Marketing How Tos

Getting Started with Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation

Photo of Jasmine LeBlanc Jasmine LeBlanc - January 31, 2019

If your ecommerce business isn’t using email automation, it’s very likely that you’re missing out on a lot of sales potential. Did you know that automated email campaigns account for 21% of email marketing revenue? Many marketers consider email outreach to be the single most lucrative avenue for contacting buyers and other customers.

So what can email marketing specifically do for your business, and why should you start capitalizing on email automation as soon as possible? Here’s what you need to know.

Why to Use Email Marketing Automation

Woman-Checking-email-eCommerce-storeAt its most basic, email marketing automation for ecommerce is exactly what it sounds like: easy automation of mass emailing to selected customer lists. However, the true value of email automation doesn’t come from one-size-fits-all mass newsletter updates.

Instead, the real strength of the best email automation tools is their ability to coordinate entire outreach campaigns with a variety of triggers for different types of contacts, sales triggers and retention strategies.

At its best, an automated email campaign that is run through a powerful platform can generate a return on investment (ROI) of nearly 4000%! That’s right, no extra zeroes, you read that correctly.

Is it any wonder that top performing marketers rely so heavily on email? Without it, you might easily be leaving thousands of dollars in lost sales on the floor every month.

Now that you’re convinced and ready to implement this into your strategy, let’s discuss the different types of email automation you can use.

Types of Email Marketing Automation

With the right tools, a company can create nearly any kind of automated email marketing campaign. However, long experience in the ecommerce sector has revealed some clear winners for driving customer engagement and spurring sales activity.

These are the most common and profitable types of automation for ecommerce marketing:

Abandoned Cart Emails

Automated emails for abandoned carts are triggered when a customer visits your page, adds things to their cart, then leaves without finishing the purchase. Compared to un-targeted mass emails, abandoned cart triggers lead to nearly 40 times more sales. Additionally, sending an abandoned cart series (rather than a single email) when necessary provides an additional 24 percent boost on top of that! Check out these abandoned cart email stats from Mailchimp:

Mailchimp Stat - Abandoned Cart Series Earn More than Single Email Automation

Mailchimp Stat - Abandoned Cart Automations Give the Biggest Sales Boost

Welcome Emails

Welcome emails are used as a first contact targeted to new members of your contact list (usually via site sign-ups or other types of lead lists). A well-targeted welcome email can lead to five times more sales than a strategy that doesn’t include this vital first contact.

Content Offer Emails

This type of email is used when your business generates content like books, videos, audio presentations, or anything that might be classified as “content.” This type of contact is laser-focused on a single pitch “here’s this new content product!” and a single CTA “buy/sign-up/click now!”

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Anniversaries and birthdays provide a key opportunity to reach your customers with a personalized message. Everybody loves getting recognized for an important date in their lives, which is probably why this type of automated email typically leads to nearly five times more sales than going without.

Curation Emails

Curation emails let you highlight the best products you’re currently offering, and also offer an important way to target sales pitches to specific segments of your customer audience. For that reason, they’re one of the most popular types of emails for ecommerce storefronts.

Discount Emails

Straight and to the point: open this email and get a good deal! In surveys, nearly 80 percent of customers say they’re likely to open a marketing email because it contains discounts.

Win Back Emails

This type of email is vital for customer retention, since it’s targeted at previous buyers who have been inactive for a specific period of time. This type of email can lead to three times more sales when compared to a strategy that simply lets your hard-won customers drift away.

Automation Comparison: HubSpot vs. Mailchimp

Though there are plenty of powerful and fully-featured email automation solutions out there, HubSpot and Mailchimp are two of the most popular, and the ones we’re most familiar with ourselves.

Let’s see how these two powerhouses of the automated email marketing world stack up.


Mailchimp logoMailchimp is a great option for smaller brands, since it provides the most features for free compared to typical competitors. Its paid options offer larger brands plenty of room for growth.

While Mailchimp is fully featured, we think these are the types of automation it’s particularly excellent for:

  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Welcome emails
  • Birthdays and anniversaries
  • Curated content emails
  • Discount emails
  • Win back emails

One of our favorite Mailchimp features is its ability to send curated content emails to specific categories in your contact list—something that isn’t possible with HubSpot and many other platforms.

Additionally, discount and “win back” emails are even more powerful in Mailchimp since you can sync the cart data from your site with your contact lists. This lets you target loyal customers with discounts and special offers according to how much they spend, and makes it even easier to identify when a customer is inching toward inactivity and needs to be won back with coupons or other re-conversion techniques.


HubSpot Sprocket LogoAs one of the biggest authorities in the world of digital marketing, it’s not surprising that HubSpot provides a high-quality email automation platform.

We think HubSpot is notably better than the competition when it comes to email series (sending more than one email for a specific type) and “offer” emails. This is because HubSpot provides plenty of in-depth tools for analyzing your contact list and creating triggers based on past contact behaviors and interaction rates throughout your entire marketing funnel.

HubSpot is also great with follow-up emails triggered by user activity on your site, and with full-blown email automation series, since it doesn’t have as many limitations as Mailchimp might.


Whether you choose to work with Mailchimp, HubSpot or any of the other top platforms, email automation is one of your brand’s most powerful assets for finding and retaining customers to boost sales. If you need help creating effective emails for your business, set up a time for us to have a quick chat about how we can help you meet your goals!