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Survey: email most effective way to reach online shoppers

August 27, 2013

Many business owners think that the latest social media websites are the most effective way to drive consumer attention to their products - and toward their online credit card processing terminals.

Many business owners think that the latest social media websites are the most effective way to drive consumer attention to their products – and toward their online credit card processing terminals. 

However, a more classical form of digital communication may still be the preference of the average customer: aside from search engines, consumers would rather learn about stores and promotions via email than they would by any other means, according to a new survey conducted by Millward Brown Digital.

Email is a constant tool for customers as they shop at retail locations, from when they begin making a list all the way until when they check out at the credit card terminal. The study found that roughly 40 percent of respondents use email as a tool when they shopped, which compares favorably to the less than 25 percent who reported using social media websites.

Uyan Chand, senior analyst for retail at Millward Brown, speaking to Marketing Daily, suggested that the personal nature of emails, combined with the fact that customers can browse them at their own leisure, helps to make them the communication method of choice between consumers and retailers. 

“Although social media involves a lot more interactions, those are mostly with friends,” Chand told the news source. “Email provides a more intimate and private environment.”

More than 40 percent of online shoppers are a fan of between one and five brand-specific Facebook pages, however, only 8 percent of consumers actually visited those pages regularly, according to the news outlet. However, 46 percent of shoppers voluntarily receive more than 10 emails from retailers on a weekly basis, suggesting they prefer this mode of communication. Approximately 20 percent of shoppers receive more than 30 promotional emails every single week, 

Chand further explained to the news source that retailers need to experiment to see what types of emails are most successful in driving consumers toward their payment processing terminals. 

“Email continues to be hit or miss,” Chand told the news source. “Retailers need to push out a lot of emails, because they don’t have a full understanding of what the end user is thinking when he or she sits down to look at their inbox.” 

Email can also provide a method for retailers who’ve lost customers to make an inroad toward winning them back. A recent study conducted by SaleCycle found that roughly 75 percent of online shopping carts were abandoned before a transaction was completed during the second quarter 2013. However, the report also noted that companies who followed up with abandonment emails to affected consumers would earn approximately $6 per message as a result of the sales the emails created

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