6 Email Marketing Automations to Increase E-Commerce Sales

Written by James Vannelli / Updated on July 14, 2016 / 0 comments

There’s no better time than now to use email marketing as a tool for e-commerce growth.

Here are some numbers that may catch your attention:

Email has one of the largest potential audiences. 91% of consumers check their email daily and the total number of worldwide email accounts is projected to surpass 4.9 Billion by 2017.

Email marketing is responsible for more than 7% of all e-commerce customer acquisitions. Making it the second most effective channel, behind search. Oh, and its effectiveness continues to rise, quadrupling in the 4 years leading up to 2013.

According to Mckinsey.com, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter in acquiring customers. Purchase rates are 3x as likely and the average sale is 17% higher in total value.

Your email list includes a high percentage of people who have already bought from you. Did you know that a customer who has bought from you at least twice in the past is 9 TIMES more likely to buy from you again.

Most importantly; for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25!

Wait, what?! Yeah, that’s an ROI of 4,425%!!!

Impressed yet?


So how can you start creating campaigns that can get that type of return on investment?

Hint: you’ll have to go a bit further than sending out a periodic newsletter.

Those days are over! We now have software like ActiveCampaign & Klaviyo. These systems provide us with powerful integrations and automation features.  We are capable of interacting with our audience to a greater degree than ever before.

With that said, here are some automated campaigns you can set up right now to start boosting conversions & sales!

Let’s get started then…

Provide your website visitors with a good reason to subscribe!

The typical e-commerce website only converts 2% or less (usually less) of first-time visitors. But what about the other 98%, where do they go?

You should be funneling them onto your email marketing list.

While you may only convert 2% of your cold traffic into sales, you can get another 20% or more to join your list.

Once you have a subscriber you can build the relationship over time that eventually leads to the sale.

So how do you get people to join your list? Do these two things:

Setup a subscription form – use a popup box.

You need to setup a form that allows people to subscribe to your list. We recommend using a popup. Popup forms are approximately 1000% more effective than forms nested in sidebars or other sections of the page.

Give them a strong reason to subscribe!

Don’t offer “tips and news” – instead, offer a huge incentive for a site visitor to opt-in to your list, like a one-time discount.

Don’t be cheap by offering 5%, go big and offer something like 20% (or more, if you can do so without losing money).

Don’t fret about your margins on this transaction. It’s all about customer lifetime value. Remember, customers who’ve purchased from you two or more times are 9x more likely to buy again.

Download our Email Marketing Setup Kit!

Get the email templates for the 6 series described in this article + our getting started guide!


Welcome email & nurture series

74.% of consumers expect welcome emails.

The average open rate for welcome emails is 50%. That’s an 86% higher open rate than the typical promotional email.

Welcome emails provide huge earning potential as they can get up to three times the transactions and revenue per email compared to normal emails.

They also lead towards higher engagement with your brand, people who open welcome emails read up to 40% more of your following emails for the next 6 months.

Nurturing your leads can lead to a 45% increase in ROI compared to leads that are not nurtured.

Here’s what to do:

Create a welcome series for new subscribers. During this series you want to do the following:

  1. Provide the promised incentive
  2. Welcome them aboard
  3. Introduce your brand
  4. Continue to tell your brand story
  5. Feature products/emphasize selling points
  6. Set Expectations
  7. Offer support
  8. Encourage subscribers to connect with you on social media

Here’s a sample welcome/nurturing automation sequence:

Welcome Email – (Immediately After Subscription).

Welcome your new subscriber aboard and deliver whatever you promised in exchange for their sign-up.

Introduce your brand by listing some key facts or tell a brief story.

Set expectations for what happens next. Give your subscriber an idea of what types of emails they will be receiving from you.

Offer support by providing contact info and letting them know that you’re available if they have questions or feedback.

Feature products or emphasize some selling points.

Invite them to connect with you on social media.

Email #2 – (1 day after sign-up).

*This is a good time to segment your list by separating subscribers who took advantage of your welcome email coupon code and inserting them into a post-sale follow up sequence.*

For the subscribers who haven’t purchased yet, keep the momentum rolling with the second email of your initial sequence.

In this email, you can remind your subscribers about the coupon code they haven’t used yet.

You should continue to build the relationship by offering engaging content in one of three ways:

Educating & informative content

A common mistake that a lot of brands make in email marketing and social media is being too rigid about the type of content they publish. They usually become too brand-centric and their message gets stale very fast!

Instead, use this opportunity to teach your subscribers something! It could be about your brand, something related to your niche or something related to your demographic in general.

Example, if you’re selling running shoes:

  • Explain the shoemaking process – what goes into producing a quality shoe.
  • Create a list of popular running destinations that can be found in any city.
  • Give workout and nutrition tips.
  • Recommend popular spotify playlists that get you pumped for a run!
  • Give shoe care tips.
  • Give advice on choosing the best shoe size for comfort and performance.

You get the point, your newsletters don’t have to always be about featuring the products themselves. Be original, give value, and keep people interested.

Your brand story

You can continue to build the relationship with stories about your brand. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in marketing so use it to your advantage. Inform consumers about how your company came to be, tell them about your values and your mission. Always look for ways to resonate and connect with your audience!

Customer stories

Combine the power of social proof with storytelling. Feature customer stories in your nurture series and your newsletters.

Perhaps you sell jewelry with inspirational messages. Imagine how powerful customer stories could be in your email campaigns. Telling a story about the impact the product made on a customer’s life. Maybe they bought the piece of jewelry in a time of need, or they bought it as special gift for a loved one. Having one of those customers tell the story about what the message on the jewelry symbolized to them makes a great piece of genuine and relatable content.  Sharing photos and videos makes it even more powerful!

Finalize the second email by offering contact info for support and include social links with an invitation to connect.

Emails #3+ – Keep the sequence going

It’s recommended to keep the sequence going for 3-8 messages.

Keep using the same tactics in these additional messages. Reinforce your brand message, use the power of storytelling, remind customers of the incentive, highlight your unique selling points, offer support, and encourage connections on social media.

Next email

Once the welcome series is completed, transition the subscriber into the flow of your regular email newsletter campaigns for further nurturing.

Shopping cart abandonment series

Almost 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts prior to completing a transaction. According to Business Insider, a total of $4 Trillion a year in merchandise is abandoned, but 63% of it is recoverable.

Email marketing automation is one tool that we can use to recover a percentage of abandoned carts – therefore improving conversion rates.

Here’s what to do:

Set up an automation sequence that triggers once a cart is abandoned and follow-up with several notifications.

Email #1 (15-30 minutes after cart abandoned)

Send a simple reminder to the customer about their abandoned cart. Include a link that brings them back to your website (if you are using persistent cart then they will find their abandoned cart upon their return).

Ask them if they encountered technical issues and see if you can help.

Email #2 (1 day after cart abandonment)

Send another reminder but this time, ask for feedback as to why they abandoned their cart. If you receive a response, try to handle their objection and close the sale.

Provide a link back to their abandoned cart.

Ask them again if they encountered technical issues and see if you can help.

Email #3 (2 days after cart abandonment)

Send another reminder but this time, offer them an incentive to complete the transaction. Provide them with a coupon code (if possible, include an expiry date to create urgency and increase the chance that it is used).

Provide a link back to their abandoned cart.

Offer support in the case that technical issues were the cause for their cart abandonment.

Email #4 (3 days after cart abandonment)

Send an email and remind them about the coupon code. Also, send a link to a survey to find out why they abandoned their cart. The data you capture here can be very valuable towards improving the shopping experience on your website.

Often times, high shipping prices or shipping prices that are poorly disclosed prior to checkout are the reason. Forcing site visitors to register for an account prior to checking out is another conversion killer so pay attention to the responses that you get and adjust your website’s checkout flow accordingly.

Post-purchase series

According to Customers That Stick, selling something to an existing customer is 10 times less expensive than acquiring a brand new customer. Repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers.

Order confirmation emails have some of the highest open rates, conversion rates, engagement rates, transaction rates…ok you get the point.

Here’s what to do:

Similar to the pre-sale welcome series, you should create an automation sequence that follows up with your customer after purchase.

Email #1 – order notification + cross-sell/upsells (Immediate)

Thank your customer for their order and provide key details like estimated shipping date, shipping times, contact information for support, order details, and the order receipt.

You can maximize these interactions by including additional content such as cross-sells, up-sells, and calls-to-action to connect with your brand on social media. These additions will increase your sales and your social engagement with customers.

Email #2 – shopping experience survey (1-2 Days after order is placed)

Confirm the order shipment and provide a shipping tracking code.

Set up a survey form and provide a link in your email. Ask the customer to provide feedback about their shopping experience on your site.

Requesting this type of feedback not only shows that you care, it will help to minimize your returns rate. It also provides you with a stream of useful data that can help you improve the way that you serve customers which leads to better sales conversions and customer retention.

Email #3 – Request for a product review

Ensure this email triggers several days after the customer received their order.

Request a product review on your site. Social proof is a powerful selling tool – 63% of American consumers indicate they are more likely to buy from a site with product reviews. Offer a coupon as an incentive for the time it takes to leave a review.

Avoid a situation where the product review request backfires on you – make sure to provide your customer support details for customers to communicate with you directly if they had a problem with their order!

Re-engagement series

Over time, many of your subscribers will tune you out and stop opening your emails. You need to re-engage them or unsubscribe them to keep your list cleansed.

A customer win-back series will accomplish one of two things:

re-engage old customers to get them buying again.


Unsubscribe them to keep your list cleansed and in good standing with email service providers. This is important if you don’t want your emails to land in the spam folder.

Here’s what to do:

Set up an automation that triggers for subscribers who haven’t clicked or opened your emails for a set period of time. For eCommerce, 90 days is a good starting point.

Email #1 – Where’d You Go?!

Send something light and humorous – perhaps a photo of a dog or cat with a sad face. Add some supporting copy about how you’ve missed them. Provide a few links to cool products they might be interested in and add a small discount to peak their interest.

Email #2 – Bring Out The BIG Discount

If you didn’t get a response from the first email, then it’s time to use your biggest weapon. Offer the largest possible discount you can afford without losing (a lot of) money. Even if you have to lose a bit, keeping this customer engaged will be worth it as you’ll stand to profit from their future purchases.

Email #3 – Notification of Pending Deletion

Let your subscriber know that they will be deleted in one week if they don’t make a purchase or respond to your email (add a button where they can confirm their subscription). Be polite and let them know the reason you’re doing it is to avoid cluttering their inbox. Remind them of the huge discount that you offered in the previous message.

Email #4 – You’ve Been Unsubscribed Notification

Notify your subscriber that they have been unsubscribed. Let them know that your huge discount is still applicable and provide a link or button where they can reactivate their subscription.

Wish lists on-sale & out of stock Notifications

You work hard to get traffic to your site, don’t lose it because your product isn’t in stock the moment that a prospect lands on your site.

Here’s what to do:

Setup wishlists and out of stock notification requests on your website.

This will allow your visitors to create wish lists for products that they are interested in. It will also allow for customers to sign up for notifications about items that they wish to purchase but are not currently in stock.

Set up an automation to notify site visitors about the items on their wishlist that go on sale.

Set up an automation that triggers when a wishlist item is about to go out of stock (creating urgency).

Set up an automated email series that notifies site visitors about products that are back in stock that they are on the waitlist for.

Reward loyal customers with incentives

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your most loyal customers. Reward that loyalty and strengthen the relationship with an occasional surprise coupon code.

Here’s what to do:

You can set up rules that trigger a “thank you” email to be sent out to customers who have made a set amount of purchases. Include a thank you note and a coupon code to reward them for their loyalty.

Download our Email Marketing Setup Kit!

Get the email templates for the 6 series described in this article + our getting started guide!


We help businesses with no in-house web team obtain more conversions, leads and sales through their website by providing ongoing consulting and website management services. Book a free initial consult with me to learn more.

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