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GUEST COMMENT: The five automated emails every internet retailer should set up immediately

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Many online retailers are afraid of setting up an automated email programme because they feel it may be difficult and too technical to implement. Many retailers can also be hesitant about increasing the amount of emails they send as they are afraid of over-mailing their customers. However, it’s important to remember that sending more email communications can translate to increased sales so ecommerce retailers should be looking at strategic ways to send as many emails as possible.

Marketing automation can seem very complex from the outside, but once a schedule and flow is all planned out properly, it can be incredibly logical and straightforward. Using a marketing automation programme to set up a series of rules and triggers can quite literally save business owners hours and hours of time and can increase web sales very quickly.

Once a retailer has decided on which software to use, we always recommend they start off implementing different types of email one by one. It’s important to test the results to ensure it’s hitting the mark with customers before setting up different rules or triggers.

For inspiration, here’s our list of the five automated emails every internet retailer should set up:

Abandoned shopping cart

This is one email that we find many retailers are missing out on. According to Baynard , which collated 27 different studies on shopping cart abandonment, 68% of shoppers do not go through with the purchasing the items they have added to their basket.

Imagine if your ecommerce sales were 68% higher? Obviously there are many reasons why shoppers don’t carry out a transaction and some might require attention to increase usability on your website, for example.

But a high percentage of these transactions could be fulfilled with a little prompting via email. For those customers who had run out of time, who just couldn’t find their credit card or who simply had to wait until payday, this email will be a massive help to them as they don’t have to locate all their items again.

Birthday emails

Again, we are always surprised how many retailers don’t utilise the ‘happy birthday’ email, especially fashion or FMCG retailers.

Not only does this type of communication re-engage a customer who might not have visited your site for a while, but it makes them feel special. Of course, they know this is an automated email but who doesn’t like money-off discount codes or happy birthday messages?

Many online shoppers might not want to give their dates of birth when signing up for regular newsletters, but regular shoppers who set up an account with your store are more likely to fill this data field in.

We miss you emails

It’s very easy to automate ‘we miss you’ or ‘it’s been a while’ emails to previous customers who haven’t opened an email for three or even six months, for example. These types of email communications are becoming more popular now and many ecommerce retailers include a discount code or money-off voucher to entice the customer back.

Online shoppers are now faced with so much choice, they may still be a satisfied customer but had just forgotten about all your store had to offer. You can also ask customers if they want to unsubscribe from future emails, which means you keep a clean database and don’t continue to send unwanted emails.

Upsell new products or complementary products

The upsell email is a fantastic opportunity to offer exclusive news on new products or launches to a segment of your high-value customers. This strategy can create committed brand ambassadors to champion your products to others, as well as providing a multitude of upselling opportunities.

This segment of customers is worth nurturing with really well-designed and engaging content. Look carefully at the results – such as open rates, click through rates and purchase rates – from these emails and keep refining them.

Making your best customers feel like part of a special elite group who get special privileges means they will continue to be high value customers and brand ambassadors.

Welcome email to new customers

The welcome email to new customers or new sign-ups to your newsletter is often overlooked with a bland ‘thanks for signing up’ message. This is a perfect opportunity to get across some brand personality and set the scene for future communications.

By following up any interaction with a new customer, you’re letting them know what to expect and some information about your brand. A simple action such as adding the customer’s name into the email can make the communication look well-thought out and welcoming.

Additionally, think about the subject line. You may only be thanking someone for signing up, but at least make it interesting and fit in with your brand personality.

There is an unlimited amount of emails you can set up via a marketing automation programme but these are our top five. It’s worth setting these up first before you expand your programme into something more diverse, and remember to keep testing those results.

Think Taylor (pictured centre) is founder and COO of email marketing platform dotmailer, which has just marked its 15th anniversary.

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