The “Dirty Dozen” E-Commerce Marketing Emails That Drive Revenue

Email and E-commerce create a powerful marketing and sales machine that’s more than the sum of their parts. E-mail is often the missing ingredient that kicks your store’s earnings into high gear. Better still, it does this far out of proportion to the traffic growth created.

There are dozens of powerful strategic opportunities to send email for ecommerce marketers. It works to both increase sales to existing customers, and bring in new ones.

One look at the customer acquisition costs should be enough to convince any e-comm exec that focusing mainly on new customer growth can be a huge folly. The exception obviously, is for new or small brands looking to scale.

Are you using all 12 of these e-mails in your e-commerce store? Go through the list to make sure you’re not missing one. It could be an expensive mistake.

Here are 12 of the Most Effective Emails We’ve Found for Driving E-commerce Revenue.

1 – Welcome

Start relationship building from the first contact so you can trust-build and position your brand as the “go to” one in your space. It also helps set contact expectations. Condition them to expect your contact.

In fact many studies show that customers already do expect a welcome email. Give it to them. In addition it’s a one-off marketing opportunity too. The welcome email is your perfect timing for introductory specials and other offers. It’s also the perfect time to get them into your newsletter, an influential way to deliver them long term value and deepen your customer relationship.

Finally, the welcome email is found in study after study to be the most profitable single email you’ll ever send. That’s reason enough to be using one….


Don’t use just one blanket welcome email, unless you’re selling a single SKU or very narrowly-focused product family. Customize your store’s welcome emails to better fit your customer, based at the very least on what they’ve purchased. Adding more segmentation data points often boosts conversions.

2 – First Order

These are very powerful. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to “Wow!” your new customer with an amazing initial customer experience. There’s only one chance to help make the first purchase impression, and this is it!

It’s also a fantastic opportunity to:

  • Show them how they can use their specific purchase
  • Tips and tricks to do more with what they bought
  • Cross sell and upsells that help them get more value from their purchase. (see below)

All of those build value and help deepen the customer-brand relationship. Competition’s fierce and the more powerful your relationship is with each customer, the more likely they are to be repeat buyers.

3 – Re-Order Reminder

Recurring revenue is one of the most powerful business models ever conceived, but not if it doesn’t recur! Don’t leave your re-orders to chance. Re-order reminder emails help your customer by preventing them from running out of a product at an inopportune time. They help your business by keeping the repeat orders flowing in.

When is the perfect time to send re-order reminders? We use order gap data for each customer and AI to discover that. Each customer likely has a different time between orders. Once you have enough data for each customer, you’ll be able to nail down the perfect timing.

All else aside, reorder reminder emails are a win-win for your store and the customer!

4 – Prospect and Customer Education

Edu emails are powerful stuff. Pre-sale, they help nurture leads an increase your lead conversion. They aid brand positioning, and boost customer satisfaction by steering customers toward your products that are best suited for their needs.

That’s vital. If your brand is the one with the customer’s ear, and mind, there’s a much better chance that your product is the one they buy.

Post-sale, they value build by helping your customers discover more and better ways to use their purchases.

Education Email Performance Tip:

Use customer feedback to help create content for them. Often, your customers discover value you may have missed, that can be perfect for your other customers. After all, they have something in common with the audience; they have a problem or passion your product could be perfect for.

5 – Lead Nurturing

Today’s sales process is different than in years past. There’s often plenty of research on the customer’s part, and more than a little hand holding on your company’s part before they make their buying decision. A lead nurture series keeps your brand at the prospect’s “top of consciousness”, reinforces that you’re there for them, and leads them down the path to purchase.

Lead nurturing emails are part of a marketing automation workflow. They’re often event triggered.

6 – Repeat Customer

A repeat customer is a repeat opportunity for your brand. Given that marketing research from Stitch Labs found that repeat customers deliver an average 120% more revenue at only 1/7 a new customer’s cost, they represent a mammoth profit opportunity.

Moreover, you can “step it up” a little bit when they’ve bought from you before. It’s similar to how you can say something to a friend that you’d probably not say to someone you just met.

Don’t go overboard hammering them over the head with “buy” messages; that poisons their customer experience. Do ask for the sale with additional products that make sense (for them) based on their purchase and browsing pattern though.

7 – Immediate Post-Purchase

Lifetime customer value is a number to know and maximize. Sending an immediate post-purchase email after each sale is a vital part of maximizing LCV. Follow up is one part of a first-rate customer experience, and it starts with the immediate post-purchase email.

Include info and special tips that help them get more value from their purchase. The more use they get from your product and the more value it delivers, the more likely they are to recommend your products and brand to others. They’re also one step closer to another purchase from your store.

E-commerce giants such as Amazon long ago discovered the importance of showing customers products that they may like based on similar customers and purchases. It drives cross sells and adds revenue. The Immediate post purchase emails is often the perfect time to include this kind of messaging.

8 – Page Abandonment

These are sometimes called “browse abandonment” emails. Where was their bounce “jumping off” point? Your analytics know when a visitor left and what page they left from. You should too. Your business benefits big from your team going over this data with a fine-toothed comb.

  • Why did they leave?
  • Do some pages generate far higher page abandonment percentages than other similar product pages?

Besides giving valuable customer experience insight, it lets you send a page abandonment email when and where it makes sense to do so.

Page Abandonment Email Performance Tips:

  • Stick to info on variations of the products they were looking at, in case they didn’t see exactly what they wanted.
  • Start with using these emails only for your highest profit and margin items.
  • Send 2 emails – +60 min and + 24 hours after they abandoned the page.

9 – Cart Abandonment

profitble ecomm marketing emails - cart abandonment

Many more customers abandon their online shopping carts than actually buy. The number is significant; 60-75% depending on the industry and study you’re looking at. It’s an e-commerce fact of life, but not one you should leave alone. Analyze your checkout process, your cart appearance and send abandoned cart emails.

One recent study discovered that “(First name), You Left Something Behind” was the most effective cart abandonment subject line, when it came to open rates.

10 – Re-Engagement

Sometimes, contacts start ignoring your brand. Gasp! No, really, it’s true, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily gone for good. Re-engagement email sequences are proven effective for reviving moribund customer relationships.

It won’t resuscitate every customer relationship, and it may not work immediately. If fact, it’s likely not to have an immediate effect. Industry studies show that it can sometimes take many months before they even open your re-engagement emails. If they get opened at all, it was still a good send, though.

11 – Up-sell / Cross-sell

Up-sell and cross sell emails directly generate revenue. It’s that simple. You sen an email and customers buy; often immediately. Happy days are here again! Up/cross-sell emails are an extension of similar shopping cart functionality, and like your shopping cart’s suggestions, they work too.

At the lowest level, it’s yet another opp to reach out and touch your customer. Like other kinds of touching, doing it wrong is creepy and sends the wrong message. Don’t be creepy.

Hammering your folks with forceful “BUY!!!” messages basically screams the wrong thing to your audience. They know you want them to buy now. After all, it’s a store. However, instead of helping forming mutually beneficial partnerships, those messages put your customers on the defensive. They hear “Give me your money!!” and instinctively clutch their wallets that much tighter, lest you vacuum away their hard earned dollars.

12 – Product Updates (Prospects and Existing Customers)

ecommerce marketing emails - Upgrade

These can be huge. It’s another opportunity to deliver value for your customer, and an additional sales opportunity for you. Whether it’s announcing a software update for a product they already own, a new version of an existing product, or a major feature release, these can be immensely profitable emails.

They work for both existing and prospective customers. Existing customers can get more value from add-ons, feature updates, and new product versions.

Prospects that didn’t buy initially often reach their tipping point thanks to updates that make a product better suited to their needs and wants. Maybe it was missing a key feature that kept them from buying, they didn’t love the UI, or maybe there’s now the perfect color they can’t resist

Don’t fear products that are often updated. Embrace them. Each update is another opportunity to reach out to your customer with more relationship-deepening value, and of course, another sales opportunity.

Product Update Email Tip:

You know exactly what you customer bought, so when writing update emails, speak their language in a voice that resonates with them from the product user’s perspective. That’ll kick up conversions and drive more sales.

Whatever the reason, product update emails are too valuable to ignore for e-commerce marketers.

Data Driven E-Mail Makes You Money

Take a page from B2B marketers and use customer, visitor, and prospect data. You have an opportunity to collect plenty of data points that will help conversions and per customer revenue. Using data’s the norm in a B2B environment, but less common among B2C marketers. Use it for your marketing automation workflows, email timing, and content.

All 12 of these emails benefit from data-driven optimization.

Another Tip: Personalize emails and subject lines. With e-comm, you have the necessary data to personalize and it boosts both open rates and engagement.