Study: Many e-mail campaigns alienate customers, ignore marketing opportunities

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New York—A large proportion of e-commerce companies employ faulty e-mail marketing practices that have the potential to aggravate their customers and sabotage subsequent targeting opportunities, according to a new study by commercial e-mail solutions company Return Path.

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 the customers 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 revealed 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.

—Christopher Hosford

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