With almost half of the United Kingdom's adults now conducting at least some of their shopping online, retailers have become increasingly interested in online marketing tactics, according to a study by marketing automation technology provider Silverpop, which suggests several ways to improve e-marketing results and ROI.
For the study, Silverpop reviewed the email marketing programmes of the top 100 retailers in the UK, and found that most of the attempts to rise above consumers' 'inbox clutter' were based on offering choices at the e-marketing opt-in stage, and by personalising email subject lines.
Among the retailers that had email marketing programmes in place, nearly half presented their subscribers with an opportunity to declare their preferences during the opt-in process (some 40% higher than in the United States where only one-third of the Top 500 retailers offered similar options).
In another effort to stand out in the consumer's email inbox, retailers in the UK were found to be twice as likely as those in the US to grab recipients' attention with personalised subject lines.
"UK retailers are tackling inbox clutter in all the right ways, by focusing on creating the kind of highly relevant and personal emails that online shoppers crave," explained Will Schnabel, vice president of international markets for Silverpop. "With consumers exerting more control over their purchasing decisions than ever before, giving them what they really want has become crucial to any campaign's success."
The survey also found that UK retailers are less likely than their American counterparts to engage email recipients with sales and discounts. Only 58% of the top retailers in the UK included incentives in their emails, while nearly 90% of the US retailers examined catered to shoppers' common desire to save money.
In both countries, a relatively small percentage of retailers connect their 'unsubscribe' links to a web-based 'preferences centre' to allow consumers to more accurately specify the types of message they would like to receive. This, according to Silverpop, could be a serious failure in that email marketing lists may shrink unnecessarily instead of being more constructively refined.
"Not everyone who clicks on an unsubscribe link wants to never hear from that company again," warned Schnabel. "Some people just want certain aspects of the relationship to change."
The full study report, entitled 'UK Retailers Fight Inbox Clutter to Keep Brands Top of Mind', has been made available for free download from Silverpop's web site - click here (free registration required).