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Study: E-mail Campaigns Drive Store Choice, Retail Shopping Behavior

DALLAS -- The receipt of permission-based e-mail makes shoppers more likely to do business with a retailer, in addition to generating a more favorable opinion of the retailer and even a stronger sense of loyalty to that brand, according to the latest Epsilon research.

According to Epsilon's nationwide survey of consumers, 56 percent of recipients of permission-based e-mail from retail companies said they are more likely to make purchases from the sending retailers. More than half (52 percent) have a more favorable opinion of the retail companies that send them email because of the communications they receive. Nearly half (48 percent) feel more loyal toward the retailers and their products as a result of receiving permission-based emails.

"While e-mail marketing programs have become standard in the retail industry, measuring the impact of e-mail communications on offline sales and the lasting impressions of brands is not common," said Kevin Mabley, senior vice president of Epsilon Strategic Services, based here. "The research we conducted expands beyond just online behavior and measurable activities and demonstrates the offline implications and branding 'halo' effect of e-mail marketing."

The research also noted 87 percent of respondents who receive permission-based e-mail from retail companies said e-mail is a great way to learn about new products. Additionally, 63 percent of people who receive permission-based e-mail from retail companies said they want to receive personalized content based on their Web site activity and past purchases.

Epsilon's e-mail branding study was based on a mid-October 2008 survey of 1,517 consumers. ROI Research of Lancaster, Pa., conducted the survey. The survey explored the general impact of permission-based e-mail marketing, as well as specific vertical product categories, including retail, travel, financial services, consumer packaged goods and pharmaceuticals/healthcare.

In other key retail findings, 88 percent of respondents who received permission-based e-mail from a retailer downloaded or printed a coupon; 79 percent clicked a link in an e-mail to learn more. Three-fourths purchased a product online, while 69 percent researched retail locations that carry a product.

Almost seven in 10 (67 percent) purchased a product offline and 60 percent tried a new product for the first time. And, 55 percent shared a coupon or forwarded the e-mail while one-third said they typed or copied a URL into their browser.
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