An email marketing study has found that Australian retailers such as the ABC Shop, Big W, Dick Smith and Myer are 25 per cent more likely to offer email recipients choices during the opt-in stage than those in the US, but lag behind in offering consumers compelling sale or discount incentives.
In conducting the study Retail Email Marketing in Australia, Silverpop evaluated the email marketing programs of 100 Australian retailers and compared them to the programs of top online retailers in the US. For a period of 30 days, Silverpop reviewed the email programs of each of the local retailers, carefully noting the frequency of, and marketing strategies behind each email campaign.
While 96 per cent of retailers in the US communicate with their customers via email, only 86 per cent of retailers surveyed in Australia follow suit. However, it seems local retailers are more savvy when it comes to conducting personalised email campaigns, with 35 per cent of retailers offering registrants preference choices during the sign-up process. By comparison, only 28 per cent of US retailers tailored the opt-in process.
Jeff Clark, managing director of Engage Digital, Silverpop’s partner in Australia and New Zealand says that email marketing programs must be as relevant to consumers as possible.
“Retailers need to provide registrants with a preference centre that allows them to choose the types of emails they want to receive such as sales alerts, new product offerings and product categories,” he says.
“Along with this, they need to let them choose the frequency of communication such as whether they want daily alerts, weekly sales notices or monthly newsletters. This is the best way to ensure recipients remain engaged in, and not frustrated by, email campaigns.”
However, 63 per cent of local retailers that offered choices during registration failed to connect their opt-out process to a preference centre. In doing so, they unnecessarily cut ties with people who simply want to reduce or refine their communication with the business. By simply tailoring the opt-out process marketers can save their lists from shrinking and further personalise the customer experience, thus yielding greater results over the long term.
“Australian retailers are outpacing those in the US in asking their recipients what they want at the beginning of the relationship, but should be offering similar options to those unsubscribing,” says Clark.
“With irrelevancy being the number one reason people unsubscribe from email programs, listening to your customers and delivering the information they specifically ask for can have a tremendous impact on your program’s effectiveness.”
Australian retailers also differ from those in the US when it comes to offering customers discounts. Just more than half (56 per cent) incorporate special incentives such as sales and discounts into their email messages. By comparison, 68 per cent of US retailers enticed recipients with special offers.
“The local e-commerce industry continues to grow rapidly and so it has become increasingly important for Australian retailers to implement email marketing best practices to deepen relationships with customers and potential customers. When the messages are highly relevant, results can be profound,” says Clark.