4 Essential Ecommerce Emails You Need to be Sending

coupon code showing on a cell phone to denote essential ecommerce emails

With your eCommerce store up and running, you may be curious about how to use email marketing to drive more revenue.

But you may be at a loss on where to start.

Surely you’re somewhat familiar with email marketing already. After all, you get emails from your favorite retailers. But do you know the story behind those campaigns? What workflows are you rolled into? Why? When every email just seems to be a promotion for the “best sale ever!!!”, it can be unclear what the strategy was underneath it all and what the best practices are for this stuff.

In this post, we’ll run you through the basics of what an email marketing program could look like for your online store . In addition, we’ll share some statistics with you about why each of these emails is critical to the customer’s buying journey and essential to driving sales. Plus, I’ll be sure to show an example of a great email you can use as an idea starter – something that isn’t just “the best sale ever!!!”

Let’s dive in.

#1 – Pre-Purchase Engagement Emails

Why they’re important: 81% of customers do research before making a purchase. (source)

What to put in these emails: Classic marketing says that the sale begins with awareness. Awareness usually begins well before your customer signs up for your email list and happens through content marketing, PR, social media, and advertising. Once your customer has signed up for your emails, the next critical stage of the buying journey is education and engagement. The goal of your nurture emails is to get your subscriber to make that first purchase. In order to do that, you need to teach the customer a little bit about your product. It’s all about helping your customers with their pre-purchase research.

When to send them: At least once a week.

An example: I like this example from J. Crew, which helps give you, the potential customer, a few ideas on how to create outfits with the items in their store. Idea builders like this provide the right kind of education that a customer needs before he or she makes a purchase.


#2 – Abandoned Cart Nurture Emails

Why they’re important: 73% of shopping carts are abandoned. (source)

What to put in these emails: These emails can be a very effective sales recovery tactic. The two things to keep in mind about your abandoned cart emails are to personalize them and to create a sense of urgency.

Personalize these emails by recalling the specific product that your customer forgot in the shopping cart and by pulling in the customer’s name in the email’s subject line. Little touches like this will make your email stand out in the inbox and will make it more likely to get read and clicked on.

In terms of creating urgency, don’t be afraid to send several emails. First of all, people are busy. It sounds pushy, but they might actually appreciate several reminders. Second of all, if they are comparing a couple of different products before making a purchase, it could be helpful to remind them of yours through those emails. Another way to create a sense of urgency is to let customers know when you’re running out of inventory for an item they left in the cart. This is a very real reason for taking action and a legitimate reason on your part for reaching out.

When to send them: No longer than two hours after the shopping cart is abandoned.

An example: This email from Fab.com is a good example of how to personalize an abandoned cart email by recalling the product in the email content.


Email #3 – Post-Purchase Follow Up

Why they’re important: Your chances of repeat purchases increase with each purchase. A customer who has purchased from you once has a 27% of visiting you again, but a customer who has made three purchases has a 54% chance of returning for the fourth. (source)

What to put in these emails: These emails boil down to the importance of segmented email marketing. You have to know who has purchased from you, when, and how often. With this information in your back pocket, you can send emails that make sense. You can send emails that ask the right things of your most engaged customers, and leave those who you’re still building the foundations of a relationship with alone.

As for those engaged customers who have purchased from you several times, you can create email campaigns that encourage them to be a part of your social media communities, request product reviews from them, and give them early access to new product versions so you can get their feedback.

When to send them: You want to send the email when you know your brand is top of mind for the customer. Within a month of a recent purchase, email open, or site visit makes sense.

An example: This example of a product review request email from Zappos is a prime example of a friendly and to-the-point campaign requesting more engagement from an already happy customer.


Email #4 – Transactional Emails

Why they’re important: 53% of transactional emails are controlled and written by IT, but they have far higher open rates than any other email. It could be a missed opportunity for brand building and revenue. (source)

What to put in these emails: I’ll specifically focus on shipping confirmations here, given that transactional email is a broad topic worthy of it’s own post (or book… or blog).

Like I mentioned earlier in the post, people do a ton of research before they make a purchase these days. That means there’s already a lot of anticipation leading up to getting a product in the mail. Why not ride that feeling of excitement in your emails to customers and announce each step of the shipping process along the way? People love to talk about their incoming purchases on social media. With a more creative, visual, and interactive transactional email, you can encourage customers to talk about your products.

When to send them: As often as possible. The day the purchase is confirmed… the day the item ships… send a confirmation each step of the way to build excitement.

An example: I loved getting this email from Warby Parker, which let me know that my glasses were on the way. I waited a long time to get the glasses, and picking them out on the website was a lot of fun. This sweet subject line was kind of like the cherry on top of a great experience. Although I have to admit that I didn’t Tweet about the email as soon as I got it, I did feature it in this blog post, right?


What other emails do you consider essential for any eCommerce store? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Yeah, ecommerce is a real art! I am so happy that among tones of rubbish on the Internet I am able to find such a wonderful articles. Information provided within this post is right to the point and will be extremely useful for my assignment for davidwadsworth.co.uk. Thank you Janet! Waiting for new reading from you!

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