Email Marketing for Ecommerce Businesses

The Ecommerce industry is booming. Ecommerce is even responsible for the demise of many traditional retailers, with many forced to shut down brick and mortar locations since they’re unable to compete with Ecommerce giants like Amazon.

The COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020 only increased the growth of Ecommerce businesses since many people wanted to avoid leaving their houses. Even with the shutdowns behind us, many customers report that they plan to never return to shopping at a physical location.

It’s important for businesses to reach their customers even though they don’t have a location for them to step foot into. Email marketing has proven to be a highly effective digital marketing strategy.

Not all emails are alike. There are a variety of marketing emails you can send to customers for different situations. Below are some key types of marketing emails that Ecommerce businesses can use to reach their customers.

5 Key Types of Marketing Emails for Ecommerce Businesses

  1. Welcome email
  2. Confirmation email
  3. Cart abandonment email
  4. Upsell and Cross-sell emails
  5. Back in stock email

1. Welcome email

shopping key on keyboard

Welcome emails are your chance to make a great first impression. They also have a very high open rate of up to 60%.

These emails are sent after a customer has subscribed or made a purchase. Once somebody subscribes, send the welcome email immediately. They subscribed, after all, so they’re expecting an email.

This is an opportunity to provide insight into your brand. What sets your brand apart from other brands? Why should the customer shop with you?

Welcome emails should be a series. A good base is three emails. At some point, it would be wise to include a discount offer to entice the customer into making another purchase.

2. Confirmation email

Confirmation emails are more than simply a receipt. 

If you’ve ever ordered something online and not received a confirmation email, you know it makes you uneasy. Did your order go through? Was there a problem? You always want to send these to soothe your customers’ worries.

Of course, it’s vital that confirmation emails do first and foremost function as a receipt. Make sure to include the customer’s order details, shipping information, and your contact information.

But there is also a hidden opportunity with these emails. Confirmation emails have a high open rate with an average open rate of 65%. Take advantage of all those opens!

This could be an opportunity to let the customer know about other products they could browse while awaiting the arrival of their order. You could throw in some upsells and cross-sells (more on those below). You could also a bit of information about your brand or even an offer for a discount or free shipping.

3. Cart abandonment email

abandoned cart in parking lot

More online shopping carts are abandoned than not. In fact, about 70% of carts are abandoned.

All these abandoned carts make sense in the realm of Ecommerce. It would be awkward to abandon your full cart in the middle of Target, but when customers shop online, distractions pop up. Their pizza delivery could arrive at their door and just like that, that poor online shopping cart has been deserted.

However, just because carts are abandoned does not mean all hope of making a sale is lost. This is where cart abandonment emails come in.

Like welcome emails, cart abandonment emails should be a series of several emails. It often takes multiple attempts to inspire the customer to act.

The first email should be sent shortly after the cart is abandoned. This email is a gentle reminder. It’s important to send the email in a timely manner to prevent the customer from purchasing from your competition.

Also similar to welcome emails, it’s a good idea to eventually include a discount offer to compel the customer to complete their purchase.

4. Upsell and Cross-sell emails

It’s much easier to sell to existing customers than to try to find completely new ones. That’s why upselling and cross-selling come in handy since they’re directed at people that have already made a purchase.

Upsell emails let customers know about more expensive options, but don’t just slap down some expensive options hoping people will bite. Emphasize the value of the items so people know why they should buy them.

Cross-sell emails try to sell the customer something that complements their initial purchase. This strategy only works if the products logically go together. You don’t want to try selling the customer products that don’t make sense.

For example, if the customer purchased a pair of shoes, perhaps they would be interested in some snazzy shoelaces to go with them. On the other hand, you don’t want to try selling headphones to a customer that just bought flowers.

5. Back in stock email

womans shopping online

Back in stock emails are great since you know for certain the customer was interested in a specific product.

It’s unlikely the customer will want to lurk around your website every day to see if their desired item is back yet. Since they likely signed up to be notified when the product was back in stock, all you have to do is pop out a back in stock email when inventory is replenished.

These emails should include a link to purchase so it’s easy and convenient for the customer. After that, you might just make a sale. It’s a win-win situation.


Email marketing is crucial for Ecommerce businesses, and it’s important to send the correct types of emails at the correct time. Spamming your customers with irrelevant or too many emails will not benefit your Ecommerce business and could even drive customers away.

Ecommerce businesses are unique in that customers will never step foot in your store. Because of that, you have to approach your customers in a different way than you would with traditional retail. Emails are a highly effective way to do just that.