Multichannel retailers sent 14.6% more emails in the second quarter than they did a year earlier.

Retailers looking to coax shoppers to open their emails should make their messages personal, according to the new Experian Marketing Services “Quarterly Email Benchmark Report Q2 2016.”

The report finds that emails with a personalized subject line had a 23.5% higher open rate than retailers’ other emails. In addition to personalizing subject lines, the report suggests retailers may dynamically populate the products a shopper sees in an email based on her past purchases or subscriber preference information. Retailers also may customize subject lines based on what categories, or types of products, the shopper has recently browsed.

Adding that personal touch can help retailers stand out in shoppers’ inboxes, which is increasingly difficult. The report finds that retailers sent 14.6% more emails during the quarter than they did in the same period a year earlier.

Despite the rise in email volumes, retailers’ open rates stayed steady—21.8% in the second quarter compared with 21.7% a year earlier. Retailers’ transaction rates were unchanged at 0.05%, as was the revenue per email.

Moreover, retailers’ bounce rate—the percentage of email subscribers who did not receive an email because their email inbox did not accept the message—fell to 1.0% from 1.3%.


The report also found that consumers are more likely to open and click retailers’ emails on their smartphones than they are emails from businesses in other verticals, such as media and entertainment. For example, 45% of emails across all industries were opened on smartphones in the second quarter, while 50% of retailers’ emails were opened on smartphones. Desktops accounted for 42% of opens across all industries, while they account for only 36% for retailers. Tablet opens were relatively consistent as they account for 13% of opens across all industries and 14% of retailer opens.

The disparities are more pronounced when it comes to consumers clicking within those emails. 49% of retailers’ clicks occurred on a smartphone in the second quarter, compared to 43% of email clicks across all industries. Desktops account for 49% of email clicks across all industries, compared to 40% of retailer clicks and tablets account for 8% across all industries and 11% of retailer clicks.

Experian Marketing Services is one of the 1,737 vendors profiled in the Internet Retailer 2016 Guide to E-commerce Technology. Experian is the email marketing vendor for 80 retailers in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 1000.