eDataSource, the leading provider of competitive intelligence data, has released a ranking of effective email marketing based on the efforts of the Internet Retailer top 500 e-retailers.  Specifically, EDS has ranked the top 10 retail chain e-retailers with the highest 2010 web sales reported by Internet Retailer.  eDataSource has ranked these brands on their email marketing by how many active recipients they currently have.

Ranking of Top Retail Chains

Top 10 Retail Chain Merchants

Active Recipients





Staples Inc.



Best Buy Co.



Victoria’s Secret



Sears Holdings Corp.



Costco Wholesale Corp



Macy’s Inc.



Office Depot



OfficeMax Inc.



W.W. Grainger Inc.

The results place Walmart.com & Staples Inc. at #1 and #2 based on EDS’s calculation of active recipients in the last 30 days. The calculation is based on estimated overall reach and open rate data monitored by EDS Analyst.  As you can see in the chart below, both of these brands are ranked in the top 3 of Internet Retailers Top 10 Retail Chains, based on 2010 web sales.

At EDS, we pride ourselves on providing very statistically correct data.  At this time the activity level at W.W. Grainger has not been high enough to provide us with a large enough data sample to report an open rate which is why sample the Active Recipients number is not displayed.  Although the brand has 1.8B web sales for 2010 according to Internet Retailer, W.W. Grainger doesn’t seem to be proactively promoting their products by email.  Therefore, W.W. Grainger defaults to the 10th place for this ranking.

Data Collected by EDS Analyst

Defining the monitored performance data used for the ranking:

  • Overall Reach = total delivered email list for a particular brand based on the largest detected deployment in a specific timeframe. For instance, the total number of unique recipients of Staples’ emails is estimated at 19.98M.
  • Open Rates = emails opened / emails delivered.  They are calculated percentages of how many emails were opened out of all of the emails that were delivered to/received by users.  Each unique email is monitored for a 7-day period as most emails are opened within the first 24 hours.
  • Active recipients = overall reach for a brand X open rate for the same brand.  This is an average of how many of the total recipients (reach) were active (opened the email).

**Source: Internet Retailer 2011: Top Retail Chain Merchants


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