As clients, mainly retail, try to grow and expand their email lists, many have turned to Point of Sale (a.k.a. POS) email collection. POS collection has become an industry norm with the ability to bring tremendous growth. One Experian CheetahMail client, for instance, gained 220,990 customers from POS in 2011, 35% of which are active within the email program (open, click, and/or transact).
While this form of collection is relatively quick and easy, it’s important to note that address and email capture in stores can be a cumbersome process, and the pressure to capture data as quickly as possible can negatively impact accuracy, reputation, and ultimately deliverability. The benchmark for POS email capture bounce rate is 20%, a large percentage based on the fact that the total bounce rate across all clients at Experian CheetahMail for 2011 was 1.5%.
In-store POS address collection generally occurs at the cash register. Upon collecting the address the cashier should read back the submitted address and possibly re-enter for verification. Even better, the cashier/retail outlet should have the customers themselves verify the email address submitted with a keypad/touchpad. In some instances, retailers have even started building their customer email list by asking each customer if they’d like a receipt emailed to them. Additionally, Quick Response codes or QR codes are becoming popular and easy ways to capture customer data accurately.
As an email address is captured, the address should be validated to prevent bad data/unknown users from entering your customer database and corrected for domain miss spellings or typos from POS entry. One way to do this is through email list management tools – utilizing services such as Experian QAS to validate and/or correct domains in real-time at the point of registration. Utilizing QAS email solutions can increase accuracy, reduce bounce rates from emails captured at POS, and standardize email addresses across the entire retail operation. For more information visit http://www.qas.com/
Data quality and validation can also be improved by sending a welcome confirmation or welcome series. A real time welcome email reinforces subscriber opt-in recognition. Additionally, a welcome series increases a subscriber’s affinity to your brand and increases likelihood of engagement.
Once captured and validated, to manage list file health, deliverability and reputation, subscribers should be kept within a regular promotional marketing stream if they have opened and clicked “x” (x is an agreed up number) emails within a reasonable time period. The majority of new subscribers will click a client’s email within the first thirty (30) days (approximately 4-6 campaigns). If a subscriber has not opened in a ninety (90) day period (common for retailers), the email address can be deemed inactive. CheetahMail’s Deliverability team and Strategic Services Group can assist clients with the process of identifying and defining inactive subscribers by:
- Establishing the cause of inactivity i.e. is the address hard bouncing due to email account inactivity? If so, these addresses will be purged from client’s list.
- For the balance, develop and target subscribers with either a reconfirmation message or reactivation program. Those subscribers that are reactivated or confirmed will then be folded back into the regular marketing promotion stream.
Clients that take the proper steps to overcome POS email acquisition hurdles and identify early on and tackle inactivity will reap the rewards of better deliverability, stronger reputation, subscriber loyalty and increased engagement.
POS email collection practices may also expose retailers to other, compliance-related risks. Please stay tuned for a follow up post by the Compliance Team about POS compliance and privacy related issues.