3 types of personalized eCommerce emails you should be sending your customers

Today's guest post is from Daniel Kohn, CEO and co-founder of SmartMail, a company that helps eCommerce stores and online retailers increase sales, average order value, and lifetime customer value through email. Today Daniel shares 3 ideas for personalizing emails, derived from SmartMail’s 4 highest converting email templates to help jump start your eCommerce email marketing program.

Personalization is vital for eCommerce merchants. When done right, personalization can give you the edge you need to stay ahead of your competition. How can you better personalize your emails and convert more shoppers this year?

In this article, I’m going to show you 3 automated email campaigns you should be sending in 2017, and:

  • How you can engage with more shoppers from your site
  • The secret to leveraging more site traffic
  • Best practices for using these 3 automated email campaigns
  • Why these 3 campaigns may just be the highest converting emails you’ll send this year

Why is email important for eCommerce?

Email consistently stands out as one of the best marketing channels you can use for your online business. After all, with an incredible ROI of 3800%, you’re making an average of $38 for every $1 you spend.

If you’re like most merchants, your email marketing strategy might consist of newsletters, promotional messages, and maybe even cart abandonment emails to that 5% of traffic that added products to carts yet never completed a purchase.

But in 2017 when every bit of your site traffic can - and should - be leveraged, you might be wondering how you can use email to not only effectively engage with shoppers but also generate a significant lift in sales.

Automated emails can help you convert more of your site traffic, and the key is knowing exactly which types of emails to automate so that you can increase your reach...and your sales.

The Key to Unlocking Higher Conversions and AOV With Automated Email Campaigns

Spoiler alert: The emails I’m going to show you in this article are not what you might expect.

We’re not going to talk about newsletters or promotional emails or post-purchase emails like win back campaigns, ratings and reviews, and replenishment emails.


While those automated email campaigns are an important part of any eCommerce email marketing strategy, they address only the shoppers who’ve already converted.

What about the other side of the funnel? That eCommerce traffic you’ve worked so hard to get to your site in the first place?

Most eCommerce sites deploy many different strategies to drive traffic to their online stores. Whether through SEO, PPC, social media, or affiliate programs, you’ve likely invested time and money into driving traffic to your site.

The truth is:

Most of your eCommerce traffic will not convert on initial visit.

And while you already know that live chat tools like Olark can help you increase conversions and generate more leads, the reality is that most of your site traffic isn’t sticking around.

Take a look at this site’s analytics:


This screenshot paints the picture of what most eCommerce sites experience: the majority of your traffic won’t even add products to a cart!

image02.jpgSo while sending cart abandonment emails is great, the amount of shoppers who fall into that category only make up a small percentage of overall site traffic.

When you send emails to shoppers who have dropped off your site earlier on in the funnel, you have the opportunity to convert more of those browsers into buyers.

Around 94% of eCommerce traffic expresses different levels and types of purchase intent before leaving without converting, and you can send browse abandonment email campaigns to bring those shoppers back.

What is a Browse Abandonment Email Campaign?

Browse Abandonment Emails are behaviorally-triggered email campaigns that you can automate and send to shoppers who left earlier on in the sales funnel.

Each email can be personalized to each individual shopper by populating every email message with content related to what that shopper did or didn’t do on your site and direct them back to the exact point at which the shopper left your site.

There are 3 types of browse abandonment email campaigns that we’ve found to be the most effective at increasing conversions and average order value, and they are:

  1. Product browse abandonment emails
  2. Homepage browse abandonment emails
  3. Category browse abandonment emails

What’s great about these campaigns is that they each address the greatest traffic segments of shoppers on a one-to-one basis:

  • Shoppers that viewed your homepage and then bounced
  • Shoppers that browsed a category, department, or specific brand on your site but never went on to view an individual product
  • Shoppers that make it all the way to your product pages yet left before adding any products to their carts (this pool of shoppers makes up 20% of your site traffic and exhibits a high level of purchase intent)

Send personalized emails to the shoppers on your site that fall into these categories, and you’ll not only win back potentially lost traffic and sell more on your site, you’ll also be engaging with your shoppers in the ways they like the best.

Did you know that when shoppers were asked how they prefer to receive promotional content, 72% chose email over social media?

This is key, because when you engage with more shoppers in the ways that they prefer, you’re likely to skyrocket conversions for your shopper and win more customers in the long run.

How Effective are Browse Abandonment Campaigns, Really?

I’m going to show you how browse abandonment emails perform, compared to other campaigns and marketing channels, but before we take a look at that, first think about this:

If you want to leverage your site traffic and really increase conversions, you want to focus on the pool of shoppers that is the greatest, right?

In other words, browse abandonment emails enable you to engage with nearly 20x more shoppers than cart abandonment emails and 94x more shoppers than post-purchase emails!

Here are some examples of how well these emails convert, in action:

Personalized browse abandonment campaigns outperform generic messaging 6 to 1.

Site A:


Site B: This site’s abandonment email campaigns outperformed their newsletter by over 700%:


Site C: Browse abandonment emails doubled their abandonment campaign email revenue altogether:


Now that you understand the awesome potential here for increased conversions and AOV, let’s jump into the actual email campaigns you can automate to send to your shoppers this year!

Your Guide to Browse Abandonment Email Campaigns

Automated Email Campaign #1: Product Browse Abandonment Emails


Send This Email To the shoppers who have viewed specific, individual products on your site but did not actually add any of those products to their carts.

Content/Messaging: Use a slight sense of urgency referring to the product viewed by the shopper and use soft calls to action inviting shoppers back to the site.

Product Recommendation Algorithm: Display the exact product that the shopper viewed and then insert a mix of product-related best sellers and category-related best sellers as an upsell/downsell tactic

  • Average Open Rate: 56%
  • Average CTR: 23%
  • Average Revenue Per Email: $3.66

Automated Email Campaign #2: Homepage Browse Abandonment Emails


Send This Email Campaign To the shoppers that browse your homepage but never make it any further into your site. Like window shoppers.

Content/Messaging: Speak to your window shoppers with friendly greetings that welcome them back to your site, and highlight running promotions and top selling items.

Product Recommendation Algorithm: Display a mix of site-wide best sellers and recent top sellers

  • Average Open Rate: 21%
  • Average CTR: 14%
  • Average Revenue Per Email: $0.43

Automated Email Campaign #3: Category Browse Abandonment Emails


Send This Email To the shoppers that click on and view a specific category, brand, or department but never actually view specific, individual products.

Content/Messaging: Show browsers that you noticed their interest in the category that was viewed, and lead them to view related products within that category with soft calls to action.

Product Recommendation Algorithm: Display product recommendations from the category the shopper was browsing, taking into account the best sellers within that category

  • Open Rate: 47%
  • CTR: 21%
  • Average Revenue Per Email: $0.96

Why Most Retailers Are Missing Out On The Most Important Email Automation Strategy

You might be reading this and thinking, “How come I’m not already sending emails like these to my shoppers?”

The fact of the matter is that most marketing professionals and eCommerce businesses focus solely on automated emails that are not personalized, like newsletters and promotional content. If that sounds familiar, don’t despair.

Email automation strategies like sending the campaigns you’ve just seen here used relatively unknown to smaller and mid-sized eCommerce businesses, since only the larger online retailers like Amazon had access to development teams and large budgets that were necessary to set up these automation filters and personalized messages.

But here’s the good news:

In 2017, there are more advanced tools than ever that you can use to expand your email reach and convert more sales.

You can get started by simply asking the following questions:

  • Are the emails I currently send to shoppers personalized for each individual shopper?
  • Does my email marketing software provider include automation filters that allow for separate campaigns addressing different abandoning shoppers at each point in the funnel?
  • Do my emails include personalized product recommendations that are data-driven and appealing for each individual shopper?
  • Does my email marketing software offer varied personalization algorithms to fuel my email messages?

Answering these questions will help you determine whether or not your email marketing software can be used to deploy these highly converting email campaigns.

If you answered no to any of these questions, not to worry. There are a whole slew of tools on the market you can start using quickly and easily in tandem with your pre-existing email marketing campaigns.

Using These Campaigns To Increase Revenue for Your Site

Did you know that 81% of online shoppers report that they are more likely to make a purchase as a result of receiving personalised email messages?

Or that eCommerce giant, Amazon, reportedly generates one-third of their revenue from similar personalization strategies?

It might be easier than you think! 74% of marketers know that personalized messaging can successfully increase customer engagement, yet most of them are not actually sending the personalized campaigns that reach the most site traffic.

So, if you’re looking to stay ahead of the game, whether your online store is big or small, you can start sending these 3 automated email campaigns to your shoppers to generate a brand new stream of revenue in 2017.

After all, with results like these, what have you got to lose? Send the most effective automated email campaigns to your shoppers and you’ve got everything to gain.

Check out relevant topics on: eCommerce and Retail

Daniel Kohn

Read more posts by Daniel Kohn

Daniel Kohn is the CEO and co-founder of SmartMail, a company that helps eCommerce stores and online retailers increase sales, average order value, and lifetime customer value through email. Download SmartMail’s 4 highest converting email templates to help jump start your eCommerce email marketing program.