Retailer Emails a Mixed Bag for Customer Engagement

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We’ve all done it. Bought something either online or in a brick-and-mortar store and given up our email address as part of the sale.

Thus begins a stream of emails that eventually turns into a torrent as retailers seem almost to compete with one another to see which can send the most emails in a week or even a single day. The results of the deluge are mixed, at best.

According to data released Tuesday by brand consultancy Brand Keys, an average consumer’s inbox gets 110 emails a day at home and an average office worker gets an average of 168 a day. Nearly 274 billion emails are pouring out every day. The research also indicates that for most brands, too many emails weakens a consumer’s engagement with the brand and produces less favorable behavior toward the brand. That can translate into fewer sales and lower profits.

The study did not include spam email, just the emails that consumers signed up for when they made a purchase or visited a website.

Of 15 brands included in the Brand Keys study, just four showed a positive emotional response on the part of consumers: Amazon, Apple, Groupon and Old Navy.

The 11 brands that irritated consumers by “emailing incessantly” or “sending too many emails, too frequently” were (listed alphabetically):

  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Best Buy
  • CVS
  • Gap
  • Gilt
  • Home Depot
  • Macy’s
  • Overstock
  • Target
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Walmart

Retailers may want to file this under “A Word to the Wise.” Consumers may want to consider which retailers get access to their email.