E-Commerce Email Automation: No Longer Optional

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Even for small entrepreneurs, e-commerce email automation is now a must-have for your sales and marketing tech stack. At least, that is, if growing your business is your main objective.

And it’s not just email automation — more and more e-merchants are also finding creative ways to deploy SMS text messaging in their customer marketing. Read on to learn why these two tech strategies are essential for any e-commerce business, especially right now.


In the Age of Covid, businesses have had to adapt marketing strategies to a new current reality. E-commerce email automation is helping savvy e-merchants not just to adapt, but to thrive.

  • E-commerce in general has been one bright spot in the economy thus far as people shop online instead of going to brick and mortar stores.
  • Also, many more consumers are spending all day at home working remotely.
  • They have more time to read personal emails and texts instead of walking around their workplace, having meetings, or performing routine tasks.
  • Finally, staying away from physical stores also means they’re more and more dependent on electronic communications to tell them what’s hot, what’s available, and where to get it.

A smart e-merchant will be ready to fill those voids, and the ones who are using e-commerce email automation will be the winners.


Some compelling statistics explain why.

Omnisend, an email+ SMS marketing platform specifically serving the e-commerce industry, recently published an analysis of email and SMS results for Q2 2020. They looked at 2.4 B emails and 1.8 M SMS messages, collectively sent out by some 50,000 brands. All of the brands were using email and SMS automation in their marketing.

The report compared year-over-year data on common metrics such as sends, opens, clicks, and conversions for the 2nd quarter of 2019 vs 2020. Here are some of its key findings:

  • Open rates overall grew by 76.25% year-over-year.
  • 16% more automated email messages were opened, vs the previous year.
  • Conversion rates from promotional campaigns saw an 88% year-over-year increase.
  • Conversion rates for targeted, personalized (automated) messages increased by 63% year-over-year and were more than 3X more successful than blast email campaigns.
  • Overall use of text messages by the studied brands grew by 239% from Q2 2019.
  • SMS messages got a click rate of 14.9% and a conversion rate of 2.13% conversion rate, averaging 40% better than last year.

See this article for a more in-depth look at the Omnisend report and the specific impacts of the pandemic on shopping behavior.



The appeal of SMS marketing

Anyone who’s run or volunteered on a political campaign lately has come to understand the power of SMS messaging. Compared with paltry email open rates and a 95% “ignore” rate for phone calls, text messages still receive a whopping 70 to 90% open rate.  People weary of general promo emails and wary of unrecognized-number phone calls will still respond to a text, most of the time.

SMS messages are short and get right to the point; they’re also harder to ignore when there’s an appealing offer attached, compared to all the noise of a crowded inbox.

A lot of these e-merchants are realizing that SMS has equal or greater potential as a marketing channel than email. They’re adding SMS as a mobile opt-in on their email forms to collect consumer contact information.

This is not to diminish email’s effectiveness as a marketing tool. But it also depends on what type of email you’re sending.



The right and wrong way to use email in your marketing

If you’re not using e-commerce e-mail automation, that doesn’t mean you’re not sending customer emails. Many e-commerce platforms come with e-mail features, but their functionality is limited compared to a fully robust app that lets you set up multiple types of campaigns and triggered email sequences. These limited-function add-ons let you create batches and send out promo blasts, but they don’t allow for much personalization beyond auto-merging a recipient’s name.

It’s personalized emails that get most of the opens. This kind of personalization isn’t just adding a name, it’s a direct response to an action already taken by the recipient and acknowledging their interest. Automated welcome emails and cart abandonment messages, for example, can both be big drivers to conversions. The Omnisend report showed “welcome” messages produced a 48.35% conversion rate, almost an 800% lift over promotional campaigns. Cart abandonment emails and texts converted to sales more than 25% of the time. That’s about 373% better than standard promotional blasts.

It’s a little counter-intuitive, but email automation actually enables you to get much more personal than if you manually send customer emails. E-commerce email automation can run in the background while you tend to other business.  When you set up triggered sequences, you can personalize every current and future email that prospect or customer receives, with information that’s more directly relevant to them. If you think about the emails you  yourself receive – which ones are you most likely to open, and which ones will you ignore?


The bottom line is that brands that automate email and SMS messages are outperforming those that don’t.


As the pandemic continues and need-based online shopping has become the norm, this has led to increased open and conversion rates for emails. It’s especially true for ones that are targeted to those interested in a particular product, or with a relevant purchase history. But you cannot segment your lists this way without a good e-commerce email automation solution.

Omnisend’s Greg Zakowickz highlighted this finding: “Twenty-six percent of all email conversions came from automated messages. These messages accounted for less than 2% of all email sends. It’s simple—for brands looking to grow their sales, marketing automation is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a requirement.”

Shoppingfeed is not affiliated with any e-commerce email automation providers, but if you are one of our customers we’d be happy to review some of those options with you. You can also see this article for previous recommendations.



Request a demo and a free 14-day trial of our powerful automation tools.

Julie Stewart

My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.

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