eCommerce email marketing

eCommerce email marketing

The complete guide

Learn how to (actually) generate revenue from email marketing


Email marketing for eCommerce is not easy. There, we said it.

The internet is filled with email marketing tips and hacks that’ll seemingly get you more sales.

Brands end up implementing strategies that would never work for them.

They end up wasting time, effort, and resources.

That’s why we wrote this guide that has tested and proven strategies, trends, and everything else you need to know about eCommerce email marketing.

Let’s dive in.

1. Does email marketing still drive eCommerce sales?

“Many marketing influencers will say ‘email is dead’. But email consistently proves to be one of the biggest sources of traffic for an eCommerce store. If you get enough of those subscribers to your website, you have more chances of conversion.” - Ryan Day, Email Marketing Strategist, Convertcart

You might think that in this day of social media, email marketing doesn’t work.

But the statistics say otherwise.

Revenue through email marketing is projected to reach 17.9 billion by 2027.

Furthermore, eCommerce email marketing provides more opportunities to connect and engage with customers at a lower cost than social media advertising.

2. How does email marketing attract customers?

Here’s how eCommerce email marketing can help you attract more customers:

i. Build a cohesive email design

One of the first ways to build brand recall is by branding your emails the same way you brand your eCommerce website.

For instance, if you use humor or pop culture references on your website, then your emails should also have some of the same elements to ensure that your branding is cohesive.

ii. Connect your email marketing with your social media campaigns

Combine your email marketing with your social media marketing campaign.

For instance, if you are asking for feedback on a purchased product through email, then encourage customers to share the results on your social media page, or to tag you in their post or story.

This kind of strategy allows your product and brand name to reach more potential shoppers. For instance, the post or story might show up to the friends and followers of your customers as well.

iii. Drive traffic to your website during holidays

During holidays, shoppers are looking for different types of products, either to gift or buy for themselves.

That’s why your brand and product discovery reach a peak during holidays.

Set up email campaigns around holidays that will help shoppers come up with the perfect gift and to advertise your products, of course.

iv. Set up personalized email campaigns

Here’s how to set up personalized email campaigns:

a. Cart recovery

Whenever someone abandons their cart, set up automated emails with a limited-time offer to encourage them to complete their purchase.

b. Repeat customers

Consider sending emails with loyalty messaging to customers who make multiple purchases. Thank them for their repeat business, ask for reviews, and provide special offers.

c. Dormant buyers

For any customer who has not purchased in a particular time frame since the past purchase can be considered dormant. Send them an email that expresses gratitude for past purchase(s) and gives them a reason—a new product, special offer, or seasonal buy—to visit your site again.

More Ideas? Here Are Proven Ways To Improve Email Conversion Rate (+Examples)

3. Why is email marketing effective?

There are various ways eCommerce email marketing can help stores:

i. Access

Once consumers use their email to sign up to open an account or for a newsletter, you have a direct channel to them.

ii. Conversions

According to a study on email conversions, some 17.75% of clicked emails result in a purchase.

A report even found that email marketing is 40 times more effective than social media.

It’s also cost-effective compared to social media advertising.

iii. Segmentation

Subscribers for email are easy to segment since you completely own the list.

This means you can split up the emails according to a shopper’s position in the buyer’s journey.

For example, you can send emails based on most recent purchases, age, gender, email domain provider, recent engagement, or abandoned shopping carts.

As long as you collect the right information alongside your leads, there’s no end to how you can refine and segment your marketing list.

iv. Personalized promotion

Compared to social media, blogging, or website landing pages, emails can be personalized to the customer.

You can add first and last names to the email greeting or link back to shopping cart items they abandoned.

How to actually generate revenue from email marketing

i. Personalize the email copy for every user

Personalization is much more than including subscribers’ names in email copies.

Here are some quick hyper-personalization hacks to fuel your eComm conversions:

  • Send personalized product recommendation emails to shoppers within five days of viewing your product
  • Send emails within seven days asking how the customers are enjoying the product and inviting them to ask you questions
  • Send new buyers personalized tips on how best to use the product
  • Personalize your special offers to fit each segment group rather than sending generic discounts to everyone
  • Use parameters, blocks, and tags to dynamically customize the email copy each user receives.
  • Send valuable content to your contacts based on their buying stage—a simple sales funnel can automate the process

ii. Add a sense of urgency and resend emails to non-openers

Emails with a sense of urgency feed on a shopper’s fear of missing out to drive them to take action.

60% of millennial customers will make reactive purchases within 24 hours after experiencing FOMO.

Tap into this primitive human fear to boost your eCommerce revenue with these tips:

  • Highlight a sense of scarcity with a limited quantity of a product or any item that’s back in stock
  • Use urgent and actionable words in the header and subject lines with words like:
    - time-sensitive,
    - act,
    - hurry,
    - save,
    - don’t miss, and
    - fast
  • Send a warm-up email to the audience 72 hours before launching the campaign (use automation to resend the email to non-openers until most of your contacts see it)

iii. Stop selling every once in a while - send them fun stuff

According to Mohan Sawhney, a Clinical Professor of Marketing, customers could tune out if brands only talk to them about what they sell.

Here are some ideas on how you can use engagement marketing to involve customers in a more sustained relationship:

  • Add fun polls to your email marketing (for instance, ask customers to vote and make a product the ‘product of the month’
  • Engage customers with a user-generated content campaign (you could ask loyal customers to upload an image of themselves using your product for a chance to win a reward)
  • Organize an “Ask Me Anything” session on social media and invite customers through email
  • Run a video contest where customers showcase how they live their lives using your products

iv. Send emails when your customers are most likely to open them

An overwhelming number of subscribers don’t read your emails.

Here are some ways to send emails to increase open rates:

a. Resend important emails

In case you send the same mail which your subscriber hasn’t opened, it’ll make them more annoyed and hit the unsubscribe button.

It’ll also create a behavior of ignoring your emails knowing they’ll be repeated. So stick to sending only the most important email campaigns.

b. Don’t resend your email immediately

You must provide enough time for your subscribers to respond to your email.

You can get the data from your previous email campaigns and adjust your time frame accordingly. You can also test resending the email at a different time from the original email.

c. Change the subject line

Don’t resend the email with the same subject line.

The best way to measure the impact is by testing various versions to see which one works. Resending your email allows you to test a different version of your subject line.

It also has the added advantage of assuring readers that the email wasn’t sent by mistake so they may see this as a fresh email and engage.

How to get started with segmentation

Most eCommerce marketers segment their lists by location, age, and gender.

Here are 6 advanced segmentation strategies that could help drive more sales:

i. Shoppers who abandoned cart

It’s incredibly frustrating to acquire prospects, and move them through the sales funnels, only to lose them at the point of checking out.

Unfortunately, close to 70% of your shoppers are going to do this.

So, create a segment of shoppers that abandon carts and use the list in a win-back campaign.

ii. Shoppers who didn’t buy

Create a segment of prospects that don’t buy anytime you launch a time-sensitive campaign.

Re-engage them with free valuable content or a discount and nurture them.

iii. Customers who made a purchase

Create a segment for buyers.

Use the list to run onboarding sequences, offer upsells and cross-sells, or run “thank you” campaigns.

iv. Subscribers based on interests

You could uncover this data by tracking the product pages shoppers visited.

The easiest way to set up this segment is by sending emails with recommended products

and then tracking their clicks.

v. Shoppers who didn’t engage with you

Create an email list segment for subscribers that don’t engage with your

emails—non-openers and non-clickers.

Use re-engagement campaigns to put them on track.

But if they don’t budge, then it’s time to let them go

vi. Based on frequent buyers

Have a segment for customers that purchased more than once.

Use the list to run special offers, encourage purchases, and ask for referrals.

You could also use it for monthly product recommendation campaigns or anytime the price drops.

Drip emails for eCommerce stores

i. Set up customer retention drips

The drip intends to retain existing customers and build a loyal customer base.

It should trigger when someone checks out successfully.

The drip campaign should only contain sequences that’ll make your customers feel special and wanted.

For example, if your customers are part of the loyalty program, offer them dibs on new releases:

meundies loyalty program email ecommerce

Reminder: The drip should never end—always edit the campaign to add more sequences.

ii. Set up upselling drips

It’s always easier to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones.

At least once every month, send product recommendations to existing customers.

The recommendations can be based on their

- search history,

- browsing history, or

- products complementary to what they have already bought.

Re-send this drip to non-openers and non-clickers.

You could complement this drip campaign with PPC retargeting to open up more touchpoints—it takes between 5-8 touchpoints to convert average customers.

iii. Set up cart abandonment drips

Use your email drip campaign to target the customers who add products to the cart but don’t complete the purchase.

With a smart drip campaign, you can forever save your lost abandoned shopping carts. These emails are sent when your customers leave without making a purchase.

Everyone sends cart abandonment emails.

So make them stand out.


Add some social proof. Mention that they have a product lying in their cart and other customers are sharing good reviews about it.

Create some urgency with a time-sensitive discount. Perhaps, add a timer so shoppers know they might miss out on a good deal.

Don’t forget to display a CTA that takes the shopper directly to the checkout.

TLDR: Focus on the following points to re-engage your leads:

  • Highlight what your customers may be missing out on
  • Offer incentives to draw them back into the purchase cycle
  • Share new information about the product to close the sale

iv. Set up unsubscribe drips

Even though people leave your email list, there are still opportunities to re-engage them with a drip campaign.

A simple way to do this can be to send a message stating that you’re sorry to see them go but would like to stay connected on social media (with a link to your handle).

Most leads unsubscribe to clean up their inbox or because they stop seeing value in your emails.

You can try out several things to turn the tables around and bring your leads back into the fold:

  • Send a survey with points on how you can improve
  • Offer other channels of communication
  • Add some humor and character to leave a positive impression and space for future interactions

v. Set up search abandonment campaigns

Search abandonment—when a shopper searches for a product on an eCommerce website but does not find what they are looking for—costs retailers more than $300 billion annually in the United States alone.

94% of consumers globally report receiving irrelevant results while searching on a retailer’s website.

You can analyze shopping behavior data and segment customers on:

  • what they searched
  • what categories they viewed, and
  • the amount of time they spend on a particular product page

For instance, see how Bliss sends an email that doesn’t assume the shopper loved the product.

Instead, it leads with a copy that says ‘We noticed you noticing us…’

email example from bliss ecommerce

The email has a friendly tone and shows the name and photo of the product the shopper had viewed with three relevant recommendations.

The next day, Bliss sends another email in the drip campaign, with the subject line “This Would Look SO Good On Your Shelfie 😉”:

bliss drip email example

While the design is similar, it’s simpler than the first one.

There are no pushy calls to action or urgency here either through any copy.

This way, you can remind shoppers of their abandoned items without making them feel uncomfortable.

vi. Set up reminder notifications

Product replenishment emails enjoy 53.6% click-to-open rates, the highest in eCommerce email marketing strategies.

However, these emails need to be curated carefully.

See how Body Shop does so with impactful visuals:

great visual ecommerce example body shop

To make the reordering process frictionless, it’s important to ask for feedback on the product to understand shopping behavior.

Get the timing right by sending emails:

  • a week before
  • a day before, and
  • on the day of the last purchase

Remember, you need to:

  • share a populated cart to check out faster
  • use compelling subject lines like ‘nothing lasts forever (fortunately, you can always reorder)’

More Lead Nurturing Email Strategies For eCommerce Stores

A/B testing for eCommerce email marketing

“Yes, email marketing is not dead. But email fatigue is also a real problem. The internet is filled with advice. But the only right answer is “testing”. Testing your email marketing strategies will help you find the sweet spot that works for your target audience.” - Ryan Day, Email Marketing Strategist, Convertcart

Email A/B testing can be difficult to crack.

However, there are some elements you can test to achieve significant results.

i. From Name

The sender name is probably the first thing a recipient looks at.

Gmail truncates addresses at 20 characters, while Yahoo will vary on the size of a browser, showing as few as 14 characters.

Test whether:

  • first name vs full name adds value
  • a person’s name vs brand name make an impact
  • different email addresses affect open rates

ii. Subject Lines

64% of customers decide to open emails based on subject lines.

Test whether:

  • length of the subject line matter makes a difference
  • mentioning offers in the subject line matter
  • open rates will increase if certain words are CAPITALIZED
  • question-based subject lines increase open rates
  • numbers or statistics create more impact

iii. Time of Day and Week

A common question we get asked is:

When should we send emails?

While many email marketers will tell you the best time to send emails, it might not really get you any significant results.

Test whether:

  • emails triggered by specific behavior increase click-to-open rates
  • timing around the trigger event makes a difference
  • emails sent daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly work better

iv. Mobile Optimization

Many people check their personal emails such as promotions from eCommerce brands on smartphones.

Test whether:

  • the layout on mobile devices works
  • the email content such as subject line, colors, text, and CTAs are formatted for the mobile screen size

Email marketing benchmarks for eCommerce

1. What is a good email open rate for eCommerce?

Around 60 percent of marketers from around the world stated that their email marketing campaigns had an open rate of more than 20% percent.

Another 4.2 percent shared that their open rates were under 10 percent.

Furthermore, statistics show that eCommerce emails have one of the highest deliverability rates, i.e., 96%.

2. What is the conversion rate for eCommerce email marketing?

Email marketing generates an average of $40 for every $1 spent which is an ROI of 3900%.

Consequently, around 96% of the top 1,000 online retailers have agreed that email marketing gives them the best return on investment.

3. What are the statistics for email marketing for eCommerce?

While industry benchmarks change quickly, they can help eCommerce stores to understand how their email marketing performs.

Here are some statistics to give you a big picture of email marketing performance:

  • Email revenue is forecasted to reach 10.89 billion dollars (Statista)
  • 75% of consumers say they like to receive emails on discounts and offers (DMA)
  • Attaching a video in an email can lead to a 200-300% increase in CTR (Forrester)
  • 46% of all email opens now occur on mobile (Hubspot)
  • Email is responsible for 20% of online holiday site visits (Techcrunch)

eCommerce email marketing templates

1. How do I create an email marketing template?

i. Welcome emails

Most customers expect to receive welcome emails after they sign up for a mailing list.

All welcome emails have 3 common goals, which are to:

  • create value for the subscribers
  • prompt the subscriber to take the next step
  • encourage the subscribers to interact with your brand
musto welcome email ecommerce marketing

Here’s what to include in a welcome email template:

  • Say ‘thank you’ to the shoppers for signing up without being salesy right from the start
  • Convey the brand story, showcase stunning brand imagery, add a contact option that builds trust, shares info such as shipping details
  • Use an easy-to-remember discount code with a heading that communicates the incentive right away
  • Add social proof which creates a sense of belonging by showing the happy faces of customers

Welcome Emails Inspiration: 7 Best eCommerce Examples

ii. Product launch emails

The sad reality is that about 95% of new products launched fail to meet sales goals.

The issue lies in the messaging of the launch - it either lacks creativity, misses some compelling details and sometimes, might not even be well-timed.

product launch email ecommerce marketing

Here’s what to include in product launch email templates:

  • Write copy that covers several angles with benefits and pricing strategies
  • Creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity with their copy (letting you know first, early-bird deals)
  • If the launch is yet to happen, add a CTA that calls for the visitor to perform a micro-conversion, thereby building excitement for the product launch
  • Maintains exclusivity by restricting the sale to Premium customers and offering a special Premium code

10 Product Launch Email Examples That Drove Massive Sales (+ Templates)

iii. Cross-selling & upselling emails

A cross-sell or upsell email allows you to recommend relevant products to a prospective customer or an existing customer.

If you’re upselling, recommend products depending on the visitor’s shopping cart.

If you’re cross-selling, recommend complementary products depending on what the visitor is currently viewing in your store or the ones in their shopping cart.

target email marketing

Furthermore, make cross-selling or upselling emails a part of a series and not a one-time email to keep your customers engaged.

iv. Win-back emails

The average cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%.

Figuring out the right email to win back customers can be challenging.

madewell email marketing example

Here are some tips to create a good cart abandonment email that converts:

  • Create visual recall by allowing the customers to see what products were added to the cart
  • An incentive on the first order is a captivating nudge to get users to purchase
  • Include a link to your customer reviews in your abandoned cart email examples to convince prospective customers to make a purchase

v. Post-purchase

Done well, post-purchase emails can also work towards establishing the brand more firmly in the customer’s mind.

Since the customer is already excited about the order, a delivery confirmation has ample scope to build on their anticipation and engage them.

chewy order confirmation email

Help the customer visualize their order by adding all the product, billing, and shipping details.

Also, set expectations by adding your brand USPs at the bottom.

2. What should be included in an email marketing template?

Here are some actionable tips to always include in your email marketing template:

  • Make sure the exclusive coupon code stands out in the email
  • Use quirky copy [That gear in your cart is lonely and cold. And all it needs is someone to love it and wear it. That someone could be you]
  • Give links to all products featured in your personalized emails so that customers can directly go to their product pages and checkout
  • Include a clear picture of the product so the reader is immediately reminded of the browsing experience
  • Optimize for mobile with short and crisp sentences, so readers don’t have to scroll endlessly
  • Use responsive images that are easily loaded and fit into the mobile screen

3. Which email marketing type performs the best?

An email’s performance depends on many factors such as industry, copy, timing, and more.

However, there are some industry benchmarks all eCommerce stores should know in 2023:

  • Welcome emails with offers can boost revenue by 30% per email, compared to welcome emails without offers.
  • Personalized emails have been shown to deliver 6x higher transactional rates than non-personalized emails. (MarketingProfs)
  • Cart abandonment emails to boost sales by 4.43% across all eCommerce industries. (Sale Cycle)
  • Back-in-stock alert emails achieve a massive 22.45% average conversion rate. (MarketingSherpa)
  • Post-purchase emails enjoy a 217% higher open rate than traditional emails.

4. What are the essential elements of a personalized email template?

There are 3 essential elements in a personalized email:

i. Relevance

Personalized emails are far from generic. They are highly targeted as per customer preferences.

ii. Timely

With customer data, you know which stage of the journey they are in and what will be the right time to send an email.

iii. Comes from a real person

Personalized emails are rarely automated emails. These generally come from a person and not just a business email ID. This helps in building credibility.

How to grow your email list

Here’s how can eCommerce stores grow their email list in 2023:

i. Design Pop-ups That Are The Opposite of Robotic

The millennial generation has had hundreds of “We have an offer for you!”

What they need is something “memorable”.

Let the pop-up come to the visitor after a specific active time (for example, 180 active seconds) or define a logic that after 8 scrolls, the visitor shall be shown the pop-up.

Make sure you deliver every necessary information and keep the communication concise.

ii. Pitch Your Referral Programs

Once you have a base of a handful of happy, loyal customers, leverage their network to drive leads.

Launch a referral program where you can offer tangible rewards to those who are willing to refer their friends through email, Facebook, or Twitter.

iii. Get leads from blogs

“Today’s searchers search to solve problems, to accomplish tasks, and to ‘do’ something.” - Search Engine Journal contributor Ryan Jones

Just make sure you are not hard selling right in the blog.

If your visitors have scrolled at least halfway through the blog, then it’s safe to say they found the answer they are looking for.

This means they are happy or at least trust your knowledge.

At this point, display an opt-in form for a newsletter.

iv. Offer to save the cart

Shoppers often add products to the cart and bounce off.

You can implement email sign-up strategies by creating urgency.

Let your customers know that the items left in their cart or wishlist will be cleared out after a couple of hours or days.

This will motivate shoppers to immediately purchase the item or create an account (capturing email ID) so they can save it to their wish list.

Offer an option to let shoppers save products they like and access better pricing and limited-time deals.

Holiday email marketing

1. What is seasonal marketing email?

Seasonal campaigns are a specific type of promotional email.

They’re directly tied to the change of season or a specific holiday celebrated where the store is based or the origin country of their shoppers and customers.

2. How do you write a holiday sales email?

Common email types for holiday communication to shoppers and customers include:

i. Holiday gift/discount/promo.

Use the holiday as an occasion to push deals that are targeted to shoppers who are in the sales funnel's interest or decision phase.

ii. Holiday guide

Create how-to-use product guides to differentiate from other brands and lend shoppers a hand during the busy holiday.

iii. Holiday sale

Create a holiday campaign for holidays celebrated for weeks such as Black Friday and Christmas.

iv. Holiday upsell/down-sell

Apply this type of holiday email to shoppers if they are ready to join a loyalty program or seek better options.

v. Greetings/a thank you letter

This is a way to connect with the customers and add to brand recall and recognition.

Automated emails best practices

1. What are some examples of automated emails?

Many eCommerce automated emails tend to sound too pushy and robotic with their sales pitch and don’t strike a connection with the recipient—losing the business's precious sales.

Here's a quick video with all the brilliant automated email examples:

2. How do I send bulk emails without spamming?

When it comes to bulk emails, you’re always running a risk of spamming shoppers.

Here are some ways to send bulk emails without spamming:

i. Implement a double opt-in method

Use the double opt-in method to ensure that the website visitors who sign up for your emails want to receive them.

This way you reduce the risk of annoying your subscribers or being marked as spam.

Send them an email asking them to confirm whether or not they truly want to subscribe to your email list and you will save yourself a lot of trouble in the future.

ii. Don’t write “spam-ish” words

Some words will not only trigger spam filters, but they will also present red flags to your email subscribers.

Avoid using these spam-like words and phrases in your mass email subject lines:

  • Free
  • Money
  • No catch
  • Take action now
  • Claim
  • Offer
  • Incredible deal
  • Shopping spree
  • Urgent
  • Winner
  • Risk-free
  • Call now
  • Instant
  • Click here
  • This isn’t spam
  • Please read
  • You’ve won
  • Giveaway
  • Guarantee

iii. Make unsubscribing a breeze

If your readers have to jump through hoops to unsubscribe from your email list, they might opt to mark your emails as spam instead.

This can be detrimental to your business. The more frequently your emails are marked as spam, the less reputable your brand will become.

Eventually, your emails might start being blacklisted by Hotmail, Gmail, and other email service providers.

iv. Clean your subscriber lists

If you have inactive users or duplicate contacts on your email list, it will be bad for your open rate and your brand’s reputation.

Take some time to clean your subscriber lists:

  • Check for typos like email addresses ending in
  • Delete duplicate contacts
  • Scrub addresses that haven’t opened your emails in years
  • This will help your email marketing campaigns run more successfully and prevent people who never open your emails from deciding to mark them as spam.

High-converting subject lines

We’ve compiled a list of subject lines that have been tested and get high conversion rates in eCommerce email marketing workflows.

When your customers are curious about your brand:

[First Name], Looking for something specific?

[First Name], You left us too soon!

[First Name], not to sound salesy but…

When your customers abandoned the cart during checkout:

[First Name], Why stop now? You’re almost done.

[First Name], Do you need help?

[First Name], Checkout in just 2 steps.

When your customers are missing out:

[First Name], just 4 hrs left for the sale to end

[First Name], checkout soon before the sale disappears

[First Name], hurry! It’s almost sold out.

When your customers are eligible for a discount:

[First Name], will a Flat 50% off help?

Here’s an exclusive offer, just for you [First Name]

[First Name], buy [Product] and get FREE stuff

When the brand wanted to show off its sense of humor:

Shinesty: You left your stuff at our place…

Vinomofo: Wine abandonment cry for help

Poo-Pourri: Oops, you forgot to flush!

Transform Email Marketing Into A Revenue Machine

Most eCommerce store owners don’t see email as a serious revenue stream.

Ask them about the importance of email marketing, and you'll hear: “we don’t really have a major strategy,” “we mostly use generic templates,” or “we just send emails to people on our list.”


There are stores out there that drive 30%+ of their revenue from email marketing.

Engage can help you do the same: Book a free demo.

We’ll show you:

  • workflows we can create for your store
  • proven ways to drive 30% or more $$ from email alone, and
  • successful templates and strategies from your industry (and others)