The Return Path study, “Increasing Revenues by Optimizing E-mailing Practices With Online Buyers,” found that 31% of e-commerce companies added customers to their e-mail lists following a purchase without first asking them if that was OK.
Return Path said being scrupulous in asking such permission improves e-mail relevance and reduces both customer complaints and spam-blocking actions that can impair future e-mail campaigns.
The study also found that 58% of e-commerce sites sent an identical first promotional e-mail to buyers as to nonbuyers, missing opportunities to personalize or adapt e-mails to current customers. Even worse, only 15% of online companies used data they received during the purchase process to target subsequent promotional messages to buyers.
Return Path conducted the study by purchasing products on e-commerce sites, as well as by registering but not making a purchase. The company monitored the transactional and promotional message streams, and how they differed depending on whether or not a purchase was made.