Most marketers agree email marketing automation is the way forward. It takes the stress out of juggling multiple campaigns, personalising content, and keeping track of each customer.

But this can’t all be achieved with individual automated emails. Marketing automation works best when a series of emails takes the recipient on a journey, keeping them moving towards the marketer’s end goal.

A series of automated emails triggered by one customer action or behaviour is known as an email automation workflow.

In this blog post we take a look at five different email automation workflows brands can create by using our eCommerce software. Once you’ve got to grips with sending one automation it’s easy to create a workflow that keeps the customer hooked.

Travel: Browsing to booking workflow

Travel marketers often send people personalised suggestions. But, only a few follow this up with an automated workflow that increases the likelihood of the customer booking.

Airbnb sends a series of three email automations to inspire the traveller with personalised suggestions, share what they’ve found, and round up all the information they need to book.

It’s a smart journey that undoubtedly speeds up the booking process and results in more sales.

Here’s how Airbnb’s browsing to booking workflow breaks down:

Customer action

The email automation workflow is triggered when a user registers with Airbnb and tells them where they’re located.

Automation one

The user is sent personalised suggestions for a short-notice break based the location of where they live.

Airbnb automation one

Automation two

The user browses suggestions and makes a shortlist which they’re automatically invited to share with others who could influence the booking.

Airbnb automation two

Automation three

After a day or so they’re sent another email reminding them of what they browsed with suggestions for alternatives in case they’ve changed their mind.

Airbnb automation three

Groceries: First order to repeat purchase workflow

The online grocery market is competitive. Consumers regularly switch between supermarkets to get the best deals on their weekly shop.

Ocado nurtures the relationship with a potential customer with an automation workflow that encourages long-term loyalty as soon as someone new registers on their site.

This workflow doesn’t just encourage registrants to complete their first shop. It also makes them more likely to stay loyal in the long-term by rewarding regular custom with free gifts and incentives.

Here’s what the first order to repeat purchase workflow from Ocado looks like:

Customer action

The email automation workflow is triggered when the browser registers their details onsite.

Automation one

Once they complete their registration they’re sent a prompt to purchase for the first time.

Ocado automation one

Automation two

If they still don’t purchase they’re incentivised with an offer.

Ocado automation two

Automation three

Their first order is acknowledged and they’re sent an automated event to put into their online calendar with details of the delivery.

Automation four

Ocado looks at what was ordered and send the customer a relevant offer to incentivise them to place another.

Ocado automation four

Automation five

Once the customer makes a second order they’re incentivised by choosing a free gift which they’ll receive if they continue to shop five times.

Ocado automation five

Fashion: Basket abandonment workflow

Lots of people ‘window shop’ online when it comes to purchasing clothes. They take time to see what’s in fashion, search for sizes, and compare prices with other retailers.

When it comes to fashion retail, the key to increasing online sales is getting the browser to commit to buying the item they’re eyeing-up.

Adidas knows this and does a good job of enhancing basket abandonment emails with animations featuring suggestions and reasons to shop.

By sending more than one email, they counter all the reasons why someone might not complete their order. They remind and reassure them about their potential purchase, as well as incentivising them to buy.

Here’s what the Adidas basket abandonment workflow looks like:

Customer action

This email automation workflow is triggered when a browser abandons an item which they’ve put into their basket.

Automation one

First up, the browser is sent a basket abandonment email reminding them they’ve left an item in their cart.

Adidas automation one

Automation two

After a period of time the basket abandonment email is followed by an alert telling the recipient the item might go soon if they don’t order.

Adidas automation two

Automation three

If the browser still doesn’t purchase, they’re incentivised to complete their order with a discount and free delivery.

Adidas automation three

Technology: Post-purchase automation workflow

When the customer buys, sometimes the biggest impression is made on them by the post-purchase experience. This is especially true in the technology market where products need to consistently perform, way after the marketer’s tempted the customer to buy.

We really like the way Best Buy follows up purchases with a series of well-thought-out automations. They’ve gone way beyond sending the usual order confirmation.

Best Buy’s post purchase emails invite customers to rate and review their purchase. They also make suggestions for complementary products and inform the customer how to get the most out of their new gadget.

They even encourage the recipients to trade in their old products to get credit which will incentivise them to purchase again.

This is what Best Buys post-purchase automation workflow looks like:

Customer action

This email automation workflow is triggered when the customer buys an item from Best Buy.

Automation one

The order confirmation is sent with details of delivery, customer service and returns.

Best buy automation one

Automation two

This is followed up with suggestions for additional purchases based on what they’ve bought.

Best buy automation two

Automation three

Finally, the customer is asked to rate and review their purchase.

Best buy automation three

Health and beauty: Loyalty club workflow

There’s nothing more powerful than a loyalty club to keep your customers coming back.

Beauty brands such as Sephora keep their customers invested by continually reminding them about the exclusive benefits of their membership.

Once a member signs-up, they’re sent a series of email automations which reward loyalty, encourage them to spend more and trigger purchases if the brand suspects they might be losing interest.

Together these automations are designed to keep the member collecting points and create a journey that keeps them active with, and loyal to, the brand.

Here’s how each automation in this workflow fits together:

Customer action

This email automation workflow is triggered by a customer registering for the loyalty scheme.

Automation one

The new member is sent an automation to welcome them to the loyalty scheme.

Sephora automation one

Automation two

Sephora then sends them an update on their opening balance and encourages them to supply more information so they can personalise their marketing.

Sephora automation two

Automation three

The member is then told about the different levels of membership to inspire them to move up and spend more.

Sephora automation three

Automation four

Sephora enriches the customer experience by using the additional information supplied by the member to send personalised extras such as birthday gifts.

Sephora automation four

Automation five

If the member fails to shop for a period of time they’re sent an offer which encourages them back.

Sephora automation five


These examples show how automations can be put together to create a series of ongoing conversations that secure custom, drive loyalty, and increase sales in five key eCommerce markets.

By introducing these automated workflows into your site, you can reduce the need to constantly think of campaigns to both retain and acquire more customers.

Learn how our eCommerce solution can help you develop effective email marketing automation workflows.