The Changing Role Of Email Marketing In E-Commerce

Although the impact of email has dropped in e-commerce, it remains and essential part of any store’s strategy in engaging and encouraging repeat customers.

Our email inboxes today are a personal space environment. It’s where everything from love letters to job offers and family updates arrive. Competition for space in buyers minds is fierce, and email marketing has to evolve, but there is still a place for email in e-commerce as long as it’s used in the right way.

What has caused a drop in email marketing rates?

It was reported last year by Monetate that the impact of email on E-commerce sales is dropping dramatically, from 4.22% in Q3 2012 to 2.53% in Q3 2013. We believe this is thanks in part to the impact of the “Promotions” tab in Gmail accounts and engagement but also to the growing impact of other channels like SMS and social media, as well as the growth in the overall volume of email.

Email still outperforming social media

Despite the drop, the fact remains conversion rates are still good, especially compared to Facebook and Twitter, where only 16% of fans will see your posts, Facebook’s strategy to make more from paid advertising. So, e-commerce retailers need to adapt their email strategies accordingly:

The new world of email marketing

Email marketing for e-commerce can be divided in two ways now. Keeping in touch with past purchasers is of course vital. The successful email marketing will focus on supporting the editorial of the store, to engage and build up trust, rather than fire out ‘promotions’ all the time.  Think of it as a way to grow your blog audience reach. NiceKicks, the US trainer store is a great example of this. They boast a readership of 3.7million unique visitors per month, average eight pages per visit, partly attributed to their engaging emails.

The second way is for event-triggered responses, like abandoned cart and transactional emails. This is a great opportunity to show personality, the trick is to get the right message out at the right time. Harry’s, the razor startup that has had extraordinary success, sends congratulatory emails that are full of handy tips, to start the relationship with new customers.

Coupons and discounts

Another way that email marketing is evolving into a far superior method of helping to boost sales and profits is through the use of coupons sent directly to customers. Companies that operate such programmes are in effect rewarding their customers while also encouraging them to make new purchases. Customers can simply print off the coupons or show the email on their smartphone at the time of purchase, in order to avail of the discount.

According to research by the Direct Marketing Association, up to 70% of people who receive coupons or similar discounts via email use them; an extremely high conversion rate. Other findings uncovered by the association's research showed that 60 percent of people who subscribe to email marketing lists do so for special offers and 80 percent of those surveyed said they received email marketing messages every day.

With these solid figures and overwhelming interest in companies’ products, services and offers, it’s clear that email marketing has transformed into an altogether more robust sales communication tool, one that has surpassed spam and will surely be around for a long time to come.

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