Oct 07, 2013

New Research Uncovers Which Email Promotions Generate the Most Revenue for Online Retailers

New Research Uncovers Which Email Promotions Generate the Most Revenue for Online Retailers - Retention Science

Data Based on More than 100M Transactions Reveals Free Shipping Offers Sent Later in the Day Maximize Customer Conversion

As innovators in retention marketing, we have released new research today that identifies the types of promotional offers that work best ' and when they should be sent ' to generate maximum revenue for online retailers. The data was derived from an analysis of 100 million online transactions, 20 million user profiles and 100 email campaigns.

Email Conversion Rates Time of DayEmail Conversion Rates Day of Week

We found that, while consumers shop online in the afternoon and evening (65 percent), most promotional emails are sent first thing in the morning, hitting consumers when they aren't in the buying mood (chart shown above left).

What's more, although there is some variation by industry, the data showed that promotional offers sent on Tuesdays and Fridays perform best (28 and 26 percent conversion, respectively). Saturday was the lowest-performing day of the week with just 3 percent conversion rates, followed by Sunday with 6 percent (chart shown above right).

SwayChic, a women's fashion retailer with six physical stores located on the West Coast and a robust online presence, recently experienced the benefits of modifying its email campaign timing. Since the retailer switched to Tuesday evening promotional emails three months ago, it has seen revenues increase by 300 percent.

"Online retailers are hungry for insights into when, how and where their customers are buying, particularly as we enter the holiday season," said data scientist Chris Gore. "By leveraging big data we are able to help them deliver the right offers at the right times, thus enabling our customers to not only acquire new customers, but more importantly, retain existing ones."

Free Shipping vs Percent Off
The research also revealed that free-shipping offers trump percent-off offers in terms of conversion (chart shown above). Free shipping offers convert at rates between 0.22 percent and 1.9 percent, making them twice as effective as price-reduction offers, which covert at rates between 0.1 percent and 0.8 percent.

"Based on guidance from Retention Science, we began offering our customers individually tailored offers based on their preferences," said Jack Lin, owner of BikeBerry, one of the largest online stores for bikes and accessory kits. "Since we made this change, we have seen a 200 percent increase in conversion, which has translated into a 133 percent increase in existing customer spending. After working with Retention Science for one year, existing customer spending now contributes twice as much to my total revenue."

Subscription Commerce Conversion Rates
In addition, our research reveals that conversions (chart shown above) resulting from subscription email newsletters predominantly occur during the first 14 days of the subscription period (89 percent). The first and third days of subscription deliver the highest rates, with 23 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

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