April 28, 2011, 10:04 AM

The rise of flash-sale sites begets consumer expectations of e-mail offers

Consumers now expect e-mails to contain a bargain, says a Strongmail executive.

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Flash-sale sites may be relatively new to e-commerce, but they already have an influence far beyond their own scope—they’ve led consumers to expect a deal when they receive a retailer’s e-mail, says Ryan Deutsch, vice president of strategic services at e-mail vendor StrongMail Systems Inc.

That may have implications for other manufacturers and other online retailers that have relied on e-mail marketing to draw in customers, he says. That’s because consumers can rely on a single e-mail from a flash-sale site rather than signing up for separate e-mails from each manufacturer and online retailer, he says.

“They might subscribe to a deal-a-day site and get one e-mail instead of six,” Deutsch says. “Consumers want less clutter.”

That may prompt more retailers to consider launching their own online daily-deal programs, he says.

But they must move quickly, he says, or they may lose e-mail subscribers. That’s because, even though the assumption behind flash-sale sites is that consumers want the best price regardless of who they buy the product, consumers are now building an affinity for particular deal sites, he says.

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