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Email marketing has its limits

News, 21 March 2016

PITTSBURGH, PA: Two-thirds (67%) of US shoppers believe that receiving six or more emails a week from retailers is too many, yet on average they receive 13 a week even though they signed up to get them from just a couple of retailers, according to a new survey.

First Insight, a consumer solutions firm, polled more than 1,100 US consumers between October 12 and November 5, 2015 to gauge their views about promotional emails.

Of immediate concern to retail marketers, the survey found that 82% of consumers feel that if a brand they show loyalty to bombards them with irrelevant offers then that means their wishes are being misunderstood.

Even worse, these consumers believe a full 95% of the emails they receive are not relevant to them and only one-in-four open the emails they receive.

"Right now we're seeing a huge disconnect in the conversation that retailers think they are having with customers through email marketing efforts," said Jim Shea, chief commercial officer of First Insight.

"The communications are not only too frequent but are basically meaningless to consumers. What consumers really want is for retailers to take the time to know them and make recommendations about clothing or products that are in line with their personal taste."

The report said retailers could benefit from adopting a lighter touch and taking a more personalised approach with their email marketing efforts.

That's because 61% of consumers say that their favourite retailers send them only one or two emails a week, while 43% say they would be more likely to open emails if they knew they contained personalised suggestions of products that aligned with past purchases, rather than promotions that were generally available or "on sale".

Just how important it is to avoid aggravating customers is underlined by another survey finding that 40% would "go out of their way" to shop at a store that doesn't waste their time with irrelevant email offers.

Data sourced from First Insight; additional content by Warc staff