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35% of top US retailers now let subscribers reduce the number of emails they receive

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A new survey by Responsys has found that one in three top US retailers are now offering subscribers the option of reducing the frequency of the emails they receive.

35% of the one hundred top online retailers surveyed for the new Retail Email Unsubscribe Benchmark Study survey allow subscribers to reduce the number of emails they receive, a significant increase from 16% in 2008, says Responsys.

However, the company adds, "marketers remain icy and indifferent toward subscribers who opt-out, as evidenced by the fact that only 16% of retailers say 'Goodbye' or 'Thank you' to departing subscribers. That's down from 18% in 2008."

Marketers have also been slow to present alternative channels like RSS and Facebook pages to departing subscribers, the survey found. Only 7% of retailers do this currently, despite the fact that more than 30% of them include community links in their emails, says Responsys.

"When you are competing against the ruthless efficiency and trustworthiness of the 'report spam' button, your email opt-out process needs to be friction-free and provide options ISPs can't give their users," says Chad White, research director at Responsys. "But an examination of the unsubscribe processes of the largest online retailers shows plenty of room for improvement on both those points."

Responsys found that 39% of major online retailers require three or more clicks to opt-out, up from 7% in 2008, and 30% of retailers send one or more emails following an unsubscribe request, up from 26% in 2008.

"Savvy marketers respect their email subscribers and provide relevant content to drive engagement — and they also let subscribers go when they are not engaged," adds Ed Henrich, Responsys' vice president of professional services. "Marketers need to make it easy to unsubscribe and to re-subscribe when the time is right. One of my favourite ratios is the number of buyers divided by the number of unsubscribers: How many people today thought you hit the mark versus totally missed the mark?"

Readers can download the full findings of the study from Responsys' website.

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