Your customers get too many emails, and most of it is noise

We thought it’d be interesting to ask our following question in a survey about customer expectations: “Do you receive the value you perceived when you signed up for these email newsletters from your favorite retail stores?”

Some of the responses we received shed a great deal of light on how these messages are received:

  • “No, they are annoying and don’t usually contain relevant information. They are much too frequent.”
  • “Usually the deals I receive aren’t for items I’m looking for, so I don’t usually use them.”
  • “No, the deals are often not what I’m looking for at the time, it’s too many e-mails with too little purpose.”
  • “I feel that I subscribed to too many emails and sometimes the savings from these emails is not worth all the hassle I have to go through sorting them.”
  • “I get so many emails from retail stores that it’s overwhelming. I like to know when things are on sale, but it seems like there’s something new every day that I just have to delete.”
  • “Honestly, no. I feel that most retailers are just annoying, and tend to spam me with ‘offers’ that I don’t really want or need. Some retailers send far too many emails, and some just send emails with no offers, just a blatant attempt to get me back to their site. That can get annoying.“
  • “It depends on the retailer, but if the retailer doesn’t offer good deals I remove them from my list. I’ll keep the good ones on my email list.”
  • “I get way too many emails from companies trying to sell me things. They used to be interesting. Now it’s just annoying and I delete them without looking.”

See some consistency in that feedback? Clearly, the overwhelming volume of email and the poor relevance of the content to each user seem to be broad concerns. There is low-hanging fruit in this context that retailers can easily leverage and benefit from but the first step is for retailers to view email as a relationship-builder and invest in that relationship for the long haul.

Optimizing for the short-term click or maximizing sales influenced by email doesn’t always align well with that bigger objective and it is important to recognize that and take corrective action.
The call to action for retailers is fairly straight-forward: Build the relationship, foster loyalty by demonstrating clear and consistent value to your consumers and the benefit you derive over the long haul will significantly outdo any short-term gains. Any attempts to short-circuit this path will only alienate your customers.

It is not all gloom and doom however, and one must see this more as an opportunity than a challenge. The willingness to sign up for email is a clear signal that they’d like to see the retailer engage with them, and addressing these concerns opens up huge opportunities to further that relationship.

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