30-Second Summary:

  • A huge part of growth for eCommerce stores is staying in touch with prospects and existing customers.
  • eCommerce email marketing is the process of marketing to consumers via email.
  • At its core, eCommerce email marketing is about building relationships with customers.
  • According to one source, email marketing has the highest ROI for small businesses, and as per another study, marketers receive a £35.41 return for every £1.
  • Seventy-seven percent of people are open to receiving permission-based email messages.
  • The first step is to pick the right email marketing platform, establish goals, segment your list by creating groups, and start collecting emails.
  • The most common types of eCommerce email marketing emails are: opt-in, curation, welcome, abandoned cart, thank you, order confirmation, re-engagement, newsletter, and promotional emails.
  • If done right, email marketing can boost eCommerce sales.

One of the essential things eCommerce brands must do to grow is staying in touch with existing and potential customers. That’s where email marketing comes in as the world increasingly relies on digital technologies for communication. Today if you run an eCommerce store, you need the right email marketing tools and a robust strategy – one that involves clear, actionable steps and utilizes interactive messages to engage and move prospects or customers towards a buying decision.

What is eCommerce email marketing?

Email marketing is a marketing discipline that focuses on using digital messages to grow a brand. Ecommerce email marketing is a term used by some marketers to describe the art and science of using email to reach audiences and generate sales for eCommerce brands.

You’ve probably received eCommerce marketing emails before. For example, Amazon sends abandoned cart messages or emails that remind shoppers to revisit the site to complete transactions. Similarly, GoDaddy sends out an account summary email to keep the brand top of mind and entice customers to purchase more products.

More than product promotion

Ecommerce email marketing is more about relationship building than promotion. That should remain top of mind as you conduct your email marketing campaigns for the best results.

You see, hundreds of messages go out to consumers daily, and many of these emails are promotional. As a result, consumers have practically developed an innate filter to help decrease the noise. Most promotional messages that hit a person’s inbox are ignored.

The easiest way to stand out in peoples’ inboxes is by putting the consumer’s needs first. In other words, each message you send should focus on consumers while driving sales indirectly or directly. The example shared earlier from GoDaddy is an excellent benchmark of that in action.

Why care about email marketing for eCommerce?

Each year, email marketing remains a critical and effective avenue for driving business for various industries. Done right, you can connect with your target customers and build long-lasting relationships that translate into revenue.

Additionally, email is probably the only guaranteed delivery option available. It practically ensures you’ll reach the intended person, providing everything else checks out (audience targeting, deliverability, etc.).

Sure, paid ads, social media, and other methods can help you reach an audience, but none of those mediums have the accuracy of email marketing. With those channels, there’s no guarantee that your marketing messages will reach the target audience.

As for email, your message can land in the consumer’s inbox every time. That’s why email is so crucial for eCommerce companies. Your brand needs a steady stream of traffic to drive sales and other conversions continuously.

Consider the following statistics.

  • A study by Campaign Monitor found that email marketing has the highest ROI (return on investment) for small businesses.
  • According to the recent DMA Marketer Email Tracker, the estimated ROI from email marketing is £35.41 for every £1 spent. That works out to around $48.81 for every $1.38 spent.
  • One study published by ExactTarget revealed that 77 percent of people are open to getting permission-based promotional messages through email.

Getting started with growing your eCommerce business via email

Here are some of the steps you need to take to begin growing with email.

1. Pick an email marketing service

Doing email marketing without the right software is like riding a bicycle with no tires.

You need the right tools, and good email marketing platforms provide those in abundance. Find a reputable and intuitive email marketing service, such as Constant Contact. The platform has a full suite of features to manage and grow an email list, including market to consumers without complexities.

Another great option that deserves consideration is GetResponse. Besides having a visual editor and many other incredible solutions, its Perfect Timing feature is most impressive. With that, the platform automatically figures out the most optimal hour of the day to deliver your email messages – specifically, when the subscriber is most likely to open the email. Neat, right?

2. Establish supporting goals

Why do you want to use email marketing besides making more sales?

Your targets will change over time, but setting additional goals ensures you’re using email marketing to the fullest potential. Other objectives may include raising brand awareness, increasing foot traffic to the physical store or curbside pickup, etc.

3. Create segments of your contact list

Segmentation is the process of separating subscribers based on unique identifiers, such as user interests, location, or which page the opt-in originated from, etc. – it’s an extremely valuable tactic.

Create groups or segments in your email marketing platform. Do that before you even collect a single email address and add new segments as you grow.

4. Build your list

Set up multiple opt-in forms to collect emails and appropriate automated messages for indoctrinating new subscribers. But avoid automating all your communications.

Automate just enough emails to get the ball rolling. Use CTAs (calls to action) along with an irresistible offer to encourage subscriptions from your site and beyond. For example, “get our exclusive buy one, get one free offer when you become a subscriber.”

Popups are a great way of showcasing your offer to grab emails from consumers. Here’s a good example from Revolve Clothing.

Keep your content fresh and always focus on the target audience to maintain and engage contacts.

Types of Marketing Emails

There are several common types of eCommerce emails you can send, and most are automatable. Email automation is a feature that allows you to send time or action-triggered messages. For example, you can set an email to go out immediately after someone subscribes to your newsletter.

Here are some common types of marketing emails.

The welcome email – Send this whenever a new person subscribes or completes a purchase. You’ll probably need different versions of it to match the nature of the subscription. For instance, you can thank subscribers for joining your list or reward someone with a special discount after purchase.

Opt-in email – The purpose of the opt-in email is to avoid deliverability issues by confirming the subscription. You can use a double opt-in or single opt-in process. In a double opt-in process, the subscriber must click the email link to remain subscribed. Whereas in a single opt-in process, only a confirmation email is sent.

Curation email – This kind of email curates and highlights products you have in stock based on the past website interactions of users. For instance, if someone browsed a certain category last week, you can customize the information in your message to show products from that taxonomy. Therefore, increasing the likelihood that they’ll buy something.

Abandoned cart email – This email is about getting your customer or prospect to return and finish the purchase process. Something as simple as “today only, get 10 percent off if you complete your order” can move a consumer towards taking action.

The order confirmation email – like the name suggests, sends this type of email to confirm the customer’s order. These emails offer an opportunity to provide your customer with a receipt, confirm the shipping address, and highlight other products. It can help the consumer feel confident about the purchase.

A thank-you email – This one combines the concepts of welcome and order confirmation emails. For example, you can send a thank-you email after someone completes an order or signs up for your newsletter. Thank the person for the transaction and provide any other necessary details like receipts or information about your newsletter frequency.

Re-engagement email – Some people won’t interact with your emails and remain inactive as subscribers for months. You can re-engage these shoppers with a carefully crafted email. The email should entice people to re-engage, such as by offering an exclusive discount.

The email newsletter – Regularly scheduled communications that are pushed out to all subscribers or segments is a great way to keep consumers engaged. The key to a successful newsletter is creating amazing content that resonates with subscribers.

Promotional emails – These are typically e-blasts that go out to all subscribers or several segments on your list. As long as you aren’t spamming your community and continue to send relevant, engaging messages, these emails can have a tremendous impact on sales.

Best practices to keep in mind

  • Remain consistent– Keep your emails and branding consistent to help retain subscribers. Consistency fosters trust, builds credibility and reputation. If your messaging isn’t consistent in terms of branding and quality, you can lose subscribers.
  • Watch your metrics – A good email marketing software can track tons of performance data, crucial to comprehending the target audience. Regularly examine metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, etc., to extract insights and improve future campaigns.
  • Invite feedback – Asking subscribers to reply to your emails is a bit daunting but can improve engagement and spark conversations that lead to sales.
  • Use mobile responsive designs – People use all sorts of devices to browse the web today, so use mobile and desktop compatible email templates or designs. That will ensure readability across platforms.

Do email marketing right, and your website traffic, conversions, and sales will increase over time.