Presents You Open, Emails You Don’t: Open Rates & the Holidays

Layla Thomas, our summer marketing intern, shares her views on holiday email messages in her latest blog post. You can reach out and say hi to Layla through LinkedIn.  

The early bird may or may not get the worm, but it definitely gets opens.

After reading the material in Listrak’s Holiday Insights Resource Center and hearing about the 40% of people (who are evidently far more prepared than I) that begin purchasing Christmas gifts as early as October, I decided to do a little digging around.

With just a quick look at emails spanning from October to January in 2014, the relationship between emails sent and open rate appeared to be starkly inverse.

In December, the Open Rate sees a substantial dip while the number of emails sent per company is at a seasonal high. Conversely, low sending in October sees extraordinarily high Open Rates. As the holiday season peaks, you can expect recipients to have a lot more emails and lot less free time, seemingly resulting in more discriminatory inbox behavior.

To maximize face time with your shoppers, start the conversation before they’re worrying about the in-laws visiting or ham burning in the oven. With strong content-rich emails that build the relationship now, you’ll have a strong foundation to soften any disengagement the busy month of December may encourage.

What are your holiday email habits? Leave us your thoughts below.

Jingle Bells, Inbox Swells: Sending by Vertical over Holidays

Layla Thomas, our summer marketing intern, shares her views on holiday email messages in her latest blog post. You can reach out and say hi to Layla through LinkedIn.

When you intern at a company like Listrak, you expect to see a lot of emails. But when I found out I had read over 19,000 for just one project…well, I still wasn’t prepared for that.

To escape the confines of my inbox for a little while, I thought I’d look for the light at the end of the tunnel: When does email sending slow down?

With this throwback to the holiday months of 2014, I came to three conclusions.

1. Pets chase mailmen, emails chase pets.
After picking the verticals I wanted to review, I was surprised to see that pet supply companies sent the most email per company—over 100 on average-- for the four-month period examined. Following not-so-close behind, we see the verticals of Office Supplies, Education, and Apparel/Accessory retailers.

2. When December comes, I’m hiding from my inbox.

Roughly 61% of verticals reviewed had their sending peak in December. With more emails in the inbox and consumer spending at a seasonal high, you can expect competition to skyrocket. Will your email be the one recipients remember?

(Hint: If you’re not feeling so confident that you will crush the competition this holiday, check out Listrak’s Holiday Resource Center. We’ll get you up to snuff.)

3. Skip the New Year’s Party and inventory your office supplies.
For a new angle, I stacked months side-by-side. While seeing Toy/Hobbies/Sporting Goods spike in December wasn’t too unexpected, I was shocked to see that the Office Supplies vertical saw the highest spike—and in January, of all times.

We you surprised by any of these industry sending habits? Drop us a comment below— we’d love to hear from you.

Internet Retailer Exclusive: Targeted sales pitches rank high on shoppers' holiday wish lists

Listrak just released the results of a research study on consumers' and retailers' plans for this holiday season. Internet Retailer published exclusive coverage of the results in the article below. Download the full report for all the details. 

By Sandra Guy, senior editor, Internet Retailer

E-retailers need to collect data because shoppers want personalized messages, a Listrak study shows.

Online retailers had better rev up their big-data engines this holiday season because shoppers want personalized pitches to help make the harried gift-giving ritual more convenient, a new study shows.
More than half (56%) of consumers surveyed by Listrak say they expect retailers to use what the retailers know from their past interactions and purchases to personalize gift-giving ideas, no matter what device they’re shopping on. The Harris Poll conducted the survey online among 2,019 adults from June 4-8.
“Retailers clearly need to be collecting as much consumer data as possible, both online and in-store, and most importantly, have the ability to tie the on-line and in-store behavior of the merchandise they’ve looked at or interacted with to email marketing in both their promotional and triggered email campaigns,” says Ross Kramer, CEO of the Lititz, Pa.-based digital marketing platform company.
Consumers no longer find personalization spooky or invasive, Kramer says.
“Our studies have shown a fourfold increase in clicks on products that were last browsed,” he says. In my experience, consumers have found it very helpful, thinking, ‘Hey, there’s the shirt I was looking at for Uncle Fred, and it’s on sale.’”
The study shows that retailers have a ways to go before they are prepared for theholiday, Kramer says. “Shockingly, 46.77% do not plan to use online behavioral data at all to personalize email this holiday season, which is clearly a huge missed opportunity,” he says. Listrak surveyed 125 retailers, including its clients and others on its marketing list, for the retailer portion of the study.
Of those who plan to use clickstream data to personalize email messages, 45.16% of retailers will use products most recently browsed; 40.32% will rely on category, department and/or brand most recently browsed; and 32.26% will turn to the last online browse date.
The importance of mobile devices is another potential soft spot for retailers, the study shows. One in five shoppers (20%) plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping on a tablet or a smartphone. The most likely shoppers to do so are ages 18 to 34, at 31%. More women than men (36% versus 22%) use mobile devices for holiday shopping.
Though 70.9% of retailers surveyed provide responsively designed websites, which render content properly on mobile as well as desktop screens, to enhance shoppers’ mobile experience, just 12.9% offer a mobile shopping app.
As for digital marketing channels, consumers rated three as about equally influential: 67% find search engine marketing to be very or somewhat useful, while 66% give a thumbs-up to retailer emails and product recommendations on retailers’ websites.
Once again, retailers show a disconnect with shoppers, with 41.38% expecting high return on investment from social media, and 15.52% from website personalization, compared with 67.24% who expect high ROI from email, the study shows.
Not a single retailer expected high ROI from investing in mobile alerts this holiday season, and 62.07% say they expect no such ROI, Kramer says. Of the retailers surveyed, 56% sell only online and operate no stores; 16% operate one store; 16.8% have two to 25 stores; 3.2% operate 26 to 50 stores; 4 percent have 51 to 100 stores; 0.8% have 101-200 stores; 1.6% have 301 to 400 stores; 0.8% have 401 to 500 stores, and 0.8 percent operate more than 100 stores.
Other findings:
  • Only 9% of consumers plan to use social media to help plan their shopping list, yet 25% report that social media is one of the best resources for retailers to reach them in November and December. As for retailers, 12.07% expect their social media investment to produce high ROI, yet twice as many—24.14 expect no return for the social media investment.
  • Email produces the highest ROI of all digital channels. Yet more than one-third (35%) of shoppers who subscribe to receive email from retailers say they mostly ignore or delete the growing number of emails they receive during the holiday season. But 20% say they’re fine with any number of emails from retailers, as long as the messages are personalized based on shopping and browsing behavior.