All eCommerce businesses hope to meet their customers wherever they’re at.
And some actually do—not by being pushy or overwhelming, but by reminding their customers that it’s time for them to buy again.
Welcome to the world of replenishment emails, in other words also known as auto-reminder emails.
With the highest click to open rate (CTOR) across eCommerce emails (53.6%), replenishment emails drive both engagement and action.
At Convertcart, we’ve been using Engage to help clients across the globe send out relevant replenishment emails—and in this piece on replenishment email examples, we’ll share the insights we’ve found.
How to write a great replenishment email
Given that the goals of a replenishment email are conversions in the short term and retention in the long term, how you craft them becomes super important. Here’s what we’ve found to work time and again:
1. Hook ‘em with a compelling headline
This is the first thing they see when they open the email—so this has got to pack some punch to get those conversions in.
Especially from those who may not automatically decide to re-purchase an item.
Creating urgency can make this easier—the following restock email sets an example:
2. Use the image in the first fold
Preferably use a lot of whitespace so that the image stands out against all the other elements.
The other way to do it is how Glossier does it in one of their auto replenishment email examples.
They frame the image up distinctly within a section and stretch it across the whole screen with text above and below:
3. Highlight what each purchase promises
Basically, your customers need to see why repurchases would make sense in the long term.
Do you offer free shipping over a certain threshold? Have your products been approved by an authority/institution? Is there a hero ingredient that differentiates you from competitors? Do you offer free samples?
Returning customers need to know why they should believe the messaging in your restock email.
4. Talk about special prices
Whether they have to do with members-only discounts when customers repurchase, or a special price for auto-reorders—ensure to highlight price benefits.
Here’s how Drugstore.come does it after it has offered the recipient some personalized replenishment recommendations:
5. Bring in personalized recommendations
Base them on search history, what they’ve ordered before or even brands they seem to go back to time and again.
Belk, for example, pulls out recommendations from the same brand as the original product in their restock email:
6. Clearly state customer support deets
Make it easy for customers to ask additional questions they may have after they’ve gone through your replenishment email.
While most businesses prefer citing “customer service” as a link beneath the footer section, we’d rather that you do it this way:
7. Upsell in smart ways
Not all upsells have to be about pushing customers to add product recommendations to their bag.
You can even cleverly upsell the same product that the replenishment email is about—like Clinique does through a highly believable story:
15 replenishment subject lines that work wonders
While inspiring replenishment email examples can take you on the right track, here’s a quick list of subject lines that we’ve seen clients find effective:
1. Ready to restock?
2. Hey! <insert name>, it’s time for a refill
3. Get your <enter product name> refill for 20% discount, ONLY TODAY!
4. We knew it! You’re about to run out of <enter product name>
5. Why run out when you can refill?
6. Nothing lasts forever—not even your last <enter product name> buy
7. Keep enjoying <enter product name>—reorder today for 10% off
8. Knock, knock! It’s time for the latest refill of <enter product name>
9. We’ve restocked <enter product name>!
10. Back by popular demand! Get your refill today!
11. We noticed you’re running out of <enter product name>
12. Stock up before <enter product name> runs out!
13 Don’t put a stop to your nutrition! Refill today!
14. You could run out of <enter product name> but why would you?
15. This restock won’t last long! Refill your favorite <enter product name>
The best use cases for replenishment emails
One of the most understated ways to retain existing customers, including those high-value ones who help turn your business around YoY, is the restock email.
Having said that, not all businesses can leverage this type of email with equal effectiveness—which brings us to the best use cases for replenishment emails.
1. Food & beverages
Food, snacks and beverages represent classic perishable items that shoppers will constantly need refills and top-ups of.
The good thing with these categories is that shoppers won’t mind if you also throw in some related recommendations for them to consider—check out how coffee brand TheWodLife does it:
2. Pet care
Whether you’re a brand that manufactures or stocks pet food and treats or specialize in pet health & grooming supplies, replenishment emails could well be up your alley.
The advantage here is that with your basic replenishment communication, you can also send across upsells around new blends, recipes or upgrades if you’ve been collaborating/innovating with pet care specialists.
3. Makeup & Beauty
Another product category that’s well suited to send out timely replenishment emails is makeup & beauty.
Given that products in this category are easily consumed, offering reminders for refills along with subtle nudges to view other similar products, can build engagement and conversions.
Here’s an example from The Body Shop:
4. Health & nutrition
Nobody likes running out of supplements and nutritional upgrades—and this makes health & nutrition products sell well through replenishment emails.
The good thing is that from time to time, you can send across feedback emails to understand the changing needs of the customer, so that you can write even more targeted replenishment emails.
Check out this simple but effective restock email from Rockin’ Wellness:
5. Subscription businesses
No matter what the category, subscription businesses can really leverage the replenishment email format.
Since these businesses typically have a quarterly, bi-annual or annual payment model, timely replenishment emails can come in handy not just for conversions but also engagement.
Certain lifestyle membership eCommerce brands like FabFitFun use emails to offer more customization and choice to customers—where they’re able to move around what they want to add to a box etc.
Dog food subscription brand Scratch promotes replenishment not just for existing customers but those who’d expressed interest but not bought:
How to set up a product-based replenishment email flow
When you’re setting up a replenishment email flow, you’ll have to focus on multiple considerations:
- The buying cycle
This will partly depend on the nature of a product and the purchasing habits of your target audience.
So, for example, if you sell makeup products, it’s possible that one customer who’s been purchasing mascara has a monthly buying cycle, whereas another buys every two months.
This is where you’ll need to gather data and use predictive analytics to send out replenishment emails to various segments based on where they are in the buying cycle.
- The relevance
This is an important consideration to have because you don’t want to target people who’ve just bought the product despite you not sending them a restock email.
To improve the relevance of your replenishment emails, it’s ideal to use a flow filter that can narrow down on customers who haven’t already bought the product.
It also makes sense that you apply this filter to all relevant products that you want to promote through your replenishment series.
- The timing
To improve the precision around timing, send out replenishment emails closer to the day of the product getting over.
So let’s say, if the customer has a 30 day buying cycle, it’s ideal to send the replenishment mail on the 20th day. Similarly, if they have a 60 day buying cycle, send the mail on the 45th day. This allows for some reaction time on their part as well as time for you to fulfill the order.
To make it more compelling, consider sending two emails in a specific replenishment campaign—one about 10-12 days before the product is scheduled to run out and one as a last-minute alert for refilling.
Metrics to assess the effectiveness of replenishment emails
There are a number of email metrics that you’d want to look in while assessing the performance of your replenishment emails:
1. Open Rate
This is a crucial metric to study your replenishment emails because it assesses the percentage of email subscribers who’ve opened an email against your total number of email subscribers.
A high open rate for replenishment emails suggests that you’ve been doing well in terms of your subject lines, preheader text and possibly, even timing and relevance.
2. Click-Through Rate
The click-through rate determines the percentage of replenishment emails that received at least one click after they were opened. This number is calculated against the percentage of emails that were successfully delivered.
A high click-through rate suggests your email copy is compelling and your CTAs are inspiring enough for shoppers to want to buy.
3. Click to Open Rate
Unlike the click-through rate, with the click to open rate, you’re able to gauge the percentage of clicks your replenishment emails receive against the percentage of emails that were opened.
This metric lets you take an even closer look at the email design and copy because the comparison is with those who opened the email but didn’t click through.
4. Conversion Rate
This metric looks at the percentage of email openers who went on to convert through the CTA mentioned in your replenishment email. Conversion rate is crucial because it takes a close look at your email ROI.
5. Revenue Per Email
This is a metric that calculates the total revenue that your replenishment email campaign has generated by dividing it with the total number of emails that were sent as part of the campaign.
Like conversion rate, Revenue Per Email (RPE) takes a close look at ROI—what worked, what didn’t and what should ideally be improved to take the RPE up.
Transform Email Marketing Into A Revenue Machine
Most eCommerce store owners don’t see email as a serious revenue stream.
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