How to Leverage Email Marketing for Your Online Shop

This post will go into how you can leverage email in your e-commerce business to gain new, lost, or recurring clients.

Every Subscriber Counts

It’s much easier for people to subscribe to your newsletter than it is to actually spend money and buy something at your online shop. So you’re probably getting a lot more newsletter subscriptions than you are getting sales. This is fine, of course, because you’re still able to reach out to these people. That’s why every subscriber counts: they are all special and valuable to your business.

A few days ago I got this email from a Dutch webshop:

Email from Dutch webshop stating VIP discounts


They’re offering special “Exclusive VIP discounts” in this email. Basically, they are offering a discount to everyone, but as a newsletter subscriber you get ‘early access’ to those discounts. I’m not sure how legitimate this actually is, as I think the discount was available to everyone from the start. However, it is a nice idea to give your newsletter subscribers just that little edge.

You can even think about giving your newsletter subscribers a discount, but our preference is to leave perks such as this for your loyal customers. More on that later in this post.


One great way to use emails in your ecommerce business  is by sending recovery emails. Recovery emails are emails that are sent when someone has abandoned their cart without finishing the transaction. You could email them reminding them there’s still something in their cart and they’re welcome to complete the purchase.

Usually there’s a time limit to this, so do mention this. This will actually also create urgency, which can actually help. Some businesses even choose to give discounts after a cart is abandoned. We personally don’t like to use discounts this way, as it seems unfair to the rest of our customers. However, it does seem to work, so I’m just putting it out there!

Email from Dutch webshop telling me I’ve left something in their shopping cart


It can be as simple as this. They reminded me I’ve left something in the shopping cart, and just to make it a bit less pushy, they also tell me: “Maybe you wanted to save this item for another visit to our site. If that’s the case, please put it on your wish list and be sure it’s saved.” So apart from just telling you to go buy the stuff you’ve left, they also inform you on a helpful functionality. That makes it a lot less intrusive and you’re actually more likely to go to their site. And whether you end up buying that exact product; it got you back on their website.


Email is a great way to increase your customers’ retention. What this means is that it’ll increase the amount of customers that purchase repeatedly, instead of just once. So this would help make your clients recurring clients. By emailing your customers on a regular basis, your brand will stay top of mind and they’ll return more quickly to buy something again. Of course your emails would have to be interesting, enticing and engaging for this to really work:

Email from German Amazon asking to review the product you recently bought


Now as with a lot of things on Amazon, this is a stroke of genius. It gives you a good reason to go back to their site, without sounding salesy at all. You end up on their website and before you know it there’s another DVD, eBook, or iPhone 6 in your cart.

Related Products

There’s another way to get your customers back to your website and maybe ordering some things. My colleague Michiel got an email confirming his order at The confirmation email included this:

Related products in email


He had ordered sweaters from this webshop and was smart enough to show related products in the confirmation email. The only thing that I’m thinking is that showing sweaters when you’ve just bought three sweaters might not be the best product group. T-shirts or maybe some pairs of pants would make more sense. But then again, it could just be me and other people might like 10 new sweaters.

Admittedly, this is a bit more aggressive than the Amazon example, but cross-selling items in your confirmation emails has been found to increase your transaction rates by 20%. The aggressiveness also comes down to where you place these related items. Wehkamp showed these related items quite close to the bottom of the email, so that makes it a bit less aggressive. However, I can image that this also means less people will be enticed to buy something else. This comes down to what works best for your business and what you feel comfortable with.

Reward Your Loyal Customers

Email is a good tool to give something extra to your loyal customers. You can even make different segments of loyal customers and email these groups accordingly. This can start from people who bought just one product to people who have bought a multitude of items in your online shop.

By giving these customers something extra, you’re expressing your gratitude that they’re you customers. And, of course, in return you’ll get another nice revenue boost from your most loyal customers.

How’s Your Email Marketing?

I’m really curious as to whether I bored you out of your skull or you’ve actually learned something. Do you think you’re doing a good job at your email marketing, or did this post just wake you up? Let me know in the comments!


This post originally appeared on Yoast, and is re-published with permission.
Featured Image: Sarunyo_foto via Shutterstock