October 16, 2012, 12:36 PM

A third of consumers buy after receiving a retailer’s e-mail

Older consumers are especially responsive, a new survey says.

Allison Enright

Editor

Lead Photo

E-mail remains a workhorse for retailers. 32% of U.S. online adults say they made a purchase in the previous six months as a result of receiving an e-mail from a retailer. The results are especially strong among older consumers, according to the results of an online survey fielded in June by Listrak, an e-mail marketing services. 

Men age 55 and older are the demographic group most likely to make a purchase—38% —following the receipt of a retailer e-mail. 37% of women in the same age group also responded strongly to e-mail offers. Across all adult age groups, women are more likely (35%) than men (30%) to say they made a purchase following the receipt of a retailer e-mail.  

97% of the more than 2,200 consumers who responded to the online survey in June say they receive e-mails from retailers. Of those, 83% say they open at least some of them. 53% of respondents say they’re more likely to open an e-mail if the subject line promises a special offer. 47% say seeing a subject line noting an order confirmation prompts them to open the message, and 38% say they will open messages that contain delivery status information.  Less effective at prompting consumers to open e-mails are subject lines promoting sweepstakes or contests (21%), messages that refer to recent shopping activity on the sender’s e-commerce site (19%) and cart abandonment e-mails that remind the recipient that items remain in their shopping cart (13%).

Comments | 2 Responses

  • Email marketing is certainly effective, but commerce is trending toward social. As more and more people become comfortable with sharing information via social sites and feel secure in their online activities, people will began buying directly from social channels. The time is not here yet, but it is fast approaching. It's telling that the study shows consumers of an older demographic using email more as a purchasing tool. It will be interesting to see the data when social commerce has taken a firmer grasp and what age demographic is responding.

  • Interesting that it is so effective in the older age bracket. As social and commerce merge, I see these email marketing campaigns transforming into more of a regular social summary of friends activities surrounding a retailer, rather than what the retailer is pushing down their throats. Personalization is certainly key when it comes to enhanced user engagement. This has been proven by Quora's campaigns. When Quora meets commerce, we shall see the dawn of user engagement with emails far beyond what current stats are out there for e-retailers.

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