Forrester Research: Email is More Effective Than Social Channels for Online Retail Transactions

I’ve been an email marketing guy for over 10 years, so it wouldn’t shock anyone to hear me say that email is hands-down the most effective marketing tactic for online retailers.

But, thanks to a recent study, I’ve now got Forrester Research providing even more quantifiable data that this is true.

The study titled “The Purchase Path of Online Buyers in 2012” looked at 77,000 consumer orders over a period of 14 days in April 2012.

The study found that less than 1% of online retail transactions could be traced back to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

In terms of attracting new customers, 39% of transactions began their story wtih clicks from paid or organic search.

My favorite part of the study, however, was focused on repeat customers, which for most small businesses are a critical success factor.

30% of repeat customers start with an email from the retailer.

That makes email the most effective way to drive repeat business.

So, if you aren’t currently sending at least a monthly email to your customers, then let this serve as a wake-up call that you might just be leaving a lot of money on the table (…of which I’m sure your competitor will gladly take a stab at it!).

Of course, I’m not saying abandon social media because I personally love social media. But, it is important that people do not get caught up in all the hype to think that is the only thing you need.

By having a healthy mix of online marketing activities (especially email!) you can make sure to maximize your chances of getting new and repeat business.

About Robert Burko

Robert Burko is CEO and Founder of Elite Digital, a leading digital marketing agency. As one of Canada's chief digital marketing specialists, Burko has appeared on national television, radio, podcasts, and in countless print publications and blogs across North America. Burko is also a professor of Digital Marketing & Social Media at Seneca College in Toronto. Recognized as a thought leader in his industry, Robert is often invited to speak as an expert in his field at high-profile events across North America.

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