E-mail opt-outs can be opportunity to engage: EEC

Only 66% of retailers use the e-mail opt-out process to engage subscribers in other options, according to the Email Experience Council’s first annual Retail Email Unsubscribe Benchmark Study.

The study looked at trends in the opt-out process itself — including alternatives to opting out, opt-out methods and friction in the unsubscribe process — to examine the honoring of opt-out requests, including CAN-SPAM compliance. It found that 16% of retailers give those trying to opt-out an opportunity to reduce the frequency at which they receive e-mails and 17% of retailers solicit feedback from those that opt out.

According to the EEC, one of the most important benchmarks for an unsubscribe process should be the single click of the “report spam” button. But according to the study, only 9% of major online retailers employ a one-click unsubscribe process, while another 35% are set up to but don’t.

In recent years, many consumers have used the spam button to unsubscribe from e-mail that they no longer want in response to opt-outs not working. To combat this, the industry is making sure that unsubscribe e-mails are respected.

More than 86% of retailers honored opt-outs within three days, with most of them effective immediately. Another 4% honored opt-outs within seven days, and 3% more within 14 days. Only 1% took more than the CAN-SPAM-sanctioned 14 days to honor unsubscribes, and another 3% of retailers had their opt-out processes fail.

Despite the fact that a consumer is opting out, it is possible for retailers to engage the customer with other options, yet not many retailers are doing this. The study found that 73% of retailers sent no more e-mails after receiving an opt-out request.

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