October 25, 2001, 12:00 AM

Q4 e-mail could get a boost from mail scares, Bigfoot Interactive says

The recent anthrax-in-the-mail scares are driving more merchants to online marketing, especially using e-mail to promote catalog mailings.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

The recent anthrax-in-the-mail scares are driving more merchants to online marketing, especially using e-mail to promote catalog mailings, Bigfoot Interactive CEO Al DiGuido tells Internet Retailer. “They are alerting customers to the fact that the catalogs are coming in the mail, pinpointing a date range,” he says. “This is definitely a new practice that we’ve seen in the past few weeks as people are afraid to handle mail they don’t recognize.”

In addition to raising the comfort factor of consumers receiving catalogs, DiGuido says retailers are also using e-mails to give the catalogs a boost between mailings. “Retailers are sending additional e-mails between catalog drops. We’ll see more of that as the fourth quarter progresses,” he says.

DiGuido says Bigfoot has seen an upturn in retailers converting their customer databases to e-mail databases. “They’re looking for ways to narrow the gap in their databases between their large offline files and their small online files,” he says. “They are e-mailizing their offline files.”

DiGuido expects retailers to closely monitor their sales and turn to e-mail promotions if they need to create a sales spike. “If they have the database we can get an e-mail out the door in three or four days,” he says. “Even if they have to convert their offline databases, we can do it in a week.” A retailer would pay up to $10,000 to set up a database for e-mail distribution, then a fraction of a cent per e-mail to send, DiGuido says.

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