Email marketing remains one of the most widely-used ways for building and maintaining a following and growing one’s business.
With email automation, e-commerce businesses have bigger opportunities to grow and transform their followers into loyal customers.
But how do you build an email list? What is an e-commerce email flow? What are the different types of e-commerce emails you should use? How and where do you create these email flows?
In this article, we’ll go through what email automation is and how it works for e-commerce. We’ll provide examples of e-commerce email flows, along with bonus flows you can find only in Gameball!
Email automation involves creating and automating emails and workflows using triggers. When a customer takes a certain action, it acts as a trigger and begins a certain email flow you’ve created.
For example, when customer Sarah visited your website, she entered her email into the popup inviting her to join your email list. Once Sarah submitted her email, she triggered your ‘Welcome email workflow,’ which included a series of 3 emails.
This series is also known as a sequence or workflow. Using email automation software, like Gameball, lets you automate email flows so customers get the same email series when they sign up.
Email marketing workflows for e-commerce can vary widely. You can automate anything from new mailing list signups to customers getting similar product recommendations to abandoned cart emails, among others.
Moreover, by combining email list segmentation with automation, you can create personalized emails better and faster.
Put simply, email automation allows you to create and automate entire workflows once and keep them working for you indefinitely. You can review your email marketing analytics and change the content of your emails as your business grows.
Email automation saves you hours and weeks’ worth of work, so you can focus on the rest of your business and other marketing channels.
You can also pair your e-commerce email automation workflows with your customer loyalty and rewards program. More on that below.
One of the most widely-cited email marketing statistics is that every $1 spent on email marketing results in a return on investment (ROI) of $36.
But that’s not all. Roughly 61% of small businesses say they reach their customers using email marketing. (Campaign Monitor)
Data shows 37% of brands planning to increase their email marketing budget, while only 1.3% were cutting their budget. (Litmus)
Moreover, 59% of respondents in a Sales Cycle survey say they were influenced by marketing emails. A little over 50% of those respondents say they “buy from marketing emails at least once a month,” while 23.8% reported buying “multiples times a month.”
Personalization plays a major role in strengthening the relationship between brands and consumers. One way to increase personalization is to use customer segmentation in your email marketing.
Research by Campaign Monitor found that personalized subject lines make customers 26% more likely to open your emails. In addition, personalizing email lists can boost email revenue by a staggering 760%!
But how does email automation fit in?
According to HubSpot, 87% of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers use email marketing automation.
“The most effective strategies for email marketing campaigns are subscriber segmentation (78%), message personalization (72%), and email automation campaigns (71%).” (HubSpot)
Barilliance reports that the “most effective triggered email type by conversion rate is “Email My Cart,” which had an average conversion rate of 55%. This type of email is triggered “after a customer has added an item to their cart and then attempts to abandon the session.”
The second most effective and successful type was the cart abandonment email.
Generally speaking, automation helps businesses speed up many of their day-to-day activities. Email marketing automation is no different.
Automating your emails to customers
For e-commerce businesses, there are some necessary email workflows you need to include in your e-commerce email marketing strategy.
These emails are:
Whenever someone signs up to your email list, you should start with a welcome email. However, many businesses often use a simple welcome email and neglect the opportunity to entice customers to do more.
You can use your e-commerce welcome email to
Next up are thank-you emails. When customers complete a purchase, leave a review, respond to a survey, or add personal information, you should send them a thank-you email.
Thank-you emails can go a long way into building customer relationships. Especially if you’re a small business.
Like the welcome email, you can take the thank-you email a step further by offering more value to your customers.
For example, if customers just completed a purchase, provide information about
For e-commerce, abandoned cart workflows are among the most important types of e-commerce emails.
Why? Because roughly 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts! This means that only 3 in every 10 customers complete a purchase.
In terms of emails, abandoned cart emails have one of the highest open rates. As of 2022, cart abandonment emails have averaged open rates of 49%! (Barilliance)
Two important and closely-related types of e-commerce emails are the upselling and cross-selling emails.
Upselling is when you give a customer a hint about upgrading the product in their cart to a higher model or option. Meanwhile, cross-selling is when you offer a second or additional product to a customer based on items in their cart.
For example, if a customer has a pair of sneakers in their cart, you can cross-sell them a set of socks to go with their sneakers.
Ever been in a restaurant or coffee shop and the waiter asked if you wanted dessert with your order? That’s cross-selling.
When a customer completes a transaction, they should get a confirmation email that their payment was made. Usually, confirmation emails include a copy of the invoice featuring the items sold, their prices, discounts included, taxes,…etc.
You can combine your confirmation email with your thank-you email. Although for smaller businesses, you can personalize the thank-you email in many ways to build rapport.
You should also send confirmation emails when
Among other reasons.
Besides the above 5, there are other types of e-commerce email automation workflows to consider. These are:
Whether you’re an online or omnichannel business, you’ll likely have special announcements to make. These can include new partnerships, special in-house or on-ground events, launching your customer loyalty program (if you don’t have one), new product lines, among others.
You can do these announcements using outbound marketing messages such as email and web messages, on your website, via pop-ups,…etc.
Bonus tip: One of the ways to market your loyalty program is using e-commerce email marketing. (But more on that in another post).
One of the unique ways to drive more sales is to create personalized marketing campaigns. To ensure these types of e-commerce marketing emails are effective, you first need to segment your email list.
You can segment customers based on a multitude of things. Customer segments can include:
Honestly, the opportunities for customer segmentation are endless!
You can use Gameball’s dynamic email list segmentation features to automate segmenting your customers and email list.
Use customer survey emails to ensure your customer experience, products, and everything in your online store is up to par.
You can also use survey emails to get customers to review new products, new lines, or new vendors you started working with.
You can automate survey emails to be sent once a customer performs certain actions, such as:
After customers receive an order, send them an email asking them to review the products they received.
This helps you in many ways. It helps you
Customers find reviews helpful. Research by BrightLocal found 98% of customers reading “daily” online reviews of local businesses, while 76% read reviews “regularly.”
One of the ways to showcase social proof is through email marketing.
Want customers to feel comfortable buying a product?
Show them how many other customers have bought this same product, highlight positive reviews, show an average star-rating, or all of those options.
Did you know that 75% of consumers check out reviews and testimonials before making a purchase?
Make sure you include social proof emails in your abandoned cart email strategy. Giving customers extra proof that others have made the same purchase and were happy with the products can be the nudge they need.
There are many ways to build customer retention. One of those is using email marketing automation. Customer retention emails can vary from emails with coupons to offering specific customer segments double points on certain days.
Retention emails can also include birthday gift emails, which we highly recommend in e-commerce loyalty programs.
Many of the world’s best beauty loyalty programs offer gifts to customers on their birthday. It’s a great way to keep them coming back.
In e-commerce, you can expect customers to fall off the wagon sometimes. The reasons vary. From finding other or more convenient stores, turning to in-store shopping, having a financial crunch, or simply getting busy with their lives.
You can set an e-commerce email automation workflow to re-engage customers who have been inactive for some time. Think of it as a way to draw them back in, or win them back.
We recommend offering a limited-time discount to overcome the ‘maybe later’ customer thoughts.
You can use your re-engagement emails to highlight new products or previously-purchased products. Create an email automation workflow and use social proof for better results.
If you’re using Gameball’s email automation feature, you can engage customers with coupons, challenges, and more. You can also use the recency, frequency, monetary value (RFM) features to create RFM emails.
One of the ways to increase your sales is to let customers set up notifications for out-of-stock products.
This not only helps you see which products are in demand, but also ensures customers are notified when products they want are available again.
Another important perk of using e-commerce email workflows is creating refer-a-friend email campaigns. These combine email automation with your referral marketing program.
Create email campaigns asking current customers to refer your business to friends and family. Make sure to explain how referrals work and what’s in it for your customers.
Do they get points? Double points? A discount voucher for every 5 successful referrals?
What about the referred friend? What do they get? A first-time sign-up discount?
Further reading: Referral Marketing Best Practices: All You Need to Know
By now, you should have a clear idea about the different types of e-commerce emails you can use.
In this section, we’ll cover a few more Gameball-exclusive e-commerce email workflows that will not only engage but also delight customers.
These email sequences and workflows should be part of your customer loyalty program.
We’ve talked about e-commerce welcome emails. But with Gameball, we recommend you ‘welcome’ customers to new levels or tiers.
One type of loyalty program is gamified rewards programs. These game-like loyalty programs mean customers get to advance in levels, or tiers, when they complete purchases, actions, or tasks.
You can visit the Gameball Help Center to learn more about configuring or creating levels and tiers in your rewards program.
Need example of a ‘welcome to a new level’ email or pop-up message here
We’ve talked about customer retention emails above. There are many ways to create retention emails in Gameball. Specifically, using the recency, frequency, and monetary value segments, known as RFM customer segmentation for e-commerce.
At Gameball, we’ve gone a step further to show you how to use RFM to engage different types of customers. Whether it’s customers you’re about to lose, top-spenders, or others.
Honestly, that’s not what they’re called but you get the picture. 😊
One of the coolest perks of using Gameball is the challenges and badges feature.
As a store owner or marketing manager, you can create challenges for customers to complete. Once customers complete these challenges they get badges and rewards, such as points, vouchers, or both.
You can create seasonal, annual, and segmented challenges for customers. For example, you can create an annual Halloween challenge, a Christmas challenge, a Black Friday challenge, among others.
You can also create challenges and custom-designed badges for specific customer segments, like your top-paying customers.
Use Gameball’s email automation workflows to automate emailing customers about upcoming challenges and what they need to do to complete the challenge.
Don’t forget to flaunt the shiny badge they’ll get once they complete the challenge.
Last but certainly not least, use Gameball to automate workflows for double points emails.
Whether you have special occasions like ‘Fun Friday’ or ‘Halloween Week’ or ‘Black Friday Madness’ or you’re feeling extra generous and want to reward customers with ‘double-point days,’ Gameball has covered.
You can also try to re-engage customers who have been inactive, but not for very long, with double-point emails. On a specific day, customers who complete purchases will get double points.
Many of the world’s most successful loyalty programs offer birthday rewards, with some brands offering double-point days as a bonus perk.
Luxury fashion brand Neiman Marcus, one of our top luxury loyalty programs, offers a ‘double point day’ to customers. In beauty, Ulta, Aveda, Debenhams, and The Body Shop offer double points to certain tiers.
There are many email workflows for e-commerce. If you’re creating an e-commerce email marketing strategy, include the different types of emails you want to use.
Be sure to measure email marketing analytics, such as open rates and click-through rates (CTRs). Use Bitly or UTM links to see the CTRs in your different email campaigns.
Don’t forget: To make most of your email marketing efforts, combine them with your customer loyalty and rewards program.