Nature or Nurture? For Long-Term Revenue, Do Both

CM Commerce Team

Nature or nurture? For small ecommerce businesses that seek long-term revenue, nurture is all about using what feels natural to prospective customers and leading them toward buying. But not just any buying. We want long-term revenue as measured in average order value, customer lifetime value, repeat purchase rates, and improved cart recovery rates.

By nature, we mean marketing content, newsletters, emails, and social campaigns that consumers find credible and trustworthy. Authenticity really does matter.

“To win the hearts and business of your target customers, you have to convince them you are trustworthy and authentic,” writes Michael Fertik, founder and chairman of “Being authentic means being accountable and upholding your brand promise. It requires transparency and a dash of vulnerability.”

How do you gain long-term value and revenue from your buyers? At CM Commerce, we’ve been closely studying our customer data to answer this question—and we’re going to dissect one of our customers closely here. But before we dive into that example, we’ll establish:

  • Why being authentic and trustworthy matters
  • Why using an indirect nurture strategy is vital
  • How our customer Pastreez realized long-term value from nurturing
  • Revenue metrics that help prove long-term value from email campaigns.

Why does being authentic and trustworthy matter?

The most obvious answer is this: People want it. But the other less obvious reason is that you can use it to nurture leads.

2019 Stackla study showed that 90% of consumers deem authenticity an important factor when deciding what brands they like and support. There is some fluctuation by generation, but an overwhelming majority of buyers are interested in authentic experiences.

Who wants authenticity? Per Stackla’s findings:

  • 90% of millennials
  • 85% of Generation Xers
  • 80% of baby boomers

So how do you use authenticity in your marketing to help move an interested prospect to become a buyer and product advocate? It’s all part of the nurturing process.

Why is using an indirect nurture strategy vital to ecommerce success?

Potential buyers are everywhere, and they review products and ask for advice from friends, family, and co-workers all the time. In fact, 88% of consumers do research online before buying a product online or from a brick-and-mortar store. And if you are a small business trying to attract millennial and Gen Y audiences, 49% of consumers trust small brands to do the right thing.

You need content that helps potential buyers find useful reviews of your products and that highlights your ethics. This can be published on your site’s blog or in other places. It’s just not enough to try to get consumers to buy your product directly anymore. Of course, you will do this and will continually tweak and test your email marketing campaigns.

Yet small businesses also have to stay on top of social interactions and reviews, and they must provide relevant and useful content that speaks to target audiences all the time. That relevant and useful content can and should be used in nurturing campaigns.

Naturally, when you nurture a prospect, it’s selling of course, but in an indirect way. It’s not a straight-up, “please buy this product right now” ask; it’s a soft sell. Here’s an example from custom framing startup Framebridge.

Framebridge email nurture campaign example

Source: Really Good Emails

This is educational content. It helps prospects understand the essentials of what people do with the product. It’s not really about Framebridge at all—but rather about how a person would use the product once it’s bought.

It’s a thoughtful gesture that says Framebridge understands there’s a complete experience going on. The email does not ask for anything in return. In email marketing terms, our sister email company Emma puts it this way:

“Lead nurture emails provide you an opportunity to connect and build trust with your contacts at all stages of their customer journey … These traits can come from being authentic about your products and services, as well as providing educational and insightful information that’s relevant and helpful to your audience.”

Here’s how our customer Pastreez realized long-term value from an email nurture campaign.

During our case study interview for CM Commerce customer Pastreez, an online shop selling French macarons, we discovered some insights about long-term revenue from direct and indirect sources.

Direct revenue is fairly simple. For example, if you sent 100 emails and made $500 from them, then $500 is the direct revenue. But when Pastreez added nurturing, the effect was a force multiplier.

The Pastreez lead magnet is simple and enticing. Customers sign up through the website pop-up and can receive seven macarons for free. Once they’ve received the voucher for the free macarons, they are then included in an email nurturing campaign to encourage sales over time.

Pastreez nurture email campaign example

After completing an online order, the team of French chefs gets to work on the macarons, putting together a personalized box that’s delivered fresh to a customer’s door within three days.

The campaign’s direct revenue appeared promising: an additional $10,000 for Pastreez, spread over the 2,500 email recipients in a three-part email campaign.

But that wasn’t the end of it.

A few revenue metrics help prove long-term value from email campaigns.

Pastreez saw three extra benefits from its email nurture campaign:

1. Higher average order value

Customers who went through the Pastreez email campaign using CM Commerce had a 23.57% higher average order value (AOV) compared with customers who didn’t experience the campaign.

AOV has legs. It can boost customer lifetime value and direct revenue. Imagine if your AOV is $300. That nearly 24% bump means an additional $70 in sales—for every customer.

2. Higher repeat purchase rate

Another hidden benefit of an indirect method is watching the repeat purchase rate increase. Pastreez customers who experienced this email campaign made 2.56% more purchases than the rest of the brand’s customers.

Repeat and loyal customers are the best. Here’s why: It’s easier to sell to engaged customers who purchase repeatedly. Also, repeat customers tend to spend 3% to 15% more than new ones.

3. Improved cart recovery rate

Our data shows that 10.7% of customers who receive cart recovery emails return to make a purchase. But Pastreez’s rate was off the charts. It had a 50% increase in the overall cart recovery rate, which means the email campaign was effective over the long run. This nurturing method had momentum that encouraged prospects to eventually buy from Pastreez, even though it took two to three emails to make it happen.

The overall value of nurturing and using ready-to-go tools can be best summed up by Pastreez’s co-founder:

“Before CM Commerce, we were paying for multiple Shopify apps to get the features we wanted,” says CEO Anthony Rosemond. “CM Commerce brings all the key offerings we need as a growing ecommerce business into one place. The traffic sent to our site by CM Commerce converts higher than any other traffic source, with a 23 times return on every dollar we spend.”

Wrap up

The benefits of email nurture campaigns that include relevant content and an abandoned cart recovery strategy are deep. They can be a force multiplier over time—especially given their positive effect on repeat customers.

Nurturing may be an indirect marketing and revenue method, but it should encourage you to look beyond more obvious sales metrics.


  • Being authentic and trustworthy matters.
  • An indirect nurture strategy is vital.
  • Long-term revenue value can come from nurturing, in metrics such as average order value, repeat purchase rates, and improved cart recovery

From welcome emails to re-engagement campaigns and beyond, we seamlessly integrate with your ecommerce platforms—Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce—so you’ll have all the features you need to exceed your goals.

CM Commerce features:

  • Pre-made conversion campaigns to recover revenue from abandoned carts
  • Follow-up segmented and personalized emails for cross-selling
  • Product reviews that spotlight your happy customers and build trust (and sales)
  • Automated feedback to increase repeat revenue
  • Ready-to-go templates or custom versions, coupons, and rewards with your branding

Try CM Commerce today for free.