5 Emails You Should Automate For Your E-commerce Marketing In 2017

This is a guest post written by Josh Reyes. He is the Marketing Coordinator and Lead Content Creator at SmartrMail. His articles on all things email and e-commerce marketing can be found on the SmartrMail Blog.


Regardless of your e-commerce store’s size or revenue, automating your email marketing can help you save time and drive sales. Automated email messages average 72.6% higher open rates and 152.3% higher click-through rates than general mass email marketing messages. Most importantly, triggered and automated campaigns account for 75% of all revenue from email marketing.

It’s without a doubt–that the best email marketing happens when you don’t have to hit “SEND”!

The problem is, too many e-commerce stores are still sending a simple bulk newsletter to all of their subscribers. With the range and quality of apps available for platforms like Shopify, 2017 should be the year every retailer is relentlessly automating their store into a well-oiled sales machine.

There’s no better place to start your automation than with email marketing, so get your new year off to the right start and automate these 5 emails now!

#1. Product Recommendation Emails

Example of an automated email - Mockup from SmartrMail.

Every e-commerce marketer knows the struggles of putting their email newsletter together–complete with the right products, images, and links. But what if I told you that email marketing automation software could do that all for you…

I’ll save the tech talk about algorithms and deep learning, and cut right to what matters: new email marketing automation software can instantly boost your sales by sending your customers personalized emails with the products they’re most likely to buy and actually want to see!

No longer do you have to segment by items and collections that that they previously purchased from. Get your software to track everything including purchase history, browsing behavior, and email clicks to deliver the right products to the right customers.

Excited? You’ll be over the moon when you hear the results: Personalized emails drive 6x higher transaction rates than bulk email newsletters.

There’s honestly no better way to save time on email marketing and dramatically increase your sales.

#2. Abandoned Cart Emails

Free Shipping is a great trigger when it comes to sending Abandoned Cart emails. - Source: Huckberry

Free Shipping is a great trigger when it comes to sending Abandoned Cart emails. – Source: Huckberry

If you’re not automating abandoned cart emails, you may as well be saying no to more money in your pocket. According to the Baymard Institute, 69.23% of customers who add items to their cart will abandon them. The good news is, Business Insider estimates that 63% of abandoned carts can be recovered by savvy e-commerce marketers.

But finding your savvy series will take some testing as to what works and what doesn’t. The best place to start is to look at the most likely reasons for cart abandonment from a study by UPS and comScore:

  1. Unexpected shipping costs or conditions at checkout
  2. Browsing for a better price elsewhere
  3. Didn’t want to create an account to purchase
  4. Preferred payment was not offered
  5. Got distracted and forgot to complete the order

From analyzing our top cart recoverer’s at SmartrMail, we found the most popular formula to be 2-3 follow up emails:

  • Email 1: Don’t offer a discount. Kindly remind your customer that they left an item behind
  • Email 2: Offer free shipping if possible. Otherwise a small shipping discount can do the trick.
  • Email 3 (optional): If you’re going to send this email, make it your hail mary. Offer the largest discount you can to make the sale.

Remember to always ask your customer if there were any issues with checking out and make your contact details clearly visible. There’s nothing worse than an uncaught checkout bug for e-commerce retailers.

#3. Welcome Emails

Welcome email from Huckberry

Excited subscribers equal likely buyers, and there’s no other time when your subscribers are more excited about your store than when they first subscribe to your email list. In terms of effectiveness, welcome emails are in a league that bulk email newsletters can’t even compete in. They’re opened 4X more often and clicked 5X more. But most importantly, welcome emails generate 8X more revenue!

Welcome emails are your chance to make a good first impression and let your customers get to know you and your brand.

Firstly, thank your customers for subscribing. With the current state of inboxes and busy lives, it means a lot that someone is taking the time to read your emails. Show them a warm welcome with a small first-time buyer discount. It will only improve your chances of making a sale.

Next, since your new subscribers are unlikely to be familiar with your brand and you’ve yet to collect enough data on browsing behavior or past purchase history–now is the time to send an email featuring your best selling products.

There’s no magic number when it comes to implementing your welcome email series, but at the very least you should implement the 3 welcome emails every e-commerce store needs to send — a) welcome email with a discount, b) best selling products with your branding message, and c) educational content.

#4. Re-Engagement Emails

Reengagement email from erstwhile online retail store, Piperlime.

Every subscriber will eventually tune out from your emails and stop purchasing from your store, but before they do – send a re-engagement series to jump start their love of your brand.

The best practice is to send a series of emails to your subscribers once they haven’t opened or clicked an email in 60 days. Send 2-3 emails with a few key pieces of content:

  • Tell them you miss them (yes the breakup approach is popular)
  • Make an irresistible offer
  • Warn them they will be unsubscribed if they don’t open the email

If your emails go unopened it’s time to clean the subscriber off your list.

Your re-engagement emails should go hand-in-hand with regular list cleaning. Unengaged email addresses show Gmail and other ISP’s that your senders aren’t interested in seeing your emails which in turn significantly lowers your deliverability.

While re-engagement emails won’t have high conversion rates and shrinking your email list may be hard to stomach – but know that a smaller engaged list will improve your deliverability, show better engagement rates, and bring your cost of email marketing down.

#5. Post-Purchase Emails

Source: Nordstrom.

Source: Nordstrom.

Selling to an existing customer is always easier than selling to a new prospect. Post purchase emails make it even easier with an open rate of 70.90%, compared to an average email marketing open rate of 17.68%.

With open rates that high, there’s no better time to pitch your cross-sell. It’s arguably the best secret weapon that’s made Amazon the largest e-commerce retailer in the world. As far back as 2006, the company reported that 35% of their revenue was through cross-sales and upselling efforts, mostly through receipt emails.

Along with cross sell recommendations, you can also:

  • Offer a discount code to incentivize future purchases
  • Link to a post purchase survey
  • Share a referral code
  • Promote your social profiles
  • Let your customers share their purchase on social media
  • Review your product

Closing Note

Don’t read this and do nothing! You’ll only need to automate these emails once.

Write these down on your notepad, then start automating using your e-commerce email app. Every day without them is lost sales and more time spent by you on email marketing.

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