Mobile shoppers respond to e-mails designed with them in mind

January 5, 2015 01:05 PM

Like retail sites, e-mail isn’t just for desktop PCs anymore.

53% of total e-mail opens occurred on a mobile phone or tablet in Q3 2014, according to the quarterly e-mail benchmarking report from Experian Marketing Services, up from 48% in Q2. And 50% of multichannel retailers’ total e-mail clicks in Q3 came from smartphones or tablets. Another study from e-mail marketing services provider Yesmail Interactive finds orders via mobile e-mail increased 40% from Q2 2013 through Q2 2014.

Retailers today have a range of options to cater to on-the-go e-mail readers. Some are creating responsive e-mails that adapt to the size of the consumer’s screen. Other more advanced retailers are pioneering a still-emerging approach called “deep linking” that connects e-mail directly to a retailer’s mobile app.

Footwear retailer Crocs Inc., No. 219 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide began implementing responsive design e-mails in mid-2013 that change the look of online content to render well on the size of the screen the consumers is using. Smartphone e-mail click-through rates are up 120% year over year during Q4 2014, says Kelsey Vendetti, e-mail marketing manager. E-mail visits from tablets are up 16%, according to data from Custora, its e-mail marketing services vendor, she adds.

“Our customer base is primarily women on the go, and the time, effort and cost put into optimizing e-mail for mobile devices is a direct result of seeing the site data,” Vendetti says. “Year over year we’ve seen visits from mobile devices in the e-mail channel increase more than 300%. Because our data supports this initiative it’s a no-brainer that we need to move forward with mobile initiatives.”

Crocs says on average 32% of visitors come from smartphones and 17% from tablets. However, Vendetti says there has not been quite as much a shift in revenue: 13% of revenue stems from smartphones, she says, and 17% of revenue comes from tablets.

A more advanced and emerging technology called “deep linking” is another technique retailers are using to derive more opens, clicks and revenue from e-mail opened on mobile devices. Deep linking takes a shopper who clicks a link in an e-mail on her smartphone or tablet, and who has that retailer’s app on her device, directly to the appropriate page within the app. The advantage is that consumers typically convert at a higher rate in retail apps than on mobile web sites. Most retailers offer the shopper a more roundabout route: They direct her to the home page of a mobile site, and let her find the product that piqued her interest., No. 81, whose mobile sales account for more than 50% of total sales, is one retailer that’s adopted deep linking. Taking shoppers who have the Rue La La app directly into that app from e-mail has improved the conversion rate by 10%, says Arash Hadipanah, senior mobile product manager.

Rue La La however, is one of just a few large e-commerce and m-commerce retailers using the advanced mobile marketing tactic, which requires an app that’s designed to support links from e-mail. 82% of the top 50 e-retailers in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide with both an Apple iOS app and an Android app have apps that are not compatible with deep linking, according to mobile marketing and mobile search engine optimization firm Pure Oxygen Labs LLC.





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