E-commerce Automatic Emails 101


Email marketing still has one of the highest returns on investment of all marketing platforms. It averages an ROI of 122%, which is four times higher than the return on social media. Automation streamlines email marketing to ensure you’re always reaching the right customers at the right time. This allows you to stand out in their e-inbox and build more personalized relationships with the consumer.

Let’s go through the basics you need to know to get going with automated emails.


How does email marketing work?

There are over 3.7 billion email users worldwide. By 2021, this number is expected to grow to 4.1 billion. That means that it’s likely all of your consumers have an email address.


And customers are more likely to give out their email address than their home address or phone number. This opens the door for you to make a connection in a more direct, intimate way without invading their privacy.  


You can grab your audience’s email addresses in a number of ways. Most customers will input their email at checkout, which you can add to your current client list. Or a new website visitor might input their email in exchange for a lead magnet PDF or sign up for your newsletter. Learn how to build your email list here.


So the customer has already opened the door for you by giving you their email address. Now you have the opportunity to surprise and delight them with unique email interactions.


This personal marketing relationship is proven to show results. In fact, 81% of retail professionals say email marketing is the highest driver of customer retention and acquisition. You are more likely to get and keep customers if you use email marketing. You’re also more likely to make more money, as online shoppers who purchase from an email spend up to 138% more than those who don’t receive email promotions.


Benefits of email marketing:

Capture potential customers

Retain current customers

Communicate directly

Boost conversion and spend rate

Build a community behind your brand

Hold a client list (useful for business valuation)


E-commerce Automatic Emails 101 image 1


What is email automation?

There are two key goals with email automation:

To target the appropriate segmented audience

To send messages based on designated times or actions


Email marketing isn’t the same as putting up a billboard. You don’t want to send out a mass email to everyone in your database. Today’s customers are highly aware of advertising, so they’re demanding a more personalized form of marketing. If your emails are too generic or aren’t relevant, the user will unsubscribe—and likely never come back.


So the key is personalized emails. In fact, studies show that personalized emails deliver 6 times higher transaction rates. But only 30% of brands are utilizing personalization.


If you’re in the minority of businesses using personalized emails, you’ll gain the majority of the sales amongst your competitors.


Email automation makes personalizing your email interactions easier and more effective than ever. That’s the main objective of automation. You’re not just automating simply to free up time (although that’s a benefit as well). You’re using smart tools and resources to ensure your emails are highly targeted and customized for what your customers want to see.


So how do you set up, run, and measure an automated email campaign?



Every online store should use the following automatic emails. You’ll tailor them for your own business and brand, and you may even have a few of the same type of email depending on who the customer is.


1. Welcome emails

Someone has just signed up for your emails, so you welcome them to your brand. This is a great opportunity to make a strong first impression with your email campaign so customers will look forward to getting your emails.


What should you include in a strong welcome email?

Welcome them, and thank them for subscribing. You might even want to offer free bonus content or a 10% discount to show your appreciation.

Introduce your company. Remind the prospect why they signed up and how you’ll give them value.

Be clear about the benefits they’ll get from your emails. For example, “You've gained access to exclusive discounts and secret trend reports.”

Encourage them to follow your social media. 

Direct them to relevant blogs or links they might find useful.


Don’t be sales-y in a welcome email. Use this as an opportunity to begin building the relationship.


2. “Just for you” emails

These emails curate products based on the customer’s specific interests. This means you’ll have to segment your audience to ensure the right people receive the right email.


This curation campaign works really well because customers feel that the brand knows and understands their needs. If they see products specifically chosen for them, they’re more likely to click through to view and purchase those items.


How do you know what customers want to see? Ask them! Give them the opportunity to share their interests with you. For example, when they sign up for your email, a pop-up box could ask them what kinds of products they are interested in. They can check off those products or services that they want to stay updated with.  


You can also track a customer’s behaviors if you use “tagging.” Some email services, like Infusionsoft, will score a prospect based on how they click through your email campaigns and interact with your website.


"Online shoppers who purchase from an email spend up to 138% more than those  who don’t receive email promotions."  -Click to Tweet-


3. Referral emails

Gaining new customers through your existing customers is the cheapest form of acquisition. You’re also likely to gain a community of loyal brand followers who trust their friends’ judgment.


Send an email that asks your customers to refer their friends. Offer a discount or other gift for both the referred and the referrer to incentivize the transaction.


Read: Launching Successful Refer-A-Friend Programs


4. Abandoned cart emails

These emails are triggered when someone leaves your site after putting items in their cart. If you have their email address or account, this is a great way to remind your customers about the products they’ve already shown interest in.


Start with a reminder in case it was an accident that they left. Also be aware of other reasons they may have abandoned their cart like shipping and taxes being too high. You might want to throw in a discount or incentive to help entice them to make the purchase.


5. Order confirmation emails

Confirmation emails are more than just a digital receipt. You can give the customer peace of mind by providing a tracking number with expectations for delivery. You can also show off your brand and make it personal. You might even want to incentivize their next order by providing a discount code, gift with purchase, or refer-a-friend promo.


Every interaction, especially with a recent customer, should be branded and personalized.


6. Anniversary emails

If you have a subscriber’s birthday (month and day), it’s a great opportunity to send them a personalized celebration email. In fact, birthday emails generate up to 342% more revenue than other promotional emails because people are more likely to spend on themselves if you give them the opportunity to.


Want to take these emails and more to the next level?


Get FREE templates of these emails with our Automated Emails For Retention eBook!



Here are some of our tips and tricks to ensure email automation success.


Be mobile.

Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly. 55% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, and this number is only continuing to grow. We’re an increasingly mobile society, and it’s critical that customers can easily interact with your emails on the go.


Stay professional.

Businesses should have their own domain email addresses. Domains like Google and Yahoo are made for personal use, not commercial purposes. Consumers who receive emails with these domains will assume you’re not a legitimate business. Creating your own domain for email marketing shows your professionalism and legitimacy, and it also helps your emails avoid the spam bucket.  

E-commerce Automatic Emails 101 image 2



Email automation only works if you have lists within your email list. You want to segment and group customers based on their interests and other events.

As a basic example, you might have male and female segments. On Father’s Day, you send an email to the men that it’s time for them to “treat yourself.” You send an email to the women that encourages them to buy for the men in their lives.


These subtle differences speak directly to the consumer, so they are more likely to respond.


Measure consistently.

You want to always be aware of how your campaign is running.  What are some metrics you should be following?


Bounce rate: Are your emails valid? How many of your emails are actually reaching your customers?

Open rate: How many recipients are actually opening your emails? Does your subject line intrigue them enough to open the email?

Click through rate: How many recipients are clicking on a link in your email?

Unsubscribe rate: How many customers are unsubscribing from your email list after sending a particular email? Are you gaining subscribers faster than you’re losing them?

List growth rate: How is your email list growing over time?

Compliant rate: What is the percentage of recipients who mark your email as spam?

Conversion rate: How many recipients actually convert to the desired action (like making a purchase) thanks to the email?

Share rate: How many emails forward your email or share its contents on social media?


Make it visual.

The best email campaigns use visual graphics and videos to engage the recipient. It doesn’t have to be fancy in order to convert. The visuals should simply make the email more readable and grab their attention. Make the design aligned with your brand for greater brand loyalty.


Check out Seller’s Choice’s design solutions.


Get the tech.

Find the right technology to automate your emails for you. We recommend trying out Klaviyo or MailChimp to get started, as these offer the most site integrations and unique email and segmentation features.


Have a strategy.

Don’t start automating emails without first knowing your objectives. What are your goals with email automation? Who do you want to target? How will you segment your customers?


There’s a lot to understand and keep track of when building an email automation campaign.


So don’t do it alone. Get guidance from a team who has been there, done that, and seen success.


Contact Seller’s Choice to build an email strategy that shows results.


And don’t forget to check out our FREE Automated Emails For Retention eBook to get the templates you need for your email campaign.

New call-to-action



Gain access to our exclusive list of top rated events for e-commerce sellers


Get E-Commerce News Right To Your FB Inbox!