Department stores are feeling less impact from email, as total visits from email dropped by half since April 2017.

Twenty department stores tracked in Gartner L2’s report on the topic send lesser shares of emails with loyalty subject lines than their big box counterparts—despite those emails having higher lift rates. The majority of department stores still over-invest in campaign types that don’t garner the open rates seen from loyalty emails. Most notably, discount emails account for a third of emails sent, while seeing some of the lowest open rates across tracked brands. The 10% of department stores looking to improve segmentation efforts by collecting gender data on onsite newsletter signup barely see effects.

Department stores that utilize personalized emails with subject lines relating to loyalty rewards, benefits and notifications see an average of 24% lift in open rates. Department stores must leverage ongoing relationships with customers to connect relevant loyalty emails to conversion opportunities. Kohl’s, for example, has long sent loyalty emails, but started pairing customer update emails in 2018 with Add To Wallet functionality, as well as connecting users to product pages for private-label items within the text. Department stores must use loyalty email reminders to drive customers back to site for rewards redemption and purchases.

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