Despite 47% of consumers ranking email as their preferred channel for brand communications, over half (55%) ignore marketing emails due to inbox overload, according to a study by Yes Lifecycle Marketing. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

For its Surviving the Retail Apocalypse report, Yes Lifecycle Marketing surveyed over 1,000 consumers of all ages and found that in addition to inbox overload, subscribers ignore marketing emails because of irrelevant product recommendations (50%) and content (41%). The findings indicate that many retailers still fail to understand consumers' preferences in terms of mailing frequency, timing and content.

Even though consumers will ignore emails that fall short of their expectations, 42% reported that they don't unsubscribe from these communications; instead, they scan the subject lines to determine whether they'll open.

"Growing competition and shifting consumer expectations prompt marketers to start delivering more relevant content, better personalization and unique experiences in order to move consumers along each stage of the customer journey - from awareness to loyalty," said Jim Sturm, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. "Brands must get creative with their programs and use the wealth of customer data at their disposal to identify customers' preferences and interests in order to keep them engaged."

The report also revealed that creating data-driven customer experiences remains a major challenge for many retailers. Thirty percent of consumers said they had received recommendations for products they'd already purchased. In addition, one in five (19%) consumers have received messages targeted to the residents of cities they do not live in, indicating that marketers aren't adequately collecting and using customer data to personalize communications.

Additional findings from the report included:

  • Thirty-three percent of subscribers ignore marketing emails if they don't offer a discount or free shipping, and 60% will purchase from emails that offer these incentives.
  • Only 37% of consumers say that the communications they receive from retailers are adequately personalised.
  • Centennials are more likely than all other generations to say they receive too many emails (68%).

"With the dominance of Amazon and shifting consumer behavior, retailers must evolve to meet shopper expectations," said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. "Marketers must find the right technology and service partner to help them identify consumer preferences across channels and build data-driven strategies that capitalize on those preferences."