4 Phases of E-commerce Email Success

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  • 11/2/2016

    To offer your e-commerce shoppers a purchasing experience with the personal attention of a brick-and-mortar store, automated and personalized emails are a MUST! To help you get started, we broke down things down into four phases that email can help your business achieve e-commerce success.

    Phase 1: Pre-purchase emails

    When customers are in the pre-purchase phase, there are two types of automated email campaigns you should focus on:

    1. Welcome series

    2. Abandoned cart

    Welcome Series

    When website visitors sign up for an email list or register for a profile on your site and provide their email address, this is your shot to make a first email impression.


    What’s key is to ensure that this impression, and all future ones, don’t get stuck in your potential customers’ junk mail. So be sure to have a double opt-in email sign-up process. This means users must go to their inbox and confirm their email address, marking your emails as “safe.”


    Once your potential customers have deemed your emails worth reading, then it’s time to start your welcome series. Your goal in this series is to educate your potential customers on your business and products.


    thunder::tech tidbit:
    Having a clear call-to-action is going to make or break an email in your welcome series. Identify each goal you want users to accomplish, such as browse your products, follow your company on social media, or subscribe to your blog, so that you have one per email. This will help set a clear call-to-action.

    Abandoned Cart

    A customer adding one of your products to their cart is a clear sign of intent to purchase. But sometimes customers don’t follow through on those purchases. According to Baymard Institute, almost 69 percent of shopping carts are abandoned. By not triggering an abandoned cart email, your business is leaving a significant amount of money on the table.

    thunder::tech tidbit:
    Customers are forgetful, so be sure to include images and details of the product that was abandoned. And always include a link back to your site so that the customer can complete their order.

    Phase 2: Promotional emails

    Promotional emails are a great way to continue building a relationship with your customers and learn more about their specific product preferences. It is important to segment your lists rather than sending batch-and-blast emails to “all subscribers.”


    Promotional emails can come in many different shapes and sizes, but here are a few campaigns you should try:

    1. Low inventory/back-in-stock emails

    2. Wishlist sale

    Low inventory/back in stock emails

    If a customer has shown interest in a particular product, such as visiting that product’s webpage, and that product is running low or is now back in stock, sending an alert to the customer might just be the nudge they need to convert on the purchase.


    In order to send automated emails like these, you are going to need to have your website visitor data tied to your email and inventory/ERP system.

    Wishlist sale

    If your e-commerce site comes equipt with a wishlist and your customers are actively adding products to it, then you are learning everything that you need to know! Now all you need to do is give them a little push to complete their purchase, such as a time-restricted coupon code for popular wishlist products.

    Phase 3: Post-purchase

    Just because a customer has made a purchase does not mean that we close up shop and go radio silent... This is the time to really connect and nurture that relationship!


    There are two email campaigns that can be triggered to your buyers:

    1. Post purchase welcome series

    2. Upsell and cross-sell

    Post purchase welcome series

    Each and every time a product is purchased through your online store, a thank-you email should be triggered. But the goal of this email is not simply to give thanks; it is to grow and nurture the relationship you and the customer have begun.


    Depending on the product that was purchased, you can provide content such as an owner’s manual, link to product registration portal and links to how-to’s or product videos.

    thunder::tech tidbit:
    By providing your customers with relevant content and giving them a positive ownership experience, when it comes time to ask for a product review, your customers will jump at the opportunity!

    Upsell and cross-sell

    Do your products have accessories? Is there a related product that a customer might be interested in based on their past purchases? Then a upsell or cross-sell email campaign, that provides product-specific educational content is right for you!

    thunder::tech tidbit:
    This is a great way to increase your customer lifetime value (CLV).

    Phase 4: Re-engagement emails

    For those customers that have gone MIA and lost touch, try one of these two automated campaigns to get them re-engaged:

    1. Winback emails

    2. Reorder emails

    Winback emails

    If your email service provider has the ability to build dynamic lists based on date of last purchase, try creating a list that automatically populates with inactive customers. Use your company’s business logic to define “inactive.”


    thunder::tech tidbid:
    Customers that purchased from you in the past are likely to purchase from you again, but sometimes we need to incentivise that purchase. That can be done by providing them a coupon code or discount offer on a repeat purchase.

    Reorder emails

    What is good about pretty much every product is that is has a lifecycle, and if you are able to identify the length of that lifecycle, then providing timely offers to your customers for reorder will be a great quick win!


    Even if the product’s lifecycle or the potential interval of repeat purchases is long, a contextual email, meaning the right message to the right person at the right time, shows your customers that you are paying attention and providing a personalized experience.


    To learn more about how you can improve your e-commerce email effectiveness, contact us!
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