June 17, 2010, 5:46 PM

For store promotions, e-mail tops social media.

Social media may be hot, but consumers prefer to get their store promotions via e-mail.

Lead Photo

Social media may be hot, but consumers prefer to get their store promotions via e-mail, a new study finds.

The survey by CrossView, a retail technology specialist whose clients include multichannel retailers Advance Auto Parts and Moosejaw, polled 160 shoppers across four states—North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois and Kansas—and found that 39% prefer receiving promotions via e-mail compared with 9% who would rather have them delivered via social media such as a Facebook page.  64% of those polled were female and 36% were male.

But even those who receive promotions say the offers won’t necessarily prompt them to visit a bricks-and-mortar store. Just 35% of shoppers were visiting a store because of a promotion. Of those, the most common type of promotion was direct mail. None visited a store because of a promotion received via social media such as Facebook or Twitter. 4% had received a promotion via text message, 29% from in-store resources, 32% via the mail, 27% via e-mail and 9% in another way.

While a promotion may not be the driving force behind a store visit, an offer can have an impact, the study finds. 68% of those polled who did not receive a promotion say they would have been more likely to visit because of a promotion. The rest said a promotion wouldn’t have an impact. 

39% said they would like to receive new product information in promotions, 16% requested store opening and closing notices, 12%, discounts and coupons, and 33% preferred no information.

While e-mail ranked first as the preferred method to get promotions, and social media was the least preferred category, 18% said they would like text message offers, 11% in-store offers, 23% mail offers.

“Consumers are also people, and social networks are more about expressiveness and connectedness than they are about shopping,” says Paula Rosenblum a managing partner at research and advisory firm Retail Systems Research. “Hence, promotions can come off as an intrusion and space waster.”

Steve Rowan, also a managing partner at RSR, says consumers are constantly connected to e-mail and not necessarily social networks. “I’m on e-mail all day, and I always have my iPhone with me at every store I walk into. If there’s a promotion via e-mail, it’s right there local to my phone at any time—no connecting to a slow-as-can-be 3G network and trying to navigate through Facebook,” Rowan says. “That said, I know there are lots of people who are connected to Facebook all day.”

Despite consumers favoring e-mail over social networks for offers, vendors are jumping to offer ways for retailers to serve up promotions on social networks. For example, Context Optional offers a service that enables retailers to offer their Facebook fans coupons directly in their newsfeeds on the network. T-shirt retailer Threadless is considering using the promotion program as a way to collect data about shoppers. It may request information such as a consumer’s e-mail address before it will offer the coupon, the retailer says.

Cosmetics retailer Sephora is combining social media and e-mail by announcing in an e-mail its presence on Facebook. It includes examples of the advice and sharing consumers can get if they become fans, retail consultancy The E-tailing Group says. Balancing this message is a 15% off coupon for use in-store or online.


comments powered by Disqus




From The IR Blog


Jason Miller / E-Commerce

Six steps to take to make your site ready for the holidays

Images, tags and mobile performance are among the key areas to focus on in the ...


Anna Buchalova / E-Commerce

Four e-commerce metrics that can help increase ROI

Many e-retailers focus on conversion rate, but here are four less-obvious ways to analyze your ...