Promotional Email Volume Slips

December 21, 2010

retail-email-index-dec-21-2010.JPGTop online retailers sent each of their subscribers 4.4 promotional emails on average during the week ending Dec. 17, 2010, according to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog. That figure is down 4% week-over-week from a record high of 4.6, up 23% from 3.8 four weeks ago, and up 8% from a little more than 4 year-over-year.

Monday, Dec. 13, 17 Top Days to Send Promotional Email

retail-email-participation-dec-21-2010.JPGAs they traditionally are during the holiday season, Monday and Friday were the most popular days to send retail emails last week, with 63% of top online retailers sending at least one promotional email on each day. Responsys analysis indicates Friday’s popularity had little to nothing to do with the fact that it was Free Shipping Day.

Saturday, December 11 had the lowest promotional email participation rate of the week (35%). Interestingly, Sunday, December 12 had a slightly higher rate (49%) than Tuesday, December 14 (48%), although usually Sunday has the second-lowest weekly promotional email participation rate after Saturday.

9 in 10 Emails Mention Xmas

retail-email-seasonality-dec-21-2010.JPGResponsys expects Christmas messaging, which was contained in 90% of promotional retail emails sent last week, to remain all-consuming through this week (ending Friday, Dec. 24) and then recede in the days following Christmas.

Free Shipping Day was mentioned in only 6% of retail emails on Friday, Dec. 17 (a day where more than 1,500 retailers offered free shipping) and only 1% of the emails for the week; making it significantly less popular than April Fools’ Day and Cinco de Mayo in terms of retail email messaging.

While this year Free Shipping Day fell on a Friday, which is a very popular day of the week to send emails during the holidays, next year it will fall on a Saturday, which is consistently the least popular day of the week to email. So Responsys predicts the small steps forward that Free Shipping Day made this year are very likely to completely evaporate next year simply because of the day of the week on which December 17 falls.

Consumers Take Advantage of Free Shipping

comScore’s analysis of e-commerce transactions including free shipping indicates that although Free Shipping Day was not a major email event, consumers took advantage of the offer in growing numbers. For the five-day week ending with Free Shipping Day, the percentage of transactions with free shipping reached 52.7%, almost 30% higher than the corresponding time period last year, the most sizeable gap observed this season.

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