Email automation checklist – eCommerce

Before we define email automation, let’s talk about a general overview of how users interact online to seek information or buy products.

Whether you are selling products or services, you know that users are smart and they seek needed information to decide whether to spend time on your website, engage with your content and eventually commit to the desired action that you would like them to do.

Email automation plays an important part in the nurturing process.

Table of contents:

What is email automation?

Email automation is the process of setting up workflows/automated sequences to keep users engaged and help them through the funnel to take the desired action like buying a course or purchasing products from your eCommerce website.

Email automation can be used for most businesses but it is extremely important for eCommerce businesses and also for those selling services online.

As the name suggests, the entire process is automated once the setup is complete. The system sends them targeted emails based on their preferences and user journey.

Why email automation is important for eCommerce

eCommerce has more steps than other standard sites and hence the the journey is not done in a straight visit, you may need to nurture your audience and guide them to reach to desired action with multiple steps.

Let’s understand eCommerce steps first:

  • Browsing products
  • Seeking information like features & pricing
  • Education guides like “How-To” or “Tutorial”
  • Discounts & shipping cost
  • Committing to buy
  • Returning to buy again

As you can see users come to an eCommerce website during different stages of their purchase process or needs.

Some may be highly interested and may come to the website and finalise the purchase in one go. Others may come to your website to learn more about your products, shipping costs and offers. There may be another group of people who may be thinking about the kind of support they may get post-purchase to use the product or service.

Automated workflows for eCommerce allow you to send well-targeted emails like abandoned cart reminders, a discount code or a free gift to complete the purchase etc. You can also use email automation to upsell, cross-sell or remind for re-stock.

Here are some popular email automation tools:

Hook for people to sign up

When you think of email marketing and automation, the first thing that comes is how to build an email list, the process to acquire regular email from your customers as well as potential buyers.

It is important to understand users won’t enter their email without some values. And just relying on your customer’s database can be a very slow process as you can’t scale it. You need to have a strategy in place so that you have a list of people who buy your products as well as those who may be interested but still in the journey process.

Here are some common strategies you can use to build your email list:

Build your brand

Build your brand to increase your email signup. A strong brand will make the entire process so much easier because of the trust factor. People get spam emails all the time which makes them hesitant to enter their email. But if you have a strong brand and if you intend to add value then the entire process will be so much easier.

Building a brand can be in the form of individual trust too. Example: If you are selling online courses the people know who you are what you offer how you engage on social media etc and add value greatly.

Never underestimate the power of branding.

Offer some value in return for email signup

Offering some value for free is one of the best ways to encourage people to sign up and get instant access and then add them to the funnel process.

You can offer value in the form of

  • A video guide with more to be offered in the paid subscription
  • Download the PDF guide or checklist
  • Get a free sample product
  • Try professional service or software for x days

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

A positive message to offer value and quoting the timeframe or if they don’t sign up what possibly they may lose can increase the sense of urgency which will result in more signup.

Aggressive FOMO is not the best as it can make your prospects with negative experience and you will struggle to achieve desired objectives and you may have to deal with more complaints than positive user experience.

Welcome series

Once you have a good email signup hook ready the next step is to send them a welcome email with a compelling offer.

Do not be aggressive with multiple emails in one day or try to sell at the start, you will end up with a higher unsubscribe rate.

For every email you send, you should have a proper thought process if that email is going to add value or not. If the answer is no then do not send.

Work on crafting your art of sending highly engaging emails that your user will like to receive.

Here are some examples you may consider in the welcome email:

  • Discount Code for eCommerce Shop: You may consider giving a fixed amount discount or percentage discount for users to consider and sign up.
  • Educational PDF Guide: Offer knowledge and value through an informative PDF guide or checklist, this is another method to boost engagement.
  • Educational Private Video Guide or Tutorial: As more and more people consume video content, offering private video tutorials can be another method.
  • Free Sample Product: If you have launched a new brand then you may offer a free sample with a line like “try before you buy”.

Abandoned cart

Abandoned cart happens for many reasons, email automation is one of the best ways to help users to return and complete their purchase.

If users come to the website and go through the checkout but fail to place the order then in most cases they are interested in buying but there must be something that may have triggered them to abandon the cart.

Here are some common reasons for abandoning the cart:

  • Price too high
  • Shipping too high, no free shipping or click & collect
  • Poor reputation
  • Change of mind
  • Too busy in life

The abandoned cart email sequence allows you to re-engage and help the finish the purchase.

Here are some tried-and-tested abandoned cart email strategies you can consider:

  • We’ve Saved Your Cart Email: A gentle reminder – you left items in your cart – click here to finalise your order. This email can be sent a few hours or the next day after abandonment.
  • Let Us Help You Checkout – Promotion Code: Everyone loves a good deal. Offer a small discount code in this email, enhancing the chances of conversion. If the initial reminder didn’t do the job then this may work.
  • Sense of Urgency – Your Cart Will Be Deleted: The cart is not saved forever. A final reminder email that your cart will be deleted soon – check now, the promo code is still valid.

Some businesses have more abandoned carts than others, so it is important to master the art to make sure you have a proper automated follow-up sequence in place to boost the conversion.

Back-in-stock reminder

It is common to have some products out-of-stock, so don’t leave your potential customers disappointed, offer them back-in-stock email reminders.

You may also display an ETA about re-stocking which will make them make the right decision to wait and get reminded or move on.

The art of cross-selling

Cross-selling is an art. If someone has purchased your products, they may be interested in the other range you may have to offer.

Email automation can completely streamline the cross-selling process, here are some upselling/cross-selling strategies you can use:

  • Leveraging Customer Purchase History: Your customers’ previous purchase history can provide valuable information, based on this data, a tailored email can be designed to offer products they may be interested in.
  • Timing is Everything: The timing of your cross-selling email matters. Based on the product and service you offer, you can set the gap accordingly to ensure your customers do not get annoyed.
  • Showcasing Value: One of the best ways to keep the unsubscribe list low is by offering value, so when you do cross-sell make sure you offer some value along with the products in the email.

Purchase Anniversary

Purchase anniversary email is a great way to send a personalised email with discounts or value. Depending on their original purchase they may be interested in buying the same item or something new.

If you have high repeat customers then a purchase anniversary not be ideal but this can work well in a niche industry.

Birthday Special

A birthday wish with some offer is a great way to build loyalty.

You can either wish them a happy birthday with a discount coupon or you can send a special gift and include this in the message, a special gift is on your way.

Your customers will remember the special gesture and most likely they will return to buy more from you.

Need help with email automation?

Whether you need Mailchimp or Klaviyo marketing service, we can help you create email automation workflows. We can also help you with the Mailchimp to Klaviyo migration service.

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