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63pc would purchase from a mobile email: report

In a sign of the growing role that mobile email is playing for retailers, as many as 63 percent of consumers say they would make a purchase from an email received on a mobile device, according to a new report from BlueHornet.

The “2013 Consumer Views of Email Marketing” report points to the importance of optimizing email for mobile, with  80.3 percent saying they would delete an email that is not optimized for mobile, up from 69.7 percent a year ago. Additionally, 30.2 percent said they would unsubscribe from email after receiving an email not optimized for mobile, up from 18 percent.

“Eighty percent of consumers say they will delete an email that doesn’t look good on their mobile device,” said Susan Tull, vice president of marketing for BlueHornet, San Diego. “The big surprise from our perspective is that 30 percent will then take the extra step to go as far as to unsubscribe from the email program – that’s a big jump from when we asked the same question in 2012.

“Consumers are getting super savvy,” she said. “Several folks said this is 2013, we expect more from companies, they should have their stuff together in this respect.

“If they see an email that looks bad, they will really see it as a negative in terms of brand perception. I also think they are getting really strategic about it, this doesn’t look good, I’m out, I’ve got ten more waiting for me.”

Mobile redemption
Key findings include that 43 percent say they read emails most often on a mobile device.

In some cases the number is even higher, with some of BlueHornet’s clients seeing mobile email rates up to 50 percent and higher. For example, 50 percent of PacSun’s subscribers view the brand’s emails on mobile devices.

Additionally,  83.5 percent say receiving discounts is the most important reason they sign up to receive emails from a company, up from 72.6 percent last year.

The report suggests that consumers also like the idea of using their mobile device to redeem discounts and coupons, with 38.2 percent saying they are somewhat likely to do so, 36 percent extremely likely to do so and 20.5 percent not at all likely.

“It was really interesting that consumers really like the idea of using their mobile device to redeem coupons at point of sale,” Ms. Tull said. “We got some interesting commentary from folks on the street about what is particularly valuable is the ability to take their mobile device to the store and show a discount code or coupon rather than printing out the email and bringing it in.

“I think this is a super quick win for brands that aren’t allowing that capability,” she said. “That they should absolutely start doing that right away.”

Getting it right
The results point to the fact that retailers may only get one chance to get it right with mobile users, with only 13.5 percent of consumers saying they would look at an email that has not been optimized for mobile on their desktop computer, down from 17.7 percent a year ago.

Consumers also report using their mobile device more to manage email, with 20.4 percent always using mobile to sort through email before reading them on desktop, up from 15.8 percent last year, 55.3 percent sometimes using mobile to sort email – up from 52.8 percent – and 24 percent never using mobile to sort email, down from 31.4 percent.

The key takeaways from the report include that it is no longer optional to develop email programs that can be viewed, managed and engaged with on mobile devices.

For example, after implementing responsive design emails, BlueHornet client Global Hotel Alliance saw the opt outs from subscribers who open their emails reduce by half.

In order to deliver a strong mobile experience for email, BlueHornet recommends that marketers keep subject lines relevant and focused on consumer value, and to make it easy for subscribers to redeem coupons from their mobile device.

“Consumers have mobile devices, they are reading their emails on mobile devices, so the emails are going everywhere the consumers are going,” Ms. Tull said.  “It is really not optional anymore to be making decisions about should I or should I not optimize my email for mobile – you really need to do it.

“At the most basic level, that means designing it to look good on the mobile device,” she said. “So using things like responsive design techniques and HTML in the email.

“But you really have to go beyond that. You have to make sure the call-to-action is really simple and clear.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York