Lyris Connections Blog

Retail Email Trends: Australasia Vol. I

May 14, 2014 by

This is the first of many posts that we’ll be writing on the email marketing habits of top Australasian retailers. The aim is to identify key trends and areas for improvement, and to provide you with regular email inspiration and commentary in general. We’ll hopefully be rolling out something similar for other regions of the world, but I thought that we would start with Australasia since it’s a particularly interesting and fast-evolving digital marketing environment.

So we signed up for marketing emails from 100 Australasian retailers – what did we find out?

Australasian retailers don’t make it easy to sign up for email!

It’s often quite hard to identify where to sign up for email on many Australasian retailers’ websites. Calls-to-action for email sign-up are often buried within the footer or require you to register for the entire website, in which case you’re asked for your address, phone number, age, gender, username, and password. This is usually followed by a small check box asking if you would like to receive a newsletter – which doesn’t really sell the benefits of signing up for email!

I believe that Australasian retailers have a huge opportunity to dramatically grow their email lists with quality data by simply promoting their email programs on their websites more effectively. Our advice is to add a call-to-action for email sign-up on every single page of your website with a brief description and a single text field for the email address. Kathmandu is one retailer that gets this right:

Kathmando example


Myer, on the other hand, doesn’t make any reference to its email program until you try to register for its website:

Myer email 1

Where do I sign up for email?!

In fact, the only reference to an email program on Myer’s website is the small check box on the account creation page. Imagine how many more email addresses it could collect if it had an opt-in form on every single page of the website!

Myer email 2

The good news is that this is a relatively easy-to-fix problem, which could have a big benefit. I would encourage all Australasian retailers to review your email opt-in process and identify areas for improvement. Think about the sign-up process from the subscriber’s perspective. 

Top performers for email sign-up:

  • Kathmandu
  • The Good Guys
  • Harvey Norman
  • SurfStitch

49% of Australasian retailers send a welcome email

Of the 100 retailers whose emails we signed up for, about half sent us some kind of welcome email. The welcome emails that we received were of varying quality, some of them plain text or very basic; however, the majority were HTML, included a good ratio of text to images, and had some good content.

I particularly liked this welcome email from Farmers, which does a great job of displaying lots of useful pieces of information for a new subscriber: the benefits of being in the Farmers club, how you can receive a free gift on your birthday, as well as links to social media pages: 

Farmers Club example

Of the 49 retailers that sent us a welcome email, 20% requested that we confirm our subscription. I personally believe that double opt-in is overkill for most retailers, however it’s good to see Australasian retailers following best practices. I do believe that many people forget or don’t realize that they need to confirm email subscriptions these days – so make sure that this is obvious within your subject line if you decide to do it.

In terms of welcome subject lines, most were fairly standard, i.e. “Welcome to X Brand.” However there were a few that stood out:

  • Dotti – Welcome to the Dotti Nation! Celebrate with 10% off your first purchase
  • Pumpkin Patch – Welcome to the Patch! Enjoy 20% off your next purchase in store or online
  • Portmans – You’re now a Portmans VIP! Here’s 10% off your next purchase
  • JayJays – 10% off your next purchase at Jay Jays! Just ‘cos we’re friends now

Including a strong call-to-action or offer within your welcome subject line should increase your open rates. The subject lines above are more interesting than your typical welcome message and encourage subscribers to take action right now – which is the perfect time since they have just subscribed to your emails.

Room for improvement with email design

Many Australasian retailers have incorporated best practice elements into their designs, such as navigation bars, social media sharing buttons, and large calls-to-action. But there are still many key elements which seem to be consistently missing from almost all of the emails that we looked at, including:

  • Pre-header text which contains a marketing-led message and not “Click here to view online”
  • HTML text within the navigation bar and primary content
  • A recovery module at the bottom of the email which contains lots of useful links
  • Useful contact details such as phone numbers and email addresses

One retailer which I think has done a fantastic job with its email design is SurfStitch:

SurfStitch example

As you can see, SurfStitch has incorporated a lot of key email design elements into its template and has also managed to code much of the text in HTML, which is great. The only thing that it could do to improve this template is to optimize it for mobile using responsive design.

Where to from here?

Hopefully this has given you some insight into the email marketing habits of Australasian retailers. Look out next month for another post in the series, which will look at responsive design, automation, and email content.

Andrew King

About the Author: Andrew King

Andrew is Senior Strategy Consultant at Lyris. He has worked in marketing across three different continents for major car manufacturers, institutions, and retailers. He joined Lyris in 2010 and consults with a variety of clients on email strategy, design, mobile optimization, testing, segmentation, and much more. Andrew regularly contributes to the Lyris blog and Marketing Land, and participates in industry events.

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