Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Retailers Are Getting Better At Welcome e-Mails -- When They Send Them At All

Retailers still have some catching up to do in their thinking about how to use e-mail, says a new report from The Email Experience Council, a unit of the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group that represents direct marketers and catalogers.

Its second annual study of 118 online retailers’ e-mail practices found that nearly a fifth (19%) take more than 24 hours to acknowledge customers when they sign up for e-mail communications—and a third of those take more than a week. “In the world of digital communications, that’s an eternity to wait for a welcome e-mail,” the study says.

But at least they are sending welcome e-mails. The study reported that 28% do not welcome their customers who sign up for e-mails, down from 34% a year ago.

Other findings in the Retail Welcome Email Subscription Benchmark Study report include:

• 58% of welcome e-mails were Can-Spam compliant, including both a mailing address and an unsubscribe method versus 52% last year. “Not all welcome e-mails need to be compliant, but considering that these are welcome e-mails for promotional e-mails, the EEC believes that they should be,” the report says.

• 62% of welcome e-mails asked subscribers to whitelist them by adding an e-mail address to their address book, up from 49% last year.

• 79% of retailers sent out welcome e-mails formatted in HTML, up from 69% last year. The remainder sent text-only welcomes. Most of the HTML welcome e-mails were HTML “lite,” the group says, making extensive use of HTML text.

• 75% of the welcome e-mails include the retailer’s brand name in the subject lines, same as last year. The council notes that including the brand helps the subscriber recognize the e-mail as one that was requested.

• 32% of welcome e-mails include a discount, reward or incentive, down from 34% last year.

source: Internet Retailer

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