'Time Is Money' Axiom True For Sign-Up Fulfillments, Too

Particularly this year and at this time of the year, you don't want to squander any selling opportunities. But that's exactly what retailers are doing when they take forever to honor subscription requests.

Studies have shown that subscribers are most valuable at the time of sign-up-and from there it's all downhill. And some experts say that subscriber value falls rapidly over a period of days, not weeks. So time is of the essence.

The Email Experience Council's Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study showed that 47% of the top online retailers take more than 7 days to fulfill subscription requests, and that 29% take more than 14 days or fail to fulfill requests. Now that some more time has passed, I'm happy to share more granular data about the percentage of top online retailers that honor subscriptions within the following timeframes:

1-3 days: 33%
4-7 days: 20%
8-14 days: 18%
15 days-1 month: 13%
1+ month or failed: 16%

Right now, it appears that most -- but not all -- of the retailers in that last bucket are failed sign-ups.

While the percentage of retailers honoring subscription requests in seven days or less grew over the past year, the percentage taking 15 days or more stayed the same, unfortunately.

Would Cyber Monday pass you by?

Here's an opportunity-cost scenario to consider: If someone subscribed to your email program today, would you be able to send them your Cyber Monday campaign, or would that important selling occasion be missed?

This Cyber Monday is going to be huge for email marketing. It will probably once again be the most popular day of the year to send retail emails, with more than 70% of retailers likely to be sending promotional emails on Monday.

Is your email fulfillment so slow that you'd miss out? Or worse, is your subscription fulfillment as slow as the 29% of retailers that would miss most if not all of the rest of the holiday email season if someone were to sign up for their emails today?

Audit all your sign-up paths

To avoid leaving money on the table and wasting much of your subscribers' most productive time on your lists, audit all of the sign-up paths that you have in place. Check the subscription forms on your homepage and other Web site pages, the opt-in on your checkout page and any sweepstakes pages, and any co-registration forms or other sign-up points.

I've spoken to two major retailers that have acknowledged that subscription fulfillment is drastically different depending on where the person signs up. Why anyone would tolerate fulfillment delays and failures through any of their sign-up points is incomprehensible. It makes for a poor brand experience and casts doubt on the security and capabilities of your Web site as a whole.

Make it your New Year's resolution to review your sign-up processes and to tighten up your subscription fulfillment to help maximize the performance of your email program. Happy Black Friday, everyone.



Next story loading loading..