June 13, 2002, 12:00 AM

With e-mail addresses, ask and you shall receive

E-mail has become one of the retail industry’s most effective marketing methods, but retailers still aren’t sure how to go about getting e-mail addresses of customers.

E-mail has become one of the retail industry’s most effective marketing methods, but retailers still aren’t sure how to go about getting e-mail addresses of customers. Regina Brady, president of Reggie Brady Marketing Solutions, told attendees at the Annual Catalog Conference this week that it’s not hard to get addresses; in many cases, all a retailer has to do is ask.

The Vermont Teddy Bear Co. for example, primes its customer service representatives to ask customers for their e-mail addresses when they call in, Brady said. While retailers may be hesitant about soliciting customers, 50% of customer service callers gave e-mail addresses to the Vermont Teddy Bear Co., she reported.

Another effective way to collect e-mail addresses is to use a pop up window on a web site. While consumers say they don’t like pop-up ads, they apparently are not resistant to pop-up windows to collect data. One automotive company increased its customer e-mail address database from 76,000 to 800,000 with this method.

Most retailers request e-mail addresses at their web sites, but there are ways to make that collection method more successful, with screen location being the most important factor, she said. The best location for an e-mail address collection box is in the upper right corner of the screen because it is one of the first places consumers look on a page, Brady said. Brady reported that The Popcorn Factory tested different screen positions and doubled the number of e-mail sign-ups when it moved the e-mail capture box to the upper right corner.

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