After buying a product from an online retailer, it is common practice for that retailer to send out a follow-up email.

This should be an effective way to build customer relationships, and show that that connection doesn't simply end after a purchase has been made.

But new research shows that the majority of UK retailers are adopting a one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing, failing to tailor their communications around their customers' interests and buying habits.

Consequently, they are risking lower conversion rates and accuracy, the report by dotMailer claims.

The study shows that 87 per cent of emails sent out by retailers post-sale were exactly the same as those sent to 'cold' prospects.

There was no attempt made to utilise customers' previous online buying patterns in order to drive cross-sell, up-sell or repeat purchase, the report says.

Only one online retailer – Amazon.co.uk – had followed up an online buy with an email marketing message tailored to that purchase.

However, 93 per cent of retailers used triggered emails to reassure and build customer loyalty and 67 per cent kept buyers informed on the order progress with timely emails.

Tink Taylor, managing director at dotMailer, said online sellers have the tools at their disposal to dramatically increase the relevance and impact of the email marketing communications – consumer data.

“In this tough economic climate, marketers who are not actively collecting and using that data to create targeted email messages that drive related sales are really missing a trick,” he said.

One great way to strengthen the customer relationship post-sale is to use tailored promotional items.

Why not send out some printed USBs or promotional mugs to thank customers for making a purchase?

Posted by Robin McCrink.

dotMailer report shows UK Retailers Missing Opportunities for Personalised Targeting and Cross-selling using Email Marketing“. dotMailer. Tuesday June 28th 2011.

Posted by Robin McCrink