DoubleClick Study: E-Mail Effective for Driving Repeat Purchases

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Permission-based e-mail marketing is effective for building customer relationships, according to a study released yesterday by DoubleClick Inc.'s DARTmail division.

The company's annual "2001 Consumer E-mail" study found that more than 88 percent of consumers have purchased as a result of permission-based e-mail.

It also noted that 70 percent of consumers plan to use e-mail to assist with holiday purchases. They prefer to receive e-mail on a weekly basis, and 77 percent said they appreciate special offers from online merchants.

Not surprisingly, the study also found that Internet users receive twice as much permission-based e-mail than last year, averaging 36 messages per week compared with 18 last year.

The DARTmail survey cautions marketers that the main concerns among consumers are spam and the misuse of personal data, particularly credit card information.

"We know [e-mail] works for marketers," said Court Cunningham, vice president and general manager of DARTmail Technology Solutions. "The most surprising thing [about the study] is that people prefer e-mail as a channel to talk to merchants."

Consumers prefer to have an ongoing relationship with merchants, he said, but want it to be on their own terms.

"Consumers prefer e-mail over a Web site for product information," Cunningham said. "E-mail is a new medium for people to develop relationships."

The DARTmail study also found that 82 percent of consumers made a purchase in the past year as a result of clicking on a link in a permission-based e-mail, up from 61 percent in 2000. Consumers spent an average of $1,023 for the year, up from $750 last year. The study also revealed that 37 percent of shoppers clicked through on e-mail and bought immediately, up from 20 percent in 2000.

"It's important for marketers to note that the majority of people aren't buying directly from the e-mail," Cunningham said. "Most people are buying from a Web site. We are urging our customers not to put so much weight on click throughs. For direct marketers, it is about conversion, not click throughs."

The study was conducted Aug. 24-27 for DARTmail by NFO WorldGroup and is based upon 1,015 respondents.

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