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Your Ecommerce Lifecycle Emails are a Missed Sales Opportunity

Updated on  7th December

5 Min Read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Lifecycle emails, the communication you have with your customers outside your website, are often thought of as a way to increase engagement and nurture repeat buying behavior. They certainly help customers develop a positive affinity toward your brand. Given all this utility, they still remain an under-utilized sales opportunity.

Your every email to the customers is an opportunity to make a sale, using techniques like upsells, cross-sells, or other sales nudges, and it takes minimal effort to upgrade your lifecycle campaigns to do it.

Here are a few quick tips to improve your lifecycle emails and tap into their sales potential.

Welcome Emails

When a customer registers for an account on your store, or signs up for a mailing list, you can send a “welcome” email to thank them for joining your community. These emails aren’t often seen as a sales opportunity, but welcome emails have 320% more revenue per email than other promotional emails. They also make customers more likely to read future emails from your brand, providing future selling opportunities.

Welcome emails are often the first offsite opportunity you have to connect a new customer to your brand. Many brands use these emails to introduce customers to a current sale, discount, or popular product.

Good welcome emails:

  • Are personal and personalized: use the customer’s name if available
  • Set expectations for future emails
  • Have one goal—click to see a sale, use a discount, log into an account, read a members-only section, etc.—then use a call to action (CTA) to lead customers there

As you can see, if you use your welcome email for a non-sales goal (like introducing a user to a special section of your site), you shouldn’t confuse things by adding a second CTA for a sales goal. Pick one thing and stick to it.

That said, this doesn’t necessarily have to be an account registration email; in fact, sending a welcome email a bit after registration email (i.e., 6 hours to a day) can allow you to make the communication more personal and focus on a sales goal instead of housekeeping.

Here’s a great example from Analog Watch Co that’s sent a bit after subscribers join their mailing list — it provides a lot of information about the company, including a personal letter from the founder and details about the brand so customers feel good about purchasing from their store. Then, it sticks with one goal: encourage a purchase by sharing a discount code.

Welcome Emails

Cart Recovery Emails

It’s a hard truth of the ecommerce world, but most carts are abandoned. The latest industry average finds that almost 70% of shopping carts are dropped by consumers before completing checkout. Let me say that again: 7 out of 10 customers who put an item in a shopping cart on your site will never complete the purchase.

The good news is that a lot of that revenue is recoverable via email. In fact, internal data from our team at Jilt, a shopping cart recovery email service, finds a 15-20% conversion rate among recovery emails merchants send. These emails work for a few reasons:

  • They remind customers to buy who may have been distracted during purchase (a common occurrence!)
  • They incentivize purchase by offering deals like free shipping or discount codes
  • They drive additional sales by including up-sells, cross-sells, or coupons on added items
  • They uncover issues in your purchase funnel and offer opportunities to learn from customers (e.g., maybe their reason for abandonment was an unclear return policy or unexpected shipping charge)

Recovery emails are one of the easiest to implement lifecycle emails for ecommerce merchants and come with a huge potential reward. If your store does $10,000 a month in sales, you could expect to earn about $1,000 – $3,000 in additional revenue based on industry standard recovery rates.

The best recovery emails will target any potential issues at checkout, then address common causes of abandonment to save the sale.

Cart Recovery Emails

Jilt takes just a few minutes to set up, works with WooCommerce and EDD, and has all the best practices built in.

Order Confirmation Emails

Every time your store receives an order, you probably already send an order confirmation email. What if I told you that you’re missing out on a huge revenue opportunity?

According to the Experian Transactional email report, clicks on “order confirmation” emails are 4x as more frequent than on bulk mailings, and open rates are far higher as customers frequently open confirmation emails more than once. That makes them ripe for cross-selling or upselling products, but most ecommerce merchants completely miss out the oppertunity.

According to Experian, transaction rates on order confirmation emails are higher than bulk emails, and order confirmation emails that include cross-sell items have 20% higher transaction rates than those without.

So here’s the deal: people who order from you want to know that their order went through and get the piece of mind that comes with confirmation. These are emails that have astronomical open and read rates and way higher CTRs. Don’t blow them on only necessary info like confirmation numbers, tracking numbers, and order details. Here are some other things you could be including to turn these emails into revenue drivers:

  • Upsells or cross-sells to additional items—especially effective if those items are related to what the customer just purchased
  • Discounts or special deals on future purchases
  • News about upcoming or exclusive items

Follow up Emails

Separate from order confirmation emails, you can also send customers other types of follow up emails after purchase. You can do a lot with these emails and they improve the experience your customers have with your store. They can also be a direct revenue opportunity (by providing an opportunity to cross-sell or upsell) or an indirect opportunity (by gathering reviews or feedback that can drive future revenue).

Here are a few of the types of follow up emails you can send:

  • Gather feedback about your customer’s purchase experience, which can help you improve your store and increase future conversion rates
  • Ask for product reviews, which help drive additional future sales (product reviews are one of the most effective purchasing decisions influencers)
  • Remind customers to reorder products that regularly run out (e.g., food or lifestyle items)
  • Reward loyalty with discounts or offers (like free shipping) on future purchases
  • Cross-sell related items based on recent purchases
  • Win-back lapsed customers (people who haven’t ordered in 45-60 days) with special deals
  • Notify customers of seasonal sales or new product releases

You can even get creative: here’s a follow up from Drizly that runs when you purchase a gift order for someone else to incentivize a future purchase:

Follow up Emails

Remember, though, as with the welcome emails, make sure you have one, clearly defined goal. An email that asks for feedback and cross-sells related items will be less effective than one that just focuses on a single CTA.

You can, however, incentive non-purchase behavior with rewards that directly drive revenue (e.g., give users a coupon for completely a feedback survey). Just be careful when it comes to reviews—most platforms encourage you to ask for reviews, but many don’t let you reward them with materially valuable things like coupon codes.

Drive Revenue Through Lifecycle Emails

Although there are several kinds of lifecycle emails that you can also use to drive additional sales at your store, the above-mentioned four are among the most common and easy to implement. Email conversion rates are significantly higher than other communication channels (4.25% for email compared to 0.59% for social and 2.49% for search), so it is one of your most effective selling tools. Make sure you’re getting the most of out every email you send, including your lifecycle emails.

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Beka Rice

Beka Rice is the Head of Product at SkyVerge, a software company devoted to helping eCommerce merchants increase revenue and streamline their businesses. Products like Jilt and WooCommerce Memberships have already helped merchants generate millions of dollars in additional revenue

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