September 19, 2002, 12:00 AM

In fashion handbag giveaway, Bluefly acquires thousands of e-mail addresses has collected 11,000 addresses this week alone in a promotional giveaway of 12 Hermes handbags. Consumers register for a chance to win at with their e-mail addresses.


Discount fashion shoppers are willing to give their e-mail addresses in return for a chance to win a high-priced handbag, Bluefly Inc. has learned. Amid the fanfare of Fashion Week in New York, online discount fashion retailer Bluefly is giving away one Hermes handbag a week for 12 weeks to consumers who register at with their e-mail addresses. Bluefly collected 11,000 addresses this week alone, the company tells

The start of Bluefly’s Hermes@Bluefly sweepstakes promotion, named after the Hermes brand handbag, coincided with Thursday’s start of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week affair in New York’s Bryant Park. Online shoppers sign up for a chance to win one of 12 Hermes Birkin and Kelly handbags, the latter named after Princess Grace.

A Bluefly spokeswoman says that the handbags "cost thousands of dollars" but have already proved their worth to Bluefly as a marketing tool. "We created great traffic with that--getting 11,000 e-mail addresses so far this week,” the spokeswoman says. She adds that, because gets many browsers who don’t buy anything, the retailer has gained a large number of addresses not already in its customer database. It expects the database to continue to grow as the giveaway proceeds.

Designed to encourage repeat visits, the campaign allows shoppers to sign up for the sweepstakes once a day. In addition, they get an extra chance to win every time they forward a promotional message from to a friend via e-mail.

"We’ve been extremely successful in the past with using sweepstakes to cost-effectively acquire e-mail addresses, initiate dialogue with potential customers, and ultimately convert them to Bluefly shoppers," said Alanna Richter, vice president of marketing.

In addition to promoting the sweepstakes online, Bluefly is running weeklong street marketing campaigns in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. The street campaigns use video crews to ask passersby what unusual things they would do to get a Hermes bag; the results of the survey, possibly including video clips, will be released on later this year.


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