Email Marketing
Aug 17, 2022

The Top 10 Must-Send Emails For Ecommerce Brands

Dive deep into the top 10 email strategies for driving ecommerce sales.

Shanif Dhanani

Email campaigns are one of the most powerful tools in an ecommerce brand’s complete marketing strategy. Emails connect your business directly to consumers who have already shown an interest in your product - which is probably why email campaigns have a higher ROI than any other form of marketing. In fact, we've seen that the best brands are making over 30% of their revenue from email marketing alone. 

So, how do they do it?

It starts with a foundational strategy incorporating many different types of must-send emails. Here’s a look at each of these essential campaigns and flows, with tips to optimize them for your ecommerce business.

1. Welcome Series

What it is: The series of emails sent immediately after someone first signs up for your email list.

Why it’s important: Your Welcome Series contains some of the most important emails you’ll ever send. Not only does it introduce people to your ecommerce brand, it provides them with their first incentive to make a purchase. In fact, 30-40% of email-attributable revenue comes from the initial discount offered in a Welcome Series flow.

Tips for the best Welcome Series email flows: Try a five-email flow for your Welcome Series. In the first email, send out the discount code you promised for signing up to your list. In your second email, focus on introducing your brand’s founding story. In email three, showcase social proof, reviews, testimonials, and other UGC for your offer. In email four, provide educational materials that show how your offer benefits consumers. Finally, if the consumer still hasn’t made a purchase, use email five to create a sense of urgency, outlining a limited time left to purchase as products are selling fast.

2. Cart Abandonment

What it is: An email or series of emails following up with consumers who added products to their cart, but didn’t make a purchase.

Why it’s important: After your Welcome Series, Cart Abandonment emails may be the most important to ecommerce brands. You’ve already got these consumers on the hook - with a little attention on your part, you can reel them in and land a sale.

Tips for the best Cart Abandonment flows: Remind the customer that they left something in their cart worth purchasing, and encourage them to come back. You may even try a discount ladder in a short flow of 1-3 Cart Abandonment emails. By offering increasingly larger discounts, you can entice someone to complete their purchase.

3. Checkout Abandonment

What it is: An email or series of emails following up with consumers who added products to their cart and advanced to the checkout stage, but didn’t make a purchase.

Why it’s important: Similar to abandonment at the cart stage, these consumers have demonstrated a clear interest in your product. With a little extra incentivization, they may still make a purchase.

Tips for the best Checkout Abandonment flows: Fewer customers tend to abandon their purchase in the checkout stage than the cart stage. However, you can use the same reminder and discount ladder tactics outlined above for Checkout Abandonment flows as well.

4. Order Confirmation

What it is: A notification that a customer’s order has been received by your ecommerce site.

Why it’s important: No one wants to be left hanging. Let your customers know you’ve received their order so they have an official record of their purchase.

Tips for the best Order Confirmation emails: Optimize your order confirmation emails by including user-generated content (UGC) highlighting the benefits of the recent purchase, and incentivizing repeat purchases by including additional product recommendations.

5. Shipping Confirmation

What it is: A series of emails that tells customers when their order has shipped and provides any order status updates.

Why it’s important: Unless your shipment encounters a problem during delivery, you probably won’t need to send too many of these emails, but they are very important for maintaining good relationships with customers. (We all want to know where our order is and when we can expect to receive it.)

Tips for the best Shipping Confirmation emails: Whenever possible, include tracking links/numbers so your customers can always access the most up-to-date information about their package.

6. New Product Announcements

What it is: Emails that alert customers to a new product available on your ecommerce site.

Why it’s important: New Product Announcement emails get the word out about your latest offer by reaching out to the people who have already expressed an interest in your products. New products are also an opportunity to entice consumers who haven’t made a purchase in a while to become active customers again.

Tips for the best New Product Announcements: You should announce new products to your entire email list. You never know who will be interested in being an early buyer!

7. Flash Sales

What it is: One-off campaigns offering a limited-time discount.

Why it’s important: Emails promoting one-off sales are a great way to drive purchases, and as solo campaigns they’re also pretty straightforward to implement. Plus, Flash Sales are helpful for clearing out old inventory.

Tips for the best Flash Sale campaigns: Showcase the specific items on sale and make sure you include a big, bold CTA to bring customers to your sales page. Also, remember to specify the length of the sale, and focus on capturing a sense of urgency for limited-time offers.

8. Holiday Campaigns

What it is: Campaigns promoting sales or discounts during special calendar events.

Why it’s important: Many consumers have come to expect sales during holidays, which means they’ll be on the lookout to learn what sort of special offer they can snag on your site. In fact, many people even delay making purchases around holidays in anticipation of the sales to come. Meet their expectations - and land more sales - by launching Holiday Campaigns.

Tips for the best Holiday Campaigns: Don’t wait until the day of the event - kick things off 2-3 weeks before the holiday begins. Let customers know a few weeks out what sort of sales your site will be running. Then, follow up the week of the holiday and again the day of the occasion.

9. Browse Abandonment Campaigns

What it is: An email or series of emails that are sent to customers who viewed a product but didn't buy that product

Why it’s important: These types of emails can be a bit hard to send, since most of your site's visitors are anonymous and you won't have their emails, but when you do, this can be a good way to ensure you're not leaving sales on the table and optimizing your conversion rates. By offering a slight discount, you can get window shoppers who were close to purchasing to complete their transaction, ensuring you capture every dollar you can.

Tips for Browse Abandonment Campaigns: Experiment with the sending frequency and the number of emails within your flow, you want to make sure you're not spamming your visitors with these emails.

10. Post-purchase Education

What it is: Emails providing key information - like special care or usage instructions - about a product to a consumer after they’ve made a purchase.

Why it’s important: Post-purchase emails are a great way to foster an ongoing relationship with customers and improve their experience with your brand. These emails provide valuable content for your customers, making them feel more prepared to use their new product while also giving the impression that your brand goes “above and beyond” when it comes to customer service.

Tips for the best Post-purchase Education emails: Video tutorials or FAQ lists are simple ways to help explain products to consumers in an accessible way. You can also use Post-purchase Education campaigns as an opportunity to cross-sell related products.

More Email Tips for Ecommerce Brands

Now that you know the 10 essential email types for ecommerce brands, here’s a few more tips for optimizing your email marketing strategy:

  • Email frequency will depend on your list, but one email per week is a good starting point.
  • Use your CRM software to disable smart sending for transactional emails. (That way, no one will miss your next sales promotion just because their last order shipped.)
  • A/B test both your content and send times to identify what most grabs your audience.

Once you’ve got a strong foundation with these standard flows, you’ll be able to move on to crafting more advanced campaigns that have an even higher ROI.

Go beyond the basics with Apteo

If you liked these tips, you'll love our complete, step-by-step guide to marketing in our free No-Brainer Marketing Ebook. Check it out for more tips on email, SMS, paid social, and paid search marketing. And if you're interested in moving beyond just the basics and implementing more data-driven campaigns, feel free to book a call with us to learn how.

About the author
Shanif Dhanani
Co-Founder and CEO, Apteo

Shanif Dhanani is the co-founder & CEO of Apteo. Prior to Apteo, Shanif was a data scientist and software engineer at Twitter, and prior to that he was the lead engineer and head of analytics at TapCommerce, a NYC-based ad tech startup acquired by Twitter. He has a passion for all things data and analytics, loves adventure traveling, and generally loves living in New York City.