For years, we’ve all been used to inboxes bursting at the seams with promotional email. But increasingly disgruntled recipients are starting to make their voices heard, and as a result online retailers are beginning to cut the amount of junk mail they send.
A report in the New York Times suggests that the change of heart — which might currently be difficult for consumers to notice — could change our inboxes for good. According to the report, the amount of e-commerce spam sent out by the top 100 online retailers has shot up by 87 per cent since 2007, and some companies now manage to send out over 500 emails a year to each of their customers. But that’s changing, reports the New York Times:
…there are signs of customer burnout. A study of its retail clients by email marketing firm Harte-Hanks found that since 2007, the rates at which recipients open retail emails and click on links have declined. In the first six months of 2007, consumers opened 19% of the retail emails they received and clicked through to the website 3.9% of the time. By the first half of 2011, those numbers shrank to 12.5% and 2.8%, respectively.
Some retailers are finding that sending fewer emails can pay off. Since cutting back its volume, Nicole Miller has seen the rate at which customers “unsubscribe”-or request to stop receiving emails-drop, and the percentage of recipients who open the emails has grown from 15% to 40%, according to Andrea Marron, director of digital strategy at the company. Meanwhile, the percentage of online sales that began with an email has grown to 17% from 10%.
Interestingly, unsubscribe rates have hardly changed since 2007, which means that on some level — even if we bitch and moan about them — we don’t seem to mind being flooded with promos enough to actually do anything about them. [New York Times]