Email remains the single most effective way for a retailer to communicate with customers. It is a vital channel to all types of retailers ranging from e-commerce retailers dealing in digital goods or physical goods retailers that actually have a brick and mortar store.

Email marketing icons

Email marketing is important for a number of reasons, namely;

Stabilizes Your Website Traffic

Think about your email subscriber list the same way as if you owned a newspaper. You would want a newspaper subscriber list. Supposing, you didn’t have anybody that had subscribed to purchase your paper and the only way you could sell your paper was by printing it each week? You would have to go out and put in stores and see who bought it and you wouldn’t have a very stable business, would you? Your website works the same way. It needs to feed off a list of subscribers.

Every time you post a blog article or a new update, have this sent out automatically to all the subscribers and people will come visiting your website. This is traffic you can rely on. You control this traffic and it isn’t dependent on the whims of Google. So, the idea is, in your local market you want to get as many email addresses as you can possibly get.

Direct Access to an Individual

Email gives you the most direct access to an individual, more than social. To put this in perspective, let’s say someone likes your Facebook page and you post an update. There is a good chance that very few people will see that update.

Unless you purchase a sponsored ad, your post may not even be seen because it may appear when that person is not using Facebook or it may be pushed too far down that it’s not even visible unless the individual scrolls down several dozen posts on their time line. Only a certain percentage of people at a time will be looking at your post. Out of 100 people that have liked your page, only about ten percent may actually see your post.

But if you have the email addresses of these 100 people, at least half will see your email. They will at least see the title of your email, they will not all click on it but since most are familiar with your business, there is a good chance of a high number opening and scanning the email.

Now let’s now take a look at some creative ways of building and managing an email subscriber list as a retailer.

Collect Email Addresses at the Counter

When you are at your counter and people are coming through the line, it is very tempting to think that you are too busy at the moment to collect email addresses. That’s a huge mistake. You have to make sure you get those emails and there are many different ways to do that. You can have something as simple as a clipboard with lines on it that says, “free email newsletter”.

The person at the counter can just prompt customers by asking them if they have signed up for the free email newsletter yet. You could also have a coupon offer where customers get 10 percent off their next purchase once they subscribe to the newsletter. Think of as many creative ways to get as many email addresses as you possibly can at the the counter.

Website Pop-up

Depending on the design of your website, you might want to consider having a pop email subscriber box. It should be configured to pop-up only once in thirty days after someone has visited the site. This is made possible by making use of browser cookies, code snippets that can detect when someone last visited your website.

This will get you a lot of email addresses and is a great way to build your list. To put this on steroids, give away something free as an enticement to sign up. This could be a store coupon or the chance to participate in a raffle and get to win a prize. Be creative and you will be surprised at how fast your email list grows.

Minimum Weekly Update

Make sure you send out an email at least once weekly. It’s best to do a blog article on a certain day each week and then have an automated email system set up where the blog article is automatically converted into a beautiful HTML formatted email that send out to your subscriber list on same day at the same time each week. That way people begin to expect it. It’s like their favorite TV show.

Once they get into the habit of seeing an email from you every Tuesday morning, they will be more likely to check that email, become more familiar with you and trust you. If, however, you don’t do anything for two months and then suddenly send an email, they might mark you as spam because they probably forgot who you are.


Email is a powerful outbound channel. It is the core channel used by retailers to have frequent communications with customers about new offers, special deals and holiday promotions. There has been a tsunami of change with folks moving away from traditional media into digital media.

With a tough business environment, retailers need to get the biggest bang for buck and one of the ways to do this is via email which has the highest return on investment.