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Retail e-mail marketers filled up US inboxes with more messages than ever in 2009, according to data from Smith-Harmon.
The “Retail Email Year-End Trends for 2009” report describes a 12% overall increase in promotional e-mail messages from top online retailers between 2008 and 2009.
The top days of the week for sending promotional retail e-mails remained mostly the same, though Friday increased in importance while Thursday remained flat. More messages on Friday could be directed at weekend in-store shopping and thus drive offline sales.
Wednesday, while still relatively unpopular among e-mail marketers, saw a large increase in message traffic. Smith-Harmon attributes this rise to the desire to spread messages out as e-mail overload and inbox clutter become more of a problem.
The average number of messages sent from each retailer to its subscribers went up every month of the year, including a jump from 11.3 to 13.2 e-mails in November because of Cyber Monday and the increased importance of Black Friday in the online channel.
How many e-mails is too many? In September 2009, 23% of US Internet users who had unsubscribed from e-mail newsletters told the CMO Council they had done so because of receiving too many to manage; another 16% said they caused clutter in their inbox. Further, 22% said they had decided to stop purchasing from a company because of too many or irrelevant e-mails, and another 41% would consider doing the same.
E-mail marketers could avoid inbox overload by turning to analytics and segmentation to reduce overall message volume.
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