In case you need a reminder: email marketing is wildly effective. In fact, it’s the most effective form of marketing for ecommerce stores. But sending the same emails to every subscriber isn’t going to provide the results that your store needs.
So, what kind of emails should you send? And who should you send them to?
To get the most out of your emails, you need to make sure you send the right emails to the right people at the right time. And if you’re new to email marketing, it can be overwhelming.
But don’t fret.
In this article, we walk through 25 automated emails that every ecommerce store should send. We’ll break down what the email should include, who you should send it to, and when you should send it.
Emails for Window Shoppers & New Customers
Just like in real life, first impressions are everything. So when you first court potential customers, you need to put your best foot forward. Here are five emails you need to send to window shoppers and new customers.
Who: New subscribers.
What: This is your opportunity to introduce your business. Your welcome email can include background information about your business, like why it started. Welcome emails are also a great time to highlight some of your best-selling products. Even better, use customer data to highlight products that you know they are interested in.
When: Immediately after they sign up for your email program.
First Purchase Email
Who: First purchasers.
What: The first purchase email is your follow-up after a new customer places an order. Some companies choose to bundle this with their order confirmation email, while others choose to send it separately. Your first purchase email should clearly articulate what the customer should expect. That means you should let them know when you’ll ship their product and how long it will take. If your product has a bit of a learning curve, let your customer know how to use it or where they can watch your video tutorials.
When: Within one hour of a customer’s first purchase, preferably sooner.
Who: Window shoppers who browsed your store but did not put any items in their cart.
What: Sometimes, it just takes a little nudge for a window shopper to make a purchase. It’s best to customize your browse abandonment emails based on the products that a shopper was considering. This email should highlight the benefits of the product or create a sense of urgency or scarcity. For example, you could mention how these products usually sell out, or your current sale ends in 24 hours.
When: Within 24 hours of visiting your website.
Who: Shoppers who put an item in their cart but did not make a purchase.
What: Cart abandonment emails are one of the highest ROI emails ecommerce stores can send. These customers are inches from the finish line; you just need them to take the final steps. Similar to browse abandonment emails, this is a great time to highlight benefits and create a sense of urgency. Cart abandonment emails are also an excellent opportunity to offer a discount like free shipping or 10% off.
When: According to Rejoiner, cart abandonment emails are the most effective within 1 hour after cart abandonment.
Who: Customers who have expressed interest in a product.
What: If you know an item is almost sold out, you can drive sales by letting people know. If you don’t plan on restocking the product, make sure to let your customers know that once the product is gone, it’s gone for good!
When: Several weeks before you expected a product to sell out.
Emails for First Purchasers
After a customer makes a purchase, you have the opportunity to unroll your post-purchase email campaigns. Thankfully, since they’ve made a purchase, you know more about their interests and shopping habits. Use that to your advantage and customize your email campaigns.
Who: All customers.
What: Purchase follow-up emails are the messages that every ecommerce customer has come to expect. This series includes, but isn’t limited to, order confirmations, shipping confirmations and delivery confirmations.
When: After all purchases.
Who: First purchasers.
What: Everyone appreciates a sincere “thank you.” Let your customers know how much their support means to you and your business. This is a great time to explain that you are a family-owned business or that a percentage of every purchase goes to support an important cause or that their support helps the environment in some way, or… you get the picture.
When: Within 7 days of their first purchase.
Who: Customers who have expressed interest in a product, either by signing up for a back-in-stock reminder or they’ve previously purchased the product.
What: If you have products that frequently sell out (well done!), that means there is a high demand for your limited-quantity products. Do your customers a favor and let them know you’ve replenished your stock.
When: As soon as a product is back in stock (or as soon as you know when a product will be back in stock).
Who: Customers who have purchased a consumable product (like makeup, coffee or toothpaste).
What: A replenishment reminder is used to let a customer know that it’s time to place another order. Replenishment reminders are a high ROI email that should make it extremely easy for customers to make another purchase. That means your link should take them directly to a pre-populated checkout screen where they only need to click “submit!”
When: The week before you expect a customer to finish your product. For example, if they ordered 8 weeks of protein powder, you should send the email around 7 weeks after their order was delivered.
Who: Customers who have made one or more purchases.
What: You already know that the customer likes one of your products, why not show them related products that you think they’ll like? Related product emails can be especially effective if you show products being used together. For example, if someone purchases a dress from your boutique, show them what that dress looks like with a pair of sandals or a sun hat that you also sell.
When: The day a customer’s purchase is scheduled to be delivered.
Who: All subscribers.
What: As seasons change, so do people’s needs. Use the changing of the seasons to highlight products that match those needs. For example, as summer turns to fall, promote cold-weather gear or comforting candles instead of sundresses and beach totes. And if your wares change seasonally, this is also your time to showcase your newest lookbook!
Who: All subscribers.
What: Everyone loves an excuse to shop, especially a holiday. Holiday campaigns aren’t just for Christmas. Other holidays like Mother’s Day, Independence Day and even Labor Day are great times to send holiday campaigns.
When: The weeks leading up to any major holiday.
Emails for Loyal Customers
Loyal customers deserve to be treated a little differently than new customers. You already know they like your products or services, so use that to your advantage while showing them the VIP treatment with these seven different emails.
Who: Customers who have made at least one purchase.
What: Loyalty programs are one of the best ways to increase your customer lifetime value. Your loyalty program emails should invite people to join and highlight the benefits of joining.
Who: All subscribers.
What: If you capture your customers’ birthday, then you should help them celebrate with a special discount during the month of their birthday. How can you capture someone’s birthday? Just ask (and it doesn’t hurt if you preface your ask by letting them know they can expect a special surprise later on).
Who: All subscribers.
What: Celebrate your relationship with your customers by sending them a message on your anniversary. These emails often prompt a purchase because it reminds customers how long they’ve been interested.
When: One year after a customer’s first purchase or one year after a customer subscribes.
Who: Previous customers who aren’t quite “lost souls.”
What: Before you add a subscriber to your list of lost customers, actively try to reengage with them. This email can be as simple as, “Hey, we haven’t heard from you in a while, would you like to change the frequency of our emails?”
When: After a subscriber hasn’t engaged with your emails for several months.
Ask for Reviews
Who: Any customer who has made a purchase.
What: Reviews are the most basic form of user-generated content. Reviews increase sales because they provide social proof to other shoppers that your products are worth it.The reason we aren’t only targeting happy customers (aka repeat purchasers) is that we believe that negative feedback is essential to improving your products or services. If you’re having trouble generating reviews, consider offering an incentive.
When: Several days or weeks after a product is delivered.
Ask for Referrals
Who: Loyal customers or people who have left a positive review.
What: If a customer is willing to leave a review, they might also be willing to refer their friends. This typically only works if you have a great incentive. For instance, if a customer refers a friend, give the customer AND the friend 25% off of their next purchase.
When: After a customer has expressed their loyalty (via positive review or repeat purchases).
Emails for Lost Customers
Lost customers, or “lost souls” as they are often called, shouldn’t be neglected. Before you purge them from your subscriber list, try to bring them back to your store with a series of winback emails.
We Miss You
Who: Past purchasers who have lapsed.
What: Sometimes, it helps just to be upfront and tell customers that you’d like to win them back. Telling a customer that you miss them does a few things. First, it reminds them of your brand and the fact that it’s been a while since they visited your store. Second, it tells customers that their support is important to your business.
When: As soon as a customer meets your store’s definition of “lapsed.” This should vary depending on your typical product and customer lifecycle.
What Did We Do?
Who: Customers who may not have had a great customer experience.
What: Asking for feedback is a great way to show that you care about your customers and want to make things right. Asking what went wrong is a great way to start a productive dialogue with your customers. This type of messaging can be great for people that returned a product or left a sub-par review.
When: After a customer has “gone dark.”
Who: Customers who clearly did not have a great customer experience.
What: If you’ve made a mistake, it’s best to acknowledge it and figure out how to make things better.
When: After a poor review or after a customer responds to your “What Did We Do?” message.
Who: Customers who have purchased products from you in the past but it has been a while since their last purchase.
What: Sometimes customers lapse for no real reason. Perhaps they made a purchase, and your product is built to last a lifetime, and there is no need for a second. If that’s the case, you might be able to lure them back and increase your LTV with new products. When showcasing new products, make sure to explain how they are different from your current offerings and why that matters.
When: Leading up to a new product launch.
Who: Customers who don’t seem to engage through email or SMS.
What: A “Call Us” email is a great way to let customers know that your phone lines are open and there are actually real people behind your storefront. This message can be as simple as a (clickable) phone number and an invite to give your business a call.
When: After repeated messages go unanswered.
Who: All subscribers.
What: It’s important to keep all of your customers informed about new policies, but we like to use the new policies email as a chance to win back lost customers. Of course, this only works if the policy change is in the customer’s favor. For example, maybe you have a new return policy or “30-day trial” policy that makes purchasing from you risk-free.
The Big Offer
Who: Lost souls.
What: The Big Offer is your last effort to winback lost customers. This is where you pull out all the stops to get them back – which often means a massive discount (like 50% off) or maybe even a free product.
When: Right before you’re ready to remove the customer from all future communications.