Study Confirms: Email is Still the Top Marketing Channel


Regarding digital marketing, retailers have myriad options to explore in driving shoppers to take the ultimate action on their eCommerce stores: buying the products they’re offering. But one digital marketing channel that has consistently done the job better than others is good ol’ email.

Surprised? Don’t take our word for it. DigitalCommerce360 and Bizzare Insights survey reveals that email is still the number one way to influence an online purchase. Here, we break down the collated data from the survey and how you can harness the insights to drive sales.

Why Email Marketing?

Despite all the other marketing channels available, email marketing continues to come out on top. According to the survey of 1,015 online shoppers on what influences their buying decision, general email (44%) comes first, followed by conventional post mail printed materials.

In addition, one in every five online shoppers stated that they are receptive to emails, which positions emails as a strong driving force between your store and consumers’ money. How do we know this? Despite being most retailers’ focal point, SMS marketing and a couple of other channels don’t seem to influence online shoppers as much as email marketing does. Their numbers are as follows:

  • Social media posts (18%)
  • Social Media Influencers (7%)
  • SMS (12%)

These are among the go-to channels for many retailers. So have these businesses been utilizing the wrong marketing channels all this time?

Not quite. Each still works, depending on your target audience, business model, and the products you offer. However, you might want to temporarily nip them in the bud and channel more efforts into emails.

According to the survey,

  • 60% of shoppers are more likely to purchase from a store monthly because they read an email
  • 10% are more likely to do so weekly
  • 6% a few times a week
  • 1% daily
  • 1% multiple times daily

The first purchase is one thing, but how do you turn a consumer into a repeat buyer with email? Let’s see what online buyers from the survey have to say.

Getting Repeat Buyers via Money-Saving Offers

62% of shoppers are likely to open emails about currently available promotions and discounts. While consumers won’t repeatedly purchase all the time in the long run, you can find a way to push such emails occasionally, especially to shoppers who have hit certain milestones in purchases.

The survey further reveals that shoppers will open emails about:

  • Shipping confirmations (52%)
  • Free shipping (37%)
  • Seasonal activities (13%)
  • Loyalty program offers (40%)

With 52% of shoppers more likely to open shipping confirmation emails, embedding products similar to what they’re getting in the confirmation email is a no-brainer. And since free shipping is also a popular way to get a customer’s attention, consider whether you could offer this for certain products in your range, within a certain distance.

You can achieve this easily by using Benchmark Email’s eCommerce tools. Use our drag-and-drop eCommerce block or integrate your Shopify account to promote and sell products from your online store!

Leveraging Social Media for Email Marketing Success

While it makes sense to prioritize email marketing, given the breakdown of data from the survey, social media also deserves your attention.  It’s the most popular channel for you to connect directly with consumers who are not yet subscribing to your communications and get them into your email list.

According to data from the survey, 67% of shoppers report being active on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Having a presence on these channels is a no-brainer for your online store. Especially now that Instagram is adding a payment option to their chat feature.

It’s imperative to understand each platform’s user behavior. Shoppers on social media are driven by discovery and the desire to try out new brands. Two surefire ways to get them to make a purchase and get them into your email lists are promotions and discounts (as well as targeted paid advertisements).

While email marketing influences shoppers’ buying decisions, do not forget the role of a solid social media presence in growing consumers’ interest in your products continually. Try different email strategies and compare their impact on your consumers’ open-rate and buying rate.

The eCommerce industry has had quite a shake-up. And while things often change on a dime, it’s good to know that email marketing is still the most reliable strategy out there. Make sure you prioritize it and tap into some hard-learned lessons from other experts that are sure to keep your audience on their toes. 





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