For retailers, email branding is key

For retailers, email branding is key

As Black Friday nears, it's a race to the finish line among retailers who are trying to beat out the competition and generate as much profit as possible from their email marketing lists. As such, marketers in the retail space must take extra care that their emails communicate the identity of their companies in a meaningful, engaging way that will draw in customers.

In a recent column for Forbes, marketing expert Steve Olenski highlighted the central role email marketing plays in establishing brand awareness. In particular, he insisted that it's essential for firms to market to moms, as they are tasked with 80 to 90 percent of decision-making in regards to household purchases.

Olenski spoke to Kim Finnerty, senior vice president of research and insights at the Ryan Partnership, who pointed out that the mom demographic uses emails to help them shop at consistently higher rates than the average consumer. What's more, the relevance of email hasn't diminished.

"While it seems like an old-school tool compared to things like shopping apps and mobile payments, marketers have had years to perfect it so it achieves objectives," Finnerty told Olenski.

Given the importance of email to the shopping habits of retailers' key demographic, it's essential that marketers make the platform central to their strategies.

Fashion emails still not mobile-ready
Not all retail firms, however, are optimizing their email campaigns. In a post for EConsultancy, David Moth recently pointed out that many fashion companies' emails still don't look good on mobile screens.

After signing up for over a dozen fashion retailers' newsletters, Moth found that only four translated in an attractive way to the popular Android smartphone operating system. Furthermore, in the case of firms that did optimize for smartphones and tablets, he discovered uneven deployment of mobile readiness. The emails of retailer ASOS, for example, suffered from clumsy layouts with crowded images and large empty spaces in the design. Meanwhile, Moth noted that American Apparel's emails looked relatively attractive on an Android – except that their text was small and difficult to read and the copy lacked any clear calls to action.

Because smartphones are so easy to slip into a purse or coat pocket, they represent a helpful tool for shoppers who rely on marketing emails to guide them through their shopping. Neglecting to build mobile-friendly designs can be a huge oversight: It's easy to see how a mom overwhelmed with shopping duties, for instance, might make her choice of retailer based on whose promotions are easy to access on mobile.

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