How to do Email Marketing for Retailers? A Complete Guide!

Sam Thomas avatar
Sam Thomas Updated: June 04, 2021


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Though multi-channel marketing strategies will drive the most comprehensive and successful customer engagement strategy, email will continue to play a significant role. According to data, B2C marketers who communicate with customers via automated emails see conversion rates of up to 50%.

Ensuring that you are creating the right email campaigns to connect with, educate, and extend your customer base will assist you in scaling your marketing, allowing you to evolve into an omnichannel customer engagement strategy that delivers the best results. Most businesses’ first foray into customer interaction is by email. In this article, I will share with you everything that you need to know about how to go about email marketing as a retailer. Let’s jump right into the details!

Table of Content:

Reasons why email marketing is effective for retailers

Reasons why email marketing is effective for retailers

There are many reasons why email marketing should be in the toolbox of retailers. The most important ones of them are:

Email marketing returns the best ROI

Unlike other types of business, retail necessitates a one-of-a-kind approach that integrates multiple platforms. Email marketing, on the other hand, should be at the heart of every campaign because it is directly linked to consumer acquisition and conversion. Let us look at some facts to back this up:

  • 72% of customers want to receive promotional content via email.
  • Email marketing generates more conversions than any other marketing medium.
  • The average ROI for email marketing is 44 percent.
  • Emails are five times more likely to receive a response than common social media sites such as Facebook.

Email marketing is a great way to connect with mobile users

52 percent of US mobile phone owners access their emails from their phones. That equates to three out of every five email messages being opened on a smartphone. According to a separate Forrester report:

  • Tablets are used to open 17% of retail email messages.
  • Smartphones are used to open 42 percent of texts.

And, with the growing number of smartphone users worldwide, it makes perfect sense to communicate with your customers through their mobile devices.

Email marketing is affordable

If your retail company spends more money on product marketing than on product development, something is wrong. It is critical to choose an efficient method of reaching out to your audience that is both captivating and cost-effective. By using email marketing to communicate with your target audience, you save money on ads while also spending time on other aspects of your company.

Email marketing is highly customizable and integratable

The flexibility of email marketing is one of the key reasons it is so powerful. Marketers should use a range of marketing techniques to ensure that the best method is used when sending emails. Depending on the technique employed, marketing messaging can range from easy to complex.

In a survey of 139 marketers conducted by Retention Research, it was discovered that:

  • Personalized product recommendations are implemented by about 44.9 percent of US online retailers.
  • 31.5 percent used customer names in their special welcome messages.
  • 27.6 percent of the respondents use shopping cart reminders

Email marketing makes sending out coupons easier

According to research, 27 percent of US online shoppers subscribe to newsletters to take advantage of discount coupons and save money. Another study conducted by Deloitte confirmed that more than 27% of online shoppers in the United States sign up for emails to receive discounts.

According to, 64% of US internet users have printed a coupon from an email. Using coupons in a marketing email will, of course, increase the number of responses to your emails.

Emails are easy to share

Emails are simpler to share than offline marketing strategies such as posters, banners, and flyers. With the click of a button, the content of an email can be forwarded. This means you’ll be able to reach a bigger audience via referrals and expand your mailing list in a compounded manner.

Email marketing helps you build credibility

Email marketing allows you to communicate with your target audience and build trust by continually providing useful content through email campaigns.

5 Best types of emails for retailers

Best types of emails for retailers

Here are some of the best types of emails that every retailer should send to their customers.

1. Welcome emails

According to research, when a customer first visits a website, they often do not make an immediate purchase. If they are interested in your brand, they may be willing to sign up for a newsletter. They would feel welcomed if they receive a welcome email from your brand.

Consider this example from Seafolly, an Australian swimwear company that welcomes current subscribers with an invitation that features their clothing The welcome email is intended to make subscribers feel a sense of warmth and engagement with the business as soon as they open the email.

Welcome emails

2. Cart abandonment emails

The global cart abandonment rate in 2019 was 77.8 percent. Retailers face a significant obstacle as a result of this. Sending a cart abandonment email to your customers is a great way to solve this issue.

Cart abandonment emails

A study conducted by VWO reported that if the product that was left in the shopping cart is offered at a lower price, it’s more likely to eventually get purchased by 54% of shoppers.

3. Anniversary or birthday emails

On their birthday, people want to feel special. This is why many retailers send birthday or anniversary emails to their customers. With an automated mailing service, you can guarantee that important dates for your customers are never overlooked. The following is an outstanding example of a Helzberg diamonds anniversary email. The message is simple and concise thanks to the minimalist style.

Anniversary or birthday emails

Knowing the anniversary dates of their customers, Helzberg Diamonds sends out an automated email that reminds their customers to engage with their brand.

4. Review emails

These emails are the most effective at optimizing the customers’ online shopping experiences. Sending an email to ask for a request after your purchase will help you find out:

  • Whether or not the shopping experience was good.
  • Was the product up to their standards?
  • Is the customer satisfied with the service?

The following is an example of Macy’s summary email. As soon as an order is made, the company sends an email to the customer.

Review emails

5. Order update emails

Order update emails, such as delivery updates and shipment notifications, have the highest open rates. This is due to the fact that they provide the details that the customer is looking for. Here’s an example from Amazon:

Order update emails

5 Best practices for retail email marketing

The aim of sending email marketing campaigns should always be to deliver messages to those who want to read them. This can seem to be an obvious and simple job, but staying relevant can be difficult at times. This is particularly true in the retail industry.

The secret to retaining subscribers is to provide them with content that excites or delights them. It takes a certain amount of dedication to delivering messages that the audience wants to receive. If you don’t do it right, you’ll face lower engagement rates and a large number of unsubscribes. Here are the best tips for keeping your retail email marketing meaningful and engaging!

1. Respect customer preferences

One of the most common mistakes brands make is inundating consumers with emails or providing them with irrelevant content. Respect consumer desires and allow them the opportunity to express themselves from the beginning of the relationship. If you do not fulfill your audience’s expectations, they are likely to ignore your emails or even unsubscribe.

Keep your customers’ expectations in mind right off the bat to help maintain the subscriber base. Give people what they want; if they want fewer emails or just messages about a particular subject or group, you should follow. This will outweigh the loss of an email subscriber.

In their email marketing, Amazon allows email users to choose updates from specific product categories. This is an excellent example of a brand providing self-segmentation in their preference center.

Respect customer preferences

2. Always personalize your emails

Emails with a personalized subject line have a 26 percent higher chance of getting opened, according to data. That’s a significant increase. If you personalize your email marketing content, you will have a far better chance of your audience opening, clicking, and purchasing.

Personalizing the content inside the email with interactive, appropriate content will produce 30% more sales for brands, but only 3% do it correctly. If your brand gets personalization right, it will have a more active audience, which will lead to higher conversions.

Spotify is an example of strong personalization. They incorporate user preferences into the messaging to strengthen the relationship with each subscriber. The copy in this email is especially effective because it makes the user feel as though they are being praised for using Spotify. For example, they use phrases like “top listener” and “first to get access.” Customers are given a sense of exclusivity and significance when they hear phrases like these.

Always personalize your emails

3. Test for greater success

If you want to stay relevant, you must test every aspect of the email you send on a regular basis. This includes testing your photos, subject lines, links, and above-the-fold content.

This can be accomplished by A/B checking email batches and evaluating which produces the best results. This sometimes entails asking the right questions. Is one subject line, for example, more likely to attract clicks than another? Keep track of your success and use the best-performing emails to improve future campaigns.

SitePoint tested photos in the following emails and discovered that they reduced conversions. This is due to their subscribers’ attention being diverted away from the main content.

Test for greater success

4. Get your timing right

The timing of your email marketing is critical. Are You sending email campaigns on the same day and time every week out of habit rather than checking and learning? If so, continue reading.

According to Experian’s email marketing benchmark survey, Monday has the highest transaction rates and revenue per email as compared to other weekdays. In addition, Sunday was the best-performing day of the weekend. Again, doing your own testing and analysis is critical to know your customers’ behaviors, which will help in identifying the most appropriate times to send your email campaigns.

Get your timing right

Timing optimization can also include putting campaigns in place for simple occasions such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Ted Baker does an excellent job of giving subscribers an email with a discount code on their birthday, making them feel appreciated and catching them at a time when they are most likely to buy. Seasonal and timely emails will make a significant difference in your conversion rate.

5. Optimize for mobile

If you haven’t already noticed, customers are engaging with marketing messages on their mobile devices more than on their desktop computers. According to, smartphones and tablets now account for more than half of retail website traffic, with mobile commerce responsible for 36% of UK eCommerce revenues.

With the increase of smartphone use, brands need to embrace that emails will be read on mobile rather than desktop, which includes ensuring that emails are mobile-optimized. This can be accomplished by using mobile-friendly templates, shortening your subject lines, writing persuasive preheader text, optimizing the ‘from’ name, and balancing photo size and text.

When you optimize for phones, you have fewer characters to use in the subject line. On desktop, you can view up to 80 characters in the subject line, but on phones, you can only display 30 characters. In this example, you can see how Virgin Atlantic’s subject line is too long for mobile devices, while Birchbox’s is just the right length.

Optimize for mobile

The key to creating effective email marketing subject lines is to keep them honest, concise, and compelling, to entice your recipients to open.

3 Examples of email marketing for retailers

1. Nike

Nike’s seasonal email arrives just in time for summer. The design is straightforward, the copy is brief, and the overall message is succinct. The CTA buttons emphasize the Men’s section (likely based on my demographic information when I signed up for their list), but when I shop for family (say, children), those choices are also provided. It also evokes beach imagery due to its sand-like background color.


How to imitate this example:

This email’s visual appeal is based on sharp photography and an innovative product style. This, coupled with succinct copy, results in a clean, uncluttered interface that retains the attention on the product.

What you’ll need is as follows:

  • Product photography of the highest quality. You’re set if you have a photographer on board. Otherwise, purchasing a DSLR and studying the fundamentals of picture composition may be beneficial.
  • Discover how to use list segmentation. And send emails to various segments with the most effective CTA. Another version of this text, for example, may have been sent to women.

There’s a little more going on here than meets the eye for such a basic email.

2. Threadless

Threadless, creative apparel and home decor store, has a powerful visual brand. This is reflected in their email marketing. This email begins with eye-catching imagery and an enticing value proposition (new designs). It also does not waste time in having a CTA button to try them out.


The bottom part of the email is a giveaway offer that smartly shows how their prize products might look in a living space. The “Last Chance!” reminder helps build some urgency, too.

The “Last Chance!” reminder

The next content section displays how their shirt looks on someone who actually wears it. Plus, it adds a quote from the artist who designed the shirt.

Quotes from designers

This final section at the bottom also has something creative that is easy to overlook. Rather than the usual “UPDATE YOUR EMAIL PREFERENCES,” it reads “GET BETTER EMAILS.” This prioritizes the receiver and provides a reward rather than an order.

Creative final section

How to imitate this example:

Threadless has a stunning visual style. And if your business does not, you will still learn a few lessons from this.

  • Add a sense of urgency to your copy. Copyblogger’s guide will assist you in this regard.
  • Make use of CTAs that are benefit-driven. Copies such as “Shop Now” and “Enter Here” are clear and easy. Consider experimenting if there are ways to market a profit more explicitly.
  • Add meaningful quotes. People adore them. They can also help you add visual interest to your copy (especially if you don’t have access to professional design).

3. Hotjar

Plain text doesn’t necessarily have to be plain. This example from Hot Jar uses appealing fonts and color mix to make a simple email that promotes a podcast episode look amazing.


In the following block of the email, they entice listeners to click with a free t-shirt offer (and use some visual styling to make things look more interesting):

Hotjar entices listeners to click with a free t-shirt offer

How to Copy This Example:

This one is simple, but still, it works incredibly well. Even if you’re not a design whiz, you can make plain text emails look anything but dull.

  • Choose two or three colors to work with. Ideally, the ones that your company already uses frequently. You will learn everything there is to know about color psychology in marketing (and get a free HEX color chart) by clicking here.
  • Select colors that you know would look good together using the HEX color codes in the post linked above. Don’t worry if you think you have a clear eye for what looks good. The article will keep you on track.

Then, when you create an email in your email platform, use those colors for your buttons and background styling.

Email Marketing App for Retailers

AVADA Marketing Automation

AVADA Marketing Automation

AVADA Marketing Automation is a multi-channel email marketing automation tool that also supports both email and SMS marketing. It allows you to build on your newsletters and increase sales through automated email, list segmentation, and SMS. It comes with pre-built automation for cart abandonment, welcome emails, transactional emails, and other tasks.

Key Features:

  • A drag-and-drop email builder that allows you to easily create emails of any style that suits your brand.
  • A template library makes it simple to build professional, eye-catching emails that you can easily customize to suit your brand, add items, include dynamic discount codes, and save for your next campaign.
  • An Automations Library containing pre-built workflows for each stage of the customer journey.
  • Segmented targeting that can be used for promotions and automation across all platforms supported by AVADA Marketing Automation.


For up to 15,000 emails a month and 1,000 subscribers, AVADA Email Marketing is forever free. When charged monthly, pricing begins at $9 per month for unlimited emails, 1,000 subscribers, and full features.

Pricing of AVADA Marketing Automation

Final words

That’s it! I hope that this article has provided you with valuable information about how to go about retail email marketing. Please feel free to leave comments below for a further discussion on this topic!

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