Ecommerce Email Marketing – The Complete Guide for Beginners

Ecommerce Email Marketing Guide
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One of the biggest advantages of running your own eCommerce website is you can collect emails from your customers and prospects. And leverage it to build an engaging relationship. 

The email list is your proprietary asset which gives you freedom from relying entirely on social media and search engines to communicate with your consumers and drive more sales. 

However, to make the best of your email list, you need an effective email marketing strategy that helps you nurture your customers and subscribers with engaging content to convert them into loyal customers for your online store.

In this guide, we will dive deeper into every aspect of eCommerce email marketing to find answers to the following questions –

  • What is eCommerce email marketing?
  • Why is it important for eCommerce businesses?
  • How can you leverage it to grow your business?

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started. 

What is Ecommerce Email Marketing?

Email marketing is one of the oldest marketing forms that allows businesses to communicate with their customers and prospects directly via email. For eCommerce businesses, it is an effective online marketing channel that enables you to promote your products among your customers without any intermediary advertising platform.

Email marketing can play a pivotal role in the overall marketing strategy for eCommerce brands as it helps you with –

  • Sending personalized marketing communication to each customer
  • Keeping customers engaged between purchases through different types of emails
  • Building relationships with customers to boost retention rate

Although there are various marketing channels for eCommerce brands, with a modern approach (personalization, segmentation, and integration with other platforms), email marketing can be the most profitable channel for your business. 

Is Email Marketing Effective for Ecommerce?

Many claim that email marketing is dead and is not as effective as it used to be. But I think email marketing is far from dead. In fact, it is the most profitable marketing channel for eCommerce brands, generating an average return of $42 on every $1 spent. 

Still don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at a few more statistics –

  • There are 4 billion daily email users. (Statista)
  • Email marketing revenue is estimated to reach almost 18 billion by the end of 2027. (Statista)
  • 41.5% of brands say email marketing is critical to business success, compared to 78% in 2020. (Litmus)
  • Consumers spend an average of 10 seconds reading brand emails. (Statista)
  • Email is the leading way consumers in the U.S. discover coupons from brands.  (Statista)

These statistics alone show that emails are not just useful for brands, but users are also using them as a medium to connect with brands and find lucrative deals.

I’m not saying that if email marketing works for other brands, it will work for you too. But I can definitely say that email has a huge potential for eCommerce brands to generate sales, and you should not ignore it without trying it. 

Types of Ecommerce Email Campaigns

A successful email marketing strategy includes different types of email campaigns to keep customers engaged throughout their journey within your ecosystem. 

Here are the common types of email campaigns that successful eCommerce brands use – 

1. Welcome Emails

It is the first email communication a customer or subscriber receives from your brand when they create an account or join your email list. The objective of these emails is to make users feel welcome and excited about your brand. 

You can set up an automated email for every form sign-up or create a series of emails to educate them about your brand, products, and everything they need to know to become a loyal customer. 

2. Cart Abandonment Emails

These are a series of automated emails sent to customers after they leave their shopping cart without completing the purchase. These emails aim to give customers a gentle reminder about their abandoned cart and encourage them to complete the purchase.

Cart abandonment is the most common challenge for eCommerce brands in closing sales. However, with compelling messages and offers, you can convert such shoppers into paying customers.

3. Review Request Emails

Do you know that about 95% of customers read reviews and testimonials before making an online purchase? This makes it crucial for eCommerce brands to collect buyer product reviews to boost conversion rates. This is where review request emails come into the picture.

These emails are sent after the order is delivered to encourage shoppers to leave a review for the purchased products and share their shopping experiences via the feedback form.

4. Promotional Emails

These emails are designed to drive sales by promoting sales offers and discounts that bring customers back to your website. You can use these emails to inform them regarding –

  • Limited sales ( e.g., flash sales)
  • Seasonal sales ( e.g., winter sales, back-to-school offers, etc.)
  • Festive offers (e.g., Christmas sales, Diwali sales, etc.,)
  • Exclusive deals 

Customers love discounts and offers. But to make the most of it to generate sales, you have to take a strategic approach with the messaging and offers. 

5. Product-Based Emails

Customers want to feel like you know them. They want you to inform them about the products they may want to purchase based on their past purchases and interactions on the site.

Product-based emails are explicitly designed to serve that purpose. You can send personalized product recommendations to cross-sell other related products. besides, these types of emails also cover the campaigns related to –

  • New products and collections
  • Back-in-stock alerts
  • Price change alerts
  • Wishlist product reminders

Product-based emails are follow-up emails after purchases to establish an engaging relationship with customers that keeps your brand on top of their minds when they are ready to shop again. 

6. Re-engagement Emails

These types of emails are also known as win-back emails. The primary goal behind these emails is to reactivate dormant customers who haven’t visited or shopped in your store for a long time.

These emails usually target customers who are not showing a response to promotional and product-based marketing communications. The email is designed to lure them to your store by offering attractive discounts and encouraging them to purchase from your store again.

Note – If customers don’t react to re-engagement emails, it would be a good idea to remove such emails from your email list. 

7. Informational Emails

These emails are meant to educate your customers and prospects without being salesy. Customers don’t also want promotional emails – sometimes, they just want to know about things they love. 

For instance, if you are an online retailer, customers may want to know about the latest fashion trends or lookbooks for upcoming festivals. Such emails may not drive direct sales but will help you build a lasting relationship with customers. 

The best example of informational emails would be daily/weekly/monthly newsletters with blog updates, infographics, and more. 

8. Replenishment Emails

If you sell products like cosmetics, medicines, groceries, etc., that need to be purchased after regular intervals, replenishment emails are well-appreciated by customers. 

These emails act as reminders for customers to place orders for products they purchased earlier but might be running low. These emails have to be automated based on how long the product package may last.

9. Transactional Emails

These emails are sent to customers after a transaction such as successful checkout, or related action is performed by that person. Transaction email includes –

  • Order Confirmation emails
  • Shipment updates emails
  • Delivery confirmation emails
  • Thank you emails
  • Loyalty point updates

Transactional emails are automated and unique to each recipient based on a specific transaction from their accounts. Customers expect these emails after every transaction.

10 Effective Ecommerce Email Marketing Strategies & Tips

By now, we have discussed how email marketing benefits eCommerce businesses and the types of emails you can send to your new and existing customers. 

In this section, I will walk you through proven and actionable email marketing strategies you can consider for your businesses to boost conversion and generate more sales. 

1. Focus on Building a Quality Email List

An email list is the most important element of an email marketing campaign; without it, you don’t have recipients for your emails. In eCommerce, you have the email list of your customers, but you can take a step further to build an email list of your prospects as well. 

You can offer lead magnets or newsletter subscriptions to invite visitors to join your email list, but never buy email lists from other sources – it won’t do any good for your business. 

Remember, the more genuine the email list you have with people interested in your products, the better your email marketing campaigns will perform to generate sales for your business. 

2. Use Double Opt-in Emails

While building your email list, you can either add everyone who submits an opt-in form to your email list or use the double opt-in method to get subscriber consent for future emails. 

Here’s an example of what a double opt-in email looks like –

double opt-in email example

This obviously adds an extra step between a subscriber and your email list, but by doing this, you can avoid invalid emails from adding to your lists. Moreover, people who take this additional step to verify their emails are potentially more relevant than those who are just interested in your lead magnets. 

Using double opt-in emails, you don’t just have a clean email list but possibly a high-performing one that can contribute to your business growth. 

3. Craft Attention-grabbing Subject Lines

The subject line is the first thing email recipients see, making them decide whether to open it or delete it immediately. So, you need to ensure that the subject lines of your email campaigns are compelling enough to excite them to see what’s inside. 

However, just to make people click your emails, you should not use click-bait or spammy tactics because if users find the content unrelated to the subject line, they tend to block or report your emails as spam. This would hurt your campaigns in the long run as your emails may start falling into the spam box of your recipients, which means a lower open rate and worse CTR for your campaigns. 

Instead, you should try to stand out using relevant, short, and funny subject lines. You can also use emojis for expression and personalize it by adding recipients’ names in the subject lines. 

4. Don’t ignore preview text 

Preview text is a copy that shows below or next to the subject lines depending upon where you view emails. It is the next important section after the subject line that you can leverage to boost open rates. 

Marketers usually ignore the Preview text section while creating email campaigns, but you should think of it as a companion to your subject line that adds more details to your subject line and gives more reason for recipients to open your emails. 

Here’s an example of what Preview Text looks like – 

Add Preview Text in email

You should also know that the character limits for preview text vary for email applications. So, keep it short (<90 characters) and include the main points and buzzwords towards the front such that it fits on most devices. 

5. Leverage list segmentation

Personalization is the key to successful email marketing campaigns, and it goes beyond just adding the first name of recipients – the content has to be personalized as well. 

With the email list segmentation technique, you can divide your email list into different groups based on specific characteristics such as –

  • Demographics (name, age, gender, location, etc.)
  • Purchase history (product category, amount spent, etc.,)
  • Behavior (cart abandonment, discount seeking, etc.)
  • Inactivity durations (short-term & long-term inactivity)
  • Buyer Journey (subscriber, lead, prospect, customer, etc.)

And other available data…

Using these segments, you can send targeted emails to a specific segment with personalized content to each recipient within that segment. For instance, if you want to re-engage dormant customers, you can target the long-term inactive segments rather than every customer on your list. 

6. Send product recommendations

Once you have created segments of your email list, you can leverage it to send unique product recommendations to specific customers based on their past purchases and behavior.

You can send product recommendations in post-purchase follow-up emails to upsell or cross-sell the products they are more likely to buy – the more relevant your product recommendation will be, the higher the conversion rate will be.

To make this possible, you need email marketing software that syncs directly with your eCommerce platforms to track and predict product recommendations. Omnisend is one such email marketing platform that integrates seamlessly with major eCommerce platforms and allows you to add dynamic product recommendation content to the email body.

You can read our comprehensive Omnisend review to learn everything about it.

7. Send unique offers & Discounts

Customers love discounts, and by offering special discounts based on their interactions on your website or purchasing behavior, you can see a significant spike in repeat sales, engagement, and overall revenue growth for your store. 

You can use this strategy for re-engagement and abandonment emails to entice customers to take action immediately. For example, for a customer who hasn’t shopped for over three months from your store, you can send an attractive discount offer encouraging them to visit your store and make a purchase to redeem the offer. 

Similarly, for cart abandonment, you can offer a cash discount or free shipping to give shoppers a gentle nudge to complete the checkout immediately.

8. Offer exclusive deals on life events

Want to make your customers feel valued by your brand? Send emails on their special days like birthdays and anniversaries. These life events are precious to everyone and must be celebrated. 

Birthday emails get a much higher open rate and conversion rate than promotional emails. So, for eCommerce brands, it is the best opportunity to retain existing customers or reactivate dormant customers by offering deals they can’t pass. 

Birthdays and anniversaries are synonyms of gifting days. So, make sure that your special day deals are more lucrative than generic offers – they can be anything from free shipping, discounts, cash rewards, or gift vouchers.

9. Add clear call-to-action

Whether you send promotional emails, informational, or any kind of email, the chances are that you want them to take some action. It can be anything from reading a blog post or buying a product to watching a video.

Whatever you want them to do must be clearly presented to the recipients. We call it CTA or call-to-action, which you can use in the form of a copy or a button within the email body. 

CTA is an essential element of email campaigns because by including at least a single CTA in the email body, you can see bumps in clicks by 371% and sales by 1617%.

You can create a compelling call to action by –

  • Using action-oriented words
  • Keeping the message short & concise
  • Highlighting the benefits
  • Using buttons to grab attention

10. Design responsive emails

Do you know that over 60% of emails are viewed on mobile devices? So, if your emails are not responsive to mobile applications, you are clearly losing the game of conversions. 

Fortunately, almost every email marketing platform lets you preview how your email will look in different browsers, email applications, screen sizes, and devices, including mobile devices. 

So, take some time to customize your email design to ensure it is responsive and easily accessible on all screen-size devices. Especially focus on the buttons and images, which are more likely to distort on different devices.

Wrapping Up

Email marketing is one of the best-performing marketing channels for eCommerce businesses – you won’t find any successful eCommerce brand that is not leveraging email marketing to communicate with their customers.

So, whether you’re a new or established eCommerce business owner, email marketing should play a pivotal role in your marketing strategy. With these effective eCommerce email marketing strategies, I am sure you can deliver successful email campaigns for your business.

Finally, you need powerful email automation software in your toolkit to make email marketing successful. So, if you are still looking for one, you should check out our list of recommended email marketing software for eCommerce.

For more tips and ideas to boost your eCommerce business, you should check the following articles next –

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