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Epsilon survey shows positive shopper feedback to permission-based e-mails

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS The receipt of permission-based e-mail makes shoppers more likely to do business with a retailer, in addition to generating a more favorable opinion of the retailer, and even a stronger sense of loyalty to the retailer’s brand, Epsilon announced Monday based on its latest research.

By the numbers, an Epsilon nationwide survey of consumers revealed that 56% of recipients of permission-based e-mail from retail companies said they are more likely to make purchases from the sending retailers; 52% said they have a more favorable opinion of the retail companies that send them e-mail because of the communications they receive; and 48% feel more loyal toward the retailers and their products as a result of receiving permission-based e-mails.

“While e-mail marketing programs have become standard in the retail industry, measuring the impact of e-mail communications on offline sales and the lasting impressions of brands is not common,” stated Kevin Mabley, SVP Epsilon Strategic Services. “The research we conducted expands beyond just online behavior and measurable activities, and demonstrates the offline implications and branding ‘halo’ effect of e-mail marketing.”

In another compelling result from the survey research, no less than 87% of respondents who receive permission-based e-mail from retail companies said e-mail is a great way to learn about new products. Additionally, 63% of those who receive permission-based e-mail from retail companies said they want to receive personalized content based on their Web site activity and past purchases.

In other key retail findings, respondents said they took the following actions as a result of receiving permission-based e-mail from a retailer:

    * 88% download/print a coupon;    * 79% click a link in an e-mail to learn more;    * 75% purchase a product online;    * 69% research retail locations that carry a product;    * 67% purchase a product offline;    * 60% try a new product for the first time;    * 55% share a coupon or forward the e-mail;    * 33% type/copy the URL into their browser.

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Researchers find possible targets for UTI drugs

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS Potential targets for new drugs to fight the bacteria that cause many urinary tract infections have been identified by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Washington.

Researchers found that E. coli strains culled from urine samples of women with UTI produce more yersiniabactin and salmochelin, two siderophores that help bacteria scavenge iron to support their own survival. This could help lead to the development of antibiotics that target pathogenic E. coli strains without harming beneficial bacteria in the gut. The findings appear in the Feb. 20 online issue of PLoS Pathogens.

“When we treat an infection with antibiotics, it’s like dropping a bomb — nearly everything gets wiped out, regardless of whether it’s helpful or harmful,” stated lead author Jeff Henderson, a Washington University infectious disease specialist who treats patients with UTIs at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “We’d like to find ways to target the bad bacteria and leave the good bacteria alone, and these siderophores are a great lead in that direction.”

UTIs are one of the most common infections, causing around $1.6 billion in medical expenses every year in the United States. Half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives, and recurrent UTIs affect 20% to 40% of these patients. Scientists believe 90% of all UTIs are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli).

The E. coli that cause UTIs may come from the human gut, where several strains of the bacteria reside. Scientists think some of those strains help their human hosts by aiding digestion and blocking other infectious organisms.

“To steal iron, siderophores have to be sent out from the cell, bind to the iron, and then be taken back into the cell,” Henderson said. “If we can design an antibiotic that looks like a siderophore, we might be able to trick only disease-causing bacteria into taking up the drug while leaving other bacteria alone.”

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Research shows women at greater risk of stroke

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO It is a common public misperception that men are at greater risk of stroke and stroke death. In truth, women accounted for 61% of stroke deaths in the United States in 2004, according to American Heart Association statistics shared last week at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference.

However, there is a gender disparity in how women are treated for stroke as compared to men. Researchers at Michigan State University performed a meta-analysis of gender differences in the use of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator and found women are less likely to receive it than men, for example. The odds of women receiving the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) after an acute ischemic stroke was 30% lower than men.

Another Michigan study documented that women are more likely to report “non-traditional” stroke symptoms such as an altered mental state. Women with a stroke or transient ischemic attack were roughly 40% more likely than men to report non-traditional symptoms — especially altered mental status (disorientation, confusion or loss of consciousness), researchers said.

Researchers defined traditional stroke symptoms such as numbness or weakness on one side of the body, double vision, trouble speaking and comprehending words, loss of coordination and facial weakness. Non-traditional symptoms were defined as pain, mental status change, headache or other.

Previous research has indicated that women are more likely to report non-traditional stroke symptoms, which may delay appropriate stroke treatment.

In the study, 52% of women reported one or more non-traditional stroke/TIA symptoms, as did 44% of men. Altered mental status was reported by 23% of women, but only 15% of men.

The findings indicate the need for further study to improve awareness of non-traditional stroke symptoms in women and to understand their potential clinical consequences, including decreased tPA use in women, researchers said.

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