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Fears raised after Royal Mail trials e-commerce integration

25 June 2015 - 09:09 by Simon Crisp

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For many people across the UK, dealing with spam emails has become a daily chore, even if automatic filters manage to catch most of the malicious messages.

Of course, anyone who has bought online with a legitimate retailer will also be aware that their inbox can become crowded with promotional emails from the company in question. And many of these will be sent out when returning to the site at a later date to browse for products without actually committing to a purchase.

Now there are concerns that this type of follow-up communication, that is designed to convert casual visitors to paying customers, will emerge in the real world after the Royal Mail announced that it was running a trial scheme over its postal network.

The idea is that online customers who do not make a purchase when shopping online with a particular retailer can then have their tastes and needs analysed, before appropriate marketing material is posted to their homes.

This is being described by some as a more targeted form of junk mail, but nevertheless, has the same aim as traditional postal advertising campaigns of convincing people to part with some cash, according to the Guardian.

Royal Mail believes that this trial will prove that there is a use for this type of service because customers will be getting material that is tailored to their interests. And crucially, the only people who are going to receive marketing correspondence as a result will be those who agreed to get promotions when signing up with the retailer in question.

Whether or not a new era of junk mail is being ushered in by this approach remains to be seen, but many will think that email is still the most convenient place to receive this type of communication from retailers.