The First 45: How Retailers Use Email to Engage New Customers [New Study]

How Retailers Use Email to Engage New Customers

Retailers work relentlessly to acquire new customers, with carefully timed emails, curated content and maintaining the right frequency, but what happens after the retailer succeeds and that customer makes that long-awaited first purchase? How is the retailer working to retain that customer and maintain a loyal customer base?

To answer this question, we conducted a study to help give retailers visibility into how their peers are performing and to facilitate a discussion on optimal email marketing practices in retail.

In our “2018 Email Marketing Study: How 100 of the Top Retailers Engage Shoppers in the First 45 Days and Beyond,” we evaluated 100 retailers from the Internet Retailer Top 500 list and acquired every email each of these retailers sent to email subscribers who have never purchased a product from July to December 2017. We also purchased from every retailer and collected every email sent to us, as first-time buyers, for the first 45 days after our purchase was made from November to December 2017. We then analyzed the communication tactics between a “purchaser” and a “non-purchaser” email received during this time to determine how retailers interacted with the two audiences. The report also looked at how retailers were performing in other key areas such as Email Frequency, Content and Catalog Exposure.

Below are a few key insights from our report:

  • 62 percent of the time, retailers sent the exact same email on the same day to the purchaser and non-purchaser, and only 26 percent of all emails were unique to the purchaser, despite having clickstream and purchase data to leverage.
  • Wayfair scored highest among all retailers because they personalized a majority of their email, with 71 percent of the emails sent to the purchaser being unique to them.
  • When it comes to the Purchaser Experience, Levi’s was the exception, with more than 75 percent of the emails sent to the purchaser being unique. Only 8 percent of the emails matched a non-purchaser email sent on the same day.
  • Of the 100 retailers evaluated, Williams-Sonoma had the highest average email sends per day at 3.14. Pottery Barn, The Shopping Channel and Victoria’s Secret sent two emails a day more than 90 percent of the time.

With more than 60 percent of respondents sending the same exact email to a purchaser and non-purchaser, it’s clear that retailers are missing the mark when it comes to the follow through on customer engagement. In order to keep an active and loyal customer base, brands need to make sure they’re continuing to offer personalized communications in their email strategy. Engagement strategies need to be considered through the entire customer journey, not just until a customer makes an initial purchase. Brands need to take the time to understand where their email strategy stands against customer expectations so that they can acquire and retain customers for years to come.

For more information, including the top five brands in each category – Purchaser Experience, Email Frequency, Catalog Exposure and Email Content—the full report can be downloaded here.

Want to know how your email marketing stacks up against the competition? Click here to get your grade.

Also published on Medium.

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