Feb 22, 2016

Email Marketing for Ecommerce: 12 Lifecycle Must-haves

Email marketing is responsible for more than 7% of ecommerce site revenue, which is only behind search (15%) as the most effective marketing channel.

With so many email marketing campaigns out there, it can be challenging for ecommerce businesses to come up with creative ways to engage customers via email.

In this post, we’re going to show you 12 email marketing campaigns every ecommerce business should have, along with some examples for inspiration.

Ecommerce email to send #1: Welcome email

First impressions matter.

The goals of welcome emails are to:

  • Engage with customers (or subscribers)
  • Develop relationships
  • Move them through the onboarding process

Example: Lululemon 

Ecommerce email to send #1: lululemon welcome email

Why we like it:

  • The email subject is very casual, which speaks to the Lululemon brand itself.
  • When you are targeting different groups of people, channelling the traffic is a great idea as demonstrated by the ‘shop women’/’shop men’ links
  • We know that we’ll get exclusive access for their new arrivals


Ecommerce email to send #2: Cart abandonment email

Nearly 70% of people get stuck in the funnel when they abandon their shopping cart.

There are a lot of reasons why people abandon their cart. It could be that they forgot about it; the website crashed; the checkout process was too complicated, etc.

Abandoned cart emails are sent to people who have added products to their shopping cart, but failed to finish the check-out process.

And it’s a really effective sales recovery tactic. In fact, nearly half of abandoned cart emails are opened and over a third of clicks lead to purchases back on site!

Example: Bonobos

Ecommerce email to send #2: Bonobos cart abandonment email

Why we like it:

  • They offer a 20% discount as an incentive to complete the purchase.
  • It’s different than other cart-abandonment emails where they show the products. This one sparks curiosity.


Ecommerce email to send #3: Order has been received (thank you) email

Order confirmation emails (along with shipping information emails) are vital for ecommerce sites. 

It’s an opportunity to reassure buyers who have bought from the site that the business did receive the order, and that the details of it are correct. 

“A professional ecommerce business sends the customer an order confirmation email notifying (and hopefully thanking) them of their completed purchase. However, the customer experience does not end there, as order confirmation emails (i.e. the receipt) have an open rate of over 70%! To put that into perspective, the average email open-rate isn’t even 18%” – Receiptful

Great order confirmation emails usually have the following information:

  • Name of the item purchased and the total cost
  • The date the order was placed
  • The delivery address
  • Order tracking details, if available
  • Customer service contact details

Example: Urban Outfitters

Ecommerce email to send #3: Urban Outfitters order confirmation email

Why we like it:

  • Even if you skim it, you’ll be able to see the important information because it’s clean and simple.


Ecommerce email to send #4: Order is on its way email

Following up on order confirmation emails, “Your order is on its way” emails are another great trust-building emails. 

Just like order confirmation emails, shipping information emails also have a high open rate. It would be a great idea to make them full of important information, such as tracking link, order details, and delivery address, as they are an important touch point for customers.

Example: Moo

Ecommerce email to send #4: Moo shipping confirmation email

Why we like it:

  • The personalisation. It takes two seconds to insert the name, but it means a lot.
  • It includes an estimated arrival date.
  • It has a link to track the order


Ecommerce email to send #5: Leave a review email

According to Nielsen’s report, 92% of consumers said they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.

What this means for ecommerce businesses is that consumers look at reviews before they make a decision. Reviews provide assurance for them, and can eliminate doubts they may have about the product. 

Reviews are also a form of User Generated Content (UGC) that you can use as part of your SEO strategy

Example: Mountain Hardwear

Ecommerce email to send #5: Mountain hardwear leave a review email

Why we like it:

  • They list out each product that was purchased, just in case we forgot what we bought
  • Each product has its own “Write a review” button, which makes it easy to leave a review.

Related reading: Customer Reviews: Why They Are a Deal-Breaker & 5 Simple Ways to Get Them


Ecommerce email to send #6: Cross-sell/upsell (You might also like email)

Cross-sell and upsell are responsible for 10%-30% of ecommerce site revenue.

In fact, way back in 2006, it was reported that Amazon earned 35% of its total revenue thanks to its cross sales and upselling efforts.

There are a few ways you can sell more products to customers:

  • Cross-selling: You recommend customers to buy a product that complements their existing purchase
  • Add-ons: These are those little ‘upgrades’ like screen protectors, laptop bags, etc. 
  • Bundles: Offering two or more products that complement each other at a discounted price

Example: Dollar Shave Club

Ecommerce email to send #6: Dollar Shave Club Cross sell and upsell email

Why we like it:

  • Great use of visual assets. We know what we’re getting.
  • The products they use complement each other (cross-sell and upsell)


Ecommerce email to send #7: Happy birthday email

Everyone wants to indulge themselves on their birthday.

By setting up an automated birthday email with a special offer, you make your customers feel appreciated and give them that little nudge to go to your ecommerce site and make a purchase.

 Just keep in mind to:

  • Automate the email: Having to send birthday emails for each customer is a nightmare.
  • Include a clear call-to-action: Let them know what you want them to do. Ideally, you call-to-action button should fill out, “I want you to…..”. For example, “I want you to [SHOP NOW]”, and make the “SHOP NOW” as the CTA copy.
  • Offer a (birthday) discount

Example: ASOS

Ecommerce email to send #7: ASOS Birthday Email

Why we like it

  • They send it two weeks BEFORE the user’s actual birthday
  • Great personalisation with “Two weeks to go..” message. 
  • Great use of visual hierarchy. Two things stand out – the headline and the “10%” off


Ecommerce email to send #8: Content curation email

Content curation is all the rage in marketing. 

The beauty of content curation is you can also curate for email newsletter.

Another angle you can tackle is by curating “things they may have missed”.

Example: Fab

Ecommerce email to send #8" Fab content curation email

Why we like it:

  • They are not trying to sell the product, instead they mask it as “designers spotlight”
  • They use customers’ testimonials as social proof – “Stylish, high-quality watches that don’t break the bank” and “In case of a fire, we’d grab our computers, golf clubs, and MVMT watches”. We particularly like the first testimonial, as it speaks about the product’s quality.


Ecommerce email to send #9: Product sale or promotion

Repeat purchases are the heart and soul of any ecommerce company because it is so costly to acquire new customers. In fact, it’s five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain a current customer.

One way to encourage repeat purchases is by sending out regular product sale emails.

Example: MeUndies

Ecommerce email to send #9: Meundies promotion email

Why we like it:

  • Great use of ‘mystery’. You just have to check it out to see the discount
  • Good use of targeted email campaign. This one is targeted for their male customers.


Ecommerce email to send #10: Targeted email (based on previous buys or profile)

Sending out emails regularly is a great way to stay in touch with customers.

But you wouldn’t want to send the same emails to everybody, especially if you have different customer segments.

Example: Birchbox

Ecommerce email to send #10: Birchbox behavioural targeting email

Why we like it:

  • They actually admit they look at sample and purchase history before sending this email: (We peeked at your sample and purchase history, and then used our supercomputers to find these great offers – tailored just for you)


Ecommerce email to send #11: We miss you email

You’ve spent a lot of money and time getting those customers, so don’t let them go to waste. 

Win them back.

Re-engagement or win-back emails have an average open rate of 12%, which is slightly under the overall open rate of 14%. But here’s the surprising (and encouraging) stats – 45% who got the emails read subsequent messages!

Example: Misguided

Ecommerce email to send #11: Misguided reengagement email

Why we like it:

  • It’s a bit funny and quirky, which is in-line with their brand
  • It actually offers you something (free next day delivery) to get you back on-board


Ecommerce email to send #12: Seasonal and current events email (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Summer, Winter, etc.)

Summer, Autumn, Christmas, Valentine’s, Halloween – there are countless trends and seasons that you can take advantage of.

There is even a National Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday), a National Burger Day, and a National Donut Day!

Considering how much potential and extra sales these social trends and events can bring, it would be a crime to not take advantage.

Just make sure you’re always one step ahead and prepare beforehand.

Example: Indochino

Ecommerce email to send #12: Indochino seasonal trends email

Why we like it:

  • The CTA button is above the fold, which is the best placeto put a CTA button
  • It shows the products in different styles and the price for each, which makes it easier to choose



So there you have it. If you have any questions or tips and tricks you’d like to share, please post them at our Facebook page or tweet us at @bwired_group. Hopefully, this post has sparked some ideas that you can use in your business immediately.

Leave a comment