|Thu July 25 2013 22:29:28|
Online Merchants Scramble to Cope with Gmail Changes
By: Ina Steiner
One of the cardinal rules of email marketing is to make your list opt-in. People hate to find themselves subscribed to email and go hunting to figure out how to "unsubscribe." But Google, one of the largest email providers, has made changes to its Gmail service that users did not "opt into."
As I detail in Friday's Newsflash newsletter, Google is siphoning off emails from businesses, including email newsletters like those from EcommerceBytes, so when users visit their inbox, they have to click a tab to see the so-called "promotional" messages.
The fact that it's Google making this change is more than a little significant to online merchants. Maybe you can't get your site or products found in Google search, and now Google is making you pay for exposure in Google Shopping through PLAs, but you always had your solid, reliable email list to reach your customers.
But now Google is flexing its muscles again. And while the Gmail Inbox redesign may not be the end of the world, it's woken up businesses to how much power the company wields.
Google said its intentions are good - that people will visit the Promotions tab in Gmail with a clearer mind and intent - the idea is that your customers will be more predisposed to be wooed by your marketing messages.
But while Google says the redesign is to put control into the users' hands, by rolling out the redesign as the default, it's taking away users control by making the decision for them.
Marketplace sellers should be worried - Amazon wouldn't comment and eBay didn't respond when I emailed them with questions about whether they were seeing any impact as a result of the new Promotions tab in Gmail.
Email firm Yesmail's Jason Warnock provided me with interesting stats and some advice (see Friday's newsletter), but said it's still early days, and they are doing lots of testing.
Here's some advice on turning off the promotions tab from GenuineSeller.com. Be sure to let us know what you think as both an online seller and as a buyer and Gmail user.