Email strategy teardown: Zabar's

Brand Management — Important for Perception & Great Email Marketing

Why Zabar’s?

We did a survey where we asked people about their shopping experience with Amazon. Specifically, we asked when they last purchased and from what company on Amazon. Unsurprisingly, most said they purchased within the last 7 days and they don’t remember what they purchased. I say unsurprisingly because Amazon is a transactional ecommerce marketplace and branding is not top-of-mind. However, branding is very much alive and can help a company stand out from the pack. The 2018 Internet Trends report cited 20+ direct-to-consumer brands that hit $100M in less than 5 years.  These companies have strong brand management — they’re clear about what they say, how they look, and how they are perceived. Your branding can help set you apart from other companies and make you successful, and Klaviyo makes it very easy to create emails with consistent branding.

I decided to break down the email strategy of Zabar’s — a New York City food landmark. I wanted to see if a brand I personally love (I’m a New Yorker by blood and have visited their store many times) has the same level of branding in their email marketing strategy, and if they could improve. I signed up for emails with Zabar’s, took a few actions, and watched to see how the experience unfolded.


The backstory of Zabar’s

Zabar’s, a family-owned New York City food destination, has been around for 85 years. It’s located on the Upper West side of Manhattan, and was founded by Louis and Lillian Zabar. According to their website, “The principles and practices of our founder and father continue to guide us: Respect the customer. Never, ever stint on quality. Offer fair value. And last but not least, keep searching for the new and wonderful.” 



Here's what happened with Zabar's

We signed up for their email newsletter and received a welcome series email.

We abandoned a cart and did not receive an abandoned cart email.

We received an email asking us for our email content preferences.

We purchased after the abandoned cart and received order confirmation and shipping emails.

We received many emails letting us know of recipes, promotions, and holiday gift ideas.

Email deep dive

Let’s look at their one week email strategy.

1. Sign up for their welcome series emails

2. Abandon a cart and see if there’s an abandoned cart email

3. Make a purchase and see if there are post-purchase emails



Zabar's Emails

Zabars order confirmation
zabars shipping

Get helpful articles, real-life success stories, and email marketing insights delivered straight to your inbox.


Daily email strategy


Welcome Series

Email Preferences

Gift Ideas

Social Media Connection

Order Confirmation

Shipping Confirmation

Promotion Reminder




Holiday Gift Ideas

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

The good, the bad, the ugly: Zabar's

positive review

Well-timed welcome series 

On brand, prompt, and had a promotional incentive to shop. It made a good first impression and gave me a further understanding of what this brand is about— high quality food and a company that wants me as a customer. The timing was also ideal. As we noted in another post, “it’s best to send out the welcome email in real time as they have shown to increase opens and clicks and lift transaction rates and revenue per email up to 10 times more when comparing to batched welcome emails.”

positive review

Relevant email content

We were asked for our email content preferences and received exactly what we asked for.  One improvement they could make would be asking how often we’d like to get emails. An alternative way of doing this would be asking for this information in the initial signup forms.

negative review

Abandoned cart email 

There was none. Abandon carts make you money. This is a missed opportunity that is leaving cash on the table.  As we noted in a previous post, customers in our data set generated more than $60 million in sales directly from their abandoned cart emails in our three-month analysis window.

negative review

Inconsistently off-brand

Each email, except for the order confirmation and shipping email, was on-brand and engaging. Your brand is what sets you apart from other brands and is noticed by customers, so make sure every communication is on-brand, even the most basic transactional messages.

In Conclusion…

As a foodie and native New Yorker, Zabar’s is a staple for me. Memories of visiting their 80th and Broadway store bring a lot of nostalgia, and ordering from them took me down memory lane again. They have been around for 85 years for a reason: their quality is superb, their prices are fair, and they’re always looking for new ways to delight their customers. They can improve the customer experience further by creating an abandoned cart email and adding branding to their post-purchase emails.  

Get helpful articles, real-life success stories, and email marketing insights delivered straight to your inbox.