An ING Direct Online Retail Store? It's not a joke.
It was my birthday last week. I was up early checking email and the first birthday email I received was from ING Direct. I had received plenty of birthday emails from companies earlier in the week and they always contained some sort of coupon: "Happy Birthday, come celebrate [by spending your money] with us." No company ever just emailed to say "Happy Birthday!".
When I received an email from ING Direct, I assumed it would be just that, birthday wishes. I use ING Direct for both savings and checking accounts and am a big fan of the company. Generally, they have good marketing and so I was especially curious to see what their birthday wishes looked like.
I opened the email and to my astonishment guess what it contained?
A link to the ING Direct Store. With a 15% off coupon.
At first I thought it must be some sort of joke. After all, ING Direct prides itself on encouraging savers. So why would it encourage them to spend?
But, I clicked through to the link and discovered that the ING Direct Shop is no joke. ING actually sells products like books, water bottle, messenger bags and flashlights.
At first I was annoyed and enraged. Why is my bank trying to sell me more stuff?
But, after looking around the store I was amused. The products they sell are (for the most part) practical and trendy.
Some of the products are eco-friendly such as 100% recycled reusable shopping bags, biodegradable coffee tumblers, and BPA-free water bottles.
Other products, like a safe, shredder, and home emergency kit, promote safety and security. There are several books about financial literacy.
And, if you really want to show your ING love you can buy ING Direct bright orange apparel.
The prices listed are generally competitive. For instance, the ShredderShark is $20 cheaper on ING than Amazon. And the Wrap-n-Mat (an awesome product I've reviewed on another blog) is about a dollar cheaper on ING than on Amazon. But, the Honeywell Safe is over $30 more on ING than on Amazon.
It appears that shipping is free. No where on the site are shipping costs explicitly stated, but when I added items to my cart and started the checkout process ground shipping was free. Sales tax is charged for products shipping to NY, PA, CA, and MN.
The biggest downside is they have a no returns policy (except for items that arrive damaged.)
It's an interesting online store to browse. Although I'm still conflicted about whether a bank should be selling anything besides financial products/services. If you do find something to buy you can use the 15% off coupon of "MARBD1509" which expires April 30. (Coupons are also posted at Retail Me Not.)
I wonder if the ING Store the beginning of a banking trend or will remain unique to ING.
(Disclosure Notice: I have no financial stake in ING other than the fact that I use them for checking/savings accounts.)