A new survey finds that retailers in the UK still have a lot to learn about email marketing, with 46% failing to comply with legal guidelines and many others not following best practice.

TopShop, STA Travel, ASDA and M&S came off best in dotMailer's benchmark study (pdf), scoring over 80%, while Office, Expedia and H&M scored less than 60%.

Highlights of the study include:


The unsubscribe process should be as easy as possible for customers to avoid them reporting messages as spam, but many retailers are making this too hard to do.

Currys was the only retailer to achieve full marks, while Office didn't even include an unsubscribe link in their emails.

Too many either buried the links in the bottom of their emails, or made the process too lengthy. Take HMV for example - this is their process, found at the bottom of the company's emails:

"If you wish to unsubscribe to this newsletter please simply return to hmv.com, login, uncheck the newsletter click boxes and send the updated details to us."

Landing pages

Ideally, email landing pages should not only repeat the offer outlined in the email, but also match the look and feel of the email to reassure customers.

The survey found that just four brands had created a microsite to match the design of the email, while 40% of the retailers studied scored under 50% in this category.


Targeted emails generate higher open rates, but just five brands used the information given on sign up to make the content more relevant.

Getting useful information from customers when they sign up is one way to achieve this - something only 15% of retailers in the study are doing, while 91% achieved less than half marks for targeting.

Related research:
Email Marketing Platforms Buyer's Guide 2007
Email Marketing Roundtable Briefing - October 2007

Related stories:
Email marketing: Keep it simple...
Do you make these email marketing mistakes? 

Graham Charlton

Published 12 March, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (2)


Grace Carter, CRM, Email & Loyalty Manager at HMV

Hi Graham,

We realised that our old unsubscription process wasn't making things easy for customers. So we've worked really hard with our email provider to replace it with something that is absolutely best in class.

If you're signed up to our emails, hopefully you'll have noticed the difference. We now offer two options which are displayed clearly at the bottom of every email: to unsubscribe completely or to change what you're signed up to. If you click "unsubscribe", we make it very clear that we will never email you again, and have even introduced a dissatisfaction survey. We've also removed the sign-in process to make it even easier and quicker.

In answer to your point about having unsubscribe links buried at the bottom of the page, we looked at loads of other retailers' emails and made a deliberate decision to keep the link at the bottom, as this is where they're typically found and we feel that people will think to look there first. We really are trying to make it as easy as possible for customers to tell us what they want to do.

Unfortunately, you must have already prepared this article before we launched our new process.

Do you have any contact details for someone at Dotmailer so that we can ensure that the next benchmark study reflects our recent changes?

Many thanks,

Grace Carter

over 10 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at SaleCycle

Hi Grace,

Thanks for the comments - good to see you have made the process easier.

over 10 years ago

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