Weekend e-mail drives weekend sales: eTail roundtable

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WASHINGTON - Vertical targeting and e-mail timing were two big topics that retailers asked about at the roundtable discussions of this year's e-mail marketing preview day at eTail East.

The preview day drew about 100 executives from retail chains and e-mail service providers to share their how-tos and dos and don'ts in retail e-mail.

In a roundtable discussion, CheetahMail executives Russell Garter and Sara Ezrin both of whom are in charge of client services at the ESP, gave e-mail advice to retailers in different verticals, including Jay Allen, business analyst at electronic retailer Vann's Electronics.

"Electronics is a difficult market because once someone has purchased a TV they are generally out of market," Ezrin explained. "But warranty e-mails tend to be a good reason to send to your customer and keep your brand in front of them."

Other retail executives included Scott Rich, manager of Internet projects at Victoria's Secret, and Alan Murphy, vice president of luxury linens company Pioneer Linens.

When it comes to e-mail, Saturday and Sunday have higher open and click-through rates than any weekday, even though these weekend days see less overall volume since most e-mail is sent on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the executives.

One trick for retailers looking to drive business to their stores over the weekend is to send e-mail out on Thursday. CheetahMail client Borders does this and sees the results in its stores on Saturdays and Sundays.

For those retailers looking to drive traffic online, the weekend e-mail can compete with the Sunday circular. Target sends Sunday morning e-mail with special offers to drive business to its Web site and compete with other offers that require a customer to go into a store.

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