August 18, 2006, 12:00 AM

Consumers more open to e-mail from restaurants than from retailers

A look at e-mail marketing campaigns in 13 industries shows retailers score lowest with open rates, averaging 35.3%, a new study concludes.

A look at e-mail marketing campaigns in 13 industries shows retailers score lowest with open rates, a new study concludes. Retail marketing e-mails were opened by only 35.3% of recipients; by comparison, restaurants shot off the scales with a 167.7% open rate (exceeding 100% occurs by way of pass-along and reopened e-mail), according to the Harte-Hanks Postfuture Index for January 2006 through June 2006. The marketing and advertising firm measured numerous e-mail marketing metrics on more than 4,300 business and consumer campaigns.

To boost such low rates, retailers must get into behavioral targeting of e-mail marketing messages; this can raise many metrics significantly, contends Richard Merrick, managing director of Harte-Hank’s e-mail business, Postfuture.

“One large retailer, for example, achieved a 74.2% open rate, 24.1% click-through rate and 0.1% opt-out rate, just by synchronizing e-mail with in-store activity,” Merrick says. “Using transactional e-mail to make dynamic product recommendations produce, on average, a 148.8% open rate and a 20.4% click-through rate.”

Looking at differences between business and consumer markets, e-mail sent to consumers received higher click-through rates, 19.9%, and open rates, 78.9%, while business-to-business e-mail had rates of 11.2% and 67.7%, respectively.

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