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  • The Washington Times reports that many retailers are now asking customers for their email addresses when they check out, hoping to “build a database of loyal customers who they hope will keep coming back to their stores.”

    In some cases, retailers actually are offering an incentive to customers, proving discounts and other special offers to customers who proffer their email addresses.

KC's View:
What is amazing about this story is that there are retailers out there that actually are not collecting email addresses.

Here’s the deal. Every retailer should ask for customers’ email addresses on applications for check cashing cards or whatever loyalty marketing scheme they employ. And then, once they’ve gotten that email address, they should almost immediately send off an email to the customer 1) thanking them for shopping at the store, and 2) asking if it is okay to communicate with them from time to time about special offers only available to certain shoppers.

We’re willing to bet that almost every shopper will 1) appreciate being thanked, and 2) will say yes to the request…because they’ve already handed over the email address! As long as the retailer doesn’t abuse the privilege, and offers real value to the shopper, this is a great way to establish and expand a relationship between shopper and shopkeeper.

Any retailer not doing this kind of simple stuff ought to just get out of the business right now.