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Amazon misses the mark with unoptimized Black Friday email

Amazon and seven other retailers failed to optimize their Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails for mobile, missing a key opportunity, according to a new report from LightningBuy.

LightningBuy’s Mobile Email Scorecard found that only 35 percent of 60 of the largest Internet retailers sent mobile-optimized emails promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Another report from Yesmail showed that these retailers are definitely missing the mark, since mobile emails lead to purchases more often than desktop email.

“In some organizations the email department is separate from the mobile department and because of this decentralization you have this disconnect,” said Carissa Ganelli, CEO/founder of LightningBuy, Bridgeport, CT.

“Email has been around since roughly 1993, so people in charge of email have really honed it based on 20 years of experience,” she said. “Mobile is very new, and they’re just learning. Some organizations, there isn’t communication. When you add to it who’s responsible for mobile marketing versus mobile Web site you get a third element. Whether you have a mobile-optimized email, and whether it goes to a mobile site.

“Amazon has an incredibly robust mobile site, but none of their emails go to their mobile site and when you consider how many people check their email on mobile — over 70 percent.”

Mobile scorecard
LightningBuy scored the top 60 Internet retailers by looking at whether or not the email was optimized for mobile as well as the links that the email directed users to.

The 15 retailers who were declared winners in mobile email are Athleta, Banana Republic, Gilt, Groupon, J.Crew, Kmart, Neiman Marcus, OfficeMax, Puritan’s Pride, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears, Target, The Home Depot, Nordstrom and Rue La La. These retailers all sent mobile-optimized holiday emails that directed users to mobile-optimized pages.

The nine losing retailers are Amazon, Ashford, Baby Gap, Banana Republic Factory Store, Bergdorf Goodman, Cusp by Neiman Marcus, Horchow, PCMall and Snapfish. These retailers sent non mobile-optimized emails that led to non mobile-optimized versions of their sites.

Three of those retailers — Amazon, Baby Gap and Banana Republic Factory Store — even have mobile Web sites, but their emails still directed to non-optimized sites.

Thirty of the remaining retailers had non mobile-optimized emails that led to mobile-optimized sites. Six had mobile-optimized emails that led to non-optimized sites, despite the fact that four of them have mobile-optimized sites.

According to Ms. Ganelli, there is not enough communication between the retailers’ various departments. The email department and the mobile department are not working together, and as a result, the retailer is missing out on mobile engagement.

When a consumer receives an email that is not optimized for mobile, he or she is very likely to disregard the email or delete it. If the email is optimized for mobile, but directs to a non-optimized site, the consumer is still likely to abandon once he or she gets to the page.

With the majority of consumers opening emails on a mobile device, retailers simply cannot miss out on this opportunity.

“Seventy-six percent are checking their emails from the phones first,” Ms. Ganelli said. “You need to make a good first impression. If I see something on my phone that’s too small to read and I know it’s a promotional email, then I’m going to delete it. I think that’s a missed opportunity.

“More than that is what it says about the brand and company,” she said. “Eighty percent of non-optimized emails will be deleted without being read. Thirty percent of consumers will be so annoyed that they will take the additional step and unsubscribe entirely. So companies that spend all this money building lists, that’s a big waste of marketing spend.”

Email conversion
Yesmail Interactive’s recent report bolsters the need for retailers to get it right on mobile email.

The report showed that every mobile click from an email drives $7.14 in revenue, while desktop clicks from emails drive only $3.26. Additionally, once they have already made a purchase, mobile shoppers are just as likely to be repeat purchasers.

Yesmail also found that across all industries, more than 16 percent of sales driven by email happen on a mobile device.

Additionally, in the last three months, the number of email subscribers who view emails exclusively on their mobile device has grown by almost 50 percent.

Retailers cannot afford to miss out on these prime consumers.

“Since a mobile device is with the consumer throughout the entire day and can be accessed instantly, marketing messages are more likely to reach mobile subscribers at the right place and time,” said Mike Fisher, president of Yesmail, Portland, OR.

“Simply put, the marketer’s likelihood of presenting the appropriate offer at the right time is much greater via mobile. Once consumers make one purchase on mobile, they are more likely to revisit that path, establishing a path-to-purchase,” he said.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York