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Deals Drive Greater Engagement on Shoppers' Favorite Brand Communication Channel: Email

Consumers are still using email to receive communications from retailers—and those emails that include deal-driven incentives spur engagement among shoppers of all ages.

In a January 2019 survey from omnichannel retail management company iVend Retail, email was the most popular method for internet users worldwide to stay in touch with retailers, more so than via apps or social media.

The popularity of retailer emails skews slightly toward older respondents, as evidenced in a March 2019 report from Alliance Data. Forty percent of Gen Xers said they kept up with retailers via email subscriptions, making them the cohort most likely to do so. Closely trailing at 38%, boomers also welcomed brand communications via email. Fewer millennials and Gen Zers reported the same (34% and 25%, respectively).

However, it should be noted that 63% of the 750 US millennials surveyed by SendinBlue in 2018 said email was their No. 1 channel for communication with retailers.

While these findings vary, they all still point to email as the preferred advertising channel for marketers and consumers alike.

A May 2018 report from Yes Marketing found that marketing emails in Q1 2018 had a healthy unique open rate of nearly 15% in the US. The unique click rate, however, was 1.3%—down from 1.4% in Q1 2017. One way to encourage shoppers to not only open emails, but also follow through with purchases, is by offering new and relevant discounts.

According to a November 2018 study from The Relevancy Group and Zeta Global, 41% of US internet users were most likely to open emails if the subject line offered a discount. And when respondents were asked how brand emails aid in purchasing decisions, being provided the latest discounts and offers was the top response.

Additionally, 59% of millennials in the SendinBlue study said they would take action from emails that contain a "sitewide or product categorywide" promotional offer. And 71% said they’d take action if that email contained things like discount codes or free shipping perks.

The effectiveness of email promotions is further exemplified in a June 2018 survey from email marketing company Sailthru. When US internet users were asked how brand emails have influenced their shopping experiences, nearly one in five said they had redeemed an emailed discount in-store during the past six months.