L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail finds brands are sending a lot of marketing emails, but most are impersonal. The Home & Gift category was the most active in email during the study period (5.4 emails a week on average), bolstered by Williams-Sonoma’s strategy of multiple abandoned cart emails and a welcome email to each new customer. Of all the categories, Forever 21 was the most aggressive, sending more than ten emails a week on average.

More than half of Specialty Retail marketing emails placed a direct call to action about a sale or promotion in the emails, while 43% directed recipients to “shop now.” Just 2.4% of the emails promoted free shipping and even less had a social media call to action.

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Data from the L2 study shows that brands could personalize their emails more. As shown in the graph below, most personalization efforts end at abandoned cart notifications. Just 11% of brands send a birthday email and only 10% include the recipients name in the subject line.

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Even though open rates for marketing emails have been robust, much of the category’s success has leaned on discount promotions (as evident in the charts above). Use of consumer data for to target emails can provide a more sustainable method of capturing consumer interest. To learn more about best practices download L2’s Insight Report on Consumer Engagement: Targeting.

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