Chief among top concerns for marketers is email list size and the never-ending task of growing that list. Unfortunately, this issue is often considered with little thought as to how acquisition strategies can impact email deliverability. A particularly popular method for retail marketers is “point of sale” or “in-store” address collection at the point of purchase. It is also one of the riskiest methods for your deliverability health.
The standard point of sale strategy should be simple: a customer checks out at the register, provides their email address for an e-receipt or promotional offer, is asked to confirm that the spelling of said address is correct, and is then opted into communications for that brand AFTER receiving a confirm opt-in message triggered immediately. However, if not done correctly this method presents multiple opportunities for failure points that could lead to reputation issues for senders, including:
- Customer intentionally provides a false address, or a “ghost address,” for promotional mail only
- Customer inadvertently provides an incorrect address via misspellings, etc.
- Customer does not realize the scope of messaging they are opting into at the time, prompting a negative experience and spam complaints down the road
For all of the above, senders place themselves at high risk for uploading inactive contacts into their list, uploading inaccurate contacts that will drive bounce rates and potential spam trap hits, and driving overall spam complaint spikes on campaigns sent to recipients who did not anticipate further communications. As a result, the point of sale address collection presents a pain point for both the sender seeking growth and the overall customer experience of those who feel bombarded in the inbox.
Even with the best of intentions, consumers have short attention spans. If they do knowingly sign up for communications in the moment, they may forget about this later—particularly if they do not receive a timely confirmation. This gap in the customer’s expectations for the mail they will receive becomes particularly problematic with in-store acquisition techniques that do not involve a check-out or actual purchase, including:
- Offline “list-building” apps where customers input their information into a tablet, or even a traditional pen and paper sign-up sheet for customers to handwrite addresses
- “Text-to-join” signage that offers customers sales or promotional offers by texting their information to collect via email
- In-store wifi access form walls that require an email address in order to log on
In each of these instances, setting customer expectations is vital. The most critical thing a sender should do upon receiving a new customer’s email address is sending them a confirmation message prompting further action if they wish to receive communications. In situations where customers may only be after offers, wifi access, or even simple e-receipts, senders are simply not completing their due diligence to ensure they are bringing good contacts into their list. It’s important to remember that quality trumps quantity and shortcuts could have real ramifications for your performance overall.
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