For a retailer, email marketing is all about building long lasting relationships with your customers through a personalised experience, squeezing out as much ROI as possible.

There are a number of different types of emails which you may be sending as part of your email strategy, but here are 8 that you should be sending as a retailer.

Welcome emails

The first email every customer should receive from you is a welcome message. Dumping customers straight into your main stream of emails is proven to be less effective. Use the first email to set expectations of the type of things the customer has signed up to receiving, and if they are yet to make a purchase, provide a unique discount code to encourage them to make the next step.

There may be a lot of key messages you want to get across to your customer, and these should be broken down into a series of emails over a set period of time before introducing the customer into your main set of emails.

Newsletters & Promotions

It’s rare to find a retailer that doesn’t send a newsletter – but not all make the most out of this opportunity. A newsletter will only be successful if it is providing value to the subscriber, if it doesn’t, you’ll find your newsletter left unopened across multiple inboxes. Focus on providing a personalised, relevant experience and where possible, tailor products based upon what you know about a customer. Frequency is always a contentious issue and there is no right answer, but use the rule of thumb of only sending when you have something valuable to say or give.


When you have a big promotion, one hit on the database is never enough. I’m not saying you need to craft a completely different email, but you will need to make changes to the existing one, perhaps adding that layer of urgency in the subject line and copy. Using segmentation you can ensure that the reminder is only sent to those necessary, preventing the risk of annoying subscribers who have already responded to the initial email.

Reminders are a effective way of increasing revenue from email and sending a reminder usually generates at least half of the response again from an audience which did not interact last time.

Cart Recovery

5% of your online sales should come from a well optimised Cart Recovery programme...

However, make sure you stick with the golden principles for success, including:

  • Send within 1 hour of the abandon
  • Send 2 additional emails, 24 hours later, and up to 3 days later
  • Only incentivise the completion of the purchase at email 2 onwards
  • Match as many abandoners as you can to an email address to ensure you can send the emails


As a retailer you should have enormous amounts of data on what customers have purchased or browsed. This data should be put to good use to create recommended products for every individual, providing them with relevant products that are likely to be of interest to them. Not only can product recommendations increase ROI significantly, but they also help to increase customer retention and extend the lifetime of the customers relationship with your brand.

The 2nd purchase

Nearly all retailers will have a huge portion of customers who have only ever ordered once. Make a small dent in this and it creates a huge impact on the bottom line. The best time to do this is shortly after the first purchase where a personalised message or special 2nd purchase incentive will have maximum impact.

Review Requests

Product reviews make a huge difference to conversion rates, along with providing many other benefits including fresh content for search engines. Email is a strong channel for requesting reviews – if you leave it to the customer to write their own then expect limited response. A good email programme to obtain reviews will capture reviews from 10-15% of customers after they purchase.


Those customers who have not purchased anything in several months or years need more of a prompt to come back and buy again. Here you can raise your discount level as you are only reaching customers who are not buying again, but incentivising them to do so can turn them into a loyal customer. Start by stepping outside of your usual creative to arrive at something that has more impact, and send the email when there are no conflicting promotions to confuse customers.


By James Lucas, Emailcenter

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