Richard Fouts

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Richard Fouts
Research Vice President
2 years at Gartner
23 years IT industry

Richard Fouts guides digital marketers on best practices for evaluating and deploying emerging digital marketing techniques to ensure marketers make fully informed decisions about their marketing investments. With extensive experience in brand management and marketing communications ... Read Full Bio

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Why Retail Customers Engage More with Email than Social Media

by Richard Fouts  |  November 10, 2013  |  3 Comments

When people say “email is dead” or that “email is no longer effective” it sounds  like classic kill-the-messenger tactics. You wouldn’t permanently abandon your automobile, even though it consistently fails to perform when you enter the expressway at 5pm.

Same with email. You don’t abandon it because you get junk. In fact, consumers prefer to engage with email more than social media when it comes to learning about and shopping for products.

According to Milward Brown’s study of 1,209 internet users, only 7.6% respondents said they never visit a retail site after clicking on the retailer’s email. More than 77% said they do some of the time, with the remaining 15% saying they often or always go to the retailer’s site. 46% of respondents said they never use social media for shopping.

Email’s trump over social media, at least in the retail space, comes down to one thing; personalization.  Years ago, I conducted focus groups around the United States on loyalty. When asked, “why are you loyal to your favorite retailers?” people in five cities across America consistently ranked “because they know me” as their number one answer.

In the digital relationship, this attribute isn’t quite as personal as a human being saying “Hello, Richard .. nice to see you again” when I enter the physical store, but it underscores the most prominent feature of today’s successful marketing: recognition of the customer as an individual versus a faceless member of some larger customer segment.  

Read the full report, Retail Marketing, from AdAge, which contains key findings from the Milward Brown Digital study. 



Category: Digital Marketing     Tags:

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ian Zafra   November 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Richard, I know a lot of brands are focusing on social media these days so it’s interesting to see that email still plays a vital role in engaging retail customers. I agree that personalization encourages loyalty so it’s important for companies to work on personalizing their digital relationship with clients.

  • 2 Dimitry Apollonsky   November 23, 2013 at 4:46 am

    I agree! Email is still a very big part of the marketing experience. Social media is really big right now but never forget the tried and tested email!
    I wrote a blog post titled “Email Marketing Done Right”. Check it out if you have the time. :)

  • 3 Retail customers engage more with email | Marketing Foro   January 20, 2014 at 1:17 am

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