How to Run eCommerce Email Marketing Campaigns

Successful ecommerce marketers believe email marketing to be of great value.

Ecommerce email marketing not just boosts return on investment, but also increases brand awareness, aids conversions, and builds interaction between a brand and its target audience.

However, the one thing that ecommerce companies often overlook is that ecommerce email marketing is more about the sequence than the marketing strategy itself. That’s where the need to learn how to run successful ecommerce email marketing campaigns comes in.

Say, for example, your ecommerce brand has just started using email marketing. As soon as a new customer signs up for your newsletter, you send out an email that informs them about your blog, social media platforms, and offers a promotional code as a welcome gesture.

Great. What next?

Are you now going to wait for them to make the next purchase before you send an order confirmation email? Or, are you going to start sending out emails that talk about different shopping categories on your website? Are you going to ask for feedback right after their first purchase?

While it’s a great idea to send out an email for all of these things, the value lies in the sequence you send these out in.

Now while we’re still on the subject of ecommerce email marketing as a great tool to generate sales and revenue, it is also important to understand that email automation is the best way to get the most out of your email campaigns.

Email marketing automation is a powerful retention tool and it ensures that every customer gets all the necessary information, at the right time.

Getting started with eCommerce email marketing

Ecommerce email marketing is broadly divided into three categories: the welcome email series, transactional emails, and customer retention emails.

Within each of these categories, there are different kinds of emails that have a specific purpose, which is highlighted with a call-to-action that asks people to take the right next step.

All these categories of emails work simultaneously, depending on the individual actions or transactions between a customer and the ecommerce business.

Before we discuss different kinds of ecommerce marketing emails, it’s important to understand each of these categories:

  • Welcome emails
  • Transactional emails
  • Retention emails

Welcome emails

As the name suggests, these are a series of emails with the purpose of onboarding a new customer to your business. This includes emails to verify the email address and contact information, share contact information, give details about other initiatives of your business like a blog and social channels, or offer a welcome incentive like a “new customer discount.” The purpose of all the emails, within the welcome emails category, is to let your customer know the many things you offer and let them know that your business values them.

Transactional emails

These emails are specific to each customer, like when a customer places an order and gets an email for order confirmation. Another example is when a customer adds products to their shopping cart, but doesn’t complete the order, and then receives an email reminding of them of the products left in their cart. These are all transactional emails that are dependent on the interactions between an individual customer and a business.

Retention emails

The aim of every business is not just getting more and more customers but also retaining the existing ones. Emails sent with the purpose of keeping existing customers happy are called retention emails, such as appreciation emails, feedback, surveys, thank you emails and others.

Alright then, now that we know the broad categories that ecommerce email marketing works around, let’s get to specific emails you need to start creating:

Email marketing for eCommerce

Welcome emails

Start your ecommerce email marketing by sending out a well-drafted series of welcome emails to let your customers know how happy you are to have them onboard. This welcome email could include links to other initiatives, a welcome discount code, or additional necessary information you deem important for new customers.

Curated emails

Your first interaction with a customer will give you enough insight to curate personalized emails for them. Whether you send out a curated email of products you know would interest them, or a curated email to recommend your “top picks,” customers love curated content that speaks directly to them.

Discount or incentive emails

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? Well, your customers surely do! Sending out an email that offers a discount code for being a new or loyal customer, an added incentive like free shipping, or just something a little extra will make your customers excited about your emails and your products.

Engagement emails

You want your customers not just to read and receive your emails, but also to engage with you. Adding a clear call-to-action for free shipping or creating an ecommerce email marketing campaign to compel people to start a free trial are all engagement emails that drive your business. These emails enhance your interaction with your customers.

The referral email

Referral emails are a great way to boost your lead generation strategies. Asking your customers to refer leads, or potential customers, in exchange for an incentive like a discount, is another proven method of driving success.

Trigger emails

Trigger emails, or transactional emails, allow your business to communicate necessary information, as well as strengthen your customer lifecycle database. Using a tool such as a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) lets you automate the process of sending out trigger emails. Whenever a customer takes an action, the trigger is noted in the CRM and the relevant email is sent. This could be an order summary, order confirmation, subscription renewal, or shipment tracking email.

Cart abandonment emails

With cart abandonment becoming one of the biggest reasons for the loss in revenue, ecommerce businesses need to use cart abandonment emails to their advantage. It is a reminder email for customers to complete the order and empty their digital shopping carts.

Upsell, cross-sell, and recommendation emails

Use your ecommerce email marketing campaigns to upsell, cross-sell, and recommend other products to your customers. This increases the chances of customers buying more than what they came for, and in turn enhancing your chances of making more significant sales. Personalize these recommendations according to the customer’s browsing or past purchase history.


With so many ecommerce businesses coming into the market every day it is easy to lose customers to competitors. With a strong re-engagement campaign, you can keep your customers engaged with your brand, and show them why they came to you in the first place. Address their interests and needs, and offer them bigger incentives to stay with you. Using the right tools and platforms allows you to measure which customers are still engaged, and who needs to be re-engaged.

Survey and feedback email

Customer feedback is of great value for every ecommerce business. With email marketing, you can reach right into their inbox and ask them to share feedback that will help you become better. This also tells your customer’s how much their feedback and experience matters to you. You could create surveys to further segment and improve your email marketing and overall business strategies.

Customer appreciation emails

Who doesn’t like to be appreciated? We know our customers do. A simple “thank you” email, with a special gift like a discount coupon, can make your customer’s day. Customer appreciation and thank you emails go a long way in strengthening the relationship you build with them over time. It’s a special gesture that does not go unnoticed.

Other points to consider when creating eCommerce email marketing campaigns:

  • Keep a uniform brand voice across all your communications with customers
  • Originality is the key to success
  • Personalizing your emails goes a long way in building strong relationships
  • Invest time in building and cleaning up your email list
  • Segmenting your contacts leads to more relevant and accurate results
  • Build strategies, execute them, measure results, re-invent strategies – just keep at it

Don’t lose sight of the big picture!

While high sales and revenue may be your biggest goals, don’t forget the big picture – the experience you create for your customers.

You may be able to sell a lot of products to customers with great marketing strategies, but it’s the experience that determines whether they come back for more.

Ecommerce email marketing is not just for driving business in terms of numbers, but driving success with better outreach, strong customer relationships, effective brand awareness, and healthy interactions.

Like I always say, it’s tough work combined with a constant hunger for learning and growing that gets you to the top. Go for it!