*Will iOS 15 Be the End of eMail Marketing?*

“Why email Marketers are Calling Apple’s iOS 15 Update ‘a proverbial nail in the coffin’ of digital marketing”

Is Apple Killing Digital Marketing?

While I am far from an expert in digital marketing (but I do know many experts), I understand the fact that most consumer-facing businesses rely on it for at least a portion of their sales. For pureplay online sellers, it’s a must. For hybrid online & physical retailers, it’s important and getting more so all the time as the sales split shifts more and more to e-commerce. So, what exactly is happening with the Apple updates and what is a retailer to do?

This marketing issues began to build steam with the introduction of iOS 14 and continued with the launch of iOS 15 a few week’s ago. Here is a taste of the reaction to iOS 15:

“Apple iOS 15 Has Marketers Poised for Hardship” - Adweek

“Enhanced User Privacy to the Detriment of Marketers & Publishers” - The Drum

“Why email Marketers are Calling Apple’s iOS 15 Update ‘a proverbial nail in the coffin’ of digital marketing” - Digiday

It’s no secret that Apple has been focused on protecting user privacy and limiting (or eliminating) individual tracking. While iOS 15 is nothing more than a “step in the process”, its implications could be significant, as it hinders advertisers’ ability to measure success across email marketing campaigns. This is on top of iOS 14, which made mobile targeting more difficult.

Key elements of iOS 15 include:

  • More user protection from third-party trackers, including email privacy protection that stops email senders from collecting data via pixels.

  • Hiding user IP addresses, limiting third-party entities’ ability to track users.

  • Hide My Email, a feature which allows users to utilize random email addresses that forward to their personal inbox, keeping primary email addresses private. 

Many experts believe that iOS 15 will create issues and thus impact marketing programs well beyond open and deliverability rates, as well as the inability to determine the email and IP addresses of recipients. Split testing, sender reputation, segmentation tactics, and subscription list cleansing may all suffer.

So, how should marketers address these challenges? Here is what I learned after asking several experts:

Good Retail & Not So Good Retail:

In today’s challenging retail environment, it’s more important than ever that we execute and serve the customer at very high levels. To that end, I like to share my direct experiences on occasion to help you better understand what is happening in retail today (the more “eyes” on retail we have the smarter it makes us). Hopefully this allows you to better view your own operation from the customers perspective and react when opportunities are identified.

Before I jump in, please be aware these were one time experiences and may or may not reflect how these merchants operate on a holistic level.

The “Not So Good”:

  • Kohl’s: Two Saturday’s ago, I went shopping with my wife at Kohl’s. We arrived about 3:30pm. The parking lot was emptier than usual and the traffic in the store was fair at best. I have known Kohl’s to have long checkout lines in the past but this seemed pretty quiet. So we shopped and picked out a few items to purchase. When we went to pay, at about 4pm, the line to pay literally wrapped through the double checkout queue and all the way to the back of the store! In all of my visits, I have never seen a line so long. Were they short-staffed you ask? There were plenty of associates on the salesfloor stocking or doing other tasks. I have no clue if they were cross-trained to operate a register, but the sure should have been. We, along with several others, put down our purchases and left empty-handed. I would guess that even for those that waited in line, they may think twice about returning to the store. Long lines are an easy way to lose sales and potentially lose customers.

Plan Accordingly: The are the Forecast Busiest Days of the Season:

Here are the top 10 busiest shopping days in the U.S., as ranked by Sensormatic:

Friday, November 26 – Black Friday

Saturday, December 18 – Super Saturday

Thursday, December 23 – Thursday before Christmas

Saturday, December 11 – 2nd Saturday in December

Sunday, December 26 – Day after Christmas, aka “Boxing Day”

Wednesday, December 22 – Wednesday before Christmas

Saturday, November 27 – Saturday after Thanksgiving

Saturday, December 4 – first Saturday in December

Tuesday, December 21 – Tuesday before Christmas

Sunday, December 19 – Sunday before Christmas

“Our predicted busiest days mark the peaks of in-store traffic, but we expect that like last year, consumers will start their shopping earlier to offset inventory limitations shipping delays and ongoing concerns about social distancing,” said Brian Field, senior director, Sensormatic Solutions, global retail consulting practice, whose team predicts the top busiest days of the holiday season. “Additionally, with Christmas Day on a Saturday for the first time since 2010, and stores closed that day to observe the holiday, we expect more holiday shopper traffic than usual will occur in the days leading up to Christmas and on Dec. 26.”

Retail News You Can Use:

China – US Container Spot Rates Plunge, but Could be Short-lived

Cool Pics:

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Quotes of the Week:

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne

“Tell stories.” – Seth Godin

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.” – Benjamin Franklin