Report: Direct E-Mail Promotions Best at Attracting Buyers

While e-tailers have dropped billions this year on traditional advertising,
a report released Wednesday by market research firm says direct
e-mail promotions have been the most effective at driving buyers to
e-commerce sites.

In a survey of 657 online consumers conducted between
December 10 and December 22, 63 percent said they found their e-retailers
by replying to e-mail promotions.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed
said coupons drew them to sites, and 38 percent cited banner advertising as
an influence. Surprisingly, only 29 percent said traditional advertising
had motivated their decision.

“This survey legitimizes the value of opt-in e-mail promotions — they are
not viewed by everyone as spam,” says Irwin Barkan, chairman of

“In fact, e-retailers who relied too heavily on expensive traditional
advertising may have a lot of explaining to do in January when investors
want to know where their money went.”

Shopping bots, according to the survey, are becoming a bigger influence.
Twenty-one percent of respondents said they had found e-tailers through
bots that search for specific products, and 15 percent said they’d used
price bots to find a site.

Once people logged onto a site, the survey shows, 72 percent of those
surveyed used special discount promotions. Sixty-three percent used free
shipping; 58 percent used coupons; and 49 used reward or points programs.

“This data also suggests that e-retailers were correct in spending heavily
on targeted promotional discounting and personalization this holiday
season,” says Barkan.

“We will see in the first half of 2000 how this translates to repeat
business. The jury is out on the financial impact to the e-retailers of
‘buying’ the sales with heavy discounting. Traditional retailers know that
periods of discount must be followed by profitability to avoid disaster.”

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