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Thirty-one Percent of Online Retailers Signed Up Customers to their Email Lists Without Requesting Permission, According to New Return Path Study

STUDY CONDUCTED BY RETURN PATH’S NEW PROFESSIONAL SERVICES GROUP

For Immediate Release — Online retailers have spent years optimizing their digital marketing and customer retention strategy. However, many online retailers still struggle to maximize the numerous sales opportunities available through more effective email marketing, a new study from Return Path reveals. The Increasing Revenues By Optimizing Emailing Practices with Online Buyers report conducted by Return Path’s newly revamped Professional Services Group discovered that while basic transactional email practices are excellent, many well-known brands missed opportunities to maximize sales and up-sell potential by better targeting messages to buyers and including promotions in transactional messaging.

Return Path’s Professional Services Group conducted the Increasing Revenues By Optimizing Emailing Practices with Online Buyers report by purchasing items from 45 online retailers, monitoring the transactional and promotional message streams, and comparing those emails messages with messages received by registering for the same email programs without making a purchase.

The new study discovered that:

  • 31% of companies added customers to their email lists – following a purchase – without requesting permission.
  • 58% of retailers sent the same first promotional email to buyers as to non-buyers – missing opportunities to personalize or adapt the first promotional email based on a customer’s purchase.
  • Only 15% of retailers used data they received during the purchase process to target their promotional messages to buyers.

“Online retailers have become very sophisticated in the art of selling online. And, almost every online retailer has some type of email marketing program. However, retailers still struggle to integrate purchase history and customer data to deliver truly personalized and relevant email messages,” said Margaret Farmakis, Senior Director of Email Response Consulting at Return Path. “This type of integration isn’t necessarily easy – it requires time, technical resources and marketing expertise. But, when done right, it can exponentially increase response rates by making email more engaging for recipients.”

This study of email marketing trends was conducted by Return Path’s newly revamped Professional Services Group which combines the expertise from Return Path’s formerly separate Deliverability Consulting and Strategic Services units. Return Path’s Professional Services Group offers businesses an integrated approach to all of their challenges with email deliverability and response. This unit helps companies address their email sending practices to improve their email reputation and increase their deliverability rate (the percentage of emails that reach the inbox). In addition, they work with marketers to adjust their email content, design, and frequency to ultimately increase the relevancy of those emails to consumers, which in turn boosts response and ROI.

“We’ve worked with numerous companies on a range of email marketing issues and what we’ve discovered is that many companies need and want to address their email marketing campaigns across the board, including both deliverability issues and response rates,” said Michelle Pelletier, Senior Director of Professional Services. “With our new integrated Professional Services Group, we can address our clients’ email issues holistically, especially since we’ve found that they’re often interrelated. For example, sending email that is relevant to subscribers can reduce the number of times consumers may click on the “”This is Spam”” button and thus lower your complaint rate and improving your deliverability. That’s only one example of how tightly woven these issues are, and we’re now positioned to address those email issues end-to-end for our customers.”

About Return Path

Founded in 1999, Return Path helps commercial email senders get more email delivered to the inbox. Our tools and services give senders the tools and insight to diagnose and prevent email deliverability and rendering failures by improving and maintaining their email sending reputations. Return Path works with both the sending and receiving communities to bring transparent standards to email delivery and filtering. Return Path’s runs the internet’s most widely used third-party whitelist, Sender Score Certified. For more information, please visit returnpath.com.

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