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Survey: Many E-Tailers Not Planning Post-Holiday Follow-up E-Mails

Three out of five respondents to a DM News survey conducted by e-mail delivery firm Accucast will not target every consumer on their recipient list after the Christmas holidays.

Sixty-two percent in the DM News/Accucast survey of 52 retailers and travel marketers aren’t planning any post-holiday e-mails. The rest will reach out to all consumers to share post-holiday specials, including a Web site offer like, “Give yourself a gift and get a discount.”

However, all respondents — who are clients of Atlanta-based Accucast — said they would not deliver special campaigns to consumers based on their shopping activity. This includes those consumers who purchased, didn’t purchase or those who abandoned their shopping carts. But some will e-mail customers to thank them for holiday purchases.

Accucast’s clients include a mix of discount chains, catalogers, Internet-only retailers and travel marketers in categories including hardware and home improvement, apparel, online savings and rebates and traditional retailers.

Of those who plan to target consumers with post-holiday e-mails, 50 percent will provide incentives like giveaways and percentage or dollar discounts. One respondent will offer consumers cash back for products brought through its portal.

When asked, 50 percent of the respondents said they provided incentives in the past. One retailer said it has had a promotion going on for double cash back in one store every day until the holidays. Other respondents had previously offered free shipping and discounts based on campaign and time of year. Some offered loyalty points for certain purchases.

The last question yielded the most surprising answer. The respondents were asked, “Are post-holiday sales important to your holiday revenue?” A whopping 62 percent said no.

“For business-to-business companies, there’s nothing in post-holiday sales,” said Accucast chief marketing officer Tricia Robinson. “But for retailers and people who drive e-commerce, that’s where you see the uptick. Keep in mind that we have a lot of clients who drive travel e-commerce, so post-holiday is not a big time for them.”

That said, the beginning of November through the second week of January is still the most important shopping season for retailers. Post-holiday, e-mail marketers should consider the ease of doing follow-up campaigns based on the behavior exhibited, Robinson said.

But Accucast hasn’t noticed major behavioral change this holiday season versus the last.

“There’s not a lot of difference between the ’05 and ’04 strategy for the holiday season,” Robinson said. “Which means they’re not leveraging the technology and thinking creatively about holiday strategies for e-mail marketing.”

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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