June 2, 2005, 12:00 AM

E-mail can boost response to multi-channel promotions

E-mail marketing can be a strong source of revenue for online retailers, but it has a higher strategic importance as part of a multi-channel campaign, says Keith Wardell, chief executive of Exmplar Inc.

E-mail marketing can be a strong source of revenue for online retailers, but it has a higher strategic importance as part of a multi-channel campaign, says Keith Wardell, chief executive of Exmplar Inc.

“It’s one of the easiest ways to conduct multi-channel promotions-e-mails telling you the catalogs are coming next week or e-mails that tell you about a sale in the store,” he says.

E-mail promotions directed at e-retailers’ existing customers generate the most value, Wardell says. “Typically, 60% or 70% or 80% of your sales will come from your current customers,” he says. “Those are the ones you want to maximize.”

Typically, 30% to 40% of retailers can track as much as 70% of purchases on their web sites back to their customer files, Wardell says. And because online merchants know their customers’ individual purchasing histories, they can personalize e-mail promotions, increasing chances that customers will respond.

E-mails sent to consumers new to the sites are less effective. “Sometimes it works, and a lot of times it doesn’t,” he says.

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