Retailers to Take a Second Look at Email

Retailers have a number of opportunities to create touch points with consumers and build loyalty. Email has long served an effective way to acquire subscribers and build a base of contacts who want to receive updates. New research shows that retailers are lagging in their use of email as a marketing tool.

As part of its research on Hot 100 Retailers, Exact Target considered the use of email. After all, more consumers use email daily than social media or text messaging. These retailers seem to get the message about using email on their websites as they employ the following tactics to acquire contact information for their email database:

  • Email opt-​in form on homepage 74%
  • Email opt-​in form also on other pages 67%
  • Email opt-​in with first purchase incentive discount 11%
  • No email opt-​in 8%

But the efforts shouldn’t stop there. Once retailers have this contact information, they can use email to welcome new customers. 74% of retailers in this study did so and used specific attention-​getting techniques:

  • Discuss value proposition of email program: 67%
  • Include incentive for future purchases 35%

During the first 30 days of a new customer relationship, 34% of retailers send between 5 ‑10 emails. Over half of these emails promote sales and incentives. Analysts warn of the importance of not over-​promoting in emails.
The study also revealed that retailers are failing to continue personalizing emails after online purchases are made. Currently, only 21% of retailers engage in this practice. Similarly, only 22% of top online retailers are pursuing abandoned carts.  Since 72% of shoppers are abandoning carts, retailers are missing an opportunity to close a sale.

Analysts note that retailers who undertake a solid review of their email practices and focus on contacting consumers with targeted branding and personalized messages can increase their sales as a result of these efforts.

[Source: Retail Touch Points Exposed. Exacttraget​.com. June 2012. Web 21 Jun. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.