23% of Retail/E-Commerce Marketers Lack List-Growth Strategy, According to Latest GetResponse Report

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The Study Reveals Areas Where Adoption of Updated Email Marketing Practices Could Yield Big Improvements in Sales and ROI.



For merchants in today’s competitive online environment, certain techniques are no longer optional but have become a necessity.

A comprehensive research project by GetResponse, the leading email marketing SaaS provider, shows that the retail and e-commerce industry lags behind other industries in the use of modern web marketing techniques. The research is the basis for their latest report: “The State of Email Marketing by Industry.” It includes a comparative analysis of marketing methods by industry, a wealth of email marketing statistics, and expert commentary on the overall findings.

“While we were gratified to confirm the widespread enthusiasm for email marketing,” said GetResponse Founder and CEO Simon Grabowski, “we were surprised to discover significant disparities in approach and focus from industry to industry. The report points the way for retailers and e-commerce merchants who are striving to remain competitive in their categories.”

In a case study dating back to 2012, MarketingSherpa noted a 208% increase in conversion rate for targeted emails versus a batch-and-blast approach. And yet the latest, GetResponse research shows that 45% of retailers and e-commerce marketers send the same message to all subscribers, placing them three percentage points behind the surprisingly poor all-industry average of 42%.

A disappointing 5% in the retail/e-commerce arena use layered targeting methods — combining demographics with lifecycle position, activity level, and lead scoring. Only 8% use all targeting methods currently available. Of the remaining respondents, 45% target based on 2-5 criteria such as demographics and category of interest, with 10% also using rules-based personalization.

Dell boosted sales of their convertible laptop-tablet by 109% in a campaign using simple GIF animations instead of static photos. With only 11% of retailers and e-commerce merchants using GIFs, growth-oriented companies have an opportunity to dominate their categories with this easy-to-implement technique.

Along the same lines, an astonishing 20% of retailers and e-commerce merchants are still using email templates that are not mobile-optimized. A Business Insider Intelligence report projects that in 2016, mobile will account for 20.6% of e-commerce sales, or $79 billion. And they project that by 2020, 45% ($284 billion) of e-commerce sales will come from mobile — numbers worth pursuing!

Most retailers and e-commerce merchants (55%) test the response of alternate subject lines. But only 33% test alternate offers and only 11% use testing to evaluate the performance of their various segments. Many e-commerce operators having sizable marketing lists, so small gains in conversion ratios could translate into big gains in marketing ROI.

11% of merchants don’t track opens and clicks. 23% admit that they don’t manage list growth and list quality, and haven’t assigned a person to be responsible. On a positive note, 72% or retail and e-commerce businesses rate their email marketing ROI as good or excellent. Almost all respondents indicated that they plan to keep their email marketing budget at current levels (34%) or increase their email marketing spending (59%).

“Every retailer and e-commerce organization could benefit by studying our findings and upgrading their marketing strategies,” said Simon Grabowski. “For merchants in today’s competitive online environment, certain techniques are no longer optional but have become a necessity.”

In July and August of 2015, GetResponse surveyed 1,831 Smart Insights members and GetResponse customers. The survey included online businesses, retailers, financial services, B2B companies and agencies, and marketing service providers. 67.8% of the respondents were senior managers, and 36.6 were small business owners. For more info, download the full report “The State of Email Marketing by Industry” or contact Ewa Puchalska, GetResponse Outreach Manager ewa.puchalska[at]getresponse.com.

GetResponse serves more than 350,000 active users from 182 countries, delivering more than 1 billion permission-based emails per month, with an average deliverability rate of 99.3 percent. Clients include Hilton, Avon, Shaw, Citroen and thousands of fast-growing businesses and professional firms.

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Ewa Puchalska
since: 12/2008
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