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Surprise: Consumers Want Email, But Want It Their Way

Marketers were right to worry about getting blacklisted and spam-filtered—that is until most consumers became bargain hunters. Market research from email solution provider BlueHornet (reported via eMarketer) found that as of February 2012, 95% of U.S. email users had joined email lists to receive discounts.

What that suggests is that consumers are perfectly willing to share personal information with retailers, in exchange for lower prices. But once retailers or brands have that information, they need to use it carefully; about three quarters of those consumers believe it is “inappropriate” to send them unsolicited email once the have made a purchase. The short story is, online retailers must allow consumers to opt-in at checkout, to manage the frequency and type of messages they want—chiefly more bargains and product or service updates.

But maybe that is short sighted. Another survey of e-commerce executives by the e-tailing group reveals that merchants use e-commerce vehicles (like checkout) for seasonal promotions, product updates, cross-sells and up-sells, and surveys, all of which can be accomplished through email.

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About seven in 10 consumers read those emails on mobile devices (tablets and smart phones)—hence the need for mobile-messaging formats as opposed to the HTML-heavy formats for desktops and laptops. And about half of that 70% (so, more than a third) declare themselves “somewhat likely” to make a purchase from a mobile email. Not bad, considering the direct response from snail mail promotions still tracks at about 2%.


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