The Unsweetened Pot: Brands Fail To Offer Incentives For Email Sign-ups

Email has long been known as the channel that drives the highest ROI. But top brands are lagging in using the most effective tool in building email lists lists: incentives. 

Only 36% of retailers, 18% of CPG brands, and just 8% of QSRs now offer promotions, according to The Opt-In Value Exchange: Brand Usage of Discounts and Promotions to Drive Email List Growth, a study by RevTrax.

These findings are based on an audit of the email sign-up pages of the nation’s top 100 retailers, top 100 CPG brands, and top 60 quick serve restaurants.

RevTrax found that surprisingly big companies fail to offer incentives. For example: Target: None. Nordstrom: None. Lululemon: none. Apple: None. Costco: None. Best Buy: None. 

In contrast, Walmart Plus and Amazon Prime offer free shipping. Under Armour provides 15% off. The Men’s Warehouse gives $20 off a $100 purchase to a shopper who signs up for texts. 



Among CPGs, such brands as Dannon, Doritos, Ben & Jerry’s, Pampers, L’Oreal and Jimmy Dean don’t bother with incentives. 

But Dawn, Downy and Tate’s Bake Shop each offer 25% reward points, and Coca-Cola goes for a standard 15% discount. 

As for QSRs, McDonald’s, Papa John’s, Jersey Mike’s, Godfather’s Pizza and Jack in the Box offer nothing. But Domino’s Pizza gives $5 off to sign-ups and Dunkin’ Donuts gives 200 reward points. 

Some brands, like Donato’s Pizza, do not include the incentive in their welcome email. 

Of the firms that do offer discounts and promotions, here are the types:  


  •  Percent Off: 25% 
  •  Cash Discount: 10% 
  •  Alternative Offers (free shipping, BOGO, etc.): 1% 


  •  Percent Off: 7% 
  •  Cash Discount: 5% 
  •  Alternative Offers (free shipping, BOGO, etc.): 6% 


  •  Percent Off: 0% 
  •  Cash Discount: 3% 
  •  Alternative Offers (free shipping, BOGO, etc.): 5% 

Most Offered Percent Off Discounts (Across All Categories): 

  •  10% Off: 4% 
  •  15% Off: 6% 
  •  20% or More Off: 3% 

“Over the past year and a half, email marketing has significantly grown in importance as ‘Big Tech’s’ crackdown on the use of third-party cookies for ad targeting continues to diminish online display and social newsfeed ad efficiency and effectiveness,” states Jonathan Treiber, CEO of RevTrax. 

Treiber concludes: “Marketers have been shifting to the use of alternative digital identifiers for targeting across channels, and email addresses have emerged as the primary ‘digital ID’ to deliver personalized marketing to consumers. This is both for traditional email marketing, as well as for targeting beyond the confines of the inbox. As such, the urgency around acquiring consumers’ email addresses using a privacy-by-design approach has never been greater.” 



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