Office heads retail email marketing ‘roll of shame’

Source: Online | ByLine:Jenny Hoffbrand | Publication date: 21 Feb 2008

Shoe chain Office tops the ‘roll of shame’ when it comes to sloppy email marketing practice , in a damning report which also exposes nearly half (46 per cent) of retailers fail to comply with the most basic legal requirements.

The benchmarking report, entitled ‘Hitting The Mark’, judges brands across 20 criteria, including deliverability, response rates and legality. It claims most companies are making significant failings by neglecting to use the channel to its full potential and ignoring best practice guidelines.

Office is followed on the roll of shame by Lidl, H&M, on joint second, then Expedia and Somerfield. Topshop emerges as the retailer making best use of the channel, followed by STA Travel, Asda, Marks & Spencer, and Thomson.

But with spam accounting for up to 95 per cent of all emails sent, the report says it is now more crucial than ever for marketers to get their message across.

Key failings identified include minimal or ineffective design, inappropriate landing pages and lack of targeting.

Alarmingly, only one in five retailers uses information about customer preferences to tailor email content.

The report also shows that basic legal requirements to display a company’s registration number and office address in all email marketing are being flouted by 46 per cent of brands.

dotMailer business development director Tink Taylor, who is a member of the DMA(UK) Email Marketing Council, comments: “Our study is eye-opening in demonstrating that many retailers are failing to realise the full potential of email as a sophisticated direct marketing channel, offering vast scope for targeted and measurable communications.

“ISPs are filtering out marketing emails and consumers are becoming more selective in the way they view, read and delete emails. Email marketing is complex and if we simply ignore the best practice guidelines or are not aware of the issues involved then we fail to maximise every opportunity that email offers.”