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Radicati estimates that by 2022, 4.25 billion email users will maintain an average of 1.86 email accounts per user. Although social media’s growth in the last decade has prompted digital marketers to shift focus, email marketing for ecommerce is still very much alive and kicking.

Cast your mind back to 2002 when the MySpace social media network was all the rage. However, it wasn’t long before Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram came along and took over, sending MySpace Tom into obscurity (do a quick Googe for MySpace Tom if you don’t remember him). The point is, social media channels go through change, but email marketing does not. Unless people stop using email, your email list is a portable asset that delivers a competitive advantage for your business.

81% of small businesses rely on email as a primary customer acquisition channel. According to OptInMonster, email is a consumer-preferred channel for promotions, achieves a better engagement rate and vastly higher ROI than social channels.

ecommerce email marketing stats


The stats all speak in favour of email, but that doesn’t mean you can send any old thing to your list and expect them to respond. With 92% of malware being delivered by email and 45% of all emails being sent to spam folders, you need to ensure your emails include high-quality, relevant content that abides by regulations. Remember, an email list is an asset to your business that can drive customer loyalty with the right messages, meaning that failure to use it is an opportunity lost. Just have a look at our article on repeat customers to see why it holds so much value.

Typical content for ecommerce email marketing

There are so many different types of content for emails that it would take an entire white paper to talk about all of them. Brands tend to use email for customer loyalty programs, business updates, how-to and product guides, newsletters, sales, and offers. Your ecommerce email marketing campaign should include a mix of those content types to keep your subscribers engaged.

However, two of the most underrated types of content are welcome and cart abandonment emails.


With four times the open rates and five times the click-through rates of standard campaigns, welcome emails need to be a mainstay of your marketing strategy. 74% of consumers expect to receive a welcome email as soon as they subscribe to a list, so using automation to ensure they are delivered immediately is imperative (see email tools later in this article).

A cart abandonment email is designed to recover sales and improve your conversion rates. They are sent to customers that add products to fail to proceed to the checkout. Almost 33% of abandoned cart emails are opened and over one-third lead to a click back to your website. The example below from Peel tries to encourage customers back with a free shipping offer to get them to buy more in addition to the checkout items.


All of these email campaigns are made even more effective using segmentation and personalisation.

Segmentation and personalisation

80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that can offer a personalised experience. It makes them feel like the brand cares, rather than treating them as a number. Everyone is different, and they want emails to reflect their interests. Even something as simple as below can increase open rates by 26%.

ecommerce email marketing personalisation


In 2021, personalisation doesn’t just mean knowing the name of the customer. Audiences expect to see dynamic content and product recommendations in the communications you send them. For example, Amazon will send emails like below.

amazon ecommerce email marketing personalisation


According to SaleCycle, there is certain information that consumers now expect to see (or made reference to) when receiving email communications from a brand.


The best way to ensure effective personalisation is by segmenting your email lists. For example, if you are a clothing retailer, you might start by segmenting your list by gender to ensure they see communications about the appropriate clothing lines. If you are a B2B retailer, you probably need to segment based on job role to speak to the decision-makers.

When attempting to get subscribers, think about the information you need to collect for efficient segmentation strategies. Make sure it is relevant to your business. For example, if the clothing retailer wants to know income, customers won’t see why that is relevant and decide not to subscribe.

How to get sign-ups

Your email list can be one of the most valuable assets to your business if you collect quality data. For example, buying a list of thousands of uninterested contacts in your product or service doesn’t typically have longevity. You want to focus on building relationships and an email list of subscribers who want to hear what you have to say.

First and foremost, with about 45% of the world’s daily email traffic being spam, you need a compelling offer to get people to part with their address. Nike is smart with its sign-up form, telling customers why they are signing up and the reason they ask for different bits of information.

Nike ecommerce email marketing example


Some brands will include offer codes to influence sign-ups, expecting a higher lifetime value from engaged customers.

As a minimum, you should have options to sign-up to newsletters, emails, and social media in the footer of every page on your website. The tactic has become something of a standard, and customers will expect to see these options when visiting a brand website.

ecommerce email marketing signups


New regulations (see later in this article) mean brands must be quite specific with telling customers what they are opting in for, with the choice to opt-out if they want to. In the example below, subscribers are selecting either Womenswear or Menswear with clear directions to the Privacy Policy.


Complying with regulation

Depending on the country, one or multiple regulations may apply to collecting data and sending email communications. These include but are not limited to GDPR (EU), CAN-SPAM (US), CASL (Canada), Spam Act (Australia). While all the regulations have their own terms, there are some general guidelines you should stick to.

  1. Always gather explicit opt-in consent. Every subscriber on your list needs to explicitly state that they are happy for you to contact them via email.
  2. Always include an unsubscribe link in email communications
  3. Do not buy email lists where it is unclear if the subscribers have given explicit consent
  4. Store proof that consent was provided by the subscriber.

TechCrunch offers subscribers checkboxes for each newsletter they produce.


In doing this, TechCrunch ensures subscribers will receive the information they are interested in while complying with regulation.

You should take time to fully understand the regulation within your region before embarking on email campaigns. If using email marketing platforms, the majority will take care of the regulation for you.

Tools to use

There are masses of email marketing tools out there, but two of the most popular for ecommerce are Klaviyo and Mailchimp. If you visit the Klaviyo website, they say customers switching to them from Mailchimp get an average increase of 46% in total store revenue (although they don’t state the source of this data!).

Both tools give users a straightforward digital environment to create emails and workflows, enabling them to communicate with customers. Klaviyo and MailChimp have free pricing tiers, so you can test them and see which works best for you at a basic level. The platforms have a range of features to help you segment, personalise, and test email marketing.


If you want to explore other tools, this post compares the top fifteen platforms as we move into 2021. Ecommerce email marketing tools can automate your communications, integrating with existing software to trigger emails to the right people at the right time. The choice comes down to budget, data needs, and user preference but investing should be a no-brainer.


  • Your email list is one of the most valuable assets your ecommerce business owns
  • Email is the consumer-preferred channel for promotions, and achieves a better engagement rate and vastly higher ROI than social channels.
  • Personalisation & segmentation are important. 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that can offer a personalised experience.
  • Include sign-up forms on every page of your website & have a compelling offer to get people to part with their email address.
  • Make sure you comply with all relevant regulations for email marketing.
  • Klaviyo & Mailchimp are two of the main ecommerce email marketing platforms with specific features for ecommerce merchants.