6 Essential emails for any ecommerce seller
We spoke with Jacob Dubois, the founder and owner of Uptown Cow, about the most important emails every online store should have as part of their marketing program. Uptown Cow is a boutique marketing agency based in the northeast of the US which helps e-commerce store owners grow their online store in order to spend more time on the things they enjoy. Their team uses a variety of tools (including email marketing, ad management, and SEO) to yield higher conversions for clients to scale their online store.
Many successful ecommerce businesses have humble beginnings. Take Jacob Dubois of Uptown Cow, for example. He started out in highschool buying and selling iPods both among friends at school and on eBay to make enough money to buy himself a phone. This led to an interest in website development, which he used to start providing basic services to friends and acquaintances. Over time, Jacob’s ecommerce experience and marketing skills enabled him to to start a business of his own, helping other ecommerce sellers profitably grow their businesses through strategic marketing.
According to Dubois, small to medium ecommerce stores often have many opportunities to grow that they haven’t taken advantage of. A key example of a frequently underutilized growth lever is the strategic use of simple emails.
Businesses need to have a basic email marketing strategy in place in order to see growth and ensure return customers. But where do you start? Here are Jacob’s 6 Essential Emails for Any Ecommerce Seller.
- Welcome. A standard welcome email is an important way to collect customer data and enable you to connect with your customers. It’s an opportunity to talk directly to the customer when they’ve demonstrated interest in your brand. For brands leveraging a loss-leader strategy for high-LTV customers this initial contact is especially critical. It’s also useful for redirecting customers to the brand’s strongest marketing and sales channels.
- Cart or browse abandonment. This email drives an average +7% increase in conversion. It’s getting harder for brands to cut through the noise, and the nature of ecommerce shopping makes it easy for customers to stop in the middle of the process and forget to complete a transaction. These emails are a convenient way to drive return traffic. Abandoned cart prompts are the most critical, but if a seller has customer information prior to cart creation, they can also send browse abandonment notifications.
- Order confirmation. There are two important things to remember about these emails. First, keep them updated and consider them part of your email marketing program. These emails are usually already being sent but often neglected. Keeping order confirmation and other transactional emails accurate, informative, and up to date can decrease customer support contacts, reduce frustration, and improve overall customer satisfaction. They can also be used to set expectations, particularly in the case of backordered or delayed items.
Second, these emails are an opportunity to add CTAs like similar product recommendations, consumables or accessories (batteries for that flashlight you just bought) or a push to follow the brand on social media. Order confirmation emails have some of the highest open rates of all business email outreach, and brands should leverage that. Sellers can also offer perks here, such as free priority shipping for people who sign up for a brand’s reward program.
- Post-purchase follow up. This one is so easy to set up but often neglected. It’s important because it shows the customer that the brand cares about how the transaction went. “If you don’t give them an opportunity to share their feedback with you, you’re going to find it somewhere else online,” Dubois says. There are lots of opportunities to mitigate poor reviews if they’re caught early enough. For example, you can ask if they had a good experience, with a “yes” click sending to a prompt to rate the product, while a “no” leads to a support ticket. Encouraging customers with a positive opinion to write a review can solidify their positive opinion and develop a more emotional connection with the brand. This is especially important since negative experiences tend to motivate reviews more than positive ones.
- Educational. This type of email is more important than many sellers realize, and not just for complex products. It’s an opportunity to share information about the brand. Brands with especially loyal customers are the ones that invest in educational content. Strong brands need customers to fall in love with them, and educational content helps create that connection. Ideally, the brand starts drawing attention for its content even when customers aren’t buying. It also pulls attention from people already in the sales funnel who haven’t yet converted, encouraging them to move forward. This deepens the relationship with the customer, creating a sort of ambassador/visitor relationship as well.
- Cross-selling. Though more frequently prompted on the marketplace or webstore itself, this email may be sent at the point of purchase. In cases where typical customer buying patterns often combine specific products, it can be valuable to prompt purchasers of one of the products to consider adding some of the other items in the group as well. Not only can this increase average order value, but if done well it can create a better customer experience by conveniently positioning products they probably want. If technically feasible, a one-click “add to order” experience is particularly powerful. Any way to remove friction from the shopping and purchasing experience, and making likely items of interest readily available for purchase, will both improve order value and improve customer experience.
There are tons of other emails you’ll want to incorporate into your marketing strategy, but these are a great foundation to start with. Once you’ve got these down, you can start to build your list, and in doing so, expand your customer base while strengthening connections with return customers.