Tag Archives: Marketing

Cash for your feedback

We all want a little extra cash, but how much time are you willing to invest for the chance of winning something? At the bottom of most cash register receipts, the store asks you for customer feedback. If you take the survey on the phone or online, you could win a prize. Sometimes, it’s up to $5,000. The constant surveys have consumers asking — “Does anyone ever win?”

For a NewsChannel 5 story, I looked for winners. For some companies, they’re easy to find. Others won’t even reveal who won citing privacy reasons. Other times, the winner is listed with their first initial and last name like J. Smith. Plus, their city.

I’ve been backgrounding people for a long time, and can usually find someone. However, this task proved difficult. I started with the less common names knowing that might yield better results. I’d call every person with that name in a particular city. I’d reach people and say are you the J. Smith that won $500 from such and such a store? It never was that person. Unfortunate for them and myself.

I must have called fifty people and never did find someone whose first initial, last name, and city were listed as the winner. I got lucky, when I found the lists from Red Lobster and Olive Garden. The full names of the winners are listed online.

Now, I’m all about privacy. I understand why stores are reluctant to name the winners online and why some stores use ways to protect them by just listing their first initial. However, there is a lot of skepticism among shoppers about these surveys and whether anyone ever wins.

Cleveland State business professor, Elad Granot, told me consumers have survey fatigue. We’re asked about our opinion far too often. He says the validity of these survey results is flawed. Are people just giving any old answer to the survey just to be done with it and entered into the grand prize? Or, do they sincerely take the time to fill it out?  Granot says an engaged manager would yield better results for the store.

When consumers feel like nobody is winning, you lose trust in the store which is the opposite of what stores are trying to do with these surveys. This story generated more than 60 comments on our NewsChannel 5 Facebook page and my page. Only one person mentioned they ever won.

The shopper won $500 to Best Buy, and says it definitely paid off for the business. He bought a camera he still has and it got his friends to shop at Best Buy thinking they might win. That’s not the norm, though, as dozens of other people told us they never knew a winner.

They are out there. They’re just rare — just like lotto winners. The good news for shoppers – stores are switching their marketing methods. Many are using social media to give you instant savings. If you like something on Facebook or Tweet a deal, you can earn instant money. It’s a little more gratifying and you’re in control.

Instead of asking for feedback, stores want you to promote their business. For it, you are rewarded. Sears is offering a personal shopper program. Recruit your friends, and you earn a 1% commission on their purchases.

I expect more companies to begin these programs. They are still limited, but I think this is more gratifying for the shopper and rewarding for the business.

Have you ever filled out a store survey? Do you think it’s worth your time?

Ordering flowers online may lead to junk email

Thinking about sending mom flowers for Mothers’ Day?  While you can get most items cheaper online, flowers are one thing that are better when they’re locally delivered.  You’ll pay less at a local florist because you’re not paying a middleman.  I’ve also learned since my Valentine’s Day test for NewsChannel 5, that you can also avoid a barrage of floral reminders if you skip the online orders.

We tested a few online sites, and needed to give our email information for billing purposes.  When you checkout, you’re usually asked if you want to receive promotional emails.  Sometimes I click the box. Sometimes I don’t. The promotional emails for 1-800-FLOWERS are like none I’ve ever received before, and I do lots of shopping online.

The emails started out slow, with just two in January.  I got four in February, and then March rolled along and the emails skyrocketed. In March, I got an email every two days and sometimes more.  In April, some days I got more than one email. Since January, I’ve received at least 60 emails.  On May 1st, I received three emails.  Mother’s Day is the obvious reason for the onslaught in the last few weeks, but is there really a need to send me more than 60 emails in such a short time?  It’s to the point where I consider them spam.

I could easily hit “unsubscribe,”  but now it’s a game to see just how many emails I’ll get. Interestingly, the floral company gives you the option to reduce the number of mailings to just once a week. They must realize they send out a lot of emails. Your other option when you hit “unsubscribe” is to completely unsubscribe.

If you do a lot of shopping online, it’s a good idea to set-up a separate email address from your primary one.  Then, you can give the secondary email to companies. If you agree to marketing material for the occasional deal, you won’t need to worry about emails clogging up your Inbox. With a secondary account, you only have to read them when you’re looking for a deal.

In the digital age, something as simple as an email address is also a security risk.  Many of us learned this the hard way as our favorite companies emailed us to tell us their email lists were hacked. The hackers may only have your email address, but what information can the hackers gain from that to steal your identity in other places? This is really a concern if your email address is your username on another site.

Enjoy the holiday this weekend, but if you must order mom a gift online — choose carefully who you give your email address to and read all the fine print associated with your order so your Inbox doesn’t get filled with junk.

Related links you may like:
Security breach shines light on tips to protect your personal information
Getting rid of junk email
Erase your digital footprint