Apparel merchants—especially those that run flash sale sites—do a great job of driving traffic to their sites from email, according to findings in Internet Retailer’s just-released Best Email Marketers in E-Commerce report.

Many online merchants view email as their most tried-and-true marketing channel, with some drawing more than half of their online sales from consumers buying products after clicking on an email.

Apparel flash-sale e-retailers, in particular, rely on email to drive repeat purchases from members, and many generate large amounts of website traffic this way, according to Internet Retailer’s just-released Best Email Marketers in E-Commerce report.

For example, 28 of the 50 merchants ranked in the report as having the most effective email marketing strategies sell apparel and eight of the 50 merchants operate flash sales sites.

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Take Beyond the Rack, a flash-sale apparel merchant that gets more than 16% of its website traffic from email, according to data provided by website traffic measurement firm SimilarWeb. Those visitors are the most valuable ones that come to the site, as they drive a large portion of Beyond the Rack’s overall sales.


“On a daily basis, email generates more than 60% of our revenue,” says Richard Cohene, vice president of marketing at Beyond the Rack. “Because the flash-sale model is so heavily tied to email, we are constantly tweaking our strategy, and the changes we made in 2015 brought huge wins.”

Like many retailers that offer discounted items for a limited time, Beyond the Rack is a members-only merchant that requires customers to register with an email address to gain access to the site. In 2015, the merchant launched a shopping cart abandonment email program, which alerts consumers via email of any items left in their cart.

A large volume of referral traffic from email and the presence of a shopping cart abandonment program contributed to Beyond the Rack’s No. 1 spot in the Best Email Marketers in E-Commerce. In its proprietary scoring system, Internet Retailer also factors in the number of emails retailers send  per month, whether or not retailer emails are optimized for mobile devices and other metrics.

Here are some other characteristics of retailers with the most effective email marketing strategies:

  • The 50 e-retailers spotlighted in the 2016 Best Email Marketers in E-Commerce grew web sales in 2014 at a collective rate of 17.9%, compared to the 15.7% average growth rate of America’s 500 largest e-retailers.
  • These 50 best email marketers on average manage 40 email marketing campaigns a month, compared to the just 13 for the average Top 500 web merchant.
  • The 2016 Best Email Marketers in E-Commerce also better optimize the content and design of their promotional emails to reach and motivate the shoppers who, for the first time last year, received most of their digital marketing messages on smartphones.
  • While 21 of the best 50 email marketers in e-commerce rank among America’s 100 largest e-retailers, with more than $400 million in annual online sales, the majority were smaller than that and 12 sell less than $70 million online.
  • Two-thirds of the 50 best email marketers send follow-up emails to shoppers who abandon their online shopping carts, versus 35% of Top 500 web merchants.

For details, pricing and more information on the 2016 Digital Marketing Report Series click here.