Is E-commerce Using the True Potential of Email Marketing?

Email Marketing is vital for E-Commerce

Everybody agrees. According to data from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the return of email marketing was around £26 for each pound invested. These numbers are all the more important for e-commerce because they directly influence turnover. So, do these numbers help to strengthen investment in this communication channel and the relationship with the client?

The Naked Truth

Still, according to DMA, only 10% of online stores have a subscription form and 19% of these don’t send emails! The study also points out that 60% of them don’t send a welcome email and 29% don’t send regular communications, utterly failing engagement.

The truth is most of them don’t worry about improving campaigns performance through experimentation, constant improvement of messages and of technical structure of the sending platform; they only use basic tools like sending newsletters periodically with promotions or novelties, even though they are aware that improving 1% in the opening rate of emails may mean several thousand pounds.

These are the most common errors committed in e-commerce (big opportunities to email marketing):

  • Failure to seduce the client, and close the purchase, after he abandons the shopping cart
  • Poor communication / post-selling relationship
  • Untapped visits (to build the database)

The most interesting thing about email marketing is that all this may be carried out with a very high profitability and in a completely automated way. How?! Let’s see:

1. For visitors (outside the shopping cart):

  • Provide an automated invitation to subscribe to the newsletter
    # Create automated segments using the profile data requested in the subscription form (filled in at the store)


Harry is moving and needs to buy a washing machine. A few months ago, he went online and started to gather information for the best solutions, before deciding to buy. In one of the stores, he was invited to subscribe to a newsletter that promised to send him some information that would help him decide, no strings attached. Throughout the following month, Harry received information about load capacities, energy consumption, spin speed, among other features from several brands. By the end of the month, Harry had already a clearer idea of which washing machine would suit him best and he decided to buy (to be cont…)

2. After shopping cart abandonment:

  • Engage the undecided client after he abandoned the shopping cart:: Inquire in order to send suggestions based on the client’s answers
    # Suggest similar products to the one the client gave up buying but with different features

Example (cont.):

Throughout the buying process, Harry realized the price was not what he was willing to pay and he gave up buying. 3 minutes later he receives a text message from the store informing him that a 3 % discount voucher had been sent to his email, which he should activate within the next 24 hours to enjoy the discount. Finally, Harry bought the washing machine.

3. Post selling relationship

    • Cross Selling – send automated email suggesting the purchase of products related to the previous buy
      # Notify buyers when out of stock products are replaced
      # Offer gifts  to clients that have stopped buying

Example (cont.):

Two weeks later Harry receives an email inviting him to buy a tumble dryer.

4. Behavioral Marketing:

    • Reward the clients that generate more conversions
      # Have automated gifts for clients for their birthday

Example (cont.):

For his birthday, Harry receives a voucher to pick up his gift: laundry detergent for his washing machine!


By automation, the buying process, this online store has been able to secure a subscription to add to its database. Autoresponders helped the client to understand which was the most suitable product and, after he abandoned the shopping cart, the discount helped him making a decision.

So, the store won a client. And, because that information was saved, the store used it in a relevant manner to suggest a complementary product. In the end, the client got an offer from the store for his birthday!

So… And now, do you believe that a good Email Marketing tool is worth the effort?

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