Why dont online retailers in India use Email Marketing?

The online ecommerce space in India is hotting up. I purchased my first book online in 1999 from http://www.fabmall.com which was the most happening eCommerce site in town then. It is now merged with http://www.indiaplaza.com. Today at least 15 to 20 websites sell this simple first-to-go-eComm product. Prem Piyush Goyal recently wrote a nice post about his experience of shopping on some of these sites. I checked out http://www.infibeam.com myself – from an Email Marketers perspective.

The registration was quick. There was no verification of the email though. However I did get a nice welcome email from them promptly (a great thing to do!).The HTML email was very well formatted, showed nicely in my inbox even with the display images option turned off (great!).

Email Marketing in India - Infibeam Email 1

Email Marketing in India - infibeam email

I dont think they are tracking the click throughs though, what a waste! My account does not have any option to subscribe or unsubscribe to a newsletter. I am wondering if they have an Email Marketing program at all. Since there was no link to view the email in a browser, nor an unsubscribe button I am thinking they don’t yet have this in place. If not, it is a shame.  Book lovers love wish lists, deals, second hand books, hot selling books, current best seller must read fiction and non- fiction lists etc. Email is such a wonderful hook to get people back to the site again and again for such book worms (like me!).

One reason why Email Marketing in India is not in the mainstream marketing is due to its “bulk and blast” nature and perception.  Most well known brands in online Email Marketing Services are in Europe and USA. The payments to these companies need to be made in dollars.  I think Indian companies also think that since they have so much programming talent they should have a software in-house to manage their own emails. Because of  low cost resources,  a lot of small companies offer this service at really low rates. The low rates in turn have left the big marketing agencies away. This approach while being cost effective lacks the best-practice direction of marketers. Plus there are no spam laws in place in India. It’s no wonder that mushrooming bulk email companies have spammed Email Marketing out.

There is no reason why a Indian companies can’t download a respectable open source Email Marketing Solution, have a low cost development team to manage it and run their program with Email Marketing best practices.  Where there is a will there is a way!