What you put on the recommendation email is all up to you; you can either recommend a product to others, telling them how great it is, or you can ask them a sweet little favor, that is to buy the product for you as a gift.
Called "Send a recommendation email" service, this marketing strategy is not new to Internet shopping malls. Global shopping mall Wizwid offers a similar service, hoping to reach out to its consumers under a different name.
A variation of this strategy, known as "Buy me this," is also currently available. The difference from "Send a recommendation email" services, other than the name itself, is that a short message is attached with the image of the items offered for purchase. The message reads: "I don"t? expect you to buy these for me; it"s just that I really want them!"
First introduced by Vitamintong, an online seller of handmade accessories, the "Buy me this" service charges 20 to 30 percent of the sale price. ?he actual users of "Buy me this" are couples and families, and 99 percent of people buy our products upon receiving email requests from their friends and family members," says Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vitamintong, Choi Hyun-poong.
Some consumers take this marketing trend in a positive way: "Sometimes you want something but you just can"t tell people to their face. I think It"sa creative way of asking people for a favor," says David Chang (Handong Univ., Business Management, 3).
Others have different opinions: "The marketing itself is creative, but I think it is a bit unethical. I mean, whether it is expensive or not, what if the person asked to buy the gift doesn"t want to, or what if the email request is a burden on that person?" asks Kim Jinny (Division of International Studies, 2).
Despite the conflicting opinions, the important fact is that this marketing strategy is successful. Vitamintong have recently started another brand called Sherbet, this time for handmade freezer magnets.
The convenience and the efficacy of such services leave us something to think about. Estelle Hofschneider (Univ. of California, Berkeley, Political Science, 3) says after hearing about this marketing strategy,"Well, I basically think that it is a great service for those who have difficulty finding the right gift for people. However, it seems to take away the fun, thoughtfulness, sentiment, and creativity that goes into buying a gift."
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