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eCommerce Email Marketing Best Practices

By July 14, 2015July 11th, 2018Email Marketing, News

Need a crash course on eCommerce email marketing best practices? Good thing you’re here.ecommerce email marketing 101 best practices banner

Remarkety was invited to speak at WeWork about the best practices for email marketing, types of behavioral eCommerce emails and tracking email ROI.

You can flip through the full deck here.

While people may not view email as more exciting than Pinterest or Facebook or Instagram, email is used a lot.

WSJ reported people at work check their email 74 times a day on average.

That’s not all.

How do people even create those accounts on Facebook or Twitter?

That’s right, an email address.

And email makes money. And a lot of sense. The ROI is ridiculously high.

study on email marketing roi 2015

Yeah, it’s that high.

When it comes to creating campaigns, there are a bunch of different types of campaigns for an eCommerce shop to consider. Jump here to see the most popular.

But first, let’s get down to the basics of any effective email marketing strategy. There are three things to keep in mind.


Ask yourself, is it personal, relevant and timely? You should be able to check off the box for all three before sending a campaign.

But before you can be personal, relevant and timely, you need to put all the ingredients together.

It involves a number of things.

Subject Line
Send Time
Design + Personalization
Incentives + Call to Action
Follow up
Running Tests

Subject Line

Be simple and straight forward in subject lines. Add value propositions, like a discount or coupon you’re offering, but avoid being overly gimmicky and salesy.

Careful with overuse of emojis in the subject line, too. Unless you use a snowman.

People apparently love a snowman in their subject line.

Add a snowman into your subject line and watch average open rate climb 66% above the average according to Alchemy Worx.


Pro Tip: If you use Gmail, go to your promotions tab and look for subject lines that stand out.

Then steal them.

Next, add in some preview text AKA preheader text.


If you’re subject line doesn’t grab your customer, the preheader text is your Plan B.

For more info on preheader text, take a look at this guide put together by Litmus.

When to Send Email

When considering what time to send email to customers, we looked at purchase rates to determine the best days and hours.

This goes beyond just opens and clicks on emails because email purchase rate is when people are placing orders.

Every store is a bit different, but after a study of hundreds of thousands of emails, we were able to find some stand-out days and times.

Monday through Wednesday are the best days, with a spike in purchases on Sunday as well.

Surprising, huh?

What day to email customers graph and study

When it comes to time of day, the results might also be surprising.

Purchase rate is actually highest when people are at work.

Or on their commute home. Thus, shoot for sending emails in the morning and around 5 or 6PM.

what time of day to send emails to customers graph and study

For a more detailed explanation, read our article about the best days and times to send email.

Design & Personalization

A quality email design has four parts: headline, personalization, CTA, and extras.

example of best marketing email

Personalize your email campaign design with customer name, location and perhaps info about their previous orders.

According to a KissMetrics study, Helzberg Diamonds added personalization to all their emails and were able to grow online sales 288%.

Incentives & Call-to-Action

Offer incentives in your emails like free shipping or product recommendations.

Coupons are especially effective, seeing higher open, click and purchase rates than emails without.

Here’s the proof.

why coupons are important image email marketingIf coupons aren’t your thing, we get it. Read this – how to grow your sales without coupons.

Follow Ups

And don’t be afraid to follow up with customers.

And keep following up.

80% of sales are made on 5th to 12th contact according to a study by Union Square Ventures.

Abandoned cart emails should be sent 24 and 48 hours after original abandonment. The followup abandoned cart email recovers an additional 40% of carts.

If you are sending multiple follow ups, consider changing up the subject line and using a different from email address.


You can track success and ROI by looking at open, click and purchase rates.  Test which times, subject lines, and from email addresses work best with your customers.

Explore different levels of personalization in emails. Try a first name in the subject line, for example.

For both email blasts and behavioral emails, higher rates directly correlate with higher levels of personalization.

Spend time looking at how your emails appear on different devices such as tablet, smartphone and laptop.

If you have a small office and can’t test emails and a variety of devices, consider using a tool like Litmus.

Litmus Email Example

You will be able to see how your email will look on a variety of devices, along with webmail clients.

Popular eCommerce Email Campaigns

Let’s keep this train chugging along by going over the most effective email campaigns your shop should be sending.

Welcome Emails
Inactive Customer Emails
Order Follow Ups
Product Review Requests
Abandoned Carts
Reward Programs

Welcome Emails 

A welcome email typically thanks leads for registering to the newsletter or creating an account on your eCommerce website.

Consider including an incentive on their first purchase to increase purchase rate like Frank & Oak.

frank & oak welcome emailFrequency – send immediately after registration, 7 days, and then again after 21 days. You’ll probably want to keep sending until a purchase is made.

Instead of a highly-styled email, consider the plain-text, more personal email like this one from Boxed.

boxed plain text email

Abandoned Cart 

All eCommerce websites should run an abandoned cart recovery campaign. Convert the indecisive customers or the ones that are price checking other websites.

The abandoned cart campaign should be sent within an hour of abandonment, along with a 24 hour and 48 hour followup.

Shinola abandoned cart

Inactive Customer 

An inactive customer email can wake up or win back customers who haven’t purchased from your shop in a while.

Depending on what you’re selling, consider how soon after an order you want to follow up with a customer.

Did they just buy a TV or vitamin supplements?

If it’s the latter, you’ll probably want to reach out sooner.

Adding a coupon, along with product recommendations are a sure-fire way to increase purchase rate.

Here’s a nice example:

intelligent and personalized email example

Order Follow Ups 

Order followup emails are sent X days after an order was complete. These emails are critical to a well-oiled retention strategy. Order Followup

Follow ups can be used to ask customers for feedback on the purchase experience or suggest complimentary products by up selling and cross selling.

Order follow up emails work particularly well for products that need to be replenished often. Think pet food, health supplements, etc.

Product Review Requests

This is a type of order follow up which prompts a product review.

This type of email should be sent after the customer has enough time to really use the product. An incentive to fill out a review could be a nice touch to get customers to complete them. Email

Rewards Programs

Reward programs campaigns are a bit more advanced. They allow shops to target customers according to their total spent, number of purchases and create reward levels based on customer purchase history.

Reward programs can create a long-lasting relationship and increase customer lifetime value.

Giving your customers an unforgettable experience is one example of a reward program that could be implemented.

Reward Programs Example

The bottom line

While you may decide to run a few of the campaigns mentioned above and leverage some of the best practices, ultimately your email campaigns need to be the following three things.


Otherwise you’re just sending spam. More on that in an upcoming article. :)

You can see the entire deck from our eCommerce email marketing 101 presentation here.

Keep reading with these top picks

Differences between email marketing and email remarketing
Why most newsletters are really dumb
Four automated campaigns you should be running