The Gmail “Promotions” Tab & Its Effect on E-commerce

Gmail_logoThe new Gmail tabs were introduced last month, and email marketers have mixed reviews (read the review from Fathom’s Stephen Epple). E-commerce mail is typically sent directly to the “promotions” tab by default, which can be beneficial for an engaged audience that knows where to look for it, but even easier for your less-engaged audience to mass-delete it. Due to these changes, shopping cart and order emails are not immediately seen; users now have to navigate to the appropriate tab to find this information. According to Small Business Trends, this step could potentially lead to lower customer satisfaction and missed sales opportunities.

abandoned cartPrior to the release of Gmail tabs, Small Business Trends attempted to predict its effects. On the positive side, fewer of your e-commerce messages will be sent directly to the junk folder; promotional mail will now have its own separate home. Those who take the time to find your email within the promotions tab are engaging further with your brand or product. On the other hand, marketing messages will now be delayed in delivery, which means marketers will have to schedule their emails accordingly. Another big concern was abandoned shopping carts that are archived or delayed, since this path to conversion has the highest ROI of any e-commerce mail.

Since the release, the new promotions tab has seemed helpful to those marketing to an engaged audience. When all e-commerce information can be found in one tab, a favorite store or brand is more easily sought, and there is a lesser chance of mass deletion. According to an article on, open rates have only decreased nearly 1%, which doesn’t seem like much, especially for brands with loyal customers.

So how you can your e-commerce output stay relevant to your audience? Be sure to personalize your messages and segment to the right audience. If your content is interesting and useful, your reader has a high chance of switching your message from the promotions tab over to the primary tab, where there is less competition. Be proactive by providing engaging, helpful information.


Prepare for the August 2014 shopping search transition with Google Shopping and data feed optimization:

Guide: The New Google Shopping

Photo courtesy of r.nial bradshaw via Flickr.

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