What goes in to a winning eCommerce email strategy? If this is a question you’re asking yourself, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, we run through ten steps to eCommerce email marketing success. Learn the essential eCommerce email campaigns and other tactics that go into a solid strategy.

What follows is suitable for email marketers looking to refresh their eCommerce email strategy, as well as those starting from scratch.

Why focus on email marketing?

Email might not have the appeal of newer, shinier channels. But boy, is it effective.

Email generates around £29bn retail sales annually. A whopping 73 percent of marketers rate email as the number one digital channel for ROI.

ROI for email increased from an estimated £30.03 for every £1 spent in 2016 to £32.28 in 2017.

Brands that fail to focus on email marketing are leaving money on the table.

10 steps to eCommerce email marketing success

So, what goes into a successful eCommerce email strategy? Here are ten essential elements to include:

1. Defining the customer journey

The first step towards building an email strategy is to consider how email could enhance your customer journey.

Explore how email could reach and engage with the customer, easing them towards conversion and beyond.

To do this, pinpoint key moments when your customer would benefit from hearing from you. Ask yourself how you could use email at these key moments to influence what you customer does next.

Map these journeys out on paper and you’ll get a feel for which email workflows could benefit your customers and your brand.

2. List growth

Your email list is crucial. Without a healthy, growing list of subscribers, the reach of your emails is limited.

Consider how you plan to grow your list. One way is to incentivise customers with discounts if they subscribe. Unobtrusive subscription popovers are an effective way to deliver this message and capture your new subscriber’s details.

Whichever way you decide to build your list, make sure your sign-up forms, data storage, and data processing is GDPR compliant.

3. Segmentation

Next, consider how you plan to segment and target your customers through your email marketing.

There are a number of different ways you can approach email segmentation. These include:

  • demographic segmentation
  • purchase history segmentation
  • buyer persona segmentation
  • customer interest segmentation
  • engagement level segmentation
  • behavioural segmentation
  • transaction amount segmentation
  • sales funnel position segmentation
  • RFM segmentation

To explore the pros and cons of each approach, read our guide to eCommerce email segmentation.

4. Welcome campaigns

Welcome campaigns are an email workflow that every brand can benefit from. They allow you to introduce your brand to new customers in bite sized chunks.

Consider what the key value propositions are for your brand. Why would someone buy from you? Work out how to communicate these in an engaging series of welcome emails.

Nike welcome email

You control the narrative and can use your welcome email series to ease customers along to their first purchase.

Learn the secrets of a winning welcome email series by reading our Best Practice Guide to Welcome Campaigns.

5. Personalisation

When you are creating your eCommerce email strategy, consider how you will make use of personalisation.

Basic demographic personalisation is a nice touch but may not be enough to increase engagement. Consumers are demanding more from personalisation.

Contextual relevance is important if you want to take your personalisation tactics to the next level.

Your tactics should centre on increasing the relevance of your offers. For example, by personalising product recommendations based on previous purchases and browsing behaviour.

Personalisation technology (like ours) make use of real-time behavioural data so you can deliver this easily.

6. Behavioural targeting

Once you have started exploring personalisation, consider the role behavioural targeting will play in this.

Behavioural triggered emails are an important part of a successful eCommerce email strategy.

For example, cart and browse abandonment emails can be used to entice customers back to your site to buy. This smart automation is a great way to recover revenue you may otherwise have lost.

Our customers recover 12 percent of sales lost to cart abandonment using this tactic alone.

7. Using urgency and highlighting scarcity

Next, consider the psychological tactics you can use as part of your email strategy to increase conversions.

Creating a sense of urgency and highlighting scarcity are two powerful ways of doing this.

You can use deadlines, countdown timers, and flash sales to create urgency. Scarcity is easy to demonstrate with the addition of real-time low stock alerts to your website.

8. Post-purchase journeys

Our eighth step to email marketing success is to consider the post-purchase journey.

Email is a direct way to enhance customer experience post-purchase, help combat buyer’s remorse and can reduce the likelihood of a return.

To achieve this, consider which email workflows could be triggered when someone buys from you. Ideas include:

  • thank you emails
  • feedback requests
  • product care and how to guides

9. Driving loyalty and securing repeat purchases

Once you have considered the post-purchase journey, go on to explore how you will drive loyalty and secure repeat purchases.

Some tactics that you may decide to use include:

  • product recommendations to cross-sell and upsell
  • replenishment emails to encourage customers to buy again
  • loyalty schemes that are gamified so customers enjoy taking part

10. Re-engaging lapsed customers

Finally, consider how you will use email to re-engage lapsed customers.

Automated re-engagement emails that are triggered by lack of engagement or lapsed subscriptions are a no-brainer.

Re-engagement emails should:

  • remind customers why they should buy from your brand
  • explain the benefit of receiving your emails
  • give customers the option of changing preferences

Another option is to offer a personal discount to encourage a lapsed customer to make a purchase.


We hope our ten steps to email marketing success have given you a strong basis for your eCommerce email strategy.

For more in-depth advice, read our complete eCommerce email marketing guide.

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