A Simple Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing

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If you’re like most eCommerce businesses, you’re investing in top-notch eCommerce email marketing strategies. 

A well-designed email campaign offers immense value, engagement opportunities, and increased lifetime sales. 

Not to mention, your email marketing campaign allows you to grow your reach and raise brand awareness.

If you’re not using email marketing in the modern age, then you might as well be burning your money. The same goes for marketers who don’t gear their email campaigns specifically for their eCommerce businesses.

eCommerce email marketing is its own kind of beast. It requires unique strategies, verbiage, timing, and of course, segmentation. Meeting customers where they’re at – in this case, their inbox – is a pretty intimate relationship. As such, you should handle every interaction with the care your subscribers deserve.

Want to learn more about email marketing? Read How to Get Started in Email Marketing!

What is eCommerce Email Marketing & How Is It Different?

eCommerce email marketing is an email marketing strategy designed to help online businesses engage with subscribers and customers.

Broadly speaking, email marketing has long proven to be a crucial component of business success. When running an online store, that’s doubly true!

Think about it this way: brick-and-mortar retailers have physical locations where customers convene, browse, and spend. But when your entire customer-facing business is an eCommerce store, maintaining a personal relationship is even more important.

After all, they can’t drive by your office or retail storefront driving down the road. To bring in business, you have to reach out to them first.

How to Effectively Use Email Marketing for eCommerce

Like many other email campaigns, you can use this email marketing strategy to:

  • Send welcome emails to make new subscribers feel at home
  • Highlight new product lines
  • Offer promotions and discounts
  • Or just thank your customers for being awesome

Employing this email marketing strategy in online businesses comes with immense benefits. You can develop brand awareness, build credibility, and establish lasting relationships. 

Plus, you can educate users on your brand’s value and “soft sell” yourself as an authority!

Ideas for ecommerce businesses to email their subscribers

Promotional vs. Transactional Emails: A Key Distinction

An eCommerce email marketing strategy varies slightly from regular email campaigns. Not only do you have normal promotional emails, but you’ll also take advantage of transactional emails.

Promotional emails are what you think of when you consider email marketing. These emails inform subscribers about products and offers, and maintain regular contact with customers.

Transactional emails have a few more “rules,” so to speak. Order confirmations, receipts, and delivery updates fall under this umbrella. 

While transactional emails are essential for maintaining customer relationships, they serve another purpose: protecting customers and online stores in the event that products are lost in transit.

Importantly, neither promotional nor email transactions are more important – you need both to run an eCommerce business.

Top Emails for Successful eCommerce Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing for eCommerce may play by slightly different rules. That said, just because you own an online store doesn’t mean you have to throw out the whole playbook. From welcome emails to post-purchase emails, here are the key components for a successful campaign.

Start With A Welcome Email

There’s no better way to welcome new subscribers and kick off your email campaigns than with an aptly-named welcome email.

You can use this first of many eCommerce marketing messages to make a good impression by making new customers feel noticed and appreciated.

Take a moment to set expectations, too, like how often you’ll reach out. Throwing in a little humor – without being obnoxious – also helps set the tone for your relationship with potential customers. Plus, it’s good for your brand.

33% of customers engage more with eCommerce businesses if they receive a welcome email first thing. And the return on investment with welcome emails can be up to three times higher than any other promotional campaign.

Cart Abandonment

Research shows that around 70% of all eCommerce visitors abandon their carts before purchase, resulting in lost sales!

Some 61% of visitors cite a lack of free shipping as the primary reason. Another 37% express frustration at online site sign-up requirements. 28% list a long or complicated checkout process as an additional barrier to purchase.

That makes abandoned cart emails some of the most important correspondence you’ll have (next to welcome emails). Studies show that they work: a well-timed abandoned cart email can recover nearly 22% of lost sales. In some cases, that number can be as high as 50%.

Post Purchase Emails (Order Confirmation Emails)

Post-purchase emails serve to thank customers for their orders, confirm transaction numbers, and send receipts. Moreover, post-purchase emails set expectations and simplify the shipping and return process later, should complications arise with your eCommerce store.

Here, too, research shows that these emails can benefit your online store. In one study, marketers found that post-purchase emails could add an additional 22 cents in revenue. That’s not a lot at first – but for every 1,000 receipts you send, that’s another $250 in your pocket.

You’re not limited to sending receipts, either. You can also upsell other products, build customer loyalty with a generous thank-you offer, or promote your referral program!

Are you enjoying learning about eCommerce email marketing and eCommerce email marketing strategies so far?

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Tailwind helps build emails in accordance with best practices for your email marketing campaigns. Not to mention, Tailwind combines your email marketing and social media marketing campaigns into one place for easy, effective execution.

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Cross Selling Emails

Upselling and cross-selling emails have a simple goal: to encourage customers to add extra (often related) items to their cart.

These emails can drive conversions, boost your profit margin, and build customer loyalty. Sure, you’re asking customers to spend money – but you’re also carefully curating a list of potentially helpful products.

One of the most effective ways to cross-sell products is by tacking them right on your post-purchase emails. Since digital receipts have some of the highest open rates out there, why not use them to get more eyeballs on your products?

Promotional Emails

Promotional emails are the bread and butter of eCommerce email marketing campaigns. You can offer discounts, announce exciting new product lines, or even promote a blog post!

With the right message, you can turn new subscribers into repeat customers, and from there, into loyal customers.

Given the value of customer loyalty to your eCommerce site, promotional emails are an investment worth making.

Seasonal Emails

Holidays, changing seasons, and even local events give you an excuse to reach out to your email subscribers. 

Put it this way: November and December alone account for a quarter of annual retail sales. Of that, online stores claim upwards of 15-30% of those sales, with email marketing driving the way.

That means online stores generate sales totaling $115 billion to $230 billion in just two months. All it takes is the right email marketing campaign to persuade customers your way.

Personalized Emails

Paying customers like to know that companies appreciate their business. What better way to generate sales and build customer loyalty than by sending out a special deal on special dates? 

From birthdays to wedding anniversaries to sign-up anniversaries, you should take every opportunity to remind customers that they’re always on your mind. Remember: eCommerce email marketing isn’t just about ensuring customers remember you. Sometimes, it’s about ensuring customers know you remember them!

Referral Program Emails

Inviting repeat customers to refer family and friends to your online store is a great way to capture leads. After all, 74% of consumers identify personal referrals as a key component of their spending decisions. And loyal customers are more likely to recommend brands they trust to their inner circle.

Setting up a good referral program – perhaps with a small discount or special offer – lets you capture those potential profits. (And rewards your loyal customers in the process.)

Customer Loyalty and Re-Engagement Emails

Customer loyalty and re-engagement emails do exactly what the name says. In either email marketing campaign, the goal is to strengthen your relationship with loyal customers. (Or, as the case may be, not-so-loyal customers.)

For instance, with customer loyalty emails, the goal is to encourage existing customers to remain that way. You might send out birthday emails, special offers for big spenders, or even a “Thank You for Your Loyalty” email to show appreciation.

With re-engagement email marketing campaigns, your task may be more difficult: rekindling waning relationships. Maybe customers have found a cheaper eCommerce site elsewhere. Perhaps they’ve just gotten busy. Sometimes, an email may have gotten stuck in a spam folder – it happens.

No matter the reason, a carefully-crafted email marketing campaign (let’s not forget the discounts!) can lure them back in.

Feedback Emails

One underutilized type of email marketing campaign is the feedback email.

Feedback emails provide opportunities to engage with customers on their level. More importantly (and frighteningly), they give your email subscribers a chance to say just what they think of you.

In turn, you can use this knowledge to better understand your customers’ desires and pain points, as well as any problems with your brand. 

Then, you can implement an email marketing strategy to address these points, whether you offer a discount or knowledge on how you plan to improve your product lines.

Paying customers – and your bottom line – will thank you!

eCommerce Email Marketing Campaign Tips


Personalization is always important in email marketing, not just in eCommerce. Used delicately, personalization can improve open rates, clicks, and conversions. At the same time, you may avoid the email spam folder or server bans.

If you’re not personalizing emails, you’re missing a fantastic opportunity to personally engage with paying customers.

But it’s not just about using first names in the subject line; it’s about sprinkling your knowledge of your customers throughout your entire email marketing campaign.

Whether that’s using customers’ names, referencing their birthdays, or simply recommending the right products, a little knowledge goes a long way.

7 tips for eCommerce marketing campaigns, including personalization, proper segmentation, don't be boring, timing, drip campaigns and triggered emails, have a clear CTA and use the right tool.

Proper Segmentation

Personalization isn’t everything in a well-designed email marketing strategy. What’s the point of having all that customer information if you don’t put it to good use? By segmenting your list and sending emails based on customer behaviors and preferences, you can capture higher returns. Best of all, segmentation is easy to implement, especially with modern email automation.  

Don’t Be Boring

Many eCommerce brands could benefit from a more lighthearted approach to email marketing. Throwing in humor, referencing current events, and adding funny GIFs can brighten up your recipients’ inboxes. 

If you’d chuckle at a picture of a dog wearing a hat and monocle, your customers probably would too! Don’t be afraid to experiment a little.


In email marketing, timing is everything. (And no, we’re not just talking about not sending Christmas emails in July.) Customers want to know that your online business cares about them – without you bombarding their inbox until they block you!

Some companies balance these competing needs by sending a weekly newsletter and occasionally dropping in a special promotion. Alternatively, your email campaign may skip the newsletter entirely and stick with a monthly promotion, product release announcements, and post-purchase emails.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be pure guesswork. You can use A/B testing to gauge customer responses and determine the best schedule for your email marketing strategy. 

Feedback emails and surveys also provide unique insights that can significantly improve your business. 

Drip Campaigns and Triggered Emails

Automated drip campaigns and triggered emails let you keep in touch with email subscribers while gently ushering them down the sales funnel.

For instance, while welcome emails guide new customers in, abandoned cart emails help recover lost sales. And re-engagement emails can return a previously paying customer to a current paying customer.

And everyone – we do mean everyone – enjoys discounts, promotions, and “Just for You!” offers to brighten (or lighten) their wallets.

Have a Clear CTA

The average inbox receives upwards of 100 emails (or more) per day. Aside from the pressure of standing out, you have just a few seconds for customers to see and decide (or decline) your CTA.

Putting a big, bold call-to-action in every email makes your marketing messages clear and highlights your email marketing campaigns against the competition.

Use The Right Tool

Not only a solid email marketing tool is essential, but you must also make sure that you picked the right one.

Email marketing service comparisons go beyond this post, but there are just a couple of points that we would like to emphasize.

Make sure that the tools of your choice will have robust list management and funnel creation. You will need to tag subscribers based on their actions and send them different automated email campaigns based on their tags.

So look for email marketing software that will have these options and customizations.

Key Takeaways

  • Email marketing is an excellent way to keep in touch with email subscribers in general. But for eCommerce businesses and online stores, it’s absolutely crucial.
  • With the right email marketing strategy, you can sell your brand, build and maintain relationships, and drive sales. And by staying connected with your loyal customers, you can ensure that they return to you again and again.
  • Chose one of the email service providers that can connect to various eCommerce platforms. That way, you can set up a couple of optimizations to make your life a bit easier!
  • Light personalization, brevity, and consistency are key elements of email marketing performance in eCommerce.
  • Improvement never stops, AB testing should be a constant process, and subject lines can make the biggest impact.


How does eCommerce use email marketing?

There are a number of ways that eCommerce businesses can use email marketing to drive sales and engage customers. For example, you can send out periodic newsletters with updates on new products, special offers, or other newsworthy items.

This helps to keep customers informed and up-to-date on what’s happening with the company and can encourage them to make further purchases.

Is email marketing part of eCommerce?

Email marketing is often used in conjunction with other types of marketing, such as social media or online advertising. However, it can also be a standalone tool to reach potential customers and encourage sales.

When used effectively, email marketing can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your eCommerce website and increasing sales.

What is an eCommerce email?

An eCommerce email is a marketing message sent to customers or prospective customers with the intent of promoting a product or service. These messages can be sent as part of an email marketing campaign, or they can be sent on their own.

Ecommerce emails can take many different forms, but they all have one goal in common; to encourage the recipient to take action, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or taking some other desired action.

How do I write a good eCommerce email?

The best way to write an eCommerce email will vary depending on your goals and your audience. Pick one of the email campaign types from this post, and start experimenting!

Email marketing is one of the most profitable channels for eCommerce. We prepared a simple guide that will help you get started!

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