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Email Still Driving Shopping over Social

Most consumers prefer communications by email

Several retailers can attest to the sometimes overwhelming power of promotional messages on social channels. But despite the hype of viral coupons testing retailers’ agility, studies suggest email is still the more effective promotional channel.

In a survey of shoppers in four states, nearly four in 10 told cross-channel commerce solutions provider CrossView they preferred to receive promotional messages from retailers by email. It was the most popular communications channel, with direct mail drawing about a quarter of respondents and text messaging coming in third with 18%. Just 9% of shoppers were interested in promotional messages on social media.

Preferred Retail Promotion Delivery Method, April 2010 (% of US* in-store shoppers)

Further, none of the shoppers surveyed said they were currently in a store as a result of a promotion they found on social sites. Mailers and in-store signage were followed by email as the promotional channel most likely to get mall shoppers in a particular store.

“Consumers have very definite ideas of how they want to receive promotional materials,” said Mark Fodor, CEO at CrossView, in a statement. “Regardless of which technologies are ‘hot,’ shoppers expect to navigate between channels based on convenience and personal preference.”

The CrossView findings make sense in light of other research on consumer communication preferences. ExactTarget found that more than 90% of adults internet users in every age group subscribed to emails from brands, while significantly fewer “liked” companies on Facebook or followed them on Twitter.

US Internet Users Who Subscribe to Opt-In E-Mails, Are Fans of Brands on Facebook or Follow Brands on Twitter, by Age, April 2010 (% of respondents in each group)

And among those who are social followers, showing public support for a brand can be a major consideration, while email subscribers are most motivated by the desire for promotions.

Data from e-Dialog and Lightspeed Research also showed that marketing emails drive many shoppers to purchase in-store.

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Check out today’s other article, “How Health Info Seekers Harness the Web.”



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