Sunday, April 25, 2010

emarketing - emails you'd love to receive? Is it possible?

As I was going through my Yahoo account this morning, I realized it was out of control. Hundreds of unopened emails from a host of great companies trying to solicit my business. And in amongst this sea of company names, emails from friends were being overlooked. This wasn't working. Time to unsubscribe to get incoming mail to a manageable amount.

This made me think....what is it that companies need to do to really stand out and deserve my attention? Most of the emails were like sales flyers, companies selling me what's on promotion. Unless it's big news like, my favourite hiking boots that I've viewed 8 times are now 50% off, I'm really not that interested.

So what is it that companies need to do to generate and keep my interest? In contemplating this question I came across a piece of advice from a relatively unknown (or at least to me) email marketing company called Madmimi

I often feel that the best way to treat your list with respect is to sit and think of yourself for a little while. Think of how important you are to your customers, how your product, service or newsletter improves your readers’ day and even improves their lives.

Great, now you can create an email which shows your passion and, like laughter, passion can be infectious. Imbue your emails with sincerity and your contacts will appreciate you all the more for it.

There’s another side to this idea. Think of yourself some more but this time as if you’re the recipient. What makes you open up an email in your inbox. What makes you click on a link or read it til the end? When do you feel you’re being respected and when do you feel that your email address is taken advantage of (ugh! No one wants to be spammy!).

It’s really helpful to write an email you’d love to receive

I think this is great inspiration and a powerful filter for any email marketing campaign.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Growth and Role of Online in US Retail

There are some tasty tidbits of research recently released from eMarketer and Forrester Research that track the growth and importance of ecommerce as both a shopping and research medium for consumers. eMarketer forecasts that in 2010, US retail e-commerce sales (excluding travel) will climb to more than $152 billion, which is 12.7% higher than 2009.

They also estimate that 162 million people in the US will research products online this year. Of that, over 82% will makes purchases. As big as this number is, the internet still functions mainly as a research tool, capturing only 7.7% of total retail sales. The percent of online buyers will rise as younger aged Internet users, predisposed to e-commerce, replace older users.

The biggest opportunity for retailers is to provide a seamless experience between the web and the store. According to Forrester Research, much of the overall retail sector’s growth in both the US and the EU over the next five years will come from the Internet. “To maximize that growth, eBusiness professionals will have to help enable a multichannel strategy that responds to consumers’ increased desire to hop between the offline and online worlds and their increasing mobile and social behaviors. The retail innovators over the next five years will demonstrate customer enablement across all touchpoints, not just via a PC-based Web browser.”

Despite consumers’ increasing use of the Web to research products before purchasing, most retailers fall short on offering a seamless cross-channel experience. According to Forrester’s data, while 82 percent of US online consumers are satisfied with buying experiences that began and ended in a store, satisfaction drops to 61 percent for consumers who began their research online and purchased in a store.

Here is the US Online Retail Forecast, 2009-2014 (Forrester Research)

* In the US, Web shopping will account for 8 percent of total retail sales by 2014.
* Three product categories dominate online retail: apparel, footwear, and accessories; consumer electronics; and consumer hardware, software, and peripherals. Together, those categories represent more than 40 percent of total online retail sales in the US.
* By 2014, 53 percent of total retail sales in the US will be influenced by eCommerce as consumers increasingly use the Internet to research products before purchasing.