Selling Home Furnishings Directly to You Since 1984*

by Kerry Martin

Just the other week, my husband and I bought a house.  Amid the excitement, I was also a little unnerved—not because of the unstable housing market or the feeling of buyer’s remorse—more so because of an email that was waiting for me in my personal Gmail account when I got back to my computer.

Within two hours of becoming a homeowner, I had already landed onto some email list that Restoration Hardware purchased for direct marketing.  Had I not just spent every dime I had to get that house, I would have been easily distracted by the inviting email offer for discounted drapery and rugs.  But all I could think about was “how did they get my email?!”  In all the paperwork I signed, I did not list my personal email anywhere, and I haven’t ever actually shopped at Restoration Hardware.

I have to hand it to them—this is actually an ingenious marketing campaign to get to the consumer at the right time—just when they’ve made a complementary purchase.  However, the creep factor of how they obtained this information is still a little unsettling.  If Restoration Hardware has some deal with mortgage brokers or real estate agents to capture personal information upon closing, does Zales pass along their customers’ data to wedding planners?  Will Babies “R” Us soon be able to buy patient emails from obstetricians?

What do you think?  Have you come to the point where you don’t care what “they” know about your buying habits, or does this start to feel a little too “1984” to you?

*Restoration Hardware actually started in 1979 according to Wikipedia.

3 Responses to Selling Home Furnishings Directly to You Since 1984*

  1. First off, congratulations on purchasing a home! As it relates to your article, I’d like to refer you to a piece on Forbes’ website that takes this direct marketing approach to the next level.

    When one shops at Target, a guest ID is created and assigned to their credit card. All buying history and demographics are recorded and combined with information purchased elsewhere. What Target does next is analyze that data and identifies patterns to predict what they might buy next.

    In the example given, let’s say a woman bought cocoa-butter lotion, a large purse that could double as a diaper bag, zinc and magnesium supplements, and a baby blue rug. It’s highly likely – an 87 percent chance, in fact – that the shopper is pregnant and due in five months.

    Target then sends out coupon books with baby items, all the while the customer believes the company has psychic powers.

    Talk about targeting your customers! Please excuse the pun.

    (to avoid appearing as a spammer and posting a link, Google “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did”)

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  3. I suppose if the marketing is relevant to me, and my interests, I don’t really mind. Truthfully, anyone can find out pretty much anything about anyone these days! Sad…but true.

    Did you perhaps shop at another one of the stores owned by Restoration Hardware (if they have any)?

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