July Promotional Emails Grow 9%

August 11, 2010

Top online retailers sent each of their subscribers 2.7 promotional emails on average during the week ending July 30, 2010, according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog. That’s down 3% week-over-week, up 2% from where it was four weeks ago, and up 9% year-over-year.

Promotional email volume followed a very uneven pattern in July 2010, compared to a much smoother progression during July 2009. The final rush of July 4th-themed promotional messages caused a notable spike in volume during the first week of July 2010, with an even more pronounced drop the following week.


The beginning of the back-to-school promotional season pushed volume the week of July 16 back to its July 2 level, with a more gradual decline in the two weeks following. In comparison, the fourth week of July 2009 featured that month’s highest email volume.

July 4th Tails Off, Back-to-School Picks Up
Promotional emails mentioning the July Fourth holiday surged to 20% the first week of the month and quickly dropped to virtually none. Back-to-school emails, which are expected to peak in August, dramatically rose from less than 10% the week of July 16 to more than 15% the week of July 23, and are now on a steadier growth pattern.


A mid-month “Christmas in July” promotion run by a number of major national chain retailers created an unusual spike in holiday/Christmas-themed emails, which accounted for virtually no volume the week of July 9 but reached 5% by the week of July 23. They were back to close to 0% by the week of July 30 and should disappear again in August.

Promotional emails mentioning the Halloween holiday should start showing up in consumer inboxes in mid-August.

Monday, Friday Leading Days for Promotional Email
Monday, July 26 and Friday, July 30 were the most popular days of the week for retailers to send promotional email in the last week of July 2010, with 45% of top online retailers doing so. This was closely followed by Tuesday, July 27 (43%) and Thursday, July 29 (41%). The fewest online retailers sent promotional email on Saturday, July 24 (12%).


Few Retailers Send Automated Welcome Series
Only 1% of retailers on the Internet Retailer 500 send a series of automated welcome messages to new subscribers, according to a recent white paper from marketing services and solutions provider Listrak.

“Creating an eCommerce Welcome Series to Increase Subscriber Engagement and Email ROI” finds that only 51% of the Internet Retailer 500 deployed even a single welcome message to new subscribers. In addition, 16% of the messages were personalized with the first name or other relevant information, and 40% offered a special discount as a thank you for subscribing.

Listrak advises that welcome messages have the highest open rates of all email campaigns and that using a series instead of a single message creates opportunities to nurture the relationship, including turning one-time buyers into long-term customers and brand advocates.

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