Ecommerce Email Marketing: 10 Must-Have Emails to Generate More Sales

John Davier

John Davier

Published on

September 12, 2020

Let’s get straight to the point here: while not every brand includes transactional emails in their email marketing strategies, studies have shown that transactional emails have an average CTR of 4.8%—a number three times higher than traditional emails which generate a CTR of 1.6%. Repeated surveys have proven that transactional emails are more effective at engaging subscribers and result in greater ROI than bulk emails. The rationale is simple: people are more likely to identify and take immediate action on an email confirmation email or an invoice that is sent via mail rather than a typical promotional email.

While this may not seem like an ample opportunity, we’d suggest you not to substantially underestimate the impact of these emails on your Email ROI.

Getting Started with Ecommerce Email Marketing

For the sake of clarity, we are well aware that transactional emails are merely a small piece of a much larger field of study. However, to make sense of what we are about to share, we expect our readers to have a clear grasp of what email marketing means to the eCommerce business.

So, what is eCommerce email marketing?

Email marketing for eCommerce is the idea of sending emails to the shoppers aiming to engage them and ultimately generate sales for your online store.

It can be as simple as sending an email to people who previously purchased your products. Or sophisticated, like having numerous campaigns that work together synergistically to multiply sales exponentially. Finally, whether it’s promotions, offers, free shipping coupons, or lead nurturing emails — email marketing is about building relationships.

Now, as someone who runs an eCommerce store, you’ve probably seen the studies that show email has the highest ROI of any marketing channel available and are probably keen to start using it to drive sales and revenue for your store.

But how exactly do you get started? What are the steps you need to take to get up and running with email and ensure your campaigns are a success?

To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of things you need to do when you’re getting started with email marketing:

  • It can be tempting to simply sign up for an email marketing tool and start sending emails. Anyhow, before doing that, set up your goals and define what you want to achieve with email, for that will dictate the type of campaigns you send, who you target, the content you include, and how you measure success.
  • Grow your email list. Now that you know what to expect from your campaigns, it’s time to grow your email list so you can start sending it. Create an email list from scratch or import a list of known contacts.
  • Choose the type of campaigns you want to send to your subscribers. There are different kinds of email campaigns you can send to subscribers, and the type you choose should depend on the goals you established.
  • Create your first email campaign. Assuming that you’ve built a subscribers list and pick the type of campaign you’re going to send, it’s time to start building your email. Here’s something to help you create exciting content for your email campaigns.
  • Time your email campaigns to perfection. When and how often you send emails can have a significant impact on email engagement and conversions. Send too many and subscribers will get annoyed easily, causing them to disengage and unsubscribe. Send too few and you lose the attention of your audience.
  • Track the performance of the campaign. Spend some time analyzing how people interacted with your email campaign. This way you can understand what works best for your brand and what doesn’t.

While we won’t cover best email marketing practices in detail in this post, you can read more about them in our guide to email marketing strategies.

An Introduction to Ecommerce Customer Lifecycle

Being in the eCommerce sphere, you must’ve heard a lot about managing customer relationships. And it's a popular saying that successful businesses have the most loyal customers. This might be true, but for a business to create brand allegiance among their clientele, they must first understand the customers and the journey they took to get to their store.

Put simply, the customer lifecycle is the Point X to Point Y journey a customer takes until they make the final purchase. This involves stages a consumer goes through before, during, and after they complete a transaction.

Just so you understand what the customer lifecycle means, the next step is to split the customer journey into different stages. You can start planning strategies to activate them and increase their loyalty and lifetime value based on the rate at which they progress.

Confused? Here’s a simple diagram that demonstrates different stages in a customer lifecycle.

customer ltv graph

Once you can identify which of your customers and prospects belong to each of these classes, you can start to segment them and create focused email campaigns aimed at nurturing them.

10 Necessary Email Campaigns to Build Optimized Customer Journeys

In regards to delivering the right content to the right people at the right moment, email wins. Companies that adopt email automation are 77% more likely to have better conversions, according to VentureBeat.

Today, we want to share 10 eCommerce marketing campaigns that will help you streamline your customer journeys. Whether you’re looking to improve engagement, boost revenue, or reduce unsubscribes, there’s something for you in the post.

Let’s get started.

1. The Welcome Email

A welcome email can be the inception of a beautiful, long-lasting relationship – the one between your brand and your customer, of course. Welcome emails are purpose-driven emails written to leverage the excitement of a new user toward a first positive experience with your product or service. They handle the initial phases of the onboarding process – acquisition & activation.

Driving four times the total open rates and five times the click rates compared to other emails, the welcome email must be an integral campaign in your repertoire.

Now, let’s get into the details.

The success of a welcome email campaign is so closely related to including the right thing in your messages. By “right thing” we mean the elements that make up a successful welcome email. If your welcome is basically a signup receipt, you’re doing it wrong.

To begin with, the fundamental motive of these kinds of messages should be to teach the subscribers what your brand/product is really about – because this is the moment you have more attention than you ever will have again from a user.

While a simple, clean, and easy on the eyes email template is a great place to start, we’d appreciate brands that go beyond the norms by rewarding new users for signing up.

Here’s an example:

london bridge email

If you’re at an early stage with your eCommerce business, you might not be able to offer discounts to everyone. In such scenarios, you can probably use something else that fits with your brand that you can put up as an incentive, like a lead magnet.

2. The Re-engagement Email

A majority of eCommerce businesses have a plethoric number of “disengaged subscribers”. These are customers who haven’t purchased from you, visited your site, or even opened your emails in several months. The reason for this particular behavior can be different, and it isn’t something that cannot be fixed. After all, these are still subscribers who are already familiar with your brand, so they’re a “warmer” audience than strangers. You just have to use re-engagement prompts to get them back on your site and purchase.

Now, to answer the obvious question. To re-engage your inactive email list, feature some sort of too-good-to-pass-up offer in your emails. Whether it’s a free product, a discount, or a chance to win something, make sure you showcase the incentive prominently.

As effective as this may seem, our preferred choice to go for a more relationship-focused approach, favoring phrases like “We Miss You!” to remind subscribers that they haven’t engaged with you in a while. You can also include relevant product recommendations based on their past interactions with your brand.

london bridge re-engagement email

Email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% every year. So, with that in mind, you must re-engage users who have emotionally “checked out.”

3. The Loyalty Email

Creating loyalty campaigns usually involves combining multiple types of emails such as welcome emails, re-engagement emails, and such. It’s a popular opinion that one can’t build brand loyalty just using a one of a kind email campaign. Yes, we agree with the fact that loyalty isn’t built overnight. However, crafting targeted email campaigns aiming to nurture your subscribers to earn customer loyalty isn’t a terrible idea either. This is what we are going to discuss in this section.

Premium Membership Programs are one of the most familiar types of loyalty campaigns used by thousands of eCommerce brands as of now. In most cases, these programs simply include signing up for an “exclusive” email list that gives them early access to special deals, product releases, and invitations to special events.

beats email

Premium status can mean just about anything; whether you’re looking to build a multi-tier program or a simple point-based program, you have plenty of options to toy with.

4. The Anniversary Email Campaigns

People love being recognized, at the same time, personalization is an integral part of email marketing. Now, imagine combining these two things in a special birthday or anniversary rewards program for your customers.

Birthday rewards are the easiest and one of the highly effective ways to gather vital consumer data without coming off as nosy. By offering up a special incentive, you can give them the option of entering their birthday.

Anniversary perks are simple too. Brands can keep a record of when someone opts into their email list without asking for additional information. Marketers will thus be able to create a customer loyalty campaign based on customers’ engagement throughout their journey with the brand. By providing incentives based on their previous interactions, retailers can encourage them to make purchase decisions not just on price, but on shared values, engagement, and overall experience of your brand.

london bridge email 3

5. Standard Promotional Email

These are one of the most common types of email marketing campaigns and probably the one most familiar to you. You likely have a promotional email from a brand in your inbox right now, or a few dozen maybe. From my experience as a consumer, I’d say that most of these messages are often less strategic and systematic. For instance, I encounter tens, hundreds of boring promotional email cliches every month, most of them I won’t even care to open. Just to be clear, that’s not what we encourage — think these campaigns through.

Unlike other transactional emails that inform customers about their order or account information, promotional emails typically serve the purpose of converting subscribers into customers, and customers into brand advocates. Brands typically use these emails to promote their products, services, offers, and campaigns. This is the same reason why you must pay a little more attention to these campaigns.

For example, look at this email from London Bridge to see how effectively they adopted a minimalist approach to promoting their 2-day shipping offer.

london bridge email 4

Not just this, Promotional campaigns can fit into different scenarios – like running a clearance sale, product launch, or new arrivals.

6. The Post-Purchase Email

Getting a new customer involves investing a lot of effort and money. Returning customers, though, are a great way to boost your company’s ROI.

One of the primary benefits of setting up a post-purchase campaign is that it facilitates your efforts to establish seamless communication with your customers. Instead of interrupting someone’s busy schedule with an annoying phone call – which also costs a lot of your productive time—emails make up a feasible follow-up option.

Once a customer makes a purchase, it’s just the beginning of the relationship for retailers. That’s why you must send post-purchase emails to your first-time buyers – to nurture and turn them into loyal customers.

Post-purchase email campaigns offer you a chance to get feedback from your customers about your products or checkout process. They also allow you to promote additional products and services that your customers might be interested in.

Here’s an example:

beauty and tailor email

With a simple Thank You, a link back to the website, and some recommended products based on their previous purchase behavior, this post-purchase email much more engaging than just letting the customer know their order is being processed.

7. The Review Request Email

Product reviews and customer testimonials are a great way to convert new customers who hesitate to make a purchase immediately. They help build brand reputation, bring a lot of credibility to your company, and provide the kind of social proof needed to influence consumer behavior. According to a recently published study, 83 percent of shoppers discover new products every month through online customer reviews. Furthermore, 4 in 5 American consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision.

There are other benefits for proactively collecting and distributing customer reviews across the right eCommerce channels. It’s a great way to get useful insights about your product and service, and also sends a message that your brand actually takes an interest in customers.

Consider this review request email example:

review email

Alternatively, you can offer customers an incentive for leaving honest feedback about your company or products.

8. The Abandoned Cart Email

Did you know that an average cart abandonment rate varies between 60% and 80%, costing eCommerce businesses an estimated $4.6 trillion in lost revenue?

The good news is that there are means to tackle shopping cart abandonment. One of the popular ways to recoup lost revenue is to use an abandoned cart email to follow up with shoppers.

Abandoned cart emails are extremely conversion-oriented messages that move recipients and get them to take action. According to Salesforce data, 60% of shoppers came back to complete a purchase within 24 hours of receiving personalized follow-up emails.

Here’s how a simple cart recovery should look like:

kate brok abandoned cart email

Multiple studies have found that three-fourths of shoppers who abandon their carts usually plan to come back and complete the transaction later; ergo, if you’re not sending abandoned cart emails, you’re leaving money on the table.

9. The Price-drop Email

Pricing is undoubtedly the single most important factor that decides the success of all eCommerce transactions. A profitable pricing strategy involves considering not only your competition but also your customers’ motivations. Sellers must understand their potential buyers’ decision-making processes to create pricing that encourages purchases.

Since the price of a product remains a crucial factor in eCommerce, why can’t we just use that to drive more sales?

Price drop alerts inform shoppers of discounts to their favorite products outside of a formal sale. The triggered email lets everyone who has shown interest in the product know that it just got cheaper. The working principle is simple. The browsing data of shoppers who have opted into your email marketing is captured and stored. When you drop a price in your eCommerce system, the email is automatically triggered.

Have a look at this example:

price drop alert email

Price drop email campaigns are not all created equal. Rather than emailing about a large sale across multiple categories, you might want to target messaging around price slashes for particular products or in niche categories.

10. The Back-in-stock Email

Products may go out-of-stock for numerous reasons, including increased demand during particular seasons. The effect can be highly frustrating for shoppers, who expect to be able to purchase what they want, and when they want it.

The damage of stockouts imposed is not limited to a lost sale. First, there is a chance that the shopper will turn to a competitor to find the same item. Then, there’s the long-term impact on customer satisfaction caused by this unsatisfying experience.

But marketers have the ability to turn an out-of-stock product into positive customer interaction.

Sending back-in-stock email presents an opportunity to recover potential lost revenue, keep customers engaged with your brand, and ultimately delight shoppers by providing them with the product they want.

back in stock email

The purpose of the email is highlighted, in large font, leaving no room for shoppers to question why they’re receiving that email. A subtle, “You may also like” section that offers additional product recommendations. Brands can utilize this section to make informed suggestions based on purchase behavior, browsing behavior, wish lists, and many other crucial data points.


It doesn’t matter what kind of email you’re sending, the bottom line is the value it holds. Every email should provide something useful to your audience, whether it’s a perfectly timed offer, a lead-nurturing message tailored to where the user is in your funnel, or a simple newsletter with interesting, relevant content. Ultimately, customers like emails that offer them real value, but with a personal touch. This is the common thread within the types of email marketing campaigns we’ve discussed here.

Do you have any questions about which types of email marketing campaigns you should be sending? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

George Matthew headshot

Georgie Vineeth Matthew

I am Content Specialist @TargetBay, a curious marketer and communicator who believes in simple yet relevant messages that create a human connection, and in innovation beyond the norms.

Author Bio

John Davier

Content marketing guru at MailMunch. I’m passionate about writing content that resonates with people. Live simply, give generously, stay happy.


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