While high-end Fashion brands frequently hesitate to send large volumes of marketing emails, luxury Department Stores display no such scruples, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores. Both Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus send 10-14 emails per week, four times the average of immediate peers.
However, quantity rarely means quality. For example, Kohl’s has the highest email reach in the Index, with a list containing roughly 19 million addresses — five times the Index average. Yet Kohl’s emails have low inbox placement and read rates compared to other brands. In contrast, David Jones personalizes email campaigns, sending modified messages to smaller, segmented groups. As a result, David Jones emails have a 31.1% read rate, the second highest across Index brands.
Furthermore, many Index brands miss major opportunities to motivate purchase through trigger emails, such as those relating to cart abandonment. While this type of email has a 44% open rate, less than one-quarter of Index brands responded to on-site cart abandonments with a trigger email during the study period. For the 12 brands that did send such emails, many were delayed. Only 25% sent them within one day of cart abandonment, while 42% sent the messages more than 48 hours later — making purchase increasingly unlikely.
Yet the fact that so many retailers consistently rely on email as a marketing tool remains promising overall. Unlike social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, email is favored by multiple demographics. Over 70% of millennials and adults aged 33-44 open a promotional email at least once a week, suggesting that the strategy can aid Department Stores as they continue the transition into digital.