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13 must-have eCommerce email marketing strategies

ecommerce email marketing

This post was last updated on February 4, 2023.

Even as email inboxes grow more cluttered by the day and industry luminaries parrot that "email is dead," the effectiveness of email is undeniable.

“Ecommerce email marketing can drive more than 30% of your online store’s revenue,” says Ben Jabbawy, CEO and founder of Privy. “Over the last decade, I’ve heard so many business owners say, ‘I wish I’d started growing my list and sending emails sooner.’”

His top advice? Get started today—and start with automated emails that can “build relationships and make money for your online business while you sleep.”

In the blog below, we look at the 13 types of automated emails that you’ll want to add to your eCommerce marketing strategy ASAP. But first, we need to understand eCommerce email marketing. Keep reading for tips on getting started, plus insights from our partners at Privy.

What is eCommerce email marketing?

eCommerce email marketing is a type of digital marketing that uses email to promote and sell products or services online. It is one of the most effective ways to reach and engage customers, and it can be used to achieve a variety of marketing goals, such as generating sales, increasing brand awareness, and building customer loyalty.

Email marketing is a crucial ingredient of learning how to start a business. It can be used to promote new products, offer discounts, show off your eCommerce website, and send out abandoned cart reminders, as well as sharing news and updates about your business. You can also stay in touch with your customers, providing them with valuable content and offering them exclusive perks and discounts.

13 must-have eCommerce emails

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Transactional emails

Emails can be instrumental in keeping your customers in the know about their recent orders—and there are some standard ones that you’ll want to make sure to set up from the get-go. Below are three emails that will help to ensure that your customers feel secure about their purchases with your brand.

01. Order confirmation email

Follow up every new order with an email receipt that provides order details (price, item, payment method, and any discounts), shipping details (shipping address and estimated delivery date), and tracking information.

Reinforce this with instructions for how to ask questions about the order or request a return/cancellation. Customers should not have to go looking for this information themselves, and this email should serve as a written “contract” whereby both you and your customer know exactly what to expect.

Keep in mind that order confirmation emails receive some of the highest open rates. So, experiment with adding related products or other content that could motivate a future sale.

Order confirmation emails should be sent within 30 minutes of receiving an order, advises Privy. Otherwise, customers may begin to question whether or not their transactions went through.

02. Thank you email

About 24 hours after your customer receives their confirmation email, send an email to say thank you. A plain text email is a great format for this kind of message.

“Email touches thanking customers after their first purchase make them want to keep buying from and supporting your online business,” notes Jabbawy. “And [if you’re just starting out,] lean into the fact that you’re a small business. [Your thank you email is] another great place to tell a shortened version of your story and share education about the product that they just purchased.”

In the example below, luxury candle makers Coal and Canary cheekily emphasize the longevity of their candles. They further sweeten the deal with a special discount.

ecommerce email marketing example

03. Order status email(s)

Keep the momentum going by sending frequent order status updates. For bespoke furniture businesses, this could mean sending updates at every stage of creation. For retailers, this could mean sending updates as orders are packaged and then sent out for delivery.

“Buyer’s remorse is a real thing, and just because [customers] placed an order with you doesn’t mean they’re going to keep it,” says Jabbawy. “So the more engaged and excited your customers are, the better.”

“Do you hand package every single website order? Include a picture of an order before it’s shipped out,” he adds. “Is this a small gesture? Yes, but that’s honestly kind of the point. These small touchpoints make the customer experience so much better (and will hopefully lead to more purchases down the road).”

04. Feedback email

A few days after an order has been delivered, follow up with an email asking for a product review. Or, you could have your customers leave feedback on the ordering process itself.

Furniture makers Signature Hardware even offer a reward to incentivize customers to fill out their feedback survey.

ecommerce email marketing sample

You could additionally lean into the customer support side by asking customers to respond if they have any questions about their order. This type of thoughtful follow up can leave a positive impression and aid customer loyalty and retention.

Abandoned cart emails

An estimated 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned, says Jabbawy. This presents a tremendous opportunity to use abandoned cart email(s) to reclaim lost sales.

“We’ve found that for every email in your series, you should expect to recover three to four percent of abandoned carts, which is honestly amazing,” notes Jabbawy.

The ideal abandoned cart series includes at least three emails: a shopping cart reminder, customer support email, and coupon code email.

05. Shopping cart reminder email

This email should go out one hour after a website visitor abandons their cart. It should remind your customers that there’s something sitting in their carts, and they need to act quickly to avoid losing those items to another buyer.

Include item details within this email so that it’s easy for customers to recall what they were interested in. Try to seal the deal by highlighting the top selling points of your items or brand and, if applicable, your generous return policy.

06. Customer support email

Follow up your abandoned cart email with an email asking if your customer needs help. It’s possible that your buyer had a question but didn’t have the time or energy to reach out.

This email should be 100% customer-support driven (read: no coupon), and you’ll likely get brownie points if it’s sent from the founder or business owner.

Remember: the human aspect is really important for building a connection with your subscriber list. A simple feedback email can go a long way in showing that you care and are there to help your customers through the buying journey.

07. Coupon code email

If customers still haven’t completed their purchases, consider offering a coupon code around 24 hours later. This could be a simple 10% off the first order or free shipping.

Give your coupon an expiration code that inspires a sense of urgency and keep this email simple, advises Jabbawy. Don’t overthink it. The main goal is to remove friction and keep the focus on the main call-to-action.

If customers haven’t bit after 48 hours, send a final reminder that the code is expiring. Again, keep the email short, sweet, and simple.

If this is your last attempt at trying to win the shopper over, you might want to include a note at the end of your email asking what’s holding them back.

Win-back and promotional emails

Email is a powerful vehicle for keeping your brand top of mind. It can help you to re-engage customers after their first purchase, and encourage them to buy from you again in the future. Here are a few more emails to add to your eCommerce email strategy, all aimed at retaining, inspiring, and engaging customers.

Did you know: Wix eCommerce marketing (included with any Wix eCommerce plan) includes everything you need to create your first automated email campaign. Test drive Wix by signing up for a free account today.

08. Upsell/cross-sell email

Upselling and cross-selling techniques encourage customers to either buy a new, more expensive version of a product or to buy a product that complements another product selection, respectively.

Personalization is key to a successful upselling and cross-selling campaign. For example, someone who buys a pair of shoes is probably more likely to buy socks or laces than a new ring or watch next.

Similarly, you can use email to introduce new product lines that relate with your customers’ interests. For example, lighting and hardware company Rejuvenation uses email to announce new collections that would appeal to people who’ve bought from them before.

ecommerce email marketing example - Ansel collection

09. Discount email

The discount email is a tried-and-true classic. It focuses on driving awareness about a current or upcoming sale and/or includes a discount code to incentivize a purchase.

Use images to highlight on-sale products, or include a video for a more dynamic pitch. Specify when and how these discounts can be used. Do they only apply to a certain category of products? Are they redeemable in stores?

A popular strategy is to offer discounts on out-of-season or slow-moving inventory. As with any discount pricing strategy, you’ll want to be very intentional about the timing, messaging, and other parameters of your promotion.

Pro tip: if you’re discounting a moderately or low-priced item, then a percentage-based discount (e.g., “20% off”) may read more powerfully than a dollar-based discount (e.g., “$5 off”). However, if you’re discounting a higher ticket item, then a dollar-based amount may read more powerfully.

10. “Back in stock” email

If popular items or sizes go out of stock often, then you may want to consider opening an email waitlist. Not only do you benefit from having your shoppers’ contact information, but you can also use email to notify them the instant that their items become available.

This email by P&Co uses friendly, down-to-earth messaging to alert subscribers of back-in-stock items.

email by P&Co - ecommerce email marketing example

Loyalty emails

A great way to increase customer loyalty is by making your customers feel special—like they’re part of an elite club. Whether you launch an official loyalty program or bake in loyalty points with every order, set up a series of emails that warm new contacts up to your brand.

11. Welcome email

Introducing yourself via a welcome email is an effective way to communicate your brand voice. This can be triggered by a customer’s first order with your brand, or when someone subscribes to your loyalty program.

Use your welcome email to build rapport, showcase your top products, and leave a strong first impression. Make sure you deliver on whatever promise you made at the start of your relationship. For example, if you offered new subscribers 10% off their first purchase, include their discount within this first email.

Jabbawy also advises,“Make your email memorable. So many online businesses just send a generic welcome email with an image and a code and call it a day. But you can do so much better…Tell your story. Make it clear that there’s a real person behind the business. After all, people want to buy from and support other people—not faceless brands.”

12. Trust-building email(s)

Not every email you send needs to be oriented around a transaction. In fact, mixing it up with friendlier, more content-driven pieces could strengthen the relationship.

The strategy will look different for every eCommerce business. For example, if you have a blog, your emails could include some of your top posts. This helps to build trust and educates readers about what your business, industry, and/or values.

Make it personal, include user-generated content if it makes sense to, and don’t always ask for things from your subscribers.

“If you pride yourself on the quality of your products, talk about that,” suggests Jabbawy. “Is everything made by hand in your studio? Do you donate a certain percentage of profits to a certain organization? Think about what your current customers love about your business and share that in a non-salesy way.”

13. Rewards status email

As members stack up on their rewards, you’ll of course want to send emails that remind customers about any VIP perks that may be sitting in their accounts or are about to expire.

Sephora is a master at this, with automated emails that notify members of new points, available prizes, and special promo periods (e.g., its yearly Beauty Insider sales).

Get emailing

The biggest takeaway, according to Jabbawy, is to start with your automated emails.

“If you’re just getting started with your eCommerce email marketing strategy, don’t jump into sending one-off newsletters before setting up and scheduling your automated emails,” he warns. “So many businesses make that mistake when they’re just getting started. But the reality is, your automated emails work harder for your business than your newsletters do. They’re ‘on’ 24/7.”

Emails continue to be a powerful way to drive traffic to your online store. Don’t overlook or get lazy with them. Give them the attention they deserve.

Privy is available in the Wix App Market and helps to simplify and scale your email marketing campaigns.

eCommerce email marketing FAQ

How does eCommerce use email marketing?

eCommerce businesses use email marketing to reach and engage their customers and drive sales. Email marketing is a cost-effective and targeted way to reach a large audience and can help promote new products and services, offer discounts and promotions, and build customer loyalty.

How can I measure the success of my eCommerce email marketing campaigns?

What are the different types of email marketing strategies for eCommerce?

What is the best email marketing tool?

Allison Lee headshot

Allison Lee

Editor, Wix eCommerce

Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.

Ben Jabbawy headshot

Ben Jabbawy

Founder, CEO at

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