Consumers Ascribe High Purchase Influence to Emails

July 11, 2022

Email has long been a driver of purchases among consumers, and new research from Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights suggests that it continues to hold sway over shoppers.

In the survey of 1,015 online shoppers in the US, respondents were asked which of a variety of marketing efforts influence their decisions to make purchases online. The top response (by a hair), was general email, cited by 44% of respondents. This brings to mind recent research [download page] from Cheetah Digital, in which consumers around the world were more likely to say that they had made a purchase as a result of an email than any other channel.

One other channel almost matched email in this latest study: direct mail. Some 43% said they had been influenced to make a purchase online by catalogs and other printed material via postal mail. People generally are receptive to direct mail, and marketers have been increasing its use again after a pandemic-induced drop.

Beyond traditional stalwarts email and direct mail, the survey found a drop-off to other purchase influencers, such as advertising on content visited online (32%) and social media ads (21%)

Interestingly, the results also suggest that retailers can leverage other email types, too: sizable shares of respondents ascribed purchase influence to offers within order confirmation/shipping notification emails (23%), cart abandonment emails (20%), and back-in-stock emails (20%).

Overall, 43% of respondents claimed to open email ads from retailers at least daily, with another 29% saying they do so a few times a week. Consumers are most commonly making purchases on a monthly basis as a result of email, with 60% reporting this frequency. Even so, almost 1 in 5 (18%) said they make purchases because of reading an email either weekly or more frequently.

Which Retail Emails Get Opened?

Separately, online shoppers were asked which kind of retailer emails they’re most likely to open. Messages about promotions/discounts currently available emerged as the leading type, cited by 62% as being among their top-5. Next on the list were shipping (52%), order (52%), and delivery (43%) confirmations, with the high likelihood of opening these indicating that retailers could leverage these post-purchase messages to drive further purchase behavior.

On the other end of the scale, respondents are least likely to open replenishment, seasonal activity, and back-in-stock emails.

For more, check out the full survey results here.

About the Data: The results are based on a May survey of 1,015 US online shoppers.

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