When Do Consumers Want to Hear From Retailers?

October 6, 2015

Emarsys-When-Consumers-Want-to-Hear-From-Retailers-Oct2015A majority (57%) of US adults would want to hear from a retailer via email or advertising when it is offering a sale or promotion, and almost half would want to hear from one when an item they’ve been looking at becomes cheaper, according to survey results from Emarsys. In each case, women are significantly more likely than men to want to hear from a retailer or e-commerce company, per the results.

Indeed, women were 40% more likely to want to be notified in the event of a promotion (66% vs. 49%) and 38% more likely to want that in the event of an item becoming cheaper (54% vs. 39%).

Beyond those top two reasons, though, there was less enthusiasm for emails and ads from retailers and e-commerce companies. Only about one-quarter want to hear from one when something they’ve been looking at is close to selling out (26%) or when a holiday is coming up (25%). Even fewer (23%) want to be emailed or otherwise advertised to after visiting a company’s website, store or social media page, with this desire highest among men aged 18-34 (39%).

Of note, desire to hear from retailers and e-commerce companies is generally higher among consumers with children in the household.

The survey looks further at retailers’ emailing practices and advertising channels. Specific to email, the survey hones in on consumers’ responses to constant spamming with unwanted emails, finding that more than 9 in 10 would have some form of negative response, most commonly unsubscribing immediately from all email communications with the company (65%). This response was more likely among older consumers and women.

Among the other potential responses, around 1 in 7 (14%) said they would shop at a competitor instead, with this inclination highest among men aged 35-44 (28%). Only 6% said they would “rant on social media to my followers.” Interestingly, while 1 in 10 men (including 19% of those aged 18-34) reported that they would complain on social media, this response was almost non-existent among women (3%).

Turning to the most persuasive advertising channels, the results confirm several other recently-released studies in showing TV ads to be the most influential. Indeed, almost half (48%) of the respondents cited TV ads as effective in persuading them to buy companies’ products, putting TV well ahead of print (38%) and email (35%). Notably, 18-34-year-olds emerged as the age group most likely to cite TV as being effective, at a significantly higher rate than those aged 65 and older (56% and 37%, respectively).

Recently-released studies support TV ads’ influence. A global survey from Nielsen, for example, noted that TV ads topped all paid media in trust and response. And a MarketingCharts study on advertising influence likewise demonstrates that TV ads engender the most attention from US adults and are perceived to have the highest influence. As with the Emarsys study, the MarketingCharts report notes that TV ads’ influence appears to be greatest among youth, an intriguing result given youths’ gravitation away from traditional TV.

Meanwhile, although only 22% of the Emarsys survey respondents cited social ads as being persuasive, that figure was almost double among 18-34-year-olds (43%). As such, social ads trailed only TV ads among this demographic, with this again backed by MarketingCharts’ own research.

Finally, just 1 in 8 (12%) of adults (and 24% of those aged 18-34) surveyed said that mobile ads – whether served via browser, in-app, or by geotargeting – are effective in persuading them to buy products from companies. That doesn’t seem to be the result of lesser reach, though: fully 83% of respondents reported owning a smartphone and/or tablet.

About the Data: The Emarsys data is based on a survey of 2,120 US adults aged 18 and older. The survey was fielded from September 9-11, 2015.

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