How Email Marketing Automation Improves the Shopper Experience

By: Callie Hinman

You’ll no doubt have been told the importance of ecommerce automation. And you’ve likely also heard you should personalise the online customer experience.

You may also have struggled to see how you can use both at once. Fortunately, the two are not only compatible, but complementary.

Here’s how email marketing automation improves the shopper experience, and why online retailers must start using it.


How Automation Can Be Personal

At first glance, marketing automation and personalised marketing seem incompatible. Automation evokes images of machinery and robotics and artificial intelligence. In other words, things that aren’t exactly in line with trying to build relationships with customers via personalised marketing communications.

The reality is that marketing automation — and more specifically, email marketing automation — actually makes it easier for you to build and foster the customer-brand relationship. Simply put, email marketing automation is the use of software to transition the deployment of marketing emails from a manual procedure to an automatic one. And, again, while it may seem as if taking a human sender out of the equation would make your marketing less personal, it’s quite the opposite.

Humans are, well, human. They make mistakes. They can only absorb so much information. But an email marketing platform has no risk of human error. And there’s no limit to the volume of data it can retain.

The Basics of Email Marketing Automation

The core component of email marketing automation is the creation of specific triggers that, once activated, prompt the software to send particular emails. The content of these emails is based on the action the shopper took as well as any other information you have in your database about them.

Because the email is dispatched immediately following the designated activity, the message is timely and helps keep your brand top of mind. And because the content is generated using the shopper’s individual behaviour and characteristics, it’s highly relevant and personalised. Finally, because the email is personalised, it’s much more likely to elicit a positive response.

In a survey of internet users in England conducted by Mailjet, over 40% of respondents said personalised content was the leading reason they clicked through an email to the brand’s website. And according to more than half of the U.K. marketers polled by the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM), email marketing personalisation has increased their sales volume. Not to mention, the DMA reported in its Marketer email tracker 2018 the ROI on email marketing is up to £32.28 for every £1.00 spent.

Using Email Marketing Automation

Ecommerce brands can use email marketing automation at every step of the customer journey. Implementing automation technology allows you to more easily …

  • Convert prospective customers to purchasers
  • Continue post-purchase communication
  • Transform first-time shoppers into repeat buyers
  • Re-engage inactive customers

Converting Site Visitors to Customers

To encourage potential customers to become actual customers, create a trigger that sends them an email when they’ve added items to their cart but didn’t complete their purchase. Let them know about additional colour and design options for the merchandise they viewed and also include recommendations for similar products. London-based retailer Jack Wills checks off all these boxes in its abandoned cart email.

Example: Jack Wills

Reminder email

(Source | View a live version of the email here.)

You can also include customer reviews and testimonials about the items they looked at.

Example: Adidas

Review email

(Source | View a live version of the email here.)

Fact: In 2016, ecommerce sales in the U.K. totaled £488.4 billion.

Extending the post-purchase conversation

When a customer has placed an order, it should trigger an automated Thank You email with all of the necessary information about their purchase — including details about the items they purchased, the total cost of their order, and how they can track their shipment.

Example: Chewy

Email confirmation

(Source | View a live version of the email here.)

These messages are also a great opportunity to upsell or cross-sell because you can use them to promote complementary products or services related to the customer’s purchase. And if you have any sister brands you’re trying to grow, feel free to also advertise them in post-purchase emails like Crate & Barrel does in the example below.

Example: Crate & Barrel

Cross-sell email


Building Loyalty with Returning Shoppers

Create another trigger that is activated after a customer has shopped with you multiple times. This email should invite the shopper to join your customer loyalty program where they’ll have access to exclusive discounts and pre-sales.

Example: Ivory Ella

Rewards email


By showing you acknowledge and appreciate their business, you inspire shoppers to not only continue ordering from you but also refer their friends to your store, as well.

Fact: The U.K. has the third largest B2C ecommerce market in the world.

Reconnecting with Unengaged Customers

Among the most important email marketing automation triggers you need is one that is designed to re-engage inactive customers. If someone had previously been opening your emails and ordering from your store but hasn’t done so in several months, they should receive an automated email letting them know you appreciate their past business and would love for them to purchase from you again.

Example: SurfStitch

Retargeting email


Include a discount or special offer on products related to their previous orders to help persuade them.

Example: JOY

Discount email


It’s just not possible for one person, or even a team of people, to maintain this level of timely, personalised communication with every potential and/or current customer. And if you’re trying to grow your ecommerce brand, connecting with your audience on an individual is an essential element. Invest in email marketing automation and start building better connections with your prospects and customers today.

By: Callie Hinman, Content Marketer and Writer, Shipstation

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