Thursday, January 16, 2014

Using Gmail for Sales

image from Google
Like many other people, I'm signed up for quite a few promotional emails from different stores. On the surface, they seem like a great idea for saving money, because they let one know when something goes on sale. It is a useful way to shop -- one can wait to make a purchase until there is a promotion that offers a discount or free shipping.

However, it is wise to unsubscribe from these email lists when one wants to cut down on spending. Why? Because the power of suggestion is often enough to get one to spend more money. Seeing something over and over -- even just the subject line for a second -- tends to make us want that thing more. Add in that most of these emails imply scarcity, and it becomes very difficult to avoid buying things we don't really need.

In just this last batch, I've seen subject headings of...

This Week's Offers of the Week... Don't Miss Out!
Our most-coveted styles are back! Shop before they're gone
Don't Miss the Sale! With unmissable offers
15% off one regular item
18 More Hours
Don't miss it! 30% off your favorite styles + free shipping
You deserve a treat
Save 50% or more on Winter Clearance
Two Days Only—Save $10

For a while, I followed the advice of unsubscribing so I would not be tempted to spend extra money. While it worked, I found that I was not able to take advantage of sales on items that I did plan to buy. So, I tried signing back up, but filtering the emails to skip my inbox. This worked to some extent, but I often forgot to check the folder containing the emails, so I still had trouble keeping an eye out for promotions relating to the items on my list.

Somewhat recently, Gmail has added a feature I'm finding very helpful in this area. Gmail now sorts one's mail for her into three categories: Primary, Social, and Promotions. I am finding these tabs to be very helpful in managing the ridiculous number of emails boasting sales that come in on a daily basis. Just like when I filtered these emails, they do not appear in my main inbox, so I am not bombarded by offers every day. I can go for days or weeks without even seeing them. But unlike when I filtered these emails, the Promotions tab to the right of my main inbox is visually more convenient than the folders, so when I finish clearing my main inbox, I am reminded to check in on the Promotions tab.

When I click on the Promotions tab, I know I'm heading into a list of solicitations, as opposed to having them hit my subconscious as they come in. My guard is up, and I usually open only the emails that look promising for my needs. It just makes for a more mindful way of using these promotions, and being mindful of purchases is the only way to keep one's money from trickling away.

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