26 emails that every successful e-commerce email program should send in 2021

26 emails that every successful e-commerce email program should send in 2021

Published : June 23, 2021
20 eCommerce emails that make the difference 1

According to several other studies and surveys, the potential ROI on emails can be as high as $44 for every $1 spent; no other channel even comes close. Approximately 61 percent of major brands prefer to communicate via email. For eCommerce businesses, robust email automation is essential; automated emails can include intriguing and engaging components such as dynamic and live-updating information, tailored graphics, countdown timers, and more. Our team has combed through their cumulative experience and skills to bring you the most detailed information that will make a significant difference in your business: There are 26 different types of emails that must be sent.

According to several other studies and surveys, the potential ROI on emails can be as high as $44 for every $1 spent; no other channel even comes close. Approximately 61 percent of major brands prefer to communicate via email. For eCommerce businesses, robust email automation is essential; automated emails can include intriguing and engaging components such as dynamic and live-updating information, tailored graphics, countdown timers, and more. Our team has combed through their cumulative experience and skills to bring you the most detailed information that will make a significant difference in your business: There are 26 different types of emails that must be sent.

”The only guaranteed delivery option the Internet has left.” is what The Wall Street Journal called it, and with a headline that read, “Frustrated by social media, businesses and others looking for an audience turn to an old standby.” Truer words have never been spoken.

With emails, you can connect directly with your audience, without the interference of the social media algorithms that attempt to influence and decide what the audience should see.

As a form of direct communication with present and future customers, emails let you know if the recipient read what you had to say and whether they interacted with it further. Such a powerful capability makes email invaluable for eCommerce marketing campaigns.

In terms of user preference, email is the number one choice for customers to interact with and know more about the products and services they buy or wish to buy. 

Netcore’s recent global email benchmark report that studied and analyzed 50 billion emails reveals that almost 77% of the users prefer email as the channel to reach out to them. 

Several other studies and reports have shown that the potential ROI on emails can be up to $44 for every $1 spent; no other channel comes even halfway closer. About 61% of the big brands choose email as the preferred channel of contact.

Source: CNBC

The need of the hour for eCommerce businesses is to have robust email automation in place; automated emails can have interesting and engaging components like dynamic and live-updating content, personalized images, timers that count down, and much more. Our team has delved into their collective experience and expertise to bring you the most granular knowledge that will make all the difference to your business: 26 types of must-send emails.

1. “Welcoming your customer” email

  • Reminding subscribers how and why they subscribed to you
  • Encouraging engagement with your brand and communications
  • Setting the tone and expectations of future emails from you

A welcome email sequence is specifically designed to make customers more familiar with your brand. Usually, 2-3 emails are the norm for such a sequence: depending on the depth and stages of engagement you desire, the number could be higher.

The below email from Howler Bros (an outdoor apparel company) appreciates the customers for signing up and warmly welcomes them in true spirit.  It uses the conversation opportunity to inform subscribers that they will be among the first to know about new products and opens a connect-window by sharing its help email id.

2.“Setting the expectations” email

  • What have you planned for the subscribers?
  • What are the likely benefits for the customers?
  • Finally, a call to whitelist your email address

Get off on the right foot by letting your subscriber know about your future interactions in advance. It will go a long way towards the customers building their regard for you as a worthwhile brand. Moreover, MSPs like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and others get a positive message when the subscriber opens and interacts with your email: you are sending legitimate emails and not spamming.  

In the below email, Newsette (a women-centric business) first creates a strong sense of belonging in the subscribers’ minds and shares a concise summary of forthcoming engagements. The brand also requests the subscribers to add them to the Primary, thereby ensuring perfect deliverability for all its future emails.

3.“Requesting for referral” email

  • Inviting customers to refer friends and family to a brand is an excellent source for free leads
  • 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision

With numbers like the above, it’s not hard to see why brands invest time in setting up good referral programs. You might already be asking for referrals on your thank you page, but are you doing it in your email campaigns, too? You should give clear instructions in their email and offer an incentive: a freebie, perhaps?

The below email from Scotts (an airline discount aggregator) opens straight away with the chance to win a $2000 vacation, and a CTA is placed immediately below it, which asks the subscribers to invite their friends. Having delivered the message in the shortest possible time, the brand goes on to widen its spread across the social media accounts of the subscribers.

4. “Giving an unexpected freebie” email

  • One surefire way to impress your subscribers is to surprise them
  • There’s no better way to delight them than giving an unexpected freebie or gift

Every once in a while, send your subscribers a treat – a tangible gift, 1+1 offer, discount, or gift card. Send them something that will come as a pleasant surprise; it will also remind them that it was a good idea to subscribe to you in the first place.

In the below email, Chipotle (a fast-casual restaurant chain) comes up with a surprise “Give one, Get one free” offer. The brand links the Give-Get offer to the purchase of a gift card that would also extend the brand awareness among the card recipients and their circles. Making it an in-store-only offer cleverly helps to increase the footfalls.

5.“Building up the anticipation” email

  • When you have something big and exciting coming down the pipeline
  • When you are working on a new product, service, or project
  • When you have lined up just an offer/ freebie for your audience

Instead of just sending your list an email when your product or service is released, why not build anticipation? Send a curtain-raiser or teaser email before your offer the actual thing: it will get your subscribers as excited as you are about it.

In the below email, Everlane (an online clothing retailer) does a curtain-raiser on its products waiting in the line-up for release soon. The brand showcases teaser snippets of the product images and one-line descriptions to evoke interest; it then asks subscribers to join the waitlist for early access.

6. “Best of what we have” email

  • Create a “best of” compilation of your products across categories
  • people LOVE curated content as it is pre-digested information

It is human nature to seek things that one perceives as the best-of-the-best, be it in products, services, experiences, or even knowledge. It is no wonder that “best of” curations work so well in driving the sales.  Curate the best of your assets, wrap them with the best content treatment in terms of look and feel, share with your customer community, and watch interactions shoot up like never before.

In the below email, Ted Baker (a lifestyle retail business) positions itself as a one-stop shop for style; it presents an edited collection of sartorial style inspirations. Apart from recommending partywear suits, professional attire, and casual coats, it also highlights choice picks in the luggage category. 

7.“Your exclusive content” email

  • Send subscribers content that is exclusive to just them
  • Could be comprehensive guides, or short format, rapid-fire tips

The idea behind sending exclusive content by email is to make the customer feel special for subscribing to your emails. Therefore, such email content needs to be different from what is already present on your site or blog. Remember to sprinkle your email campaign lineups with exclusive content once in a while, say, a fortnight or month.

In the below email, The Armoury (a brand that sells men’s classic style goods) shares a special guide (from the founder of a renowned artisanal clothing line) on choosing the right fabrics for summer. The brand also invites its customers to exclusive clothing material and appointments for bespoke fittings. 

8.“Your order confirmation” email 

  • Builds anticipation
  • Develops Confidence
  • Grows your following

Along with building up the excitement, an order confirmation email can also work well to encourage loyalty and promote repeat or related product purchases. Order confirmation emails always attract the maximum attention of the customers. And every opportunity you get to communicate with an attentive customer is a great marketing opportunity.

In the below order confirmation email, Patagonia (an outdoor gear company) uses images that immediately resonate with customers’ lifestyle and subtly reaffirm their decision to choose the brand. It builds trust by offering an ironclad guarantee and sharing guides that teach how to care for and refurbish the products at home.

9.“Incentivizing your customers” email

  • Drive your sales volumes
  • Reward loyal customers
  • Hook new subscribers

An offer email is any email you send out to your subscribers to give them an incentive such as a discount, coupon, free shipping, training, or any other limited-time offer. While offer emails work great for attracting new customers, they are also quite effective for engaging with your inactive/passive ones in your list.

In the below email, Govida (a chocolate maker) sends a bouquet of multiple offers that opens with a 50% off incentive. It also adds a time expiry element to encourage quick redemption of the offers – the primary offer is valid for the first half of the day on which the email lands, and the other discounts run only till the weekend.

10.“Enhancing your experience” email

  • Promote products that add value to their purchase
  • Personalize your pitch as per the user segment’s mindset
  • Package your “cross-sell” well to create a sense of want

A thoughtfully crafted cross-sell campaign sets you up as an expert that customers can trust for recommending the right products or services.  Note that while an upsell involves selling a better product or service to the customers, cross-sell aims at promoting other curated products that enhance the experience of what they already bought.

In the below email, Aille (a luxury beauty business) offers to help improve the customer’s beauty routine with appealing suggestions. The brand brings forth less-toxic products and other choices that may not be part of customers’ daily routines yet. It also widens the exposure with a call to explore what’s new in the range.

11.“Appreciating customer loyalty” email

  • Offering a discount or coupon
  • Sending an appreciation card

Customer loyalty is never automatic; you have to foster it constantly. A customer loyalty email stays true to its name – it rewards loyal customers for their support. An appreciated customer always grows in their customer lifetime value. Loyal customers not only keep on buying from you, but they are also more likely to increase their spending.

In the below email, Starbucks (a chain of coffeehouses) truly makes the customers feel appreciated and valued by giving away a limited-edition cup along with in-café, pickup, and delivery orders. It also encourages the customers to reload funds on Starbucks cards by offering two stars points for every $1 spent.

12.“Thank you for being with us” email

  • After a customer signs up
  • When a customer reaches a milestone
  • When you reach a milestone

While the primary purpose is to thank your customers for their patronage, a thank-you email can do much more than that: appreciate the customer, enhance your credibility, and promote your products. Design it well with engaging content, and it can lead to repeat buyers. If you have reached a milestone in your business, sharing it with customers will help in enhancing your credibility. A thank you email that is exciting and engaging for the customer is always a good thing!

In the below email, David’s Tea (a specialty tea and tea accessory purveyor) thanks its customers in a thoughtful manner by recapturing their entire journey of associating with the brand. It also recounts each customer’s favorite choice of tea and offers three free samples with every online order. 

13.“Making your lives better” email

  • Leverage the purchase momentum to upsell
  • Make it easy for customers to upgrade
  • Showcase the benefits of upsell/upgrade products

Many people don’t buy something until they need it – and often, you need to show them what they need. Let your customers know if there are things you have that can make their lives better – educate and encourage them to get more benefits out of you.

In the below email, Harry’s (a men’s grooming brand) showcases its premium products developed using customer feedback, which makes them unique. An intelligent wordplay of “two times” ties in with the dual products that promise to improve the user’s daily routine with the double benefits of hydrating and moisturizing.

14.“Sending relevant updates” email

  • Keep the communication simple, straight, and sincere
  • Sync your email list with purchase history data of customers
  • Use segmented lists to send only relevant update announcers

Product update emails can be the most effective opportunities for segmented targeting; remember, customers only want information relevant to them. Sending irrelevant updates might even backfire, with customers no longer opening your emails or even unsubscribing. Sync and segment your list based on purchases and send update announcements accordingly to ensure engagements and conversions.

In the below email, Liveouter (an outdoor furniture maker) sends a product update mail that catches attention quickly and easily with a simple announcer, “Our All-New Design.” It focuses on one product and uses beautiful images to display the various settings in which the furniture comes across as most impressive. 

15.“The what’s happening newsletter” email 

  • Customer’s love knowing what’s happening with their favorite brands
  • Give your subscribers a breather from promotional emails
  • Tell your brand story and build your reputation
  • Excellent means to showcase your authority and expertise

Newsletters offer you a dual benefit: you can engage, and you can sell simultaneously. While the primary goal is to inform, newsletters are also adept for directly or indirectly promoting products. Keep 9/10th of the content informative and 1/10th as promotional; you should aim for opening and sharing, rather than mere click-throughs.

The below email from Harney & Sons (master tea blenders) comes as a refreshing break for the customers from marketing emails. In this newsletter, the third-generation company invites its subscribers to sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy the six-part podcast on the rich history of the brand. 

16.“Education that adds product value” email

  • Tips, hacks, and maintenance instructions
  • Links to your best content, past and present
  • Short tutorials (video or text-based walkthroughs)

The primary goal of educational emails is to give your customers value-based content; it should be beneficial to them or help them get the best experience out of your product. One of the best ways to deliver educational emails is right after the customers sign up. It will demonstrate that your business is more customer-focused than it is sales-focused.

In the below email, East Fork (a pottery and home goods business) shares some exciting knowledge about the kind of glassware that best suits different types of drinks – from neat spirits to cocktails to bubblies. The brand communication, while being engaging, has several of its products tactfully woven into the narrative.

17.“Something new and exciting for you” email

  • Jump starts your sales with attention-grabbing
  • Encourages word of mouth marketing among like-minded

When you launch a new product or get a new inventory, do not expect people to find it by visiting your website. Be proactive and let your subscribers know about it through emails. You can even create a buzz by talking about the new product before it goes on sale.

In the below email, Apple (one of the world’s largest technology products company by revenue) demonstrates its classically understated approach to a new iPhone launch with four color/finish variants.  With a clutter-free layout to emphasize the three main features — display, chip, and camera — the brand keeps its messaging simple. And it also manages to excite the customer with the promise of “reinvented from the inside out.”

18.“Reminding about cart abandonment” email 

  • Cart abandonment emails have the highest average conversion rate of 2.63%
  • Cart recovery emails have a whopping 43.3% open rate
  • The conversion rate for cart abandonment emails is over 18%
  • The highest conversion rate of 21.78% among any triggered eCommerce email

One of the most important e-commerce emails in your arsenal is the cart abandonment email; an abandoned cart tells you that the customer was almost ready to buy. No matter why your customer fails to complete the checkout process, send out a cart recovery email campaign. It is a great marketing opportunity to engage and know more about the customers.

In the below email, Jack Wills (a clothing brand) addresses cart abandonment with confidence and reassurance. The brand shows empathy for the customers’ hectic life that makes them forget things like shopping bags.  Using a friendly and conversational tone, the brand nudges them to return to the cart items while slipping in other recommended and on-sale products.

19.“Browse abandonment follow-up” emails

  • Often shoppers browse through product pages but don’t load their cart
  • Only about 10% of website visitors finally make it to your cart page
  • The probability of conversion is relatively high for such audience

Browse abandonment emails are designed to retarget website visitors who leave your site before purchasing anything. Send them an email to ask if they were looking for something specific and that you can help them find it. You could also let them know if something similar but new has come up in your product inventory. Addressing abandonment is a sure way to increase your conversion rates.

In the email below, Nomad Goods (a consumer electronics and lifestyle products company) follows up on the customers’ browsing abandonments with a warm and friendly tone. The brand urges such customers to return and complete the saved deal; it also reassures them by mentioning the 30-day return/exchange possibility. 

Source of all email collections: reallygoodemails and mailcharts

20. “What others say testimonial” email 

  • Testimonials can increase conversions
  • Good reviews give you good standing
  • User-speak establishes your credibility

Sales mails stand to gain a lot from user testimonials; do include them, especially when you are in an aggressive sending phase. Among those who are non-users of your product, other users’ testimonials can definitely evoke interest and desire to explore more.

In the below email, Le Tote (a personalized clothing venture) puts up the words and pictures of real-life users that are thrilled with their experience of the brand. The communication is kept on point, with just three testimonials and a discount of 40% upfront. 

21.“Post-purchase follow-up” email 

  • Let the customer know that you appreciate their business
  • Show them that you always care about their opinion and satisfaction
  • Inspire verified buyers to review the products they recently acquired

In today’s digital world, post-purchase communications are a great way to make sure you stay relevant and increase your product reviews; they are counted among the most effective selling tools. Though it is a follow-up, such emails assure the customers that you are mindful of their satisfaction, even after the conclusion of the sale.

In the below email, Target (a retail mega corporation) enquires about the comfort of the customers’ experience with the product. It goes on to request the customers for reviews by using a “help others” approach. It minimizes negative ratings by suggesting the customers get their issues fixed, if any, before writing the review.

22.“Replenishment reminder” email 

  • Applies if you sell something that has a defined period of usage
  • Send an email reminder before repurchase time to drive re-orders

Replenishment emails focus on establishing a rapport with customers by remembering and reminding them of the products they need to acquire on time. Customer re-engagement emails should aim to make the customers’ lives easier by being proactive about their needs and educating them on newer or better alternatives to the products they own.

In the below email, FullScript (a virtual dispensary) informs customers of their previous order timeline and reminds them of refills that are due; it provides subscriptions for immediate reference and reorder. The brand also communicates the added value of the healthcare provider being able to track the customers’ adherence of medicines bought through them. 

23.“Have a wonderful holiday” email

  • Start your campaign before the holiday is due
  • Intensify your campaign as the holiday approaches
  • Throw in a freebie to create a warm and friendly feel

Holidays are a time of great joy and loose purse strings.  Help your customers celebrate in style – by gifting themselves or a loved one with something from your shop. Design your campaign and email content in a memorable way so that they stand out from all other holiday emails.

In the below email, Uncommon Goods (an online retailer) ushers in the holiday spirit with characteristically uncommon titles like “oH!oH!oH!” and “very merry.” Though the campaign comes a whole lot early for the holidays, the brand offers a convincing assertion of “get what you want, when you want by ordering in advance.”

24.“Important Event Days” email

  • Birthday emails are known to attract about 350% more revenue than other promotions
  • Can extend to other personal life events as well: marriage anniversary, new house, etc.
  • Also work well for patriotic events like Independence Day, Republic Day, 4th July, and more

The need to feel appreciated is a basic emotional need, and you should fulfill it every time you get an opportunity with your customers. Appreciation is also a very effective way of showing that you care for them. Map your products with important event days in the lives of your customers and connect with relevant products.

In the below email, Tuft & Needle (a mattress and bedding brand) chooses the occasion of Memorial Day to offer a discount to the perfectly matched audience segment: the veterans, healthcare professionals, and first responders.  For all three, sleep is the most elusive element; the brand focuses on the most relevant categories of mattresses, pillows, and sheets to put up a sale and a free shipping offer.   

25.“Share your Feedback/Survey” email

  • Keep your email design simple
  • Use clear and concise language
  • Personalize:  let them know their voice matters
  • Explain why their feedback will benefit them
  • Offer an incentive for participating

Feedback/Survey is the one email that gets your customers to tell you exactly what they need from you and how they want it delivered. Feedback emails usually fall under transactional emails – if sent post-purchase and regarding a purchase; they also work great as engagement emails if they’re sent independently from a transaction and are about your brand’s overall experience and perception.

In the below email, ISI (a signature hardware business) appeals to the discerning quality of its customers while asking them for their feedback.  The survey request also carries an incentive: respondents stand a chance of winning a $100 gift card from the brand.

26. The reactivation email campaign

  • The average email list degenerates by about 22% every year
  • A sizable percentage can be encouraged to revive their relationship

A reactivation campaign is simply a series of emails designed to get inactive/passive subscribers to open and interact with your emails. So, before you delete those inactive subscribers, give it a quick reactivation campaign; chances are, quite a few of them will “come back.”

In the below email, Birchbox (a beauty and grooming business) uses the emotional approach of missing the subscriber and wanting to welcome them back. The brand offers a “We Miss You” code that makes an exclusive beauty product worth £20 free and throws in an additional giveaway with it.


When it comes to personalizing eCommerce marketing messages, email wins hands down; you can also tailor your communication in a way that would maximize the attention and engagement of your customers. Moreover, email also allows you to track, monitor, analyze, predict, segment, and provide insights. You can impart information to customers in the best possible manner – saying the right thing at the right time. 

If you wish to leverage the advantages of email with a fresh approach or enhance your existing eCommerce email strategy, please connect with us.  Our Netcore experts’ team would be happy to share their experience and expertise as world leaders in email campaigns.

You can download your email program grader containing 26 essential email campaigns that you must send to your customers. Whether you are implementing any of them, you can get your score and refine or create a result-driven email program.

Are you excited to see how your current email program scored? 

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Written By: Tanishq Juneja
Tanishq Juneja
Global Product Marketing Head, Netcore. The email guy and co-founder of Netcore Email API (formerly Pepipost)