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The State of Retail E-Mail

  |  May 25, 2005   |  Comments

Retailers could make more of an effort with their e-mail programs.

A study conducted by Silverpop looked at 250 retailers’ practices to identify ways to improve campaigns. Of that initial pool, which included national brands such as nationally recognized names such as Crate & Barrel, Neiman Marcus, JC Penney and CompUSA, only 68 percent are actually running email marketing programs.

Retailers that send email only personalize messages 25 percent of the time. Of these, five percent address the recipient using a full name; while 20 percent use only the first name. The study found 57 percent of surveyed companies don’t send a confirmation message following an online registration. When confirmation is sent, 81 percent send it to registrants the same day.

Building email house lists is a continual challenge. Yet about a quarter of retailers (23 percent) don’t offer an email sign-up option on their homepage. A little over half (52 percent) of sites surveyed offer registration in a primary location on the home page, while 22 percent locate the feature in a secondary spot. Three percent initiate new customer registrations with a pop-up window.

Retailers with EMail SignUp on Home_Page
Click to view full-size chart
"I was very surprised to see that as many as 23 percent of the companies we looked at failed to include email registration requests on the home page," said Elaine O’Gorman, vice president of strategy for Silverpop. "The company that wants to establish a relationship with its customers through email should never bury their call-to-action by placing it off-page."

Information Gathered During Registration
Click to view full-size chart
Initiating an email relationship is an opportunity to collect new customer information. Thirty-seven percent of retailers collect an email address only. A short profile is requested by 39 percent of sites. Only 24 percent request users fill out an extensive profile.

"Retailers could invest a day and reflect on the practices they are using in email," Silverpop CEO Bill Nussey told ClickZ Stats. "I think they would find an immediate and meaningful lift in response rates and revenues."

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Enid Burns

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