Essential Email Marketing Automations for eCommerce

email marketing for ecommerce

Email is one of the key channels eCommerce brands use to engage and retain existing customers. While most brands tend to focus on email campaigns, when you send a direct email to a list or segment of your audience, there is often less emphasis placed on email automations.

In this article, I'm going to unpack the essential email marketing automations (also known as flows) you should be using to grow your eCommerce business.

Why do I need Automations/Flows?

Email automations are referred to as flows in Klaviyo, the email marketing platform I would recommend if you’re on Shopify. It’s simply a brilliant app for eCommerce. 

For my other brand, Threadheads, the flows we’ve built in our Klaviyo account generate over 10% of our revenue. 

And the best part is, once you’ve created them, flows fire automatically without you lifting a finger. It’s like getting little robots to do all the hard work for you. This enables your brand to communicate at important moments in the customer journey. It also frees up your time to focus on other tasks that can help grow your business!

When we’re talking about email essentials for eCommerce, therefore, the conversation must start with building flows. So let’s do it.

The Welcome Series

The welcome series is the email sequence new subscribers receive after joining your email list. These are some of the most important messages of the customer journey. 

Email Capture

First, to capture email subscribers that are non-buyers so they can enter your welcome series, you can use the following forms:

  • Popups
  • Flyouts
  • Embedded forms

In the copy for your capture form, you can include an offer or just let subscribers know what kind of value they’re going to get from joining your list. For example, at HeapsGood we want to provide useful information on marketing and sustainability for eCommerce brands.

Average email capture rates for popups and flyouts are usually around 2-4%. Though if you optimise your forms, we have seen capture rates of anywhere between 6-10%.

Welcome Emails

Once capturing emails of subscribers in the pre-purchase stage, the first welcome email should have the following characteristics:

  • Sent immediately after a user subscribes
  • At least a 35% open rate
  • Content focused on welcome, brand introduction and a discount code if applicable

The second welcome email should be sent 24 hours later, and will focus more on the brand story, positioning and other USPs (unique selling points) of your brand.

welcome to gymshark abandon cart image ecommerce school Heapsgood

Abandonment Flows

Beyond the Welcome Series, there are 3 basic abandonment flows you should be sending. They are:

  • Browse Abandonment Flow
  • Abandoned Cart Flow
  • Abandoned Checkout Flow

In terms of priority, I would start by building your abandoned checkout flow first, then move onto the abandoned cart, and then finally the browse abandonment.

email flows

Abandon Checkout

Colloquially known as ‘the best email automation ever’, this would be my first flow built every day of the week.

This flow works out of the box once Klaviyo is integrated with Shopify and drives great revenue as subscribers are at the stage of the funnel before purchase.

Make sure you include at least two emails in this series. One should fire an hour after the checkout has been abandoned and then another 24 hours later if the subscriber hasn’t purchased.

Often you have collected the first name of your customer at checkout, so you can include this dynamic field in your subject line to personalise the email: {{ first_name |default:'' }}.

learn email marketing automation ecommerce tips and help abandoned checkout emails

Abandon Cart

The Abandon Cart flow should run with pretty much the same content as your abandon checkout.

If you’re feeling extra creative, you could tailor it by focusing on the ‘cart’ aspect of it.

For example, subject lines could include ‘Cart Reserved’, We’ve Saved Your Cart’ or ‘Your Cart is About to Expire!’

To enable this flow, you need to add a custom code snippet to your website theme. Here are the details on how to do it. You can ask Klaviyo to help you but keep in mind you’ll feel like a boss if you manage to do it yourself.

Below is an example from Threadheads that uses urgency as a persuasive technique to encourage the user to checkout their cart.

abandon cart

Browse Abandonment

This is referred to as a top of funnel email flow because the user hasn’t demonstrated intent by adding a product to cart or starting checkout.

But the awesome part about this flow is the amount of volume it generates! That’s because many of the users on your website will view products without necessarily adding to cart.

You will need to have captured a prospective customer’s email address for this to work, which is where great pop up forms come in.

Again, to enable this flow, add a custom code snippet to your website theme. Here are the details on how to DIY it.

Subject lines? An example subject line might be ‘Just dropping in?’, or something fun and casual that slides into the inbox like the Bombas example below.

bombas browse abandonment abandon cart email marketing flow ecommerce tips shopify

Final Thoughts

It’s important to note that subscribers should never enter into more than one of the abandonment flows, as it should reflect where they are in the funnel. For example, a user that has abandoned checkout should not receive abandoned cart or browse abandonment emails.

As a general rule of thumb, start with 2 emails for Welcome Series and Abandon Checkout, then 1 email each for Abandon Cart and Browse Abandonment.

Flows

# of emails in series

Welcome

2

Abandoned Checkout

2

Abandoned Cart

1

Browse Abandonment

1


From there, I would begin working on Customer Thank You (though arguably this could be pushed up the list) and Customer Reactivation flows.

P.S. want creative inspiration for your flows and email marketing? A handy little resource is Really Good Emails


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