Email Marketing for Online Shops: This is how you increase success!

Email Marketing in Online Shops
Author: Haydar Yuece // 14min

As part of online marketing, email marketing allows, among other things, a direct contact and thus builds a personal customer relationship. Used correctly, online merchants can increase customer satisfaction with the help of email marketing and thus build up long-term existing customers – across all devices.

Email marketing offers an extremely wide range of possibilities: From regular informative newsletters to various forms of direct marketing such as order and shipping confirmations to birthday wishes, many things are possible.

Particularly interesting: Emails can be personalized down to the smallest detail and, depending on the type of email, completely automated. This saves time and money. We will show you what forms of email marketing exist for online shops, what benefits they provide and what to look out for.

Benefits of email marketing

First of all we want to see what benefits online shops get from email marketing.

email marketing online shop

1. Popular communication channel

Communication by email is omnipresent: at work, when shopping online, but also in your free time. In a survey, 74% of participants stated that they use email daily or at least several times a week. We register our email address on streaming platforms, car-sharing bills regularly land in our mailbox and several newsletters flutter in every week.


2. Low-cost marketing

Compared to other marketing channels, email marketing is relatively inexpensive. Especially for automated emails (e.g. transaction and abandoned cart emails) a one-time configuration is enough. But also newsletter mails, whose content has to be created first, are very cheap compared to print campaigns.


3. High Return-on-Investment

This is accompanied by the profitability of email marketing. On average, the Return-on-Investment (ROI) is 3800%. So for every invested Euro you get back an average of 38€. Of course, the number and quality of email addresses, the level of automation and the professionalism of email marketing play an important role here.


4. Personalisation

Emails can be personalised very well. More than 50% of e-commerce companies use the email channel to communicate with customers and prospects in a personalized way. This builds trust and above all a personal customer relationship. Thus, online merchants are covering a central aspect of the sustainable increase of existing customers.

What are transaction emails?

Transactional emails are action-based, i.e. they require an action by the customer. In e-commerce, a transaction usually means a purchase or a booking. A transaction can result in a series of transactional emails (e.g. order confirmation → shipping confirmation → parcel notification). This type of email is highly accepted by customers, who even expect such notifications. We therefore strongly recommend that you make full use of transactional emails to meet their expectations. Some transactional emails are also required by law.


Welcome email

Emails to welcome new customers or newsletter subscribers are part of the standard repertoire of email marketing and cannot be imagined without them. Used correctly, the customer feels picked up – a first important step towards a strong customer loyalty.


Order confirmation

The customer receives an order confirmation shortly after a successful transaction, in e-commerce this means after the purchase. This gives the customer the certainty that everything worked correctly from a technical point of view and that shipping will be prepared as quickly as possible. In Germany such confirmations of receipt are legally required in § 312i para. 1 no. 3 BGB.


Booking and reservation confirmation

Booking and reservation confirmations are the equivalent of order confirmations for travel agencies and other service providers. After the transaction is completed, the email confirms the successful booking or reservation.


Shipping confirmation

The shipping confirmation is sent as soon as the parcel service provider receives the package. Although it is not essential, it is very popular among online shoppers. The customer now knows that the parcel is on its way to him.


Shopping status and parcel notification

Online shops can also inform customers about the shipping status. Here, however, it is recommended to be careful, because too many notifications can quickly disturb. From the customer’s point of view, for example, notifications of shipping delays always offer a very high added value. Notifications shortly before receipt could also be relevant in many cases. Caution is also recommended when providing the email address to parcel service providers, as these fall under personal data within the meaning of the GDPR. Online merchants are on the safe side if they obtain the customers approval beforehand.


Customer feedback and product reviews

Online merchants also use email to get customer feedback and to draw attention to product reviews. Customer feedback provides valuable insights and learn how the customer experienced the purchase. The results then allow you to optimize the customer journey based on data. Product reviews, on the other hand, play an increasingly important role in purchase decisions. The social proof resulting from reviews is trust-building and leads to more conversions. For example, 56% of german online shoppers state that they use customer reviews to make a decision.

What are Trigger emails?

In contrast to transactional emails, trigger emails do not require any action by the customer. They are triggered by any event. The common feature is that both emails strengthen the customer journey and customer loyalty.


Birthday congratulation

Relatively easy to set up and automate are also emails that online merchants use to congratulate their customers on their birthday and offer an additional discount as a small gift. With the help of such emails, online shops show appreciation and thus strengthen customer loyalty.


Re-engagement email

Some of your newsletter subscribers become inactive after a certain period of time. This is quite normal. So while you are sure to lose some of your inactive subscribers, you can activate others using Re-engagement emails. At what point a newsletter subscriber is inactive cannot be answered in a general way and has to be defined by each company individually. One possible indicator is the time period during which a subscriber has not opened the newsletter. However, how long the period of time must be in order to be considered inactive varies greatly according to industry and company.


Abandoned cart email

Abandoned cart emails are addressed to those of your customers who fill the shopping cart without completing the purchase. With the help of this form of email retargeting, online shops automatically bring back those who abandoned their shopping cart into the buying process.

Since mailings are used to recover shopping carts at the end of the conversion funnel and only shopping cart abandoners are affected, they ensure targeted conversion optimization. This is particularly important in view of all previous shop optimizations and marketing measures: The traffic directed into the shop is converted in the best possible way by abandoned cart emails. In addition to the immediately visible effects on conversion optimization and increased sales, this type of email ensures long-term customer loyalty.

Learn more about creating a functional emails after cart abandonment in the blogpost Abandoned Cart Emails: Examples & Templates.


Newsletters are one of the most popular marketing instruments. Whether online shop, blog or even non-profit organization: Almost every company and organization can use newsletters, and there are good reasons for this:


High Return-on-Investment

Newsletters have a significantly higher Return-on-Investment (ROI) than many other marketing channels. Investments in this channel are thus highly profitable.


Newsletter in the buying process

Almost 70% of the german newsletter readers use newsletter in the buying process. Nearly 20% initiate the purchase in the newsletter and 15% even complete the purchase in the newsletter.


Increased customer loyalty

Well thought-out newsletters that offer added value to recipients strengthen customer loyalty and thus ensure sustainable growth. So be creative and offer added value with discount campaigns, exclusive products or a high information content.



Creating and sending newsletters is relatively inexpensive compared to other mediums with similar functions (e.g. print).

The main challenges in email marketing

A study by the BVDW (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft) about email marketing highlights the three main challenges:

email marketing ecommerce

Some types of email can be completely automated, thus ensuring that the current challenges are handled correctly. What is already common practice for transactional emails can now also be done with tools for abandoned cart emails – away from the campaign thinking of marketing automation. This results in significant advantages for online merchants:


1. Processes/Automation

Algorithm-based tools help you solve the problem of automation completely. In contrast to marketing automation, specialized software makes the decisions here.


2. Human Resources

You solve the challenge of human resources through automation. You can use the resulting relief in other ways – for example, for the content creation of the newsletter.


3. Analysis/Data Processing

Algorithms specializing in shopping cart abandonment recognize customer characteristics and reasons for abandonment based on a wide variety of data, in order to provide personalized content and redirect the abandoner back into the buying process with the appropriate incentive.

uptain: 3 times award-winning Coversion Tool

Optimise email marketing performance

Statistics show that transactional emails have significantly higher Opening Rates and Click-to-Open-Rates than emails with a more advertising character. This is due to the fact that customers perceive transactional emails (e.g. order confirmations) as a service and accordingly classify them as relevant.

email marketing transaction emails

You can take appropriate measures to take the advertising character out of some emails that are more likely to be perceived as advertising, thus significantly increasing the opening rate. The question here is not how you as an online merchant classify your various emails, but how your customers perceive the emails. Using the example of abandoned cart emails, we want to show what this can look like:

email marketing abandoned cart emails

Relevance through service orientation

Relevance through service orientation: The content of emails is based on customer needs. In concrete terms, this means that the email is focused on the reason for the abandonment and guides the abandoner through the purchase process in a solution-oriented manner.


Personalised communication as a signal of appreciation

Personalized communication demonstrates appreciation. Is a warm, objective or even hip tone preferred? Factors such as the age of the recipient play a role here. The recipient immediately recognizes that the message concerns him personally.


Simple template as a differentiation from advertising emails

After the subject line, the design is the first indicator for the recipient to recognize what kind of email it is. For this reason a simple template is recommended here – in contrast to advertising emails. In this way, you also demonstrate with the template that it is not an advertisement, but a service.

Extend email recipient list

While transaction emails, trigger emails and abandoned cart emails are only sent to registered customers, online merchants can also send their newsletters to prospective customers.

Since a good newsletter with actual added value takes some time, the list of recipients should also be accordingly large and especially the subscribers should be of high quality. In the context of newsletter marketing, qualitative leads are mainly those who have a great interest in your company, products and content. In the best case they buy products directly from the newsletter.

This brings up the question of how online merchants fill the email recipient list with qualitative leads. After all, a newsletter is only worthwhile if it attracts interested readers.

email marketing newsletter

Use different channels

First you decide which channels you want to use to attract newsletter subscribers. Ideally, use every opportunity to generate leads without annoying the customer. On the website as the most important contact point to the customers, for example, you can use the the footer. You can also use social media and even your own email signature to draw attention to your newsletter. You have particularly good chances of success if you use newsletter popups or slide-ins.


Create individual incentives

Give the interested person a reason to subscribe for your newsletter. It does not always have to be a voucher, by the way. Vouchers for the next purchase often work very well. However, since shop visitors are very different, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and exclusivity also convince certain customers. Tools like the uptain® ALGORITHM use intelligent data processing to calculate which incentive the individual visitor needs to subscribe for your newsletter. Afterwards, a newsletter popup is shown that provides the best possible incentive for a newsletter subscription.


GDPR-compliant registration forms

In order to avoid warnings, the registration form has to be prepared GDPR-compliant. After all, email addresses are personal data. A clear reference to the purpose of data collection and a double opt-in process (DOI) make the extension of the email recipient list legally secure.

Learn how to collect email addresses for your newsletter in compliance with the GDPR.

The most important KPIs in email marketing

To measure the success of your emails, you need some important KPIs for the email marketing. We give you an overview together with the meanings.

Email marketing allows online shops to contact customers and interested persons in a variety of cost-effective ways. Each type of email has its own strengths and can be cleverly integrated into the email marketing strategy.

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