Email Marketing for eCommerce: A love story

April 22, 2024
12 min read
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OK, so perhaps you’ve just been deployed to this planet, or recently released from a cryo-prison like Stallone in Demolition Man and never heard about email marketing for eCommerce. Or perhaps you think that it’s no longer a thing, since the first marketing email was sent in 1978 and millions of new revolutionary things that would change everything forever have appeared since then. They didn’t and it still is. 

What’s the thing 84% of people have always open in the background while at work? According to a study from McKinsey, their emails. With higher ROIs than social media and other marketing channels, email marketing is pretty much alive and kicking. So much so, that this once innovative, now consolidated tool may well make or break your online sales efforts during these times of increasing complexities and competitiveness. 

Email marketing is just that – running your marketing actions via email. And yet, email marketing is more than just sending emails. It's a distinct, specific subset of marketing strategies, and the sooner you learn to play the game, the faster you’ll see how impactful it can be in your eCommerce business.

Here you can find an outline and review of the different types of emails you can send, their importance, the differences between them, and some key strategic insights.

What is Email Marketing for eCommerce

eCommerce Email Marketing is a strategic approach to promote products or services to both existing and potential customers through email campaigns. So how does it differ from generic email marketing? 

First of all, in its focus and specificity. Whereas generic email marketing campaigns might target a broader audience for various purposes like brand awareness, eCommerce email marketing is tailored for online shoppers, aiming to drive sales and enhance customer experience. 

Another key difference is the content, as eCommerce emails usually contain product updates, exclusive offers, and personalized recommendations related to items in an online store. 

Also, eCommerce email marketing often includes transactional emails like order confirmations, shipping notifications, and personalized product recommendations based on previous purchases, which are crucial for customer satisfaction and retention. 

Finally, eCommerce email marketing strategies are optimized to convert leads into customers and retain existing customers, emphasizing driving sales and increasing revenue.

Is email marketing good for eCommerce?

Well, what do you think? The eCommerce landscape is increasingly competitive and owning your marketing channels is crucial. Unlike rented spaces on social media platforms or search engines, email marketing provides businesses with a direct line of communication to their audience.

Benefits of Email Marketing for eCommerce Businesses

There are many advantages of using email marketing in eCommerce, and they all mean you sell more, to more people, at a lower cost. 

As we mentioned earlier, compared to many other marketing channels, email marketing is highly cost-effective. The return on investment (ROI) in email marketing is impressive due to its ability to directly reach interested customers without significant expenses. Tracking tools also allow businesses to measure the effectiveness of their email campaigns, ensuring they can refine their strategies for even better results.

What’s not to like? Press to play.

From me to you.

Email marketing campaigns, especially those personalized to individual customer preferences and behaviors, can prompt immediate purchases. Special promotions, exclusive discounts, and product recommendations tailored to specific customers can drive impulse buying, boosting sales figures. Moreover, well-crafted, effective email campaigns for eCommerce businesses can showcase new products or limited-time offers, creating urgency that compels customers to make purchases they might have postponed.

Still loving you

Engaging with existing customers is as crucial as acquiring new ones. Beyond immediate sales, email marketing is a powerful tool for nurturing existing customer relationships. Regular, personalized communication through emails keeps the brand in the customers' minds. Updates about products, upcoming sales, and loyalty rewards not only nurture existing relationships but also foster brand loyalty.

By showing appreciation for their continued support, customers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand, making repeat purchases and becoming advocates by referring friends and family.

Specially for you

Email marketing allows eCommerce businesses to segment their audience based on demographics, purchase history, and preferences. By sending targeted emails to specific segments, businesses can tailor their messages, ensuring that customers receive content that resonates with their specific interests. This personalized approach creates a sense of connection, making customers feel valued and understood. In turn, it improves engagement and increases conversions.

Read on to learn how to increase eCommerce sales with email marketing.

Best Practices for eCommerce Email Marketing 

Regular communication through email fosters a relationship between your brand and customers. Newsletters, updates, and relevant content showcase your expertise and keep your brand fresh in their minds. This relationship-building is the foundation of long-term customer retention.

Given the benefits of running email marketing campaigns for eCommerce, it is no surprise to see that everyone is doing it. The problem is that most people do it the wrong way. You’ll see, email is tricky, demanding, and has a very specific etiquette. If you don’t comply, you’ll get kicked out of the party. Let’s walk you through the top best practices you cannot miss.

Personalization in eCommerce Email Marketing. Segmentation too.

Personalization and segmentation in email marketing are not just trendy buzzwords; they are fundamental eCommerce strategies. 

Personalization involves understanding individual customers. By analyzing their purchase history, preferences, and behaviors, businesses can craft tailor-made emails that address customers by their names and recommend products based on their past choices to create a sense of individuality and care, strengthening the customer-brand relationship. 

Segmentation is the art of dividing your audience into specific groups based on demographics, behaviors, or purchase history. Sending targeted emails to these segments ensures that recipients receive content relevant to their interests. This targeted approach significantly boosts engagement rates. 

Make it personal

Personalization goes beyond addressing customers by their first names. Email marketing allows you to segment your audience based on their preferences and purchase history. Tailoring content to specific customer segments fosters a sense of connection, making them more likely to stay loyal to your brand.

Email can also be a valuable tool for gathering feedback. By sending surveys or feedback requests, you not only show customers that their opinions matter but also gain insights into their satisfaction levels. Addressing their concerns promptly can turn dissatisfied customers into loyal advocates.

When customers receive emails that cater to their preferences, they feel valued. Loyalty rewards, exclusive offers, and personalized product recommendations are instrumental in retaining existing customers. Acknowledging their loyalty through personalized communication can turn one-time buyers into long-term patrons.

Conveying Brand Voice and Tone

Personalization allows you to convey your brand's unique voice and tone effectively. Tailoring messages according to customer segments ensures your communication aligns with their expectations, fostering a stronger brand-customer relationship.

Less is More: Segmented Campaigns Get Higher Engagement

Segmented campaigns, targeting specific customer groups, receive higher engagement rates. By sending relevant content to distinct segments, you increase the chances of customers interacting with your emails, leading to improved conversion rates

Continued Personalization on Your Website

Personalization shouldn't stop at emails; it should extend to your website. Implementing personalization platforms allows you to create tailored user experiences. By showing products or content based on customer preferences, you can maximize engagement and boost conversions.

Here are some quick segmentation ideas for your campaigns:

  • Demographic Segmentation: Divide your audience to tailor your content based on age, gender, or location. Send targeted emails promoting products relevant to each group.

  • Behavioral Segmentation: Analyze purchase history and browsing behavior. Recommend similar products or offer exclusive deals based on past interactions. If a customer frequently purchases sports equipment, showcase similar items or provide exclusive deals on related products. This strategy is proven to increase engagement and drive repeat purchases.

  • Life Cycle Stage Segmentation: Understand where your customers are in their buying journey to cater for their specific content needs along the journey. For new subscribers, offer introductory deals or highlight popular products. For loyal customers, provide exclusive access to new releases or loyalty rewards. This approach caters to varied customer needs and fosters long-term relationships.

  • Engagement Segmentation: Create incentives to boost conversion opportunities to your less engaged leads. Reward your VIPs and top evangelizers with special opportunities, brand events or freebies. Explore different ways to interact and turn your regular customers into brand champions.

Personalized emails achieve an impressive open rate of 29% and an outstanding click-through rate of 41%.

Campaign Monitor.

Automating Email Campaigns for eCommerce Businesses 

And now, a plot twist: email marketing automation for eCommerce. To personalize better, automation is your ally. Automation not only simplifies the email marketing process but also ensures that your customers receive timely, personalized, and relevant communication, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and increased conversions.

Automating email campaigns is not just a convenience but a necessity in modern eCommerce practices. Abandoned cart reminders, birthday rewards, annual specials – automated campaigns nudge indecisive shoppers, celebrate loyal customers, and keep your brand in the spotlight year-round. 

Some examples of automations in eCommerce email marketing

  • Welcome or nurturing email campaigns involve sending  brief, friendly, and valuable communications to your new readers through engaging, personalized emails

  • A customer adds products to their cart but then gets distracted and leaves your website without completing the purchase. Abandoned cart emails are the secret weapon to recover these lost sales. These automated emails remind customers of their unpurchased items, reducing cart abandonment rates significantly. Including a persuasive call-to-action and, occasionally, an exclusive discount can entice customers to complete their purchase, boosting your conversion rates.

  • Birthday emails: These campaigns are perfect examples of how personalization can help you create a connection with your customers and improve your sales. Sending personalized birthday emails with special discounts is another way to increase brand loyalty.

  • Celebrating customer anniversaries is a subtle but powerful way to enhance long-term commitment. Automated yearly rewards emails, with exclusive deals or loyalty discounts make customers feel valued and foster brand loyalty. 

  • Apart from abandoned cart, birthday, and yearly reward emails, there are various other scenarios where automation can work wonders for your eCommerce business. Automate product replenishment reminders for consumables, post-purchase follow-ups to gather feedback and enhance customer satisfaction, and seasonal promotions to align your offerings with holidays and events. Each scenario requires a specific approach, and automation ensures that your communication is timely, relevant, and engaging.

  • And, of course, if your product or service has a predictive buying cycle, you can anticipate or remind your customer the need for a refill, and add additional steps into the automation to bring them back if that buying cycle appears to be interrupted or unfinished. 


The most common email sequence for eCommerce is: welcome, purchase, abandoned cart and re-engagement. But it all comes down to your business model. Our team is expert at architecturing these cycles. Click here if you’d like to have a free discovery call to bounce ideas.

Successful Email Marketing Campaigns for eCommerce Businesses

We could go on about how important email marketing can be for eCommerce. (Well, actually we have, over here)  But there’s another way. Theory is valuable, real-life examples are invaluable. Here are a few.

You probably heard about Zappos. They pretty much set the golden standard for e-commerce customer care and frictionless shopping, with an innovative narrative and experience that resulted in a groundbreaking business model, one of the first massively successful e-commerce stores, and the disruption of an industry nobody thought could go digital. Their strategy prioritized exceptional customer service, employing personalized emails for order updates, shipping notifications, and exclusive deals. The result was increased customer loyalty, positive brand perception, and a substantial impact on customer retention.

In our own success story, assisting Alberta-based Treehouse Culture, we achieved a remarkable 500,000% YoY growth with a minimal 80-hour monthly investment. Our comprehensive marketing sprints included strategy consultancy, email marketing, automations, and seamless eCommerce integrations. Read more about that here.

There are diverse strategies and tactics employed by successful eCommerce businesses, from prioritizing customer experience to embracing innovation. In any case, email marketing remains a key tool for achieving remarkable growth and success in an increasingly competitive eCommerce landscape. How can you tell? Because you can measure it.

Key Metrics to Track for eCommerce Email Marketing

You must have heard about data-driven decisions, and how they are the cornerstone of successful marketing. That also applies to eCommerce email marketing. Understanding vital email marketing metrics for eCommerce allows you to take the pulse of every campaign you run and gain actionable insights into your audience's behavior and preferences. This, in turn, allows for targeted, effective email campaigns.


It measures the percentage of recipients who opened your email.

It matters because it indicates your email's initial appeal and subject line effectiveness.

It works best with compelling subject lines and personalized content.

Click-Through Rate (CTR):

It measures the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within your email.

It matters because it reflects the engagement level and relevance of your email content.

It works best with clear and enticing calls-to-action leading to relevant landing pages.

Conversion Rate:

It measures the percentage of recipients who completed the desired action after clicking the email link (e.g., making a purchase). 

It matters because it directly correlates with your email's effectiveness in driving sales and desired outcomes.

It works best by optimizing content, simplifying the conversion process, and offering incentives.

Clicks per unique open:

A less analyzed metric is clicks per unique open, which shows a different picture, providing insights into the engagement level of recipients who not only opened the email but also clicked on a link within it. 

It matters because it provides a more nuanced perspective into how engaged each unique open is with the content, indicating the effectiveness of your email beyond initial opens.

It works best by focusing on creating engaging content that encourages multiple clicks from each unique open.

Bounce Rates:

It measures the percentage of emails that couldn't be delivered, categorized as either "hard bounces" (permanent issues) or "soft bounces" (temporary issues).

It matters because it indicates the quality of your email list and sender reputation.

It works best by regularly cleaning email lists, removing inactive subscribers, and ensuring opt-in procedures are clear.

Unsubscribe Rates:

It measures the percentage of recipients who opted out of your email list after receiving a particular email.

It matters because it reflects email relevance and frequency satisfaction.

It worlds best by segmenting lists based on interests, sending tailored content, and managing email frequency.

Email Marketing for Ecommerce Key Takeaways

Some things don’t change (that much). Understanding your customers and tailoring your communication remains key to successful email marketing strategies. In the ever-evolving landscape of eCommerce, good ol’ email remains the most powerful tool to deliver results in customer engagement and sales. With 84% of people keeping their emails open while at work, the effectiveness of email marketing is evident, boasting higher ROIs than many other channels. 

Email campaigns, tailored to specific customer segments, not only drive immediate purchases but also foster long-term relationships. The ability to convey a brand's unique voice and tone, coupled with strategic personalization and segmentation, enhances the customer-brand relationship, leading to increased loyalty and repeat purchases. 

Remember to:

  • Personalize your emails, segment your audience effectively, and create a sense of connection with your customers.

  • Constantly monitor key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Analyze customer feedback, adapt to market trends, and optimize your email marketing strategies accordingly.

So there you have it. Email marketing for eCommerce isn't just a tool, but rather a strategic approach that, when executed with precision, becomes a driving force behind customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, increased revenue. 

A reliable, expert agency should be able to help you with that. Book a discovery call and find out how.

Tagged: ecommerce · email · marketing

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