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Apr 27, 2020

What Emails Should Ecommerce Brands Automate?

By Nhu Nguyen

During the initial stages of constructing an Email Marketing strategy, brands will begin to wonder about the kind of approach they need to take when designing their email flows – paying particular attention to the type of messages customers will appreciate and the stage of the purchasing cycle they’re in.

Emails are split into two major categories, they come in many different names on different platforms – but we’ll call them Automated Emails and Manual Campaigns. Automated Emails are designed to send relevant emails to a subscriber, depending on their activity and behaviour, representing a particular stage in their purchasing cycle, such as when they sign up to a mailing list, place an order, or reach a milestone, thus they’re sometimes called “drip” emails. Manual Campaigns are sent to all of your Subscribers, or a key segment, and are based on your promotion cycle, product releases, shopping holiday, newsletter or other event, and therefore called “batch and blast” campaigns.

Depending on the brand, Automated Emails can be responsible for 50% or more of your Email revenue. They engage customers based on the customers’ behaviour, life events, and their stage in the purchasing journey. Below are some highly effective emails that should be Automated Emails:

Welcome Emails and Nurture Sequence
Immediately after a customer subscribes, a welcome email is sent to thank them for joining the subscription list. A welcome email is important as it is the brand’s first direct interaction with the customer, making it crucial to leave a positive impression of the brand and provide value to the new subscriber.

Welcome emails have the highest engagement rate, and set the expectations for the value you will provide. If you use an incentive to drive signups, you should consider delivering the incentive in the email itself. This helps to build a positive association with opening your emails, and ensures subscribers provide a valid email address.

Pair the initial welcome email with a sequence of emails to nurture subscribers to purchase. The welcome series is an excellent tool to systematically address common objections new subscribers have in the early stages of their buying journey. The most common objections in ecommerce are shipping costs, delivery time and trust in the brand. You can overcome these with details on shipping costs, a link to your refund policy, customer reviews, and a discount or extra incentive.

Reminder Emails
The Abandoned Cart email is the most common automated marketing email, allowing customers to pick up their cart from another device quickly to complete the transaction. We encourage brands to send multiple reminders as a nudge if the customer doesn’t complete the order for a few days, and address reservations a first time customer may have.

A less common but equally effective email reminder is a Browse Abandon Recovery / Email Remarketing email. If subscribers are spending time looking at products but not necessarily adding to cart, they still expressed a higher level of interest than a passing glance, and sending them reminder emails with the products they looked at are very effective.

Post Purchase Advocacy
After a customer has made a purchase, an automated email can be sent, asking them to rate or review his/her experience with the brand’s products. It’s great to capitalise on the customer’s excitement at this time to get a review and feedback. Make sure the email is sent after they’ve had a chance to use the product.

Re-engagement Email - "You haven't shopped with us for a while"
For those who have been inactive for an extended period of time, an appealing ‘call-to-action’ email is an excellent way to re-engage and encourage subscribers to browse products and/or services they may have missed. Examples include special offers, product suggestions, updates with the brand, and updates on what products are new and trending. Automating these emails can ensure that customers are being re-engaged consistently after a period of time, and your customers’ engagement with you is not dependant on your promotions and release cycle.

Automated emails play an important role in engaging customers throughout their journey, and help to target customers based on them and their journey with the brand.

Written by Nhu Nguyen