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In our recent research study, store owners said they want to learn to personalize and automate their emails. Read on to learn more about how you can do both.

As an ecommerce owner, we know you’re doing more than your fair share of tasks for your business.

According to our original research, the majority of online store owners are doing multiple jobs for their shops. In fact, our survey found 70% of store owners take on two or more jobs, and nearly 30% do everything when faced with bandwidth limitations.

Obviously, this kind of work struggle isn’t ideal. You’ve probably even wished you could create someone to help you do the menial tasks that take valuable time out of your day. While it’s true you can’t simply create a double of yourself to do things for you, you can use automation to simplify business operations.

Automated email marketing—though it may seem basic—is actually a complex way you can increase sales. Through automatic messaging that reaches subscribers at a precise moment of need, you can deliver more personalization than you might be able to alone.

This goes far beyond just a transactional receipt. Automated email marketing for ecommerce is like having that second person on your team—a salesperson and customer success professional all in one.

So, how do you begin?

Automated email marketing: where to begin

By considering your customer’s natural journey with your company, you can begin building out an email plan.

Focus on your buyer’s journey by automating each of the messages that will make them feel seen and appreciated. This starts in the very beginning of their journey, with a recommendation to sign up for your email list.

The email list signup form

There are a variety of ways you can encourage would-be customers to sign up for your emails. Ideally, someone would visit your site for the first time, make a purchase, and automatically subscribe to your emails. Problem solved, right? Well—not exactly.

Unfortunately, not everyone wants to make a purchase right away, especially if your products require a more serious consideration.

In these instances, you need to encourage signups in a more organic way. For example, you might encourage people to sign up for your emails through content marketing, such as a giveaway on social media, or a CTA at the bottom of a blog post.

You can also gain new subscribers through incentives. Sweeten the pot for the subscribers you already have by offering incentivized referral links, which not only improve existing subscriber experiences, but also play on word-of-mouth marketing.

Perhaps the most incentivized way of gaining signups, however, is through discount popups that appear when visitors come to your site.

See Pastreez’s customer story here

Take ecommerce shop, Pastreez, which uses an exit intent popup to garner signups before a visitor exits out of the site. Pastreez goes beyond just a discount, offering seven free macarons just for signing up.

Ways to encourage signups:

  • Content newsletters
  • Referral programs
  • Discount popups

What emails should ecommerce stores use?

Ecommerce stores can use a number of different email types, but there are a few automated messages—besides transactional emails—you should always have for subscribers:

  • The welcome email
  • The top picks email
  • The abandoned cart email
  • The newsletter
  • The win-back email

The welcome email

A welcome email is an automated message that greets new subscribers immediately after they’ve registered to your email list. Because the email is automated, all you have to do is write it and plug it into your email software. Then, it will automatically be sent to new subscribers going forward.

Welcome emails don’t necessarily have to be long, but they should guide new subscribers into what your brand is, as well as an incentive to interact with your site. Perhaps you promised a 15% discount for signing up to your list. The welcome email is a perfect place to provide this discount.

Source: Studio DIY

As you can see above, Studio DIY’s welcome email quickly thanks subscribers, shows them how to connect to other channels, provides a discount, and presents a bold CTA to begin shopping.

The welcome email can include:

  • A thank you for signing up
  • A brief description of your brand’s mission
  • A discount on the first order
  • A CTA to explore your site
  • Links to other marketing channels

“Top picks for you” email

After a new subscriber has explored your site and made a purchase, then what? Obviously you want them to keep coming back, but how do you make that happen?

You can automatically use the data you’ve collected about their shopping habits to make personalized recommendations. And this doesn’t necessarily mean more of the same. For instance, if your customer just bought tennis shoes, they probably aren’t in the market for more sneakers, but they could be in the market for workout clothing or dress shoes.

Use what you already know about your customers to build a personalized experience for them moving forward.

Source: ThredUP

Above, thredUP shows customers what items might go with the shoes they just purchased.

Top picks can include:

  • Customer favorites
  • Products related to recent purchases
  • Products related to recent searches
  • Products frequently bought together

The abandoned cart email

If you’re watching your metrics, you’ve probably noticed many of your would-be customers abandon their carts before checking out. Don’t let abandonees discourage you; 55% of online shoppers leave their carts prior to completing checkout.

While some of this abandonment can be avoided through a quick-loading site and simple checkout process, there will always be people who aren’t sure if they want to complete their purchase.

Remind these shoppers what they’re missing by sending an abandoned cart email. You might incentivize the item by providing a discount, or you might use social proof to encourage a purchase. For instance, with automation, you can easily include reviews directly inside an email. This way, shoppers see other happy customers who have purchased the item and feel positive about the purchase.

Perhaps most importantly, the abandoned cart email should include a CTA that instantly allows shoppers to click back into their carts and complete the purchase.

Source

As you can see in the example above, this abandoned cart email includes positive reviews from other satisfied customers, further encouraging the abandonee to finish their purchase.

Your abandoned cart email can include:

  • An image of the item
  • A discount for the item
  • Positive reviews about the item
  • A CTA that takes shoppers back to their carts

The newsletter

A newsletter is a perfect way of keeping your brand top of mind for your customers. Consider automating a monthly email message that keeps subscribers up to date on your latest content and available products.

Just be sure to let subscribers know they can expect a newsletter from you before they sign up. (Remember, it’s best practice to provide a preference center directly inside the email.)

See the Project Nursery customer story here

Above, Project Nursery’s newsletter is minimalist and effective. By outlining new content and new arrivals, they easily draw subscribers to the site.

A newsletter can include:

  • Updates about the business
  • New and relevant blog content
  • Product updates or new arrivals

The win-back email

Subscribers may stop reading your emails for a variety of reasons. While this is completely normal, unengaged subscribers can negatively impact your metrics. But before you scrub your list and remove those inactive subscribers, you want to try and win them back one last time.

This is another opportunity for automated email marketing to bring your subscribers a personal, relevant message. You can automatically set up a win-back or re-engagement campaign through your email service provider. After a certain period of time of inactivity (e.g. six months), consider sending unengaged subscribers an automatic email asking them if they want to continue subscribing.

This will do one of two things: A subscriber will either be reminded of your brand and choose to opt in, or they will do nothing, and you can take them off your list, allowing you to boost your numbers organically.

Source: Loft (on this blog)

Above, the win-back email from Loft provides a generous discount and a CTA to visit the store. If the subscriber engages with this email and makes a purchase, Loft has successfully won them back.

Win-back emails can include:

  • An explanation of why subscribers are receiving the email
  • A CTA to stay engaged or visit the shop
  • A link to an email preference center
  • A discount to encourage engagement

Wrap up

Overlooking automated email marketing is easy to do, especially when you’re working on virtually every other facet of your business. Still, if you make time for email on the front-end, you’ll save yourself a lot of time (and sales) later on.

Luckily, CM Commerce can help with building and automating emails, so you can do all the other tasks that make your business run smoothly. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed as a business owner, it can help with that, too. Learn more here.

Learn more from the full research

We recently surveyed over 1,000 ecommerce professionals like you to discover their struggles, goals, and how they’re improving their businesses. You can read more insights and download the entire guide here.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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