Creative Ecommerce Email Triggers and How to Execute Them

It’s time to pull the trigger on your emails.

Email triggers are an incredibly effective tactic for timely, personalized, and targeted emails to your buyers. In ecommerce, an email trigger could be anything from a single click on your website to a new product purchase. Inaction can even be a powerful trigger — if you haven’t heard from a customer in months, it may be time to trigger a winback campaign to spark another sale.

As you map your marketing to the customer lifecycle, you’ll find that there are obvious triggers to easily personalize the experience to each individual buyer. We recommend, at a minimum, these 7 critical campaigns every B2C marketer should automatically send to buyers:

  • Welcome Series
  • Celebration Campaign
  • Cart Abandonment
  • Browse Abandonment
  • Loyal Customer Campaign
  • Winback Campaign
  • At Risk Campaign

We’ll go through each one and offer a few creative ways to approach these campaigns and tailor them to your specific audience. Rather than just sending out generic messages, you can use triggers to make your marketing emails more effective than you ever imagined.

Welcome with personalized content

For most ecommerce brands, it’s standard to immediately trigger a welcome email or a series of welcome messages when a new buyer signs up for your newsletter or makes the first purchase. However, you shouldn’t send out the same exact emails to every new customer. Instead, you should use the trigger action to send out a personalized message to each buyer. For example, if the person bought from one product line, you can offer them a 20% off coupon on their next purchase from that same product line and include a few suggested items they might like.

Image via Really Good Emails

This email from UGG is a great example of a welcome email that sets the tone for the brand experience from the start. The message welcomes buyers and offers them a few product suggestions, as well as an introduction to the UGG Rewards Program. This is a great way to welcome new buyers and encourage them to become loyal customers in the long term.

Celebrate with your buyers

Birthdays, customer anniversaries, holidays and other occasions are the perfect triggers to increase customer engagement. If you’re looking for an excuse to reach out to your buyers, any of these could be the reason to send a fun and interesting message. It seems simple, but just by automating a Happy Birthday message along with a coupon to your customers can drive real conversions.

Image via Really Good Emails

This example from Pizza Hut is simple, but powerful. Just by offering free cinnamon sticks to customers on their birthdays, Pizza Hut will drive more orders and increase good will toward the brand. This type of campaign is incredibly easy to execute. All you have to do is make sure you collect the right data about your buyers during the purchase process, asking for their birthday or tracking the exact date they made their first purchase. With the right customer data, it’s easy to send celebration emails that your buyers will love.

Turn abandonment into purchases

Whether you’re talking about browse abandonment or cart abandonment, the concept is the same: send a triggered email to buyers immediately after they leave your site. Speed is imperative when it comes to abandonment campaigns. You want to get in front of your buyers’ eyes within 24 to 28 hours after the abandonment event occurs and deliver a convincing and personalized message to drive a conversion. That’s why it’s so important to have real-time triggers for your emails.

Image via Really Good Emails

This example from Jack Wills is great because the copy makes the brand seem genuinely helpful. Jack Wills isn’t pressuring anyone to buy; they’re just making sure you don’t forget about the great items you left in your cart. Even better, this email is also personalized with custom product recommendations at the bottom to encourage a cross-category upsell as well.

Reward your most loyal customers

If you have loyal customers, you better appreciate them. Research has shown that returning customers spend 67% more than first-time customers. These customers are the bread and butter of any ecommerce business, and so as a B2C marketer, you have to make sure you carefully maintain the goodwill of your best buyers.

Image via Really Good Emails

This email from Starbucks is short and to the point, but will make any loyal customer who received it incredibly happy. The Starbucks rewards program offers their best customers a huge value, and this email will ensure that they know just how easy it is to redeem their points for a free drink. To a coffee lover, this rewards email is pure gold.

Winback any at-risk buyers

Almost every other trigger on this list is based on an action, but winback and at-risk campaigns are actually based on inaction. If your customers haven’t interacted with your brand at all in three months, for example, you can automate a triggered at-risk campaign to try to encourage them to engage. Or, if you’ve completely lost customers to a competitor, for example, you can try a focused winback campaign to encourage them to return to your brand.

Image via Really Good Emails

This example from Seeso is a funny example of how to tackle a customer that cancels their subscription to your product. This email not only collects valuable information through a survey, it also encourages the customer to come back in the future. Someone might get this email and actually change their mind about canceling — that’s how good of an email it is!

As you try out each of these triggered campaigns for your buyers, don’t forget to keep measuring and tweaking them over time. Every ecommerce business is different, and so the triggers that work most effectively for your buyers may be different than this list. Always have an eye out for an opportunity to engage with your buyers in an authentic and timely way. By getting creative with triggered campaigns, you can better engage your customers at each step in their journey.

Learn more about the 7 Critical Ecommerce Campaigns

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