MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Study: One-fifth of emails never hit shopper inboxes

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

With 20% of emails being filtered into spam folders, retail marketers are missing out on the opportunity to drive an ROI from email.

This was according to “2017 Deliverability Benchmark Report,” a study from data solutions provider Return Path. The report analyzed 2 billion brand emails.

According to the study, just 80% of email is delivered to the inbox, while the remainder is diverted to spam folders or gets blocked altogether. While this is consistent with the company’s 2016 and 2015 benchmarks, which reported a 79% global inbox placement rate, these filtered messages still keep marketers from driving meaningful revenue from the email channel.

Email marketers in the United States saw the lowest inbox placement of any country analyzed, with just 77% of messages reaching subscribers. On a positive note, this is a jump from 73% in 2016.

Meanwhile, Canadian marketers achieved one of the highest inbox placement rates in this study, with an average of 90%. For the second year in a row, Australian marketers maintained average inbox placement of 90% — tying with Canada for the best result in the study.

Marketers in European countries generally exceeded the global inbox placement rate, with averages of 82% (France and Spain) and 84% (UK). Of the European countries studied, only Germany fell slightly below the global average with 79% inbox placement, data revealed.

Looking at inbox placement by industry, the best results were found in sectors with strong account-based consumer relationships, such as banking & finance (94%), distribution & manufacturing (92%), and travel (90%).

When analyzing the retail category, clothing/apparel marketers find it hardest to connect with consumers. These marketers saw an inbox placement rate of 85%, compared to 93% the previous year.

“Email remains the most popular and effective channel available to marketers, so it’s more important than ever to get it right. If your emails aren’t reaching the inbox, you’re missing out on an opportunity to build relationships and generate ROI,” said Return Path president George Bilbrey. “But email filtering continues to evolve, as mailbox providers apply increasingly sophisticated algorithms to deliver only the content their users truly want.”

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FINANCE

Kohl’s looking better in Q2

BY Marianne Wilson

Increased traffic gave a boost to Kohl's, which reported sales and earnings that topped analysts’ estimates in the second quarter.

The company's net income rose to $208 million, or $1.24 per share, in the quarter ended July 29, from $140 million, or 77 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Net sales declined 1%, to $4.14 billion. It was the chain's sixth straight quarter of decline. Same-store sales fell 0.4%, not as steep as analysts had expected, compared to a drop of 1.8% last year.

"The traffic momentum that we saw in the combined March/April period accelerated in the second quarter," stated Kohl's chairman and CEO Kevin Mansell. "Though transactions for the quarter were lower than last year, July transactions increased. We are also excited by the sequential sales trend improvement in all our lines of business, all geographic regions, and in both our proprietary and national brand portfolios. Gross margin and SG&A expenses were consistent with our expectations and we are seeing benefits from our ongoing inventory initiatives and the early stages of our cost-saving initiative."

GlobalData Retail analyst Anthony Riva said that even though Kohl's sales continue to decline, the results are still encouraging.

"The much smaller dip in revenues indicates that the business is going in the right direction and has gained momentum since the start of the year," he said. "Meanwhile, Kohl's ongoing work on expense reduction and more careful management of inventory continues to boost profit lines."

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FINANCE

Macy’s makes progress in Q2

BY Marianne Wilson

Macy's appears to be making some headway in its turnaround efforts, reporting second quarter sales and profit that topped estimates. But the retailer still reaffirmed its downbeat guidance for the year.

Net income increased to $116.0 million, or 38 cents per share, up from $11.0 million, or 3 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings per share was 48 cents.

Sales totaled $5.55 billion for the quarter, better than expected, down 5.4% from $5.87 billion last year. Same-store sales on an owned basis fell 2.8%, the 10th straight quarter of decline, and were down 2.5% on an owned-plus-licensed basis. The declines were not as bad as analysts had expected.

"Macy's second quarter numbers come as a relief," said analyst Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData. “Certainly, a same-store sales decline of 2.8% is far from good, but it is one of the better performances Macy's has turned in over recent periods. Of course, the question is whether this gentler decline represents a genuine turning point for Macy's, or whether it is simply a bottoming out after years of sharp deterioration." (For more, click here.)

Macy's new CEO Jeff Gennette said the company's second quarter performance benefitted from a notable contribution related to the full execution of its new women’s shoe and jewelry models and the continued successful testing of its off-price Backstage format in Macy's stores. He also said he anticipated the fall launch of a new loyalty program and the new marketing strategy will further improve Macy's sales trend in the back half of the year."

"We are working with a mindset of continuous improvement and will adapt our business in order to reach our goal of stabilizing the brick-and-mortar business while investing for accelerated growth in digital and mobile," Gennette stated. “Key to this strategy is engaging our customers with an improved experience that includes more elevated and exclusive assortments, a better integration of technology both online and in the store, and additional enhancements intended to drive traffic and sales. There is still work ahead of us, however, I’m encouraged by the progress we’re making on overall performance.”

Looking ahead, Macy's expects comparable sales for the full year to decline by 2.2% to 3.3%.

Total sales are expected to be down by 3.2% to 4.3%, and earnings and expected to fall within $3.37 and $3.62 per share.

Macy's opened 16 freestanding Bluemercury beauty stores and 12 Macy's Backstage stores in existing Macy's stores during the second quarter.

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