Retailers Light the E-Mail Way

In a world where one retailer can have a major effect on both the economy and the environment by getting customers to switch from regular light bulbs to fluorescent bulbs, some retailers seem to be paving the way for a better tomorrow.

Is the same true with retail e-mail?

I recently had the opportunity to chat with retail e-mail expert Chad White about this. His blog, RetailEmail.Blogspot was just rolled up into the Email Experience Council‘s (EEC’s) umbrella as a niche provider of industry-specific e-mail best practices and statistics.

White sums up the significance of a good retail e-mail program: “Retail e-mails have a critical job to do. They are a significant driver of online sales and Web site traffic. In fact, many retailers’ e-mail accounts for a good size of store traffic as well. Because of the critical nature of these e-mails, a good program is a cornerstone of future marketing efforts. A bad program, however, produces almost no results.”

E-mail marketers outside the retail category can learn a lot about how to optimize their programs by reviewing White’s blog. In his most recent post, he paid homage to some of the best subject lines of 2006. The winner was:

Tell your boss what you really think

FTD’s e-mail promoted gifts for National Bosses’ Day. The tongue-in-cheek double meaning had me giggling all morning. If only FTD sold gag gifts you could send a boss you didn’t like, perhaps a corpse flower (a giant flower that smells like a rotting corpse). I’ve been blessed with only great bosses, but I’m sure some of you have had a boss deserving of a great, big, stinky blossom.

White focuses on reviewing hundreds of top retail e-mail programs. He reviews them both as a consumer and a marketer, and looks for elements that make him feel good about the brand and good about the relationship he has with that company. He also seeks out trends relating to opportunities to improve communications.

“What’s intriguing about retail e-mails,” says White, is that “while there is consistency among some of the best practices, many retailers are still missing boat. By looking into this one niche group, other industries can learn what works and what doesn’t. This will save them time and money and enable them to optimize their efforts quicker.”

RetailEmail.Blogspot has released three studies so far and plans to release up to eight studies in 2007.

Could the retail vertical end up taking the lead in best practices for e-mail marketing? Stay tuned to find out.

Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.

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