A "Welcome" Message Keeps 'Em Coming Back

A "Welcome" Message Keeps 'Em Coming Back

The Email Experience Council and the Direct Marketing Association announced the release of its second annual Retail Welcome Email Subscription Benchmark Study, examining the welcome emails of 118 of the top online retailers to identify best practices and benchmarks in the areas of merchandising, relationship-building, deliverability, and CAN-SPAM compliance.

Ramesh Lakshmi-Ratan, Ph.D., DMA's executive vice president and chief operating officer, says "... welcome emails have significantly higher open rates than regular emails...", while Kara Trivunovic, director of strategic services at Premiere Global Services, notes that "... emails should set the tone of the program... (and) properly executed welcome messages actually create anticipation in the recipient for the next message."

The report says, in the Executive Summary, that In 2006, only 66% of major online retailers sent welcome emails. With 72% sending welcome emails this year, it appears that more retailers are recognizing the value of these critical emails.

Instead of engaging subscribers with incentives and links to products, departments, loyalty programs, catalogs and other shopping-related material, a great number of the largest online retailers simply say hello and leave it at that. Though, in 2007:

  • 98% of retailers' welcome email now contains a link to their shopping site (up from 88% last year)
  • 33% contain store locators (up from 31%)
  • 14% containing links to catalog information (up from 6%)
  • 58% of welcome emails were CAN-SPAM compliant in terms of including both a mailing address and unsubscribe method, versus 52% last year

The study shows that 72 percent of major online retailers send out welcome emails, up from 66 percent last year. The good news, says the Summary, is that 61% of retailers deliver their welcome emails within 10 minutes of sign up, with most of those delivering within 3 minutes. The bad news is that 19% take more than 24 hours to deliver their welcome emails, with nearly a third of those taking more than a week to deliver. In the world of digital communications, that's an eternity to wait for a welcome email.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • 32% of welcome emails include a discount, reward or incentive, down from 34% last year
  • 62% of welcome emails asked the subscriber to white list them by adding an email address to their address book, up from 49% last year
  • 79% of retailers sent out HTML welcome emails, up from 69% last. The remainder sent text-only welcome emails. That said, most of the HTML welcome emails were HTML "lite," making extensive use of HTML text.
  • 53% of welcome emails included links to the retailer's privacy policy, up from 45% last year.
  • 75% of the welcome emails include the retailer's brand name in their subject lines, on par with last year. Including branding here helps the subscriber recognize the email as one that they requested

Get more information or obtain the complete Retail Welcome Email Benchmark Study from the EEC Whitepaper Room here. Or, access the complete release at this site.


Correction: The headline in yesterday's Research Brief incorrectly stated that "630 Thousand Execs Control 2/3 of World's Workforce", as the body of the article pointed out, it should have been "630 Thousand Execs Control 2/3 of the US Workforce".


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