Retailers missing opportunities to communicate with consumers via email, finds Practicology research

Strategic multi-channel consultancy Practicology has released research showing that nearly a third of retailers provide a poor experience when consumers sign up to receive marketing emails from them.

The new Practicology Customer Communications Tracker examined 100 retailers’ UK websites to determine how many allow consumers to sign up to receive marketing emails or newsletters without registering for an account or making a purchase.  Our initial findings show 93 of the 100 retailers offer email sign-up on their website, and of those 93:

–          23% haven’t sent us a single communication in the month since we signed up to receive their emails

–          8% began to send marketing emails without sending a “Welcome” email

–          1% have an email sign-up facility on their site that repeatedly didn’t work

–          8% sent a “Welcome” email in the days following us signing up to receive emails

–          61% sent a “Welcome” email the same day we signed up to receive their marketing emails

In total, 32% of retailers who offered email sign-up delivered a poor experience by not acknowledging us with a “Welcome” email either the same day, or within a few days of us providing our email address. We highlight some of the retailers who are not following industry best-practice when it comes to how they operate their email communications programmes:

–          Matalan was the retailer who offers email sign-up on the homepage of its website, but the facility produced an error message on the several occasions we tried to use it

–          Sports Direct was one of the 8% who began to send us marketing emails (every day in Sports Direct’s case) without ever sending us a “Welcome” email

–          Marks & Spencer asked for quite a lot of personal information and preferences when signing-up for marketing emails – and has not sent us a single email since we did this

–          Other retailers who offered email sign-up and have not sent us a single email since include John Lewis, Jigsaw, Tesco F+F, Bathstore, Halfords, Majestic Wine, Ernest Jones and Thorntons

Practicology head of data & CRM Will Dymott, said: “While emerging channels such as social media have their place, the death of email has been greatly exaggerated. It’s still an important customer communication channel, and we always advise our retail clients to offer email as a marketing channel if their target consumers want it. But, and this is a big but, if consumers sign-up to receive your emails and you don’t even acknowledge them, that’s a worse experience that not offering email sign-up at all.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, that there are major retailers in the UK who invite consumers to sign-up for emails and then never contact them. It’s a problem that retailers who do this should seek to urgently address, to give consumers who have expressly given permission to receive emails what they want.”