Some of the biggest UK retailers don’t use email to engage with their customers. That may come as a surprise. We’re so used to email communications from brands, that the thought of a leading retailer not using it is hard to fathom.

Today see’s the launch of the IRUK Top500 Brand Engagement Report 2018. According to the findings, 25 of the top retailers in the UK aren’t using email for customer engagement. Whereas 98% are using Facebook and Twitter and 96% are using the phone.

Industry results are telling us smart marketers should put more effort into email, the channel where they will reap the biggest rewards. Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter, according to McKinsey. So it would suggest these retailers are missing a huge trick.

iruk500And if 25 aren’t using email at all, you have to question whether the other 475 are actually driving effective engagement from email. Our own research shows that only 1% of brands are using email to its full potential.

Results-driven retail marketers need to stop taking email for granted.

The DMA tells us that when it comes to purchases driven by marketing, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), compared to social and other channels. When they crunch the numbers, many find the ROI from email outshines other channels and by using email and web automation solutions, our own customers have seen increased online revenues by an average of 22%.

So as a marketer, why wouldn’t you invest more time and resource?

Used well, email is the lifeblood of customer experience, customer lifecycle management and omnichannel personalisation. But lack of time, resources or investment in the right technology mean that email still remains an untapped resource for many businesses.

Today, the way that consumers want to talk to retailers and brands is changing. They want two-way conversations that are tailored, personalised and cross all channels. This has influenced the rise of social media marketing as a top priority over the last ten years—a priority that’s reflected by the high percentage of leading retailers using social (98%).

Social is doing well because it’s a great way for consumers to talk to the brand but email can do this too, to a potentially greater effect. As algorithm updates reduce organic reach, social media is increasingly pay-to-play. It is effectively a rented space.

Email and the data you hold on your consumer is not only steadfast, it’s also your territory. You own the conversation with your subscribers. It is important to note that the upcoming GDPR legislation means retailers must now be mindful of consent when sending messages to their customers but the opportunity, by gaining permission, is that they can be even more certain of an engaged audience.

The vast majority of brands and retailers already use email but are they getting as much out of it as they could? Today’s marketers have such a sophisticated array of tools and channels at their fingertips, let’s not to take any of them for granted.

Download your copy of the InternetRetailing Brand Engagement Performance Dimension.