Turn Your Retail Emails Into Ecommerce Campaigns

CM Commerce Team

Working in ecommerce isn’t as different as many marketers believe. Retail emails can easily take on the same style as more traditional email marketing campaigns. So there’s no reason to stress over creating ecommerce campaigns, especially if you have a background in email marketing already.

It’s important to note that email marketing benefits not only those brands that are solely online, but also those with a more traditional setup (a brick-and-mortar storefront).

Begin in store and continue online.

Email marketing is an extremely valuable part of any retail brand’s marketing strategy, even if you don’t have an online store. In fact, even if you don’t have an online storefront or simply haven’t gotten it set up yet, you can (and should) be collecting your customer’s email addresses in-store.

Email marketing is an outstanding way to stay in touch with your clients, whether it be sending them updates on the company, sending out holiday best wishes, or even celebrating their birthdays with a special offer.

If you aren’t quite sure on how to start collecting customer emails for your retail emailing list, here are a handful of ideas to help get you started:

  • Host a local event: This can be a great way to not only get to know your local community, but gather essential consumer information, such as their email address. This way, you can send them valuable information on the event as it gets closer.
  • Encourage signing up for a customer loyalty program: Have a signup sheet at your register and ask customers if they want to become a part of your email list to receive special offers and updates
  • Ask for customer feedback: Have a flier available in-store or at checkout to hand out to your consumers, asking them to leave you some feedback online through a survey. These surveys are a great way of collecting consumer information, including their email.

Once you’ve started gathering your customer’s email addresses in person or online via the methods above, you can start including them into your retail emails and campaigns.

6 retail emails you want to include in your ecommerce campaigns

Retail emails aren’t all that different from your traditional email marketing campaigns. The difference here is that your primary focus is to make a sale of some sort instead of simply getting readers to click through to your site and check out an article or another piece of content.

Here are 6 retail emails that you’ll want to be sure to include in your ecommerce campaigns.

1. Welcome email series

Retail or not, once you’ve gotten someone to give you their email to join your subscriber list, you need to take the time to welcome them and show your appreciation to them. With retail emails, this is a great way to talk about who you are, what your brand’s about, and maybe share with them a little something special to start the relationship off right.

Take this example from the skincare brand APTO.

APTO welcomes new subscribers with a special promo code

Source: Really Good Emails

In their welcome email, APTO not only takes the time to summarize some important facts about their brand quickly, but they include a special free shipping code to be used on the receiver’s first order. This is a clever move for retail emails because it encourages your new subscribers to click through and browse your site, as well as encourages them to make the conversion from subscriber to consumer with the option of saving extra money with the free shipping incentive.

2. Opt-in emails

Whether you received a customer’s email address in person or online, you need to send them an opt-in email to confirm that they genuinely want to receive your promotional email content. While this step is often included in a brand’s welcome email series, that isn’t always the case. In fact, some brands (especially those who received a customer’s email in-store) choose to send the opt-in email prior to sending their welcome series to ensure that their customer wants to hear from them.

When it comes to your email campaigns, retail or not, these opt-ins should never be left out of your email marketing strategy. Consumers are protected under a variety of email marketing rules and regulations. So, if you don’t send an opt-in email specifically asking for their consent to send them promotional content, then you can find yourself in trouble.

Now, people can opt in through a variety of different forms, including:

  • Newsletter signups
  • Verifications
  • Class enrollments
  • Account activations and more

In this retail email example from Zulily, the brand chose to go with an “activate my account” CTA in order to get their new subscribers to verify that they want to continue receiving content from them.

Zulily has users opt in by activating their account.

Source: Pinterest

While this is a great example, it follows the lines of a single opt-in. While there’s nothing wrong with a single step opt-in, most companies now choose to use a double opt-in process. This allows them to make sure that the subscriber didn’t mistakenly sign up.

A typical double opt-in will ask for a user to enter their email manually into a form, which will then be followed up with an email asking them to verify their email or their account.

3. Targeted campaigns

Targeted campaigns, also known as segmented campaigns, target a very specific subset of your subscribers. This is a particularly important campaign for retail emails because it helps you send more personalized messages to your subscribers. Personalization is key to any email marketing campaign, and it can be difficult to get personal when sending retail messages.

Using vital consumer information to segment your subscriber’s lists can help with this immensely. You can segment your customers in hundreds of different ways, including:

  • Gender
  • Geographical location
  • VIP status
  • User preferences
  • Past purchase history
  • Past browsing history and more

Adidas utilizes user segmentation in their retail emails by targeting gender in many of their emails. In the example below, they can send a targeted message based on their customer’s gender, which will then send one of two messages to each of them.

Adidas uses gender as a way to target specific audience members.

Source: Campaign Monitor

4. New stock notices

Product launches, new stock notices, and inventory updates are all tremendous retail emails that can be sent out for ecommerce email campaigns. In fact, they’re great ways to help encourage your previous customers to return and make future purchases.

Kate Spade is a brand that sends out regular new inventory email updates to their subscribers because their items are frequently sought out by consumers. That means that stock can quickly dwindle both in stores and online. Sending out updates on a new stock is a great way to not only keep your reader informed, but to generate more buzz around your products or services.

Kate Spade sends out new stock emails to excite consumers.

Source: Campaign Monitor

5. Reviews and surveys

Retail emails don’t have to be purely promotional, even though the aim is to convert subscribers to consumers. One great way to make your emails seem less promotional is to ask for your subscriber’s feedback. The feedback can be on anything, including:

  • Experience shopping online
  • Experience shopping in-store
  • Product reviews
  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Research inquiries (i.e., interest in future products and services) and more

Retail brand Anthropologie does a wonderful job of downplaying the promotional aspect of their email by masking their effort as a reward for customers taking their time to fill out a short survey.

Anthropologie gets their consumers interacting by sending out surveys and thanking them with a special offer.

Source: Really Good Emails

Not only does the subscriber feel as though their voice is being heard, but that they’re appreciated, since they’re receiving a special 20% off their next full-price purchase. That extra-special treat will encourage the subscriber to click through to the website and hopefully make a purchase.

6. Re-engagement emails

Have you noticed a lull in orders or decreased engagement? Then it may be time to incorporate a re-engagement campaign into your retail emails. These emails are intended to help you reconnect with subscribers who’ve gone quiet or have simply stopped interacting (e.g., opening or clicking on) your emails.

Subscribers can go dormant for many reasons, and it’s vital to find out why they’ve gone inactive before you can start designing a re-engagement email campaign to help bring them back. There are several different ways to do this, including sending out a customer satisfaction survey.

If you offer a free trial of your products or services, you may notice that many people go inactive as soon as their free trial ends. One way to help get them excited about reactivating or continuing their subscription is by offering a special one-time offer.

Jet does an excellent example of this by offering up subscribers who’ve tried their services an additional 15% off their next two purchases.

Jet offers a special discount to free-trial members as a way to encourage them to continue shopping with them.

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap up

Retail emails, while different from many traditional email marketing messages aren’t as different as they may seem on the surface. While the aim is to increase sales and overall revenue, they still can be designed to inform and make your readers feel as if they’re more than just another sale in your eyes.

A few emails that can easily be made into ecommerce campaigns include:

  • Email opt-ins
  • Welcome emails
  • Surveys/feedback emails
  • Re-engagement emails
  • New inventory announcements
  • Targeted emails