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A few months I signed up to newsletters from a number of different fashion retailers in order to evaluate their welcome emails.

This means I now have an inbox full of marketing messages, which feature a surprisingly high proportion of deals and special offers.

What’s even more surprising is the lack of mobile optimisation among these brands.

The full list includes some of the world’s top online retailers, such as Macy’s, H&M, ASOS, Boohoo, Rue La La, House of Fraser, Schuh, Nordstrom, Mr Porter, American Apparel, Reiss and Office.

Yet of all of these, only four brands had any success in rendering emails properly on my Android phone.

Mobile email is an increasingly important marketing channel as stats show that around 40% of email is opened on smartphones

It appears that businesses are finally beginning to react to this change in consumer behaviour, as the new Econsultancy/BuyDesire Mobile Marketing and Commerce Report shows that optimised emails are one of the top mobile priorities for businesses in the next 12 months.

For further information on this topic check out our blog post detailing case studies on responsive email design, or read on to find out which of the aforementioned fashion retailers are already optimising their emails for mobile...

ASOS

Though ASOS should obviously be applauded for optimising its emails for mobile devices, the experience is still far from perfect. Mobile optimisation wasn’t universal across all of its marketing messages and those that did render correctly suffered from usability issues.

For example, the images occasionally overlap or there are large gaps between the top of the screen and the content.

                      

I’m aware that some of these issues will be caused by problems with the email client but it’s still something that needs to be tested, particularly when you take into account the popularity of Android smartphones.

However there are obviously also some good aspects to ASOS’s email design that it’s worth highlighting. This email was sent to promote a 50% off sale that was due to last only 24 hours - the message is simple and easy to read even on a mobile screen.

               

If you compare it to the desktop version, ASOS has removed the ‘Premier’ logo and the image of the chap in his jacket to simplify the design and ensure the email remains readable.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom has attempted to optimise its emails for mobile screens, however it is let down by a large banner which makes the message too wide.

As such, although there is a single column of content that is the perfect width for a smartphone, the botched banner means the user has to scroll left and right to manually align the content in the centre of the screen. 

                      

Mr Porter

Mr Porter suffers from the same usability problem as Nordstrom. The messages are only partly optimised for the mobile screen, with certain aspects causing the user to have to scroll left and right.

To use this newsletter as an example, the image of Ethan Hawke renders perfectly but then displaying four clothing items side-by-side is clearly too wide for a smartphone screen.

                      

On the plus side, the CTAs on the banners tend to be simple and large enough to click without accidentally pressing something else.

American Apparel

Though American Apparel’s emails render perfectly on a mobile screen without any need for swiping left or right, the design itself could be greatly improved.

In these examples the main promotions jumps out ('15% off' and 'Halloween photo contest') however everything else is quite small and difficult to read.

Similarly, there are no obvious calls-to-action. The user is supposed to just click on the image, which then links to a desktop site...

                      

David Moth

Published 12 November, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1682 more posts from this author

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Dare

Hi David,

Well done for a great researched case studies.

Most of these companies are failing to realize that small check ups like proper Email marketing optimization for mobile experience can indeed help their marketing strategy in converting to more sales.

I hope their various marketing team can read this post and implement immediate change.

Thanks for sharing

almost 3 years ago

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George Liapis, eMarketing at Buldoza S.A.

You do know why Internet Explorer is considered a nightmare for web-developers & designers, correct?

The same applies for Android in terms of mobile experience - it is simply a nightmare.

Too many different devices (which means different resolutions/native vs branded vs downloaded applications for mail clients/etc) simply cause companies to only care for the iPhone/iPad experience.

Even companies like Campaign Monitor state that you should "embrace the chaos" in Android:
http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/post/3638/why-cant-i-get-my-html-email-to-look-great-on-android-devices

I don't hope Mr Porter or ASOS looks at your article. I hope Google does (and their partners - Samsung, LG and so on).

almost 3 years ago

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Jordie van Rijn, email marketing specialist at emailmonday

At the moment, on average the mobile open rate is close to 50%. That is the mobile tipping point. It is still between 15 and 65% though for most senders.

If commercial email was invented today everybody would start with a mobile optimized email.

But I'd like to think that a mobile email strategy, NEEDS to go beyond email: http://www.emailmonday.com/mobile-email-strategy

Yes you read it, your EMAIL startegy going beyond email.

almost 3 years ago

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Omarra Byrd

Great article David. It is amazing how all of these mainline huge corporations are still not in front of the mobile marketing transition!

They are not only leaving themselves behind their competitors but they are also leaving a lot of potential sales out there in limbo by not making the move to put mobile marketing as a priority in their advertising and communication with their customers.

All of their mobile marketing should include optimizing their:

1. website
2. email
3. advertising & communication with customers

Those that don't make this a priority right now will find that their business just may become a casualty to the economy in the next months!

Omarra Byrd
www.MessagingMasses.com

almost 3 years ago

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Christy Smith!

Hi David - thanks for the post. When tested recently, we did not experience the same issue with banners on Android you describe here. Clearly, more investigation is required on our side - we'll get to work. Would be interested in your perspective on how retailers are optimizing transactional email as well.
cheers,
christy smith, Nordstrom email team

almost 3 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

@George, I think I'm right in saying that the Gmail mobile app doesn't fully support mobile optimised emails, so you're definitely right in saying that Google needs to get its house in order.

@Christy, thanks for your comment and the blog suggestion. I'll get working on it! By the way, it would be great to do a Q&A about Nordstrom's mobile email strategy. If you're happy to contribute please drop me a line at david.moth@econsultancy.com and we'll set something up.

Thanks,

David

almost 3 years ago

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