Essential Ecommerce Email Campaigns to Grow Your Online Store

Ecommerce is on the rise, opening up new opportunities for business growth. In this digital era, anyone can compete on a level playing field with big brands and sell to a global audience. The challenge lies in offering differentiated value to the target customers. 

One way to set your business apart is to leverage email marketing. Ecommerce email campaigns can drive brand awareness, streamline lead generation, and fuel customer loyalty. 

But that’s not all. 

This strategy can also provide actionable insights into your audience, leading to higher engagement. The more you know about your ideal customers, the better you can meet their needs. 

Getting started is often the hardest part, but we’re here to help you. First, let’s delve into the different types of ecommerce email campaigns, when to use each, and what mistakes to avoid. 

Why Email Marketing Is Vital for Ecommerce Success


Nearly a quarter of retail sales will happen online by 2026. That’s great news for businesses selling over the web, but it poses further challenges, such as the growing competition. 

Today’s consumers get hundreds of emails from service providers, retailers, and other vendors, but they open only 24% of those emails. Yet, ecommerce email marketing remains one of the best ways to drive sales. 

Like with most things, it’s not what you do but how you do it that matters most. Email marketing can take many forms; some are more effective than others. 

For example, cold email campaigns work best for lead generation. Nurture campaigns are aimed at existing clients and can drive brand loyalty. But if you already have a customer base, you can try these upselling techniques to maximize profits. 

An email campaign can be as simple or as complex as you want. If you’re just getting started, a welcome email will do. 

As your business grows, you’ll want to retarget customers, drive repeat business, and move prospects further down the funnel. Each of these goals requires a different approach from a marketing standpoint.

If you do things right, you’ll see the number soar. We’re talking about higher customer satisfaction, brand recognition, increased visibility, and, ultimately, more sales. 

For example, about 70% of buyers abandon their shopping carts before completing the purchase. In such cases, you can set up an abandoned cart email sequence to re-engage, nurture, and convert those leads into paying customers. 

The result? Increased sales, higher profits, and new opportunities for engagement. 

Start with a Clear Email Marketing Strategy 

Even a basic email marketing campaign requires strategic planning. You need to consider your target audience and marketing goals, where the customer is in the sales funnel, and what action you want him to take. 

Poor planning will result in wasted resources. You could spend time and money to get the campaigns out the door, but the return on investment (ROI) must be higher to justify the effort. 

The risks are even higher for startups. If your campaigns don’t have the right strategic backbone, you’ll miss out on the first (and maybe, the only) opportunity to make a strong impression that could lead to new business. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing, but some strategies work better than others. 

First, draft an outline for your email strategy:

  • Research and define your target audience 
  • Segment existing customers (if any)
  • Set clear goals for each customer group
  • Choose an email service provider 
  • Look into email automation tools
  • Build a list of subscribers
  • Plan out your email marketing campaigns 
  • Measure the results 

Once you know your audience, set up email campaigns for each customer group. For example, you could create a series of welcome emails for new clients, followed by nurture campaigns, upsell campaigns, and more. 

Go one step further and conduct A/B testing to set and reach your email deliverability benchmark. This number should be around 80%, depending on your industry. 

Also, determine how you want to measure campaign success. At the very least, track email open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, deliverability rates, overall ROI, and other key performance indicators. 

Plan Your Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaigns 

The most successful ecommerce email marketing campaigns share a few things in common. 

  • First, they’re custom-tailored for customer groups at different stages in the funnel. 
  • Second, they follow a specific sequence, such as welcome emails, engagement emails, confirmation emails, and abandoned cart reminders. 
  • Third, they are highly personalized and provide value to the reader. 

You should use strong subject lines and clear calls-to-action (CTAs) and test different content layouts. Include hard facts, eye-catching visuals, and persuasive copy to push customers further down the funnel. 

Let’s see the types of ecommerce emails you can send and why they matter. 

Cold Email Campaigns

Cold emails introduce your brand or products to people who don’t know you yet. The goal is to turn those prospects into first-time buyers. 

However, you can’t just email a bunch of strangers and expect to hear back. So instead, take the time to warm up cold leads and personalize your outreach. 

Start with lead intelligence to learn more about your target audience. Simply put, gather customer data from company websites, social media, industry reports, and other sources. 

After that, segment your prospects into well-defined groups based on age, location, income, job title, and other criteria. Later, you’ll focus on the highest-converting leads and those who bring the most value. 

Next, use this data to personalize your messaging and find common ground with potential clients. Focus on their pain points and how your product or service can address them. 

What matters most is to identify and build rapport with qualified prospects. For example, you’ll want to reach out to the CEOs, investors, heads of departments, or other decision-makers and then lay the foundation for a potential relationship. 

Welcome Email Campaigns 

Over 70% of shoppers expect to receive a welcome email immediately after joining your list. Therefore, it’s no surprise that welcome emails have a 50% open rate and a 5x higher click-through rate than standard promotional emails. 

Unlike cold emails, welcome email campaigns target potential clients who join your list. These customers are already familiar with your brand and products but may need more time to purchase. 

At this point, thank them for subscribing and set expectations for future communications. You could also offer a discount code or freebies to show your appreciation and make them feel valued. 

For example, customers who subscribe to Alder get 10% off their first purchase. Cozy Earth, Under Armour, reMarkable, and other popular brands use a similar strategy to reward new subscribers. 

A welcome email is your chance to make a good first impression. It’s also an opportunity to tell your brand story and establish common ground with potential clients. 

Lead Nurturing Campaigns 

A new subscriber may buy your product or service, but there’s no guarantee he’ll return. For this reason, nurturing that customer is important to win his loyalty and turn him into a repeat buyer. 

One way to do that is to create a series of lead-nurturing emails. These could include:

  • Educational resources (e.g., ebooks, white papers, free guides)
  • Promotional content 
  • Free trials and product demos
  • Special offers/incentives
  • Best practices emails
  • Re-engagement emails
  • Seasonal emails
  • Event invitations 
  • Product updates
  • Social proof

The type of content will vary based on where your customers are in their buying journey and what action you want them to take. 

Let’s say you’re targeting a high-profile client at the bottom of the sales funnel. Consider sending him a more personal email with questions related to his needs. You could also make him a special offer or invite him to book a demo. 

According to this guide to the data-driven sales funnel, most companies need to determine where their customers are in the purchase process. Therefore, you should conduct a funnel analysis and adjust your lead nurturing strategy as required. 

For example, Udemy’s nurture emails offer actionable tips for online learning. Subscribers also get personalized course recommendations, discounts, and interest information. 

Some companies remind customers about special offers, free trials, or product launches. Others capitalize on emerging trends or news stories to boost engagement and sales. 

These strategies will work if the content is relevant to your audience. 

Cross-Sell/Upsell Email Campaigns 


Let’s say you already have a loyal customer base. Now is the time to introduce them to additional products or upgrades. For example, a customer who bought a new laptop from you may also be interested in a laptop bag, a portable monitor, or wireless earplugs. 

Similarly, someone who signed up for a basic membership plan may want to upgrade to a premium plan later. 

In either scenario, you can send emails to entice customers to buy more. 

Start with a personalized subject line, show the recipient any recently purchased items, and then make relevant product recommendations. You could also offer a coupon code or recommend discounted products. Then, go one step further and make your offer available for a limited time to create urgency. 

A good upsell email should revolve around your value proposition and reward buyers for their loyalty. At the same time, it should create a personalized shopping experience and add additional value to customers. 

Win-Back Email Campaigns 

Customers abandon carts or stop reading your emails for different reasons. They may postpone purchases, run out of money, or switch to another brand. You can try to win back your business.

A win-back email campaign will target inactive customers. These could be people who haven’t engaged with your brand recently or bought any products for several consecutive months. 

This type of campaign could include one to five or more emails. Let’s see a few examples:

  • Greet your customers and remind them why they love your brand
  • Offer them an exclusive deal or free upgrades
  • Re-engage them with a seasonal campaign
  • Tell them about a new product or service
  • Use humour to reconnect with inactive buyers
  • Ask for feedback (e.g., reviews or surveys)

Better Bodies, a fitness apparel brand, re-engages inactive customers through limited-time offers. Other companies ask inactive shoppers for feedback to determine why they’ve moved on. 

Again, personalize your messages and emphasize the value you provide. Stick to the point and lead customers down the path you’d like them to take.

Email Marketing Best Practices

By now, you should better know how to plan your marketing campaigns. But sometimes, it’s easy to overlook the small details and make mistakes that kill a sale. 

For example, do your emails include a link to the live chat feature on your site? 

If you’re wondering why your website needs a live chat button, consider the following scenario:

A customer receives your offer by email and wants to know more, but he has a full plate. He only has time to wait on hold before contacting customer service, so he decides to chat with a live agent. 

You might miss out on potential sales if your website doesn’t offer this feature. 

Also, ensure your emails include social sharing buttons, contact information, and high-quality images. Finally, use ecommerce email templates to save time and effort, but remember to customize them with your brand’s colors and fonts. 

Apart from that, there are some things to keep in mind to kick off your campaigns:

  • Use a conversational tone and avoid jargon
  • Make your emails easy to skim
  • Be clear and to the point
  • Personalize the subject line 
  • Include an email signature
  • Make your CTAs visible 
  • Place important information above the fold
  • Split test your CTAs, subject lines, headers, copy, and other elements
  • Maintain brand consistency
  • Clean your email list every few months
  • Avoid spam at all costs
  • Make it easy for customers to unsubscribe
  • Steer clear of no-reply email addresses
  • Optimize your emails for mobile devices

Generally, keep your subject lines between 28 and 39 characters. Use short paragraphs, lists, and headers to make your emails easy to skim. 

For best results, stick to one idea per paragraph and one or two CTAs per email. Place your CTAs above the fold to ensure they’re easy to spot. 

Last but not least, remember to add images. Product photos and other visuals catch the eye and help break the text into smaller chunks.

How Often Should You Send Marketing Emails?


There are no set rules on how often you should send marketing emails. It depends on your target audience, campaign goals, and what you sell. 

In one survey, 43% of customers said they would prefer to receive less frequent emails from brands. However, sending too many emails can come off as spam, resulting in high unsubscribe rates.

J.C. Granger, the CEO of Infinity Marketing Group, recommends sending up to one or two weekly emails. But again, these numbers are flexible, and your best bet is to experiment and see what works best for your audience. 

What KPIs Should You Measure?

The most successful ecommerce email marketing campaigns are data-driven. The more insights you have, the higher your chances of reaching the right people at the right time. 

For best results, keep track of the following KPIs at a minimum:

  • Open rate
  • Delivery rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Bounce rate
  • List growth rate
  • Revenue per subscriber
  • Revenue per email

A good email open rate is around 29%, whereas a healthy click-through rate is 5%, according to Salesforce. Your bounce rate, on the other hand, should be lower than 2%. 

Is It Okay to Buy Email Lists?

You may have few or no subscribers if you’re a startup or small business. Under these conditions, it can be tempting to buy an email list. Let’s say you purchase a list of potential customers who live in your city or state and fit your demographic. However, there’s no guarantee they are interested in your products or services. 

Purchasing email lists can also have legal repercussions. Consider the CAN-SPAM Act, the GDPR, and other regulations prohibiting shady email practices. 

Your best bet is to build an email list, even if it takes months to get it off the ground. An organically cultivated list is more likely to drive results and keep you legally safe than one you buy or rent. 

Final Thoughts 

Ecommerce email campaigns offer a lot of flexibility and room for growth. However, the key to success is always to keep your audience in mind and deliver value at every touch point. 

Be prepared to experiment with different strategies and content formats. Also, note that what works for one brand may not work for another, so you should continuously test and refine your approach. 

Finally, remember to thank your subscribers for their loyalty and support. Think outside the box and reward them with loyalty points, cash back, free upgrades, or VIP access to branded events. Most importantly, they create a seamless shopping experience in their lives.