Website owners hate abandoned shopping carts, inactive customers and decreasing conversion rates, but all too often opportunities are left unexploited to reduce these by delivering personalised, targeted event driven email marketing.

Email marketing also provides opportunities to build relationships, trust and boost customer loyalty which will also positively affect the bottom line.

In the following article, I’ll look into five key points that can help you to generate more revenue and take your ecommerce activities to a higher level using email marketing.

1. Increase conversion with segmentation

How can you get more conversions by using email marketing? By considering email marketing as more than just sending a weekly newsletter to your entire database.

Web shops generally possess a lot of customer information, and this data can be used easily and wisely by using event driven email as part of your email marketing strategy. Event driven emails are prepared using a set of triggers, allowing you to set up and fine tune your communication and response optimally based on the behaviour of your customers.

Increase conversion with segmentationSo consider using event driven emails such as:

.These automated emails can also be personalised to include name and address and a host of customer specific information that ensures that your communication is as personal and relevant as possible leading to an increased conversion.

2. Deploy customers for better product information management (PIM)

Use email marketing to ask your customers to write reviews. Next to valuable customer insights this will also provide you with insights on the performance of your web shop.

Reward these customers with an incentive after they have written a review. For example, you can invite them to write a review, three weeks after they’ve made a purchase. When there is no response from the customer, think about sending a reminder and mentioning the incentive again.

The information given by the customer can be used perfectly to optimize the product information in your web shop. Enrich your products in the front-end with information such as: “This product already has 13 positive reviews. Read them here”. And similarly you can enrich your products in the back-end: “product X relates optimally combined with product A”. This last piece of information can be used when setting up cross- and up sell campaigns.

An additional advantage of these reviews is that they contribute to your position as a web shop in search engines because of the relevant and unique content your customers add to your web shop. This user generated content makes it more attractive for your potential customers to make a purchase in your web shop.

3. Use email marketing to support your order management

One of the key success factors of your web shop is the amount of service orientation towards your customers. Email marketing is still used too little to answer service questions such as Where Is My Order? (WISMO). This part of order management can be followed up effectively using email marketing.

To prevent high distribution costs (for example extra costs because the customer couldn’t answer the door) and to increase the service level of your web shop, you have to decrease your WISMO-questions. The most important advice in this matter is to keep communicating with your customers.

You can keep your customer up-to-date on the status of their order by combining email marketing with a good landing page enabling your customer to track his order status and pro-active emails mentioning changes on that page.

This tackles possible questions such as ‘when can I expect my order’ and you facilitate customers in freeing up their schedule, making sure they’re at home when the order is delivered.

4. Reactivate inactive customers via email

Reactivate inactive customers via emailAlmost every web shop has customers who haven’t been active in the web shop for a long time or who don’t open the newsletter any more. This group is inactive and useless for your site.

This is a missed opportunity! Think about sending a reactivation mail to customers who haven’t opened your newsletter the past 10 times you sent it. Or to those who haven’t purchased anything during the past six months.

By approaching these customers with a win back campaign, you can reactivate them and help boost your conversion and the traffic to your web shop.

But what to do with those who don’t respond to your reactivation request? You’ve got two possibilities:

  • Remove them from your mailing list and database. This does imply that you lose the customers’ data permanently.
  • Put these customers in a separate segment within your database. This helps you create a clear distinction between your active and inactive.customers

Both steps make sure you maintain a clear and active group of recipients, increasing the quality of your database.

5. Reward your loyal customers

Giving something back to your best customers, can keep them coming back. Think about the 80-20 rule, the top 20% of your database can account for a large part of the revenue, these are certainly relationships you want to protect and one of the ways to do this is through an automated reward programme.

Decide how much your best customers are spending on average and how often they purchase, and set up an automated email response to be sent to customers who trigger the discount/reward threshold.

Next you need to decide what kind of rewards you are going to offer customers, will it be a discount with every purchase, a points programme that lets customers cash in their loyalty for goods and prizes, free shipping. Avoid limiting your rewards to just discounts, as these don’t have a lasting impact on customer’s memories, particularly if your customer is a B2B purchaser and may not be benefitting directly from money off the order.

Michael Linthorst

Published 11 February, 2013 by Michael Linthorst

Michael Linthorst is CEO at Copernica Marketing Software and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow Michael on Twitter or Google Plus

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Comments (9)

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Pete Williams

Pete Williams, Managing Director at Gibe Digital

Make sure your email is as personalised as possible as no-one wants to receive generic emails. If you have the data, use it for good and you'll get more back from customers.

over 5 years ago


Derryck Strachan

Dropping a name into your emails (personalisation) is only the first step. You need to write the message in a way that makes it useful to the reader - that means moving away from the robotic-sounding messages I get all the time. I think we all know it's a machine sending out an automated message, but it really doesn't need to sound that way.

over 5 years ago

Michael Linthorst

Michael Linthorst, CEO at Copernica Marketing Software

Nick, Derrick, you're absolutely right. Personalisation isn't just about addressing the recipient with his first name. You can do so much more with the data you've collected. That's also something we're noticing a lot in our business and amongst our clients. They collect vast amounts of data, store it in their databases but in the end it just sits there. For web shop owners, it's crucial to determine which target groups you want to start a dialogue with (it's not one-way-communicating anymore), what data you want to collect and what data you're going to/can use in more relevant and targeted messages.

over 5 years ago

Huw Waters

Huw Waters, Head of Marketing at Capita Learning Services

Always nice to hear these little things reinforced from time to time!

over 5 years ago


mariana weber

I couldn't stress enough how important it is to personalize your email to your potential customer. If you are a business owner and deploy a mass email that sounds generic and not personalized at all, its the fast way to get stuck in the spam folder and loose money for the data you just bought! Think before you click!

over 5 years ago


Stacey Bonte

Good post Michael!

I think one thing to consider that is not explicitly mentioned in your post is this:

- Strictly speaking, you need clear opt-in permission from a recipient to send e-mails like the abandoned shopping cart campaign. Visitors with abandoned shopping carts who have signed up to an account on the webshop are not necessarily customers.

That means that those visitors don't have a clear relationship with your business that permits the webshop owner to send them commercial e-mails, unless otherwise (clearly) stated when signing up (an unchecked checkbox with a line of marketing copy for instance).

I would also recommend to ask customers for their permission to send them these types of e-mails. Don't use the e-mail newsletter permission for this but create a seperate one for a specific campaign or a group of campaings that all have the same kind of goal (i.e. 1 permission for discount mails, 1 permission for retention mails, etc.). Try to convert newsletter subscribers to these permissions (while also keeping the newsletter permission).

Then, give your subscribers the opportunity to edit all these permissions on a single page in the account on the webshop (for instance: a list of checkboxes). By implementing all of this, webshop owners will build up a smaller, but probably more engaged mailing list of subscribers. Not to mention a strictly legal mailing list (important in a country like the Netherlands due to strict legislation on the matter)! These, and the other key points mentioned above, will very likely result in higher conversion rates and fewer unsubscribers.

- On another note: As it stands today, it is still harder to effectively measure the results of event driven e-mail campaigns the same way you can measure bulk e-mail campaigns (like the weekly newsletter) within current e-mail marketing software.

The reason for this is that a bulk e-mail mailshot (like a newsletter) is recorded as one mailing by the software. The results of several (at least more than 1) e-mails is aggregated to the overall e-mail statistics for that mailing. This is what gives you insight in the performance of a specific mailing (like for instance the opens and clicks from the February newsletter that was sent two weeks ago).

This cannot be done with event driven e-mail campaigns because each e-mail is sent at a seperate time. One sent e-mail is recorded as one mailing in the software. With its own statistics. Another sent e-mail is recorded as another mailing. With its own statistics. And so on.

The software is not able to aggregate the statistics of each 1-email-mailing into overall statistics for an event driven campaign. This makes it quite difficult to analyze the results of that event driven campaign in order to optimize it.

Of course, you could set conditions and triggers in the software to send a batch of e-mails at once when a certain amount of subscribers is reached (i.e. send a batch when 5 new unique e-mail addresses have been collected in the campaign). But this will only result in e-mail statistics for each of the 5-emails-mailings. So, still far from ideal if you ask me.

Could you give your opinion on that Michael? Thanks from a Copernica user!

over 5 years ago


Kavin Thomas

Dear Michael Linthorst,
I do agree with your reward activities for email marketing. Increase ROI Highly recommends to point no one and that is the great techniques which can help to develop your business and increase the sales. Definitely it is the great job, Please keep it continues.

over 5 years ago

Michael Linthorst

Michael Linthorst, CEO at Copernica Marketing Software

Dear Stacey, thank you for your input! It's true that you need a clear opt-in in order to send abandoned shop cart mails. It is indeed important that you ask visitors permission to send them promotional campaigns early in the buying process in your web shop.

Concerning your question on effectively measuring the results of your event driven marketing campaigns: at Copernica we can aggregate the results of emailings on a document, mailing, campaign and database level. So when sending a certain event driven email, you can see the overall statistics on the template level if you create a specific template for your abandoned shop cart emails (for example).

These days it's all about looking at data from different angles and to analyze all of your gathered data enabling you to communicate more intelligently with your relations. That's why I strongly believe in the use of centralised databases with effective profile enrichment and aggregated results. Seeing you are a Copernica user, if you would like to know more on how this could work for you, you could always send an email to

over 5 years ago


Stacey Bonte

Dear Michael,

You're welcome.

Thanks for your response. I learned something new about Copernica today! I'll ask our Copernica partner for more details. We are looking at using Copernica to synchronize customer data from our Magento store and implementing the e-mails that you described in the article. We are considering using the Magento Module by Cream for this.

over 5 years ago

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