Email Marketing / 9 Best Email Automation Flows for Ecommerce Stores To Increase Sales

9 Best Email Automation Flows for Ecommerce Stores To Increase Sales

Andy Thorne
gmail on mobile device

So, you’ve been working hard to generate new leads for your ecommerce business and your email list is growing, which is great. The next challenge is turning those new leads into customers as quickly and effectively as possible. Email automation flows for ecommerce stores are powerful turns to convert sales.

What is an email flow?

An automated email flow or workflow is a series of marketing emails that are sent out automatically based on a subscriber’s behaviour on your site. You can set your automated emails to be triggered after your subscriber has carried out a particular action like, browsing a product page, signing up to a newsletter, or registering for an account.

The great thing about email automation flows for ecommerce stores is that they are much more targeted, relevant and timely for the receiver and more likely to send the right message to the right person and the right time.

Why are email flows important?

Not only will targeted automated email flows help you to get more engaged with your subscribers (and turn them into customers) they will also save a huge amount of time.

Research by Gleanster Research, shows that the 50% of the leads you generate will be qualified, but not ready to buy straight away. So, how do you make sure you’re there when they are ready to buy? This is where your automated emails come into play.

More interesting states from The Annuitas Group found that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than those who buy immediately. Which makes developing a relationship and following up with customers until they’re ready to buy a bit of a no brainer.

Now let’s look at the 9 Best Email Automation Flows for ecommerce Stores To Increase Sales:

Welcome Email Flow

Welcome email automation flows for ecommerce

Skincare brand Supergoop first introduce their Founder and CEO, then offer users a discount code for their first purchase, whilst Glossier introduce the look and feel of their brand before recommending thier most popular products. Luxury textile company Riley also offer a money-off code in their welcome email, then show their most popular product categories to encourage customers start shopping immediately.

One of the main reasons for sending a welcome email is to make a good impression with your potential customers, and it’s the first step in building a relationship with them.
To make sure you make a great first impression and to encourage future sales, including the following elements in your email automation flows for ecommerce:

  • A thank you message
    Thank them for joining you and give them a snapshot of your company and what you have to offer
  • Offers and Discount Codes
    An offer or discount code, such as free shipping or 10% off their first order
  • Link to Your Shop
    A link to your ecommerce shop so users can start browsing directly from the welcome email
  • Social Links
    Links to your social channels, so that if users aren’t ready to buy right now, they can at least follow you and keep up to speed with your latest updates

It is also a good idea to send the email around 30 minutes after a visitor signs up, to avoid looking like it was automated.
Plus, break up your welcome email flow into 2-3 emails that are set 2 days apart and flow one after the other.

Abandoned Cart Email Flow

abandoned cart email automation flows for ecommerce

Groove Collaborative remind customers about the products that are left in their basket, with 2 buttons to complete their order which improves the usabulity. Alex Mill not only remind customers of the products left in their basket but also encourage them to checkout now with a special discount offer.

The abandoned cart automated email flow is designed to be sent out when someone has added items to their basket, or got through part of the check out process and then left without completing the purchase.

According to Baymard Institute, nearly 70% of ecommerce shopping carts are abandoned. Automating an abandoned cart email is a great way to get those customers back on board so they can start where they left off.

Users can be easily distracted when online shopping, just because they have left their basket, doesn’t mean they’ve lost interest. There can be several reasons why someone abandons their shopping basket. It could be that they didn’t have enough time to complete the order, didn’t have their card details available or wanted to browse the site for a bit longer. The good news is, the chances are they still want to buy your product and you need to help them do that with an abandoned cart email – one of the most powerful email automation flows for ecommerce.

Offering an incentive such as free shipping or a discount code is also a good way to help win back abandoned carts. Answering frequently asked questions about your products can also help to resolve questions that users have, and offer contact details in case they want to get in touch.

On average 70% of baskets are abandoned, making abandoned basket email flows, one of the most valuable flows you can set up.
If you only set up one email flow, this is the one you should focus on. Don’t lose out on potential customers, win them back.

Browse Abandonment Email Flow

browse abandonment email automation flows for ecommerce

Methodical Coffee suggest popular products that their customers like to encourage potential customers to return to their site.

Browse abandonment is similar to an Abandoned Cart, but rather than showing the products the customer has in their basket, you can remind them about the types of product they are interested in based on the product category they were browsing.

For example a potential customer (who’s in your email list) is browsing a product, but they leave without adding it to their basket, triggering the browse abandonment email flow.
Email automation flows for ecommerce are a great way to re-engage with shoppers who are already interested in your brand. And you can segment your emails depending on whether thay have purchased in the past or have never bought from your site before.

You could set up this email flow to be sent out after a customer has spent a certain amount of time browsing one or more product categories.
This is also a great opportunity to cross-sell, with products that are related to the category they are viewing. Show example under this of cross sells in an email

Order Confirmation Email Flow

Order Confirmation Email Flow example

Etsy effectively manage expectations by including a progress bar at the top of the order confirmation email so customers can see what stage their order is at. Reminding your customers which product(s) they bought, their order total and delivery address is also important to put their minds at rest.

With ecommerce, it’s important to develop trust and reassurance with your customers.

Don’t leave your customers feeling anxious and wondering about the status of their order. Send a confirmation email immediately after their purchase.

Sending an order confirmation email as soon as the customer has made a purchase lets them know that the transaction has been successful.

Elements to use in your order confirmation email including an order number, summary of the products they ordered and the delivery and billing details.

Plus, you can add a thanks message, which acts as another way to welcome them to your company or remind them why they buy from you. You can also follow up with another email once their order has been shipped, with an expected delivery date to keep them up to date about the status of their order.

Post-Purchase Email Series

post purchase email automation flows for ecommerce

Bellroy check in with their customers 30 days post purchase to see how they are getting on with their new products. This is a great time to do this as it gives the customer time to use the product, and give a stronger review of their purchase, rather than an impulsive one as soon as it has arrived. Bulb makes it easy for their customers to see the positive impact they’re having on climate change by switching to their services and makes them feel like they’re doing good.

Follow up purchases with an email and utilise the powerful persuasion principle of ‘liking’, by complimenting them on their purchase.

Customers want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.

Complimenting your customers on their purchases and values is one way of implementing the principle of ‘liking’ and building a rapport with your customers, to build good long-term relationships.

The bulb makes it easy for their customers to see the positive impact they’re having on climate change by switching to their services and makes them feel like they’re doing good.

Educational Content

One Kings Lane offer guides and inspiration for their products

Our Kings Lane offer guides and inspiration for their products which shows customers they are invested in their success.

Educational emails are especially important when you sell unfamiliar products.

Providing helpful guides, recipes and advice on how to use your products show your customers you are invested in their success, rather than just trying to make money.

Educational email by Away

Educational emails like Away’s example helps customers actively, rather than waiting for them to get in touch with the customer service team.

Informed customers who understand your brand and how your products work are inevitably more likely to return and buy from you again, than customers who make a quick purchase and end up throwing your products away because they don’t understand how to use them.

Educational emails are often overlooked as effective email automations for ecommerce, but they can help to cut down on customer service enquiries, which in turn improves the user experience for the customer.

Bark Box and Nike example happy birthday emails

Both Bark Box and Nike have shown they remember their customers, offering discounts and celebratory products to mark the special occasion.

Birthdays and Just-Because


Remembering your customers birthdays is a sure-fire way to improve your relationship with your customers, and increase sales (remember the powerful persuasion principle of ‘liking’ from point 5 above).

Celebrate with your customers on their birthdays by sending birthday automation with a special offer, free shipping or birthday gift, just for them.

Birthdays aren’t the only occasion to send a special offer. You can send a special discount on their first purchase anniversary, or a ‘just because’ offer, reminding them to treat themselves shows you’re thinking of your customers.

Relevant Updates

Valley Cruise secret code ecommerce email example

Valley Cruise send a secret code to some of their email subscribers, perhaps those who have been subscribed the longest, or engage the most.

Whilst it’s important to keep in contact with your customers, be careful not to overwhelm them with news and updates that aren’t relevant to them.

Rather than sending every single piece of news, product launch or offer to every single customer, try and curate the emails so they are more relevant to specific customers.

For example, if a customer recently bought a product from you, send them an email letting them know that you’ve launched a complimentary product that they might be interested in.

Alternatively, you might create an email flow with content relevant to the products they’ve recently ordered, such as blogs, recipes and further information about ingredients.

Re-engagement Email Automation Flows for Ecommerce

Uber welcome email

Uber welcome their customers back after some time away, and give a brief update on what’s changed since the customer last used their services.

Every year, you’ll lose around 25% of your email subscribers.

According to Loren McDonald of IBM Marketing Cloud, you lose an additional 10% to 25% of subscribers every year.

They don’t actually unsubscribe, but they stop engaging and your emails end up unread.

There are many reasons why customers stop engaging such as deceptive and misleading clickbait subject lines, too many emails, and poor or non-relevant content.

So, set up re-engagement flows to entice your subscribers back.

Re-engaging customers is 5 times cheaper than acquiring new customers, making re-engagement a vital email flow.

Give customers a reason to re-engage by creating a curated re-engagement series including discount codes, engaging content, and remind them of why they love your brand.