black clock
6 min
Expert Talks

Profitable Email Marketing for eCommerce: The 8 Key Ingredients

Despite the dynamically changing digital marketing landscape, email marketing remains one of the most reliable mechanisms for your business to take advantage of this lucrative opportunity at a very low cost.

The good news is that email marketing for eCommerce brands has remained fundamentally consistent, and much of the advice and strategies are not only relevant but also undeniably compelling.

This article will walk you through tried-and-true, foundational principles surrounding email marketing for eCommerce businesses. This advice works regardless of the specific niche you’re trying to target.

Let’s get started.

Email Marketing Benefits for eCommerce Brands

Below are some of the benefits your eCommerce site or online store can reap from email marketing:

  • Increases engagement from your target audience;
  • Boosts product sales and revenue;
  • Enhances brand awareness, visibility, and affinity with prospects;
  • Cost-effective method to build, nurture and monetize relationships;
  • Better conversion rates from targeted email marketing campaigns on well-planned segments;
  • Drives repeat and VIP purchases from loyal customers;
  • Reduces the customer acquisition costs (CAC) by boosting the average customer lifetime value (LTV);
  • Recovers lost revenue from abandoned eCommerce carts;
  • Multiplies return on investment (ROI) and overall profitability.

The above points don’t even scratch the surface of the qualitative positives, such as those emanating from customer feedback emails and reviews, the positive effect on brand equity, and more.

Long story short, if you have not been chalking up an email marketing strategy for your eCommerce brand, get started now.

The 8 Key Ingredients for Wildly Profitable Ecommerce Email Campaigns

While every email campaign is unique in terms of its objectives and the audience it targets, successful eCommerce email campaigns often share common constituents that contribute to enhanced engagement, improved conversions, and a higher ROI.

In no specific order, here they are:

#1 Personalize with Precision

Emails that are personalized feel like they were written exclusively for the recipient. Here are a few ways to get started with making everyone in your email list feel special:

  • Personalize using the recipient's first name. For example, "John, were you looking for these deals?";
  • Segment your email list based on demographics, interests or custom data you know about them. For example, “Attention Pet Parents: Exclusive Sale for the next 72 hrs only”;
  • Send triggered emails based on specific actions such as past purchases or browsing history;
  • Use dynamic content to customize product recommendations;
  • Tailor content to specific customer segments. For example, writing separate emails to fitness enthusiasts seeking fat loss and those seeking muscle gains.
Audible email example
Image Source: Audible

You can include personalization in the subject line, preheader text, email headline, email body content, or even the call to action (CTA) text or button. When done right, personalization can deepen your brand's bonding with its subcribers besides skyrocketing conversion rates.

#2 Harness Micro-Segmentation

Micro-segmentation is dividing your extensive email list into smaller, more focused groups based on common and shared characteristics and interests.

For example, an online pet supply store might create a different segment called "new puppy owners" and tailor the email content around puppy training and behavior tips, recommend puppy products, and offer exclusive discounts for new puppy owners, fostering relationship building and driving sales.

Girlfriend collective email example
Image Source: Girlfriend Collective

Segmenting your audience allows you to deliver more relevant content, offers and customer experiences that resonate with your micro audience’s needs and wants. 

#3 Create Engaging Designs

Designing eye-catching emails is crucial, especially when it comes to eCommerce and selling online, because you want to capture your audience's attention, spark their interest and drive them to take productive action.

Here are some tips for doing that with ease:

  • Go with simple and uncluttered designs involving ample white spaces surrounding minimal text;
  • Use only high-quality graphics, product images & illustrations that are also relevant to your messaging;
  • Choose easily legible, web-safe fonts to ensure that your emails can be read on any screen using any technology;
  • Insert a prominent call to action button that is visually distinct and clickable even on mobile phones;
  • Incorporate your brand elements such as colors, logo, and tone to make the email look like an extension of your brand’s visual identity and build trust over time. This can be done quickly through the use of various graphic design software or logo makers which don't require prior design knowledge to use."
Brain fm email example
Image Source:

The easiest way to be able to create visually stunning designs fast is to use premade email design templates inside your email marketing tool and customize them to your branding requirements.

#4 Accelerate First Purchases

In order to increase the conversion rate of new online store visitors into paying customers, you must provide them with irresistible offers and incentives. Some of the way to do this include:

  • Exclusive welcome discounts for first-time shoppers;
  • FREE shipping on the first order;
  • Limited time offers;
  • Offer free gifts for new customers;
  • Include a free add-on item only for first-time customers;
  • Incredibly discounted product bundles;
  • Consider floating hassle-free return or money-back refund policies;
  • Refer a friend bonuses, and more.
The tree center
Image Source: The Tree Center

When done right, accelerating first purchases can build immediate customer engagement with your brand apart, besides laying the foundations for a solid long-term relationship.

#5 Recover Lost Revenue

It is estimated that almost 80% of online buyers abandon their shopping carts. Likely, your eCommerce store is also suffering from such revenue losses. 

Automated reminders encourage these customers to complete their purchases and can generate significant revenue for your store. Here are some tips for optimizing your abandoned cart series for success:

  • Automate a sequence of emails (and SMS texts if your platform allows) to go out at different times. For example, you can send out your first email six to twelve hours after abandonment, then two more emails two and three days later;
  • Display the abandoned items in the email with eye-catching images;
  • Offer exclusive, time-bound incentives such as a generous discount or free shipping;
  • Include a clear call to action (CTA) that leads the reader right back to their online cart again;
  • Display social proof such as customer testimonials, user-generated content (UGC), etc.
Sling email example
Image Source: Sling

#6 Optimize for Upsells and Downsells

Your existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than new ones.

Hence your eCommerce email marketing campaigns must focus on selling more to those who have already trusted you with their money through a transaction. Some ways to go about this:

  • Offer an exclusive discount on their next purchase;
  • Recommend upsell, downsell or cross-sell products;
  • Offer deals on product bundles;
  • Invite the reader to join your loyalty program;
  • Poke them with personalized recommendations based on their browsing history or past purchase behavior;
Spotify email example
Image Source: Spotify

The best way to implement the above is through a fully automated post-purchase email sequence that goes from thanking the customer in one email all the way to recommending upgrades, upsells, cross-sells, and even down sells, increasing the average order value (AOV).

#7 Showcase Social Proof

41% of online customers buy something only if they see customer reviews and ratings.

Social proof is the process of building credibility for your brand by providing evidence of other customers' experiences and opinions.

Some examples include:

  • Positive and negative customer reviews & testimonials;
  • User-generated content from users actually using your products;
  • Shoutouts on social media from satisfied customers;
  • Including ratings or star reviews (if any);
  • Highlight any industry awards or certifications received by your product;
  • Mention the sheer number of users;
  • Mention any celebrities or top brands using your product or service;
  • Share endorsements from influencers and industry experts;
  • Share customer success stories and case studies;

Showcasing the correct type of social proof in your emails can encourage readers to take the leap of faith and learn to trust your brand.

#8 Gamify to Engage

Adding an angle of gamification can make for an interactive and enjoyable experience for your store visitors and email subscribers alike.

Your email subscribers will love quizzes, challenges, contests, or even interactive games that are on point with your eCommerce store’s branding and offers.

On the other hand, if you are looking to convert casual store visitors into leads, use gamified tools such as spin-to-win popups and forms to make it a fun and memorable experience for them.

Gamify to Engage
Image Source:


A robust email marketing strategy is essential to the success of every online store, including yours. It provides a direct and personalized channel to attract, nurture and convert your target audience, even in the face of growing competition.

Email marketing for eCommerce businesses is best kept simple. We hope the nine key elements outlined above guide your business toward deeper relationships, increased profitability, and greater success.