How the Retail Industry Uses Email Automation

Email automation is a powerful marketing tool. It helps you build and maintain relationships with your customers and prospects by automatically sending them relevant content that helps them make buying decisions. It can make all the difference between a one-time buyer and a loyal, long-term customer.

When retailers use email automation, they have the potential to lift revenue by 20%. But that’s only if you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to deliver awesome customer experiences along every step of the customer journey. Here are five types of automated emails proven to get results in the retail industry, and the steps you can take to optimize them.

Email receipts

Transactional emails, like the email receipts that your customers received automatically after they make a purchase, are a more significant touchpoint than you may think. 79% of businesses send transactional emails with zero promotional content – that’s a huge missed opportunity!

Why is that? Anyone receiving an email receipt is already interested in buying from you. An email receipt promoting similar products gives your customers a chance to discover new products that might not already know about.

One simple way to do this is by including images of similar products within the email receipt. Silverpop found that emails including images saw 7.1% click-through rates, whereas emails without images only saw click-through rates of 4.7%.

Here’s how Creative Market promotes similar templates in their email receipts.

Emails with shipping information

Just about every retailer sends emails giving their customers a heads up that their order has been shipped, but few take advantage of this email to deliver truly great experiences. How is that possible? Think about it: once you place an order online, you’re glued to the tracking information because you want to know when your order will arrive. Typically, you have to visit another website and enter a tracking code. Annoying, right?

Why not make that experience seamless for your customers by including live tracking information right in your email? That’s what Philosophy does in their shipping emails. Customers are not only notified when their order ships, they can refresh the email again and again for updated tracking information.

New customer emails

Once you have a new customer, it’s your job to keep them engaged. Luckily for retailers, automation makes it easy. You can promote your products and introduce your brand to new customers in a welcome email.

Retail brand Outdoor Voices sends a welcome email that gives a warm welcome to new customers and shows off their clothing. They make it easy for people to click-through in the email to make a purchase with bold call-to-action buttons.

Cart abandonment emails

Did you know that about 68% of shoppers abandon their shopping carts? There are so many reasons why a customer abandons their cart – 47% say they’ll abandon a cart if the website doesn’t load fast enough, 30% are comparison shopping and 44% leave because they don’t want to pay for shipping.

No matter the reason, one thing is true: people who abandon their cart will spend 55% more when they’re remarketed to. That’s why cart abandonment emails are so effective. If you really want your customers to return to their cart, offer them a coupon. A discount could help them get over any unexpected shipping costs.

Here’s how Bass Pro Shops gives their customers a heads up that they left an item in their cart.

Customer reactivation emails

Want to re-engage customers that you haven’t heard from in a while? Or give one-time buyers the nudge they need to buy again? Reactivation emails are part of standard email marketing best practices, and they’re a must-do for the retail industry.

To set up your reactivation campaign, first decide who you want to target – this could be customers who haven’t made a purchase from you in a month, six months or more. Give them an incentive to buy from you again, like a one-time coupon offer. You can make the experience relevant to their buying history by including details about their past purchases.

Here’s American Apparel’s reactivation email.

What are you waiting for, retailers?

These are just a few examples of how the retail industry is using email automation to create better customer experiences. Add these ideas and their interactive elements into the mix, and you’ve got a winning email campaign.