Email technology company PowerInbox recently launched the beta version of its PowerInBox API, which enables companies to incorporate ecommerce, videos, photos, real-time updates, and more within the body of email messages.
"Until today, people interacted with email by hitting reply or forward, or by clicking on URLs to launch Web pages, taking you outside the context of email," said Matt Thazhmon, founder and CEO of PowerInbox, in a statement. "All this back-and-forth drains productivity and effectiveness. PowerInbox lets people stay where interaction begins – inside email."
Ten companies announced their use of interactive email through PowerInbox, including NextWidgets, which lets users browse through store items in email; Fundraise, which allows contributors to make donations through email; and Vsnap, a video sharing provider.
David McLaughlin, CEO of Vsnap, said his company is using the PowerInbox platform because it enhances social engagement for users. "Vsnap allows people to send video messages through email. Allowing recipients to view those videos right in the body of email promotes a rich and immediate experience. For Vsnap, PowerInbox is a perfect fit and really gives our audience instant, immediate access to the basic benefits our service provides," McLaughlin noted.
The PowerInbox platform currently supports Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail through Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Rockmelt. Support for Thunderbird is expected by the end of June, with mobile devices supported later this year. Those who decide not to upgrade to the new platform can still view the original, static email.
Founded in 2010 and based in Cambridge, Mass., PowerInbox claims that its interactive email offers a conversion rate that is four times higher than regular email. Among recipients who open its interactive Facebook email, which lets you respond directly to a Facebook comment, 29 percent click the "like" button and 20 percent make a comment inside the email. For Twitter interactive email, 30 percent follow other people and 28 percent send a tweet or a direct message.