Smith-Harmon, reciently announced the release of the Retail Welcome Email Benchmark Study.  Taking a look at welcome email programs and best practices among a number of major online retailers.

Given the opportunity to build trust between the consumer and the marketers, it’s unfortunate that so many still don’t seem to be taking advantage of these messaging programs. Smith-Harmon’s study of the welcome programs of 112 of the largest online retailers, reveals that only 76% even send out welcome emails. While that’s up from 72% in 2007 and 66% in 2006, it’s concerning to see that many are missing out on a great opportunity with these programs.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Text-only welcome emails are becoming increasingly antiquated. More than 89% of retailers sent HTML welcome emails, up from 78% in 2007 and 69% in 2006.
  • The role that welcome emails can play in ensuring future deliverability of emails is growing. More than 68% of retailers used welcome emails to ask new subscribers to add the sender to their address book, up from about 62% in 2007 and 49% in 2006.
  • The number of top online retailers making their emails CAN-SPAM compliant rose significantly. Nearly 71% included both an unsubscribe link and their mailing address, up from 58% in 2007 and 52% in 2006.
  • While 15% of welcome emails include a forward-to-a-friend link, none of those studied included a share-with-your-network (SWYN) link. We expect many marketers to adopt SWYN this year, including adding it to their welcome emails.

Could you be doing more with your welcome program? Get the report here (13.4 MB – right click and save link as…).