June 7, 2024

Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation: Complete Guide with Workflow Examples

Table of Contents

Email marketing has a high ROI. A quarter of US consumers suggest that they are more likely to purchase a product after receiving an email newsletter. 

However, creating an email marketing campaign is no easy task. A number of components go into the process, such as customer segmentation, creating subject lines, email copy, graphics, and engaging CTAs. Email is a channel that relies the most on automation.

With ecommerce email marketing automation, you can engage with customers effortlessly. The right emails reach the right people at the right time automatically. This frees up your team, allowing you to focus on strategy–a goal shared by 48% of marketing professionals.

In this blog, we discuss how to get started with email marketing automation and maximize your ROI. 

What is Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation?

Ecommerce email marketing automation simplifies the process of sending personalized messages to subscribers. It's all about setting up specific triggers that send the right message to the right person at the right time, making your marketing efforts more efficient and effective.

For instance, when someone signs up for a newsletter, they will receive a series of welcome emails introducing the brand. These emails will be followed by valuable content, discount codes, and offers to encourage further interaction. 

How Does Email Marketing Automation Work?

Email marketing automation works with a series of set-up automated email workflows and sequences that get triggered based on specific actions.

The core process typically involves:

1. Integrating customers' data into automation software

You start by importing your email lists or contacts from sources like Shopify or your CRM tool. The tool consolidates subscriber information from multiple sources into information-rich, unified profiles. 

This gives the automation tool visibility into your contact database. It also provides insights into customer behaviors and preferences to allow customer segmentation. 

2. Creating segments 

Creating customer segments is important for delivering personalized emails to your customers. With email automation, you can segment customers based on demographics, age, gender, purchase value, or specific events. 

3. Building automated workflow sequences 

In this step, you visually map out your automated sequences using the workflow or drag-and-drop builder. 

For example:

  • Welcome email sequence after signing up
  • Abandoned cart reminders based on site behavior
  • Purchase follow-up sequences after buying
  • Re-engagement campaigns for inactive subscribers

This defines the rules for each automated campaign. Each workflow has pre-defined triggers that initiate the sequence. Common triggers include subscribing to a list, purchasing, abandoning a cart, specific dates, interacting with emails, etc.

4. Designing emails 

With email marketing automation, you can create visually appealing, on-brand emails that can be used for multiple email campaigns. An email marketing automation tool also comes with customizable templates. 

You can include dynamic elements like product recommendations, social links, etc, and optimize emails for different devices and inboxes.

5. Personalize messages 

To personalize the automated emails, you use custom fields and dynamic placeholders that pull in subscriber-specific details like name, location, products browsed, and products purchased.

Plivo CX comes with an AI assistant that lets you personalize your emails based on the objective, brand length, and occasion.

6. Monitoring campaign performance 

To maximize the ROI of your email marketing automation, you should continually optimize content, segmentation, and cadences based on performance analytics. 

Benefits of Using Email Marketing Automation

1. Personalized customer experience

Email personalization is the leading priority for 55% of marketers, and automation makes it easier to achieve. Email marketing automation includes features like segmentation and triggers that help you send personal messages. 

For example, you can trigger an abandoned cart email whenever someone leaves a product in the cart or use AI to send a personalized email wishing them on events like birthdays and anniversaries.  

2. High ROI

Email marketing has unparalleled ROI compared to other marketing channels. Marketers witnessed a doubling of their ROI from email marketing in 2023. In this scenario, automating this channel acts as a cherry on top. Automation eliminates manual tasks in the process of email marketing. It also reduces staffing needs, removes the risk of human error which increases your bottom line.

Source: Statista

3. Engaged customers 

52% of customers in the US prefer email to engage with brands' incentivized messages. Ecommerce email automation helps you maintain this engagement. It enables you to send targeted messages based on individual preferences and behaviors.

To enhance the overall experience, you can nurture leads over time with drip campaigns and respond timely to customer actions. By setting up automated workflows, you can reach a larger audience consistently across various touchpoints. 

4. Perfect for upselling and cross-selling

Through ecommerce email automation, you can recommend similar products whenever someone makes a purchase. 

Take the email below as an example. When a customer purchases honey from this brand, the company shares other organic products that may interest them. This way, you can retain more customers and increase their lifetime value. 

7 Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation Workflow Examples

Here are seven crucial email flows to engage customers from lead capturing to post-purchase engagement:

1. Welcome emails 

Welcome emails are sent to new subscribers or customers shortly after they sign up or make their first purchase. These emails aim to introduce the brand, set expectations, and provide relevant information or offers. 

Example workflow: 

  • New customer signs up/makes a purchase
  • Send a welcome email with a discount code or incentive
  • If there is no purchase in 7 days, send a follow-up email with product recommendations
  • If purchased, move to a regular marketing sequence.

2. Abandoned cart emails 

Abandoned cart emails Brief explanation: Abandoned cart emails are triggered when a customer adds items to their online shopping cart but doesn't complete the purchase. These emails aim to remind customers of the items left in their cart and encourage them to complete the purchase. 

Example workflow: 

  • The customer adds items to the cart but doesn't checkout
  • Send abandoned cart email after 1 hour with cart contents and incentive 
  • If there is no purchase in 24 hours, send a second email with a stronger incentive 
  • If there is no purchase in 72 hours, remove it from the sequence

3. Order follow-up email 

Order follow-up emails are sent after a customer makes a purchase. These emails can include order confirmations, shipping updates, product care instructions, or cross-selling/upselling recommendations. 

Example workflow: 

  • The customer makes a purchase 
  • Send order confirmation email 
  • When the order ships, send a shipping confirmation with the tracking number 
  • Seven days after delivery, send a follow-up email with product care tips and related product recommendations.

4. Lead nurturing campaigns

Lead nurturing campaigns are designed to convert leads into customers by providing relevant content and offers based on their interests and behaviors. 

Example workflow: 

  • Lead signs up for a newsletter or downloads a content offer 
  • Send a series of emails with educational content and product information 
  • If engaged (opens/clicks), send a special offer or incentive 
  • If there is no engagement after three emails, move to the re-engagement sequence.

5. Re-engagement campaigns

Re-engagement campaigns aim to re-activate inactive subscribers or customers who haven't engaged with the brand for a certain period. 

Example workflow: 

  • Subscriber hasn't opened or clicked an email in 90 days 
  • Send a "We miss you" email with an incentive or content 
  • If there is no engagement, send a second email with a stronger incentive or content 
  • If there is still no engagement, move to a win-back campaign or remove it from the list

6. Birthday/Anniversary emails

Birthday or anniversary emails are sent to customers on or around their birthdays or the anniversary of their first purchase. These emails often include personalized offers or discounts. 

Example workflow: 

  • The customer's birthday or purchase anniversary is approaching 
  • Send a personalized email with a special offer or discount code 
  • Follow up with a thank you email and related product recommendations if they purchase.

7. Event-based emails

Event-based emails are triggered by specific events or actions taken by the customer, such as browsing a particular product category, attending a webinar, or leaving a review. 

Example workflow: 

  • The customer leaves a product review 
  • Send a thank you email with a discount code for their next purchase 
  • If no purchase is made within 30 days, send a follow-up email with related product recommendations and the discount code.

Start Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation 

Plivo CX’s end-to-end automation helps you nurture stronger customer relationships through personalized communication. The automation capabilities save you time, letting you focus on crafting strategies that drive engagement and growth. 

Ready to see how your email marketing can evolve? 

Book a demo today.

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