Retail E-Mail Needs Work

Retail E-Mail Needs Work


According to a recently concluded report done by marketing and advertising firm Harte-Hanks Postfuture Index, retail e-mail marketing campaigns have been experiencing extremely low open rates this year through June 2006. The report examined 13 industries currently using e-mail marketing as a branch of their advertising and promotional efforts and the retail sector scored the lowest with open rates of approximately 35%. By comparison, restaurants shot off the scales with a 167.7% open rate (exceeding 100% occurs by way of pass-along and reopened e-mail). Harte-Hanks Postfuture Index measured numerous e-mail marketing metrics on more than 4,300 business and consumer campaigns.

The report concluded that in order to boost such low rates, retailers must get into behavioral targeting of e-mail marketing messages; this can raise many metrics significantly, contends Richard Merrick, managing director of Harte-Hanks’ e-mail business, Postfuture.

“One large retailer, for example, achieved a 74.2% open rate, 24.1% click-through rate and 0.1% opt-out rate, just by synchronizing e-mail with in-store activity,” Merrick, explained in the report. “Using transactional e-mail to make dynamic product recommendations produce, on average, a 148.8% open rate and a 20.4% click-through rate.”

The report also broke down the differences between business and consumer markets, illustrating how e-mail sent to consumers received higher click-through rates, 19.9%, and open rates, 78.9%, while business-to-business e-mail had rates of 11.2% and 67.7%, respectively.

As more and more consumers are getting comfortable reading and reacting to marketing and advertising e-mails as part of their daily ritual of checking their in-boxes, developing an effective e-mail marketing strategy may become as important as your regular print and in-store campaigns.