Retail Email Campaigns Out Of Step With Preferred Online Shopping Times

Most consumers have a preferred time of day to shop online, but retailers aren’t aligning their email campaigns with those preferences, according to [download page] an October 2012 report from Yesmail. For example, while a plurality of consumers surveyed (39%) say that evenings between 6PM and 10PM are their preferred online shopping time, just 5% of the email campaigns by top brands tracked over a 3-month period were deployed in that preferred slot. The researchers suggest that the 6PM to 10PM preference owes much to commuters shopping on mobile devices, which is good news for marketers. Knotice charted mobile retail email opens at 24.4% for the first half of 2012, as detailed in a July report.

Still, reports Yesmail, the bulk (41%) of retail email campaigns were deployed between 2AM-6AM, with another 31% from 6AM-10AM. These two time periods were preferred by just 5% of the consumers surveyed, collectively. This suggests that retail email marketers are largely out of step with consumers, who may be “nudged” while shopping with an offer or incentive to purchase. These are significant missed opportunities, particularly as more than 4 in 10 mobile device owners (who can presumably be better reached in the evening hours) said they have made either an online or an in-store purchase as a direct result of an email promotion they viewed on their device.

In-Store Shoppers Prefer Weekend Trips

Yesmail’s report, “Consumer Online Behavior Report: Developing Informed Digital Marketing Strategies for Holiday Success,” also suggests that marketers consider timing their email campaigns based on subscribers’ channel preferences, as consumers who shop in-store indicate very different patterns than online shoppers. For example, 79% of in-store shoppers prefer to shop over the weekend, versus 31% of online shoppers. Among those online shoppers, 47% who identified a day-of-week preference selected a day between Monday and Wednesday.

Retailers Know Which Promotions Incentivize Shoppers

Retailers, though, seems to be on point with their email incentives. Percent discount emails constituted the majority share (54%) of email promotions tracked during the 3-month period, followed by free shipping (30%), money off (13%), rewards points (2%), and a gift with purchase (1%). These overlap neatly with consumers’ rankings of the promotions that most influence them, which, in descending order, were: percent discount; free shipping; money off; buy-one-get-one-free; gift with purchase; and rewards points.

About The Data: Yesmail developed and administered a comprehensive survey and polled more than 500 US consumers about their on- and off-line purchase behaviors, social media consumption and mobile device usage, then analyzed the data using the Yesmail Market Intelligence proprietary tool to analyze the digital marketing campaigns of 20 leading brands that rely upon online and/or in-store traffic through the holiday season.