Top Retailers Ignoring Email Marketing Opportunities

June 11, 2012

exacttarget-top-retailers-welcome-emails-activity-june2012.pngMany of the 100 fastest-growing US retailers are missing opportunities to create connections with customers by personalizing emails after purchases, sending welcome emails after opt-ins, and reaching out to cart abandoners, according to a June 2012 study from ExactTarget. Only 74 of the Hot 100 Retailers (based on the National Retail Federation’s STORES 2011 Hot 100 Retailers Report) sent welcome emails to new subscribers. And although a significant proportion were found to gather personal data during the opt-in and sales process, just 5% with in-store opt-in personalized emails after an in-store purchase, and only 21% did so after an online purchase. In another missed opportunity, only 16 of the 72 (22%) retailers with e-commerce sites sent cart abandonment emails.

In-Store Digital Engagement Tactics Poor

Data from ExactTarget’s “Retail Touchpoints Exposed” indicates that just 39 of the top 100 retailers try to engage with in-store customers digitally. Of those using in-store calls to engage, the most popular call-to-action on signage was a website URL (18%), followed by promotion of social engagement via Facebook and/or Twitter (8%).

And although many mobile owners these days are using their device in-store, only 2% of the top 100 retailers are promoting coupons via SMS messaging. This despite May 2012 survey results from Placecast revealing that among consumers who have signed up for text alerts from retailers and merchants, 26% say that the information they received has led them to purchase the promoted product in the store, while 25% say they have purchased a different product from the store.

Social Icons More Pervasive

If retailers are missing email and signage opportunities, they appear to have cottoned onto social media, according to the ExactTarget report. 87 of the Hot 100 retailers prominently feature social icons on their home page, compared to just 74 who have email opt-in links on their home page. Facebook is the most frequently promoted social network (87%), just ahead of Twitter (84%). YouTube (40%) and retailer blogs (24%) are featured by fewer. By the conclusion of ExactTarget’s research, in April 2012, 14% displayed Pinterest icons on their home pages.

Other Findings:

  • Among the Hot 100 retailers sending emails, a plurality (34%) sent 5-10 emails in the first 30 days after opt-in. 4% sent 30-35 emails. According to Eloqua analysis released in June, low email frequency results in higher click rates, although it also means fewer responses.
  • 20% of all Hot 100 Retailer emails were delivered to a Gmail spam folder in the first 30 days after email opt-in.
  • Among the 74 retailers that sent welcome emails, 28% sent them within 3 days.
  • Only 33 of the Hot 100 Retailers are leveraging SMS.
  • 68 of the retailers have mobile websites. 56% of those promote email opt-in through the site, and slightly less than half promote Facebook and Twitter engagement.
  • 39 of the Hot 100 Retailers have a mobile application.
  • Of the 94 retailers with Facebook pages, 48% run contests, 37% promote Twitter and YouTube content, and 36% promote their email list.
  • As of April 2012, consumers have pinned products from 93 of the Top 100 Retailers

About the Data: To gather the data, ExactTarget’s research team visited the websites and, where applicable, at least one physical store of each of the Hot 100 Retailers in March 2012. After concluding the initial website and store visits, ExactTarget tracked brand communications and engagement across email, mobile, and social channels for a period of 30 days. The resulting data was then compiled and analyzed to provide a snapshot of cross-channel consumer engagement from the Hot 100 Retailers in March and April of 2012.

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