I will be presenting what I believe is the largest publicly available research paper on the state of e-mail programs in the retail industry. We went to over 400 different retail sites, including the apparel, home furnishings, hardware, electronics, supermarkets, consumer goods, catalog, sporting goods, and personal care categories and examined their e-mail programs in depth.
I will be reporting on who has e-mail programs and who doesn't. I'll examine exactly how easy or hard it is to sign up for the e-mail program, who sends out welcome letters, and who provides a double opt-in program.
I'll examine the e-mails that are being sent out directly after signing up to see what kind of brand experience is being provided through the e-mail channel. And I'll compare each sector to the other in order to determine best practices across each sub sector. I'll also be looking to see if we can identify any segmenting that might be going on.
But if I know my audience, they don't want to wait two weeks. They want some data now! So here is a little preview of some of the data I'll be presenting:
The good news is that just under 70 percent of all retail sites we went to had some sort of e-mail signup program in place. The bad news is that 30 percent still do not have any way of reaching their customers on a regular basis through e-mail.
Of those sites that do have an e-mail program in place, 75 percent of them require some sort of registration or ask for additional information beyond an e-mail address.
Sixty-eight percent sent some sort of welcome letter--a stat which is dramatically higher than when we did this same test a year ago.
Less than 10 percent of all the sites we surveyed had a double opt-in program in place. Even after years of having double opt-in being pounded into our heads as a best practice, few actually find it necessary to employ it.
I'll be going into greater detail and telling you who did what, along with tons of creative examples.
But those of you who can't make the show should not feel left out: I'll be making the entire white paper available for free download right after the show closes, and I'll announce how you can get it in this column.
And please, if you are a fan of the column, come up and introduce yourself at the show. I look forward to meeting you.