10 Ecommerce Email Marketing Strategies

You can grow your ecommerce brand with targeted, personalized emails designed to convert. Supercharge your email marketing campaign with these 10 strategies.

Although new methods of connecting with your customers pop up all the time, email marketing remains one of the most effective strategies - especially for ecommerce businesses. 

The right email messages will drive impressive ROI, but getting it wrong can cause customers to unsubscribe. Here are 10 smart techniques to add to your email marketing toolbox.


The Elements of Successful Ecommerce Email Marketing

An effective email marketing campaign should include these important elements:

  • An efficient way to collect customer email addresses and keep your contact lists updated, like a signup box on your homepage.
  • An automated system that sends emails triggered by predetermined events, like birthdays or abandoned carts.
  • A data-driven segmentation strategy so you can send certain subscribers the right content and the offers they value.
  • Personalized emails that can reference past purchases and provide complementary recommendations, for example.
  • Transparency about how to unsubscribe or change message frequency to remain in compliance with federal anti-spam laws.
  • Established goals with metrics so you can track campaign success

Why Is Email Marketing Important for Ecommerce Businesses?

Ecommerce businesses derive multiple benefits from an effective email marketing campaign. A well-done email strategy can:

  • Increase the average value of your overall orders
  • Build brand awareness among your target audience
  • Connect customers with your brand, building loyalty with each touchpoint
  • Promote other webpages, blog posts, and content assets
  • Drive interaction with your audience, which results in higher engagement
  • Encourage new leads to move further into the marketing funnel
  • Reach both prospective and existing customers as well as multiple market segments
  • Enhance organic traffic to your ecommerce shop and socials
  • Position your brand as an industry expert by distributing valuable content to your readers

10 Ecommerce Email Marketing Strategies 

1. Roll Out the Red Carpet for New Customers

Welcome emails create the perfect setting for a good first impression. You can send these messages to new subscribers to create a touchpoint with your ecommerce brand and show off your unique value proposition. 

Welcome emails generate triple the revenue of an average marketing email, with an impressive 86% open rate. What's more, they engage consumers during the critical first two months of conversion. Interaction with brands often drops off completely if a customer hasn't fully connected by the 60-day mark.

Some companies even send a series of welcome emails. If you need to provide a lot of info to orient customers to your product or service, consider splitting the details across several messages to avoid overwhelming your audience.

One way to collect subscriber emails is with a simple landing page. It should consist of a single CTA offering a discount code or similar incentive for entering an email address. This page provides a launchpad for your welcome email campaign. 

You may also want to add a simple email list signup form in strategic locations like at the bottom of published content, on product pages, and on your website's homepage, footer, and sidebar.

2. Connect Through Cross-Selling and Upselling

A cross-selling and upselling strategy targets customers who've already purchased from your ecommerce store. You'll send special offers for products that closely complement their recently purchased products, promoting direct add-on accessories or connected categories. Try these tested techniques:

  • Add incentives to order confirmations. Most customers open these messages, so you can potentially get a lot of sales mileage if you include coupon codes for family and friends or a bonus discount for reviewing the new product. Add even more reader value by linking right to your return policy.
  • Encourage purchases in a similar product category or collection. If you have an ecommerce shop for outdoor living, for example, you could follow up with customers who purchase grills to offer discounts on cooking accessories, serving platters, and other relevant buys.
  • Send replenishment emails when it's time for customers to run out of something they bought recently. This strategy works well if you sell consumable goods like food or personal care products. 
  • Promote exclusive sales and discounts for members. Customers like to feel in-the-know, so this technique builds a stronger connection with your brand. They'll also buy repeatedly if they're rewarded for customer loyalty.

Use your CTA to clarify the add-on value for your customer. For example, you could encourage another sale by offering free shipping for a few days after the initial purchase. 

Most ecommerce businesses see increased profit margins with cross-selling and upselling campaigns.

3. Track the Right Metrics

See the impact of your email marketing campaigns by analyzing appropriate metrics. Set goals in advance so you can compare actual performance to established benchmarks for success. Some key metrics to review include:

  • Subscribe rate: How many new subscribers came out of a specific campaign?
  • Unsubscribe rate: How many subscribers jumped ship after a campaign?
  • Delivery rate: How many emails successfully reach their intended target?
  • Bounce rate: How many emails get returned undelivered?
  • Click-through rate: How many subscribers click to get more info about your CTA?
  • Conversion: How many subscribers become buyers?

Once you understand your metrics, you can improve on problem areas by A/B testing your marketing emails. For example, you'll send identical messages to two parts of the same customer segment, but vary the CTA buttons and language to see which results in more clicks and conversions.

4. Reduce Your Bounce Rate

Your emails could end up caught in spam filters if you have a high bounce rate. It's especially important to reduce hard bounces, which occur when you send a message to an email address that doesn't exist or isn't valid. Too many hard bounces creates a red flag that could prevent loyal customers from reading your messages. 

The retail industry, including both online and traditional merchants, has an average email bounce rate of 0.4%.That's a bit below the industry-wide average hard bounce rate of 0.63%.

If you experience an above-average bounce rate, set up a periodic monthly or quarterly audit of your email list. You'll likely see open and click rates rise as your bounce rate falls since your content will reach more subscribers. 

The audit also offers an opportunity to switch up your subscriber segments. You can check the data to see where you might be able to reach a new subgroup or step up marketing to an underperforming audience. 

5. Incorporate Interactive Content

Think beyond the static newsletter format when developing your next email marketing campaign. You can potentially triple your click rate by adding videos to your messages. 

Video content isn't the only multimedia option. You can also enhance your emails and build engagement with GIFs, clickable menus, sliders, and other points of customer interaction.

Make sure to test and preview all your messages so you can see how they really look to readers. It's especially important to double-check the content and navigation when you haven't used a specific format before.

6. Take Advantage of Automation

You don't have to send manual emails to each separate segment of your subscriber list. Instead, take a set-it-and-forget-it approach with automation. 

You can prepare an email campaign that immediately sends targeted messages based on customer actions like making a purchase, abandoning their cart, signing up for your email newsletter, or crossing a certain lifetime purchase value threshold.

7. Encourage Social Shares

Expand your audience by adding social share buttons so your readers can spread your content at the click of a button. You'll reach new people who might become new customers. 

For best results, include an array of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram so readers can share on their favorite sites. Don't forget a link to forward the email to their closest contacts.

You might even want to offer an incentive for social shares. Think about including a coupon for 10% off a future purchase, for example. You can use a similar strategy to drive testimonials, a sure way to increase conversions.

8. Send Segmented Promos

Instead of sending the same discount offers to your entire audience, try targeting specific customer groups based on behavior. You can review reports about buying behavior to encourage sales among these distinct categories:

  • Customers who don't mind paying the full price for products and services. This group doesn't necessarily care about coupon codes, but they're likely to buy if you reach out with exclusive access to a brand-new offering or program.
  • Customers who always use coupons and buy on-sale products. You can encourage sales in this group by emailing with opportunities to save, such as upcoming clearance events, special referral programs, and loyalty discounts.
  • Loyal customers who've spent a lot of money at your ecommerce store over the years. You can maintain a strong connection with this group through emails with personalized product recommendations, promo bundles, and subscription services.

9. Capitalize on Transactional Emails

These messages are the ones your customers expect to get, like purchase receipts and shipping notifications. The open rate for transactional emails is about 85%, 800% higher than the average rate for marketing emails. 

Make the most of your readers' attention by adding targeted information and offers to receipts, shipping emails, and other transactional messages. Try boosting the average order value with a campaign that suggests related products in purchase confirmation emails. You can offer free shipping for the second sale or even add the new item when the original purchase ships.

10. Reach the Cart-Abandoning Audience

You can boost revenue by targeting shoppers who abandon their carts before buying. Reaching out to these customers with personalized content can encourage them to complete the purchase. These emails are especially effective when you add an incentive like a discount code or free samples.

Cart abandonment emails have an impressive click-through rate of about 10%. Improve your chances of conversion with this type of campaign by:

  • Clearly stating the reason for the email upfront
  • Including a shopping cart link for a fast transaction
  • Adding high-quality photos and videos of the item
  • Highlighting key product features and benefits
  • Encouraging a purchase before the item sells out
  • Suggesting relevant products and services (free tune-ups with a new bike, for example)
  • Highlighting price drops on products they've added to cart in the past

As with all your marketing emails, use one solid CTA that catches the customer's eye. Distracting the reader can prevent them from purchasing, which defeats the purpose of the cart abandonment email.

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The Bottom Line

Even a solid strategy like email marketing has to evolve to keep up with the constantly changing expectations of ecommerce customers. You can refresh your techniques and create campaigns that really address your target with these 10 strategies for effective emails. 

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What is ecommerce email marketing?

Ecommerce email marketing connects with customers through emails designed to drive sales and increase customer loyalty. As an online store, you already have access to a list of customer and subscriber email addresses. You can market to specific segments of your audience by dividing the email list based on recent buyer behavior, whether they've purchased a product or left a full cart without converting.

What is the 80/20 rule in email marketing?

The 80/20 rule in email marketing means that 80% of the opens and clicks that you get come from just 20% of your subscribers. Identifying and targeting that small segment of loyal readers optimizes your marketing campaigns because you're customizing your content for the group who's most likely to buy from your brand. This approach can increase revenue with more frequent and higher-value orders.

What is the average click rate for email marketing?

Average email marketing click rates by industry range from 1% to 5%. Most companies should aim for a click rate of about 2.5%. Retail companies, including both physical and ecommerce stores, have a high average click rate of 8.53%.

Meet the author
Andrea Miller
Andrea Miller has been a writer and editor for more than two decades. Specializing in business and finance, she has written for some of the major websites in the financial sector. Outside of work, she spends most of her time with her family and enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading.
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