August 9, 2006, 12:00 AM

Overstock.com puts certified e-mail to the test

Certified e-mail generates significant positive return on investment; as a result, Overstock will continue using the service, the company says. In addition to an increase in direct sales, the pure-play registered a 19% jump in click-through rates.

Early this year, Overstock.com Inc. researched new certified e-mail technology that ensures-through a strict process of certification of retailers-delivery and intact content and formatting of retailers’ e-mail messages to recipients. In a test to customers with AOL addresses conducted June 9 and 10, the company found that e-mail messages sent via Goodmail Systems Inc.’s CertifiedEmail service generated 22% higher revenue per e-mail compared with non-certified e-mails.

The e-retailer split its list of customers with addresses on AOL-which agreed to begin accepting the Goodmail service earlier this year-and sent all customers marketing e-mails for six different campaigns: half received certified e-mails and half received conventional e-mails. In addition to the 22% direct sales increase, Overstock registered an 19% jump in click-through rates.

Certified e-mail messages generate significant positive return on investment; as a result, Overstock will continue using the service, the company says.

“The increase in sales generated per email makes the ROI of CertifiedEmail compelling,” says Geoff Atkinson, director of e-mail and web site marketing at Overstock.com. “Plus, authenticated CertifiedEmail messages also provide security benefits for our customers.”

The pure-play, No. 18 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, hit $804 million in sales in 2005, a 62.5% increase over $494.6 million in 2004.

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