”. If we’re just talking news and current events, this is achieved easily enough and in an efficient manner. I can visit web sites, subscribe to news feeds, use various apps… all on my terms. Where I’m struggling is with shopping. Wait… shopping… what? Yes, shopping.

Shopping in the world of the Internet is a wonderful experience. Especially so for those who don’t like shopping the traditional way, and I count myself in that group. The driving, the walking, the people (the horror)… leave me out. But if I know what I’m looking for, the Internet makes it a breeze. I can shop when I want, use search tools to find what I want — it’s fantastic! But I also like to learn and grow and be surprised, and there’s the crux of the issue.

{switching to open-letter-to-online-retailers-of-the-world mode}

Dear Online Retailer: I like you. You carry interesting inventory, your products are of good quality, and you always deliver me exactly what I want with maximum convenience and efficiency. Thank you! But then YOU SEND ME EMAILS EVERY DAY ABOUT TODAY’S SALE OR COOL NEW THING. I do want to know what cool new things you’ve added to your catalog. I do want to know about big savings opportunities (but please don’t insult me with every day or week having the “sale of the year”). What I don’t want is to be barraged with your emails every day. EVERY day! It fills up my in-box, it’s inefficient, it’s insulting (the aforementioned sale-every-day concern), and it’s ultimately exhausting. I decided today that I’m going to opt out of all of it. I may appreciate the occasional nugget from you that improves my life for knowing it, but it’s just not worth it. I’m cutting the cord.

But why do I have to? Because you retailers for the most part only give me the choice of either getting the daily email barrage or not. Given that choice, I’m going to have to opt out. Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if I had the choice of how often to be updated on new products? How often to be updated on new sales? What categories of things I’m interested in? Yes! I don’t have this choice today for most retailers, so now I give you this choice: either lose me as a customer because I’m opting out of all your communications, or come up with a more fine-tuned subscription/opt-in system that a) gives me the information I want from you at the pace I want it and b) keeps me as a customer.

There is a better way.

Thank you

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