When it comes to e-commerce email marketing, there are many different types of emails you can send to your list. For our purposes, let’s address the emails you should absolutely be sending to generate sales and drive more traffic to your store.

Welcome email

Your welcome email is a true first impression. Sure, when consumers visit your store or website they are introduced to your brand and product selection, but your welcome message is your first shot at a more personal high-touch.  This is the message that sets the tone and expectation for emails to follow and answers the subscriber’s question: Do I really want to continue receiving these messages?

You can choose to deploy your welcome message in a variety of ways, typically initiated by a form subscription or following the first purchase. You may want to consider having both.

Best practices

  • Say thank you – thanking new subscribers sets the tone for the rest of the email.
  • Avoid a hard sell – your welcome email is primarily transactional.
  • Include links to your blog or other valuable information to keep subscribers engaged.

Order confirmation email

The relationship doesn’t end once your customer makes a purchase – it’s only just begun. Confirm, congratulate, and reassure them with a prompt order confirmation summarizing the details of their purchase and payment. This lets your customer know you value their business and want to keep them informed.

Best practices

  • Confirm what was purchased and payment method used.
  • Include a link to your return policy and customer service details (an email, at minimum).

Abandoned cart email

Adding an item to a cart indicates a level of interest. But people are easily distracted. The good news is there’s a window of opportunity to bring them back if they’ve left products behind. Crafting thoughtful abandoned cart emails is surefire way to wrangle customers who have abandoned their carts and win back sales.

Best practices

  • Tone is important. There are several reasons why a customer may abandon their cart.
  • Include actual products in the abandoned cart to reduce friction at checkout.
  • Include a clear call-to-action to encourage checkout

Post-purchase follow-up email

Congratulations. You’ve made a sale. Now what? This message serves a dual purpose. A follow-up message after a completed purchase is lets your customers know you’re thinking of them. It’s also a great time to lay the foundation for the next purchase, because they’re thinking of you.

Best practices

  • Lead with a ‘thank you.’
  • Use the data. Suggest complementary products that are similarly priced

Feedback/review request

It’s important to give your customers a voice. And let it be heard. There are two approaches here. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of both. Incentivized feedback – the give-to-get technique – is popular but may only draw those interested in the incentive. This is great way to bolster the quantity of your reviews quickly. Voluntary feedback is the other approach – designated for storeowners that desire actionable feedback to improve their business. Either way, surveying your audience does more than offer valuable insights into their goals, desires and pain points; it gives you an opportunity to improve your email marketing process.

Best practices

  • Include the customer in your ask – “We want to hear from you.”
  • Be clear about the purpose of your ask when deciding whether or not to incentive your request.
  • Give clear instructions to your customers.


According to a recent survey by Ogilvy, 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. You may already be asking for referrals on your thank you page, but your email campaigns need to include this ask, as well. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even build out a referral program – offer customers a discount for each attributable referral.

Best practices

  • Be clear about what you’re asking of your customers
  • Consider offering a discount in exchange for a social share.

Re-engagement email

You invest time, attention, and energy in growing your email list only to have a percentage of your customers unsubscribe or disengage entirely. Email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% every year so it’s essential to re-engage members who have “checked out” (not in a good way).

Best practices

  • Consider discounts, contests, or a free gift-with-purchase.
  • Include the offer in the subject – “We want you back! Here’s a gift!”

Upsells and cross-sells

Upselling and cross-selling are essential product recommendation messages you should be including in your email marketing campaign. If you’re not familiar with these marketing tactics, here’s the gist:

Upselling is an invitation to purchase a more expensive item in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.
Cross-selling is the recommendation of a related or complementary product.

Best practices

  • Tailor upsells to complement products based on purchase history.
  • Show more than one product, but limit the choices as to not overwhelm your customers.
  • Keep the spending power of your audience in mind. Somebody who purchased a $10 shirt is not as likely to buy a $60 hoodie.


Informative content builds rapport with your customers, and shows that you’re invested in helping them, not just selling them. That doesn’t necessarily mean excluding yourself from content. This is an opportunity to tell a story about your brand, share customer experiences, and make your customer feel more a part of your business.

Best practices

  • Keep your content relevant.
  • Publish often. A blog is dynamic resource for content to live.

The takeaway

  • Email marketing is the primary line of communication between you and your customers
  • Start with a solid foundation; good email campaigns are built from the ground up
  • Craft emails with conversion and retention in mind

It’s important to remember that every message you send has consequences. The effort you put into developing your email marketing can (and will) dictate whether or not those consequences fall in your favor. Proper planning and well-crafted messaging is a great way to generate more sales and drive traffic to your store or website.

Underestimating the power of thoughtful email campaigns is a misstep. Each of the messages we’ve addressed is an opportunity to further shape the buying experience and convert shoppers to loyal customers. Finding new customers is hard. Good email marketing makes retaining them a lot easier.

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