Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
When Google's Gmail team decided to change the interface of their email program, adding tabs for "Social" messages and "Promotions" messages, retailers justifiably freaked out. The change meant that instead hitting your inbox (and eyes), these messages were sorted and shuttled immediately into another tab, hiding them from view.
Now, a half year after the change, it's clear that the tabbed inbox has massively impacted fashion brands who employ that type of marketing. As Bits reports, the number of Gmail users opening promotional emails has shrunk by more than 10% since the tabs were rolled out. "Fewer emails from retailers are being opened, according to three services that manage mass emails," they write. "And while some data showed that Gmail users nonetheless spent more money—perhaps because they proactively sought out retail emails in the promotions inbox—other data showed the opposite."
According to marketing services firm Epsilon, Gmail users are typically more wealthy than Yahoo! mail users, making them prime targets for shopping messages. Said a VP at email marketing firm Sailthru, "retailers will need to individually examine whether the gains in quality are enough to offset any loss in quantity from the dip in opens."
· Fewer Gmail Users Are Opening Retailers' Messages This Shopping Season [Bits]
· Does TOMS Think It's Too Good For Gmail's "Promos" Tab? [Racked]
· The New Gmail Inbox Is Causing Issues for Fashion Brands [Racked]