Industry Insights Annual Review 2014 Email

Top 50 UK online retailers fail to capitalise on digital communications in run up to Black Friday



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December 18, 2014 | 6 min read

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This year Black Friday hit the UK in a big way, with the country’s largest retailers all fighting for a share of consumer spending, on one of the most lucrative shopping days of the year. According to internet retail experts IMRG, an estimated £810m was spent online by British shoppers.

online shopping

Are retailers doing enough to incentivise us to shop?

That increase is no doubt down to the increasing prominence of Christmas TV adverts and increases in paid search spend.

According to Kenshoo, in 2013 overall UK retail search spend increased 44 per cent from Thursday to Black Friday but this year that increase jumped to 145 per cent.

But is that enough?

Are retailers doing all they can to incentivise us to shop, win us over and fight for our custom?

You could argue that they don’t need to, but any marketer will surely say otherwise. Loyalty and positive engagement are imperative to long-term success. It’s very much like the renowned slogan 'A dog is for life not just for Christmas'.

Just because a customer buys something from you at Christmas, it doesn’t mean they are going to when the festive season is over.

With price such a deciding factor on Black Friday, retailers need to do more. They need to invest in CRM campaigns which not only inform their customers about the upcoming deals, but reward them with incentives that demonstrate they value them as customers, or that they want to nurture them into loyal brand advocates.

According to research recently conducted by Teradata, 66 per cent of the top 50 online retailers in the UK, in the month running up to Black Friday, failed to send any Christmas offers to their customers, whilst 74 per cent failed to provide any information relating to their Christmas sales.

The findings show that retailers have remained largely stagnant in their marketing efforts since last year, in which the same study found a only a third sent a Christmas offer, whilst 72 per cent of the top 50 failed to send any Christmas sales information in their emails.

When you consider the wealth of promotional materials and investment made by retailers to gear their sites up to cater for the eagerly awaited ‘day of deals’, these numbers are baffling.

Overall, only 28 per cent of the top 50 list sent information about Black Friday. Of those that did send a Christmas offer to their customers only 64 per cent sent information relating to Black Friday.

Email is the most trusted of all direct marketing channels (as revealed earlier this year in a report published by the DMA) so why are retailers not utilising it to directly incentivise consumers to shop from their online store?

At Teradata, we work with brands to constantly help them improve their CRM campaigns. We believe that highly effective, targeted, engaging campaigns, delivered at the right time to the right person, have a considerable impact on their propensity to buy.

To achieve this, brands obviously need to ensure they are collating the right data and drawing out the right insights to help them better understand their customers’ needs, but they also need to make sure they apply the same philosophy inside their business.

Effective data-driven marketing campaigns stem from two important strands, Marketing Operations and Campaign Management. Teradata’s Integrated Marketing Cloud is just one way brands can help make this a reality, streamline activity across departments within their organisation - by breaking down silos - and ensure the most effective campaigns are created and delivered to customers.

TV advertising is undoubtedly effective and impactful, but it’s not personal or targeted. It certainly doesn’t speak to the customer on an individual level.

As our findings showed last year, retailers need to focus on real-time dynamic campaigns that complement and support their offline activity.

You need to have a bridge that links every aspect of your campaign together and ensure that the most relevant offers and strands of that campaign reach the inboxes of those that are most likely to engage with each individual offer.

To some extent that is happening.

It probably comes as no surprise that the retailers who have a very active offline presence, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Argos to name just three, all provided customers with a Christmas offer and details about Black Friday.

Whereas others, with less high profile campaigns simply failed to engage in the festive spirit at all. In fact out of the 40 per cent that complied with at least one of our three criteria – Is there a Christmas offer? / Is there info on Christmas sales? / Includes a Christmas gift suggestion? – only 70 per cent opted to seasonally theme their emails.

But what about those that didn’t have any flashy offline activity. For those retailers, email is even more important. How else do they expect to drive people to their website? Christmas campaigns should not just been seen as a novelty or ‘stunt’, they are fundamental to presenting a differentiated offering to customers amongst a wealth of noise.

Retailers clearly value email as a channel, with 96 per cent of the top 50 sending one or more emails to customers per month, but what is clear is that they are not utilising the tool enough to their advantage. In recent years, we have seen the number of targeted emails steadily increase, but Christmas still seems to remain their Achilles heel.

Don’t miss a trick. We can help.

To find out more about how you can make better sense of your customer insight and adopt a data-driven marketing approach, call us on 0207 780 4400 or visit the Teradata website.

Christopher Kollat, country manager UK and Ireland, marketing applications, Teradata

Industry Insights Annual Review 2014 Email

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