Permission-Based E-mail Affects Purchase Decisions

Much as consumers dislike being spammed, an Epsilon study released this week says those who’ve signed up to receive “permission-based e-mail” from retailers are happy to get it.

In the polling (fielded last October) of people who’ve opted in to receive such e-mails, 56 percent of respondents said the messages make them more likely to buy from a store that sent them. Nearly as many (52 percent) said the e-mails give them a more favorable opinion of the store, and 48 percent feel “more loyal” toward the retailer as a result of the messages.

Of course, not all such e-mails work equally well. “Specifically, consumers want content and offers based on their personal online behavior such as Web site and browsing activity and past purchases,” said the report. “This suggests that generic e-mail blasts are less effective.”

Epsilon (whose own services include permission-based e-mail marketing) said retailers’ e-mails have come to serve a role akin to that of digital catalogs, alerting consumers to new products. Along those lines, 87 percent of respondents agreed that e-mail “is a great way for me to hear about new products available from retail companies.”

Elsewhere in the survey, 88 percent of respondents said a retailer’s e-mail has prompted them to download/print out a coupon; 75 percent said it has led them to buy a product online, and 67 percent said it has prompted an offline purchase; 60 percent have been moved to “try a new product for the first time.”