May 3, 2011, 3:29 PM

Online retailers seek revenue gains and increased consumer loyalty through e-mails

The E-tailing Group finds that most retailers also introduce products via e-mail.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Retailers use e-mail marketing messages most often to gain incremental revenue, persuade consumers to purchase more regularly, introduce products and boost loyalty, suggest survey results released today by The E-tailing Group, a research firm that focuses on online retailing.

The findings are part of the firm’s 10th Annual Merchant Survey and are based on first quarter surveys of 200 respondents involved in e-commerce. Asked to rate their top use of e-mail, 91% of respondents said to drive incremental revenue; 89% said to increase purchase frequency; 81% said to introduce products; and 80% said to improve loyalty.

The report also highlights how several web merchants in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide have used their e-mail marketing messages to further those aims.

• Apparel retailer Levi Strauss & Co., No. 337, offers free shipping to shoppers who place an order the same day as they receive the e-mail message.

• Beauty supplies retailer Sephora USA Inc., No. 112, personalizes e-mail messages with the name of the receipient on her birthday.

• Housewares and home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc., No. 26, offers via an e-mail a loyalty program membership for $30, which entitles the consumer to free shipping for a year and other special offers.

• Women’s apparel retailer Forever 21, No. 430, includes in the footer of e-mails links to the retailer’s blog and ways for consumers to share information about the retailer.

• Office supplies retailer Office Depot Inc., No. 5, sends out messages that remind consumers to replenish stocks of frequently purchased products.

Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 in a session entitled "The changing role of the online merchant: Art vs. science."

Comments | 2 Responses

  • Good to know; we're on the right track. We at Abundant Closet send emails so personalized that they recommend our partners' products to women's actual outfits. Thanks for detailing how this engagement drives revenue.

  • I have heard a number of people trying to argue that email marketing is not an effective way to help drive sales and improve customer relations. This is just one example of how they are wrong and emailing marketing is still an important part of a strategic marketing strategy. I know here at Dydacomp we have seen the value in personalized marketing as customers are must more likely to respond when they feel the email/'promotion was created for them. Nice to see other examples of online retailers succeeding at email marketing!

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