The Evolution of Ecommerce: From Box Stores to Inbox

Shopping online is a pastime that many have enjoyed since the very beginning of the process. Who knew that, when Amazon first launched back in June of 1994, it’d become the internet’s number one stop for just about everything?

The evolution of ecommerce is an ever-continuing process, and, with more big-name retailers moving from brick-and-mortar stores to online shops, it’s a trend that won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

What is ecommerce?

Before looking at the evolution of ecommerce, it’s vital to understand exactly what ecommerce is.

Ecommerce: defined as both internet commerce and electronic commerce.

This term refers to the selling and purchasing of either goods or services using the internet. Ecommerce falls under the larger umbrella term, ebusiness, which refers to all aspects of running an online business. Ecommerce, however, refers specifically to the transaction of services and goods.

What typically sets ecommerce brands apart from other companies is the fact that ecommerce focuses heavily on a sale as their end goal. Non-ecommerce brands, however, focus heavily on informing their audience while encouraging an action, such as a purchase or subscription. This is easily seen in the following comparison of two very different newsletters.

Ecommerce newsletter vs. Non-ecommerce newsletter

Source: Really Good Emails/Really Good Emails

In the image to the left, we see a typical ecommerce newsletter. It’s appealing to the eye and catches the reader’s attention, but it’s clear that the action the sender wants you to take is to make a purchase. In the image on the right, the newsletter is purely informational, focusing on informing the reader of upcoming events and opportunities to meet the team.

How ecommerce became the booming industry it is today

While many consumers will identify the beginning of ecommerce as the time when Jeff Bezos shipped his first-ever Amazon online book order in 1995, others claim it was the purchase of a Sting CD in August of 1994, when a man sold the CD to a friend through his website NetMarket.

Since those humble beginnings, ecommerce has since grown to a $501 billion industry. The overall revenue brought in from the ecommerce industry is only expected to continue to grow moving forward, as more and more consumers prefer the ease of online shopping and having their goods delivered right to their front door.

Ecommerce revenue in the U.S. expected to continue to grow yearly

Source: Statista

Now, the numbers above strictly represent the United States, but these numbers are expected to continue to grow exponentially across the globe in the coming years.

So far, in 2019 alone, retail ecommerce sales worldwide have amounted to $3.53 trillion. By 2023, that number is predicted to double to nearly 6.54 trillion.

Retail ecommerce sales worldwide

Source: eMarketer

With these numbers only expected to continue rising, marketing teams everywhere are looking for ways to grow their online presence. While brick-and-mortar stores are great, moving online in some fashion is the way of the future.

Can ecommerce brands benefit from email marketing?

One ideal way to get your brand online is to invest in email marketing. While you may not be focusing a ton of time and attention on an online store, having a completed and detailed email marketing strategy in place can and will get you noticed by the right people. Not only that, but email marketing is the best channel for generating ROI online, bringing in an average of $38 for every $1 spent.

Email delivers the highest ROI for marketers

Source: Campaign Monitor

Now, we mentioned that you don’t need to have an impressive online store for your ecommerce brand to benefit from email marketing; however, that can and will play a massive role in overall customer engagement.

While many brick-and-mortar stores indeed utilize email marketing to stay in touch with the customers, ecommerce brands need to take things up a notch and have an online store available for their audience to browse.

Once your storefront is all set up and running, you can start focusing your attention on your email marketing campaigns to not only catch your audience members’ attention, but get them to make the conversion from browser to customer.

Why email marketing works for ecommerce brands

Still not convinced that your ecommerce brand needs to add email marketing to your digital marketing strategy? Here are a few key stats that may help convince you:

  • Transactional emails average 8 times more opens and clicks than any other type of email, which can help generate 6 times more revenue overall. – Experian
  • Typically, an average of 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, such as transactional emails. Automated email campaigns also account for nearly 21% of all email marketing revenue. – DMA
  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. – McKinsey
  • Seventy-two percent of people state that they prefer to receive promotional content through email, versus 17% of those who prefer social media. – MarketingSherpa
  • Email marketing campaigns drive more overall conversions than any other marketing channel, including search engines. – Monetate
  • An ecommerce email message is 5 times more likely to be seen than a Facebook message. – Radicati

3 examples of excellent ecommerce email marketing at work

The evolution of ecommerce requires that marketers have a solid understanding of digital marketing, and that requires at least a basic understanding of ecommerce email marketing campaigns that should be included in your marketing strategy.

Read on to discover a list of excellent ecommerce email marketing examples to help you gain a clearer idea of what email marketing campaigns you should include in your brand’s personal evolution of ecommerce.

1. Ecommerce welcome email by Seafolly

Seafolly is a beach and swimwear company from Australia, and they’ve done an excellent job of not only welcoming their new subscribers to the brand, but catching their eye with their welcome email. What makes this email stand out is the fact that the ecommerce brand keeps it super simple for their subscribers.

Instead of featuring all sorts of products, they include one hero image with a simple welcome message to their readers. The image itself intrigues the reader, while the warm welcome makes them feel at home on the site. This encourages visitors to go ahead and use the navigation at the top to browse at their leisure.

This is an excellent way to welcome your new subscribers, while not forcing a sales pitch on them during their first real contact with your ecommerce brand.

 Welcome email from beach apparel company Seafolly

Source: Campaign Monitor

2. The personalized/segmented email

Both email personalization and segmentation play vital roles in the success of your email marketing strategy, even as an ecommerce brand. While many non-ecommerce brands can easily slip the name of their reader into an email message, ecommerce brands have to get a little more creative with how they choose to segment and personalize their messages to customers.

Some of the best ways to segment and personalize your ecommerce emails are by creating lists based on the following information:

  • Contact activity
  • List membership
  • Geographical location
  • Gender
  • Birthday
  • Subscription date
  • Other personal preferences

One excellent example of personalization and list segmentation can be found in the following example by Adidas.

Adidas uses gender as a way to segment their email list and target specific audience members.

Source: Campaign Monitor

For this email, they decided to create two email campaigns and send them out to subscribers based on their gender preferences.

A segmented email campaign such as this can help your customers out quite a bit, especially when it comes down to the time they spend browsing for specific products. Many consumers know what it is they’re looking for, especially if a particular product was advertised in your most recent email message to them. So, by segmenting by gender or a specific style of clothing, you’re helping your subscribers get right to what they want, with little to no friction involved. Remember, the less friction and frustration, the more likely your subscriber will follow through with a purchase.

3. Product/inventory updates

Whether it’s new stock notices or product updates, your ecommerce brand should include product and inventory updates as part of your regular email marketing strategy.

Think of it this way; your subscribers have come to you because you have something they find of value. Instead of making them wait for updates on new or out-of-stock inventory, why not send those updates directly to their inbox?

Adidas does a great job of that in their inventory update email to their customer, who was in search of a very specific shoe. This update is useful for several reasons:

  • Customer doesn’t have to continue browsing the site for something that’s still out of stock
  • The email gives them some recommendations for similar products
  • Doesn’t waste the consumer’s time with unnecessary information

Adidas ecommerce inventory email update

Source: Really Good Emails

Again, these messages can be tailored to meet many needs, including:

  • Product launches
  • Product updates
  • Brand updates
  • Service updates and more

Wrap up

With the evolution of ecommerce comes changes in what’s required for brands to stay relevant in the minds of their audience. Not only is having a workable website a must, but your ecommerce marketing team needs to investigate other channels for reaching out and staying in contact with your audience. One of the best ways to do so is through email marketing and sending campaigns such as:

  • Welcome emails
  • Inventory/product updates
  • Personalized/segmented emails

Is your ecommerce brand looking for an email marketing product explicitly tailored to your needs? We’ve got you covered. We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our latest product designed for ecommerce brands in mind. Want more information? Check out our CM Commerce page today.

The post The Evolution of Ecommerce: From Box Stores to Inbox appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

3 Email Marketing Ecommerce Ideas That Will Empower Your Brand

Email marketing for ecommerce brands isn’t exactly a new art; however, it’s one that needs to be addressed, given the sheer number of emails that consumers receive each and every day. Unfortunately, many ecommerce names simply send out pesky ads to all of their customers, with nothing more than “buy now” promotions.

When it comes to email marketing ecommerce ideas, a weekly ad is great. However, you need to keep your readers in mind, and simply sending fliers—such as the following from Jewel Osco—isn’t exactly favorable amongst consumers.

Jewel Osco Weekly Flier

While these sorts of fliers are excellent for printed material and in-store reminders, they don’t make for good ecommerce email marketing. There are several reasons for this, including:

  • Viewing this in a web browser is difficult for the reader
  • Images may not load appropriately
  • It’s not tailored to your reader, so the material will be either glazed over or simply trashed
  • There’s little to no relevant content

When coming up with email marketing ecommerce ideas, it’s vital that you keep your consumers in mind.

Not only do 74% of marketers say that targeted personalization helps to increase customer engagement, but studies have shown that personalized emails deliver 6x times higher transaction rates.

When it comes time to either start building and or revamping your ecommerce email marketing strategy, it’s vital that you include varying email marketing campaigns into the mix in order to stay relevant in your customer’s inbox. Before we dive into email marketing ecommerce ideas to help your brand stand out, there’s one topic that many ecommerce brands struggle with that we need to cover: personalization.

Personalization in ecommerce email marketing

Many ecommerce brands have a hard time with email marketing. One reason is that they lack personalization within their email marketing campaigns. Although they could simply slap their reader’s name at the beginning of the email and call it a day, that doesn’t mean their content is relevant to each of the readers who’ve opted in to receiving regular promotions from them.

Let’s take this example from Gerald Nissan of Naperville. While, at first glance, this message seems to be more tailored to the reader, the unfortunate fact is that this receiver doesn’t actually own the car mentioned in the content.

Gerald Nissan of Naperville ecommerce Email

Source: Gerald Nissan of Naperville

The content of the message is excellent, but, again, the receiver of this message didn’t actually own the vehicle that the brand is targeting. It’s clear that Gerald Nissan was making an attempt at personalizing their content to their readers instead of sending out a generic message regarding their maintenance services. However, sending out a message regarding “your Sentra” when the receiver doesn’t own that vehicle can reflect poorly on your brand.

So how does an ecommerce brand create relevant content that’s personalized to each of its readers? Through email list segmentation.

Ecommerce email marketing ideas: email list segmentation

Before you dive into mapping out your ecommerce email marketing ideas, you first need to take some time to get to know your email subscribers. During their initial opt-in process, you should have collected some form of user data that allows you to get to know who your readers are. It’s this user data that’ll help you with your email list segmentation.

One quick reminder for those who need it: email list segmentation is the act of dividing your email subscribers into smaller, more unique segments based on specific criteria. The criteria can be quite literally anything—just remember, you don’t want to pester your readers for too much information in a single sitting, or they’ll quickly decide to opt out of the process.

User data you can collect includes:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Age
  • Geo-location
  • Gender
  • Job title
  • Education level
  • Signup source
  • User engagement
  • User Interests/preferences
  • Purchase history
  • Browsing history
  • Purchase amount
  • VIP status and more

Email List Segmentation Examples

Each of these segmentations will help you send the most relevant content to each of your readers. In the case of the earlier Nissan email, if their marketing team had segmented their email list appropriately and sent this message to users who had a purchase history that included the Nissan Sentra, then the message would’ve been sent only to those who found it most relevant.

Putting the time into email list segmentation is vital to the success of your ecommerce email marketing campaigns, so take adequate time to get it right, and you’ll see more positive results down the line.

3 email marketing ecommerce ideas that’ll set you apart from the competition

Understanding how to segment your email lists is only step one. Now it’s time to come up with email marketing ecommerce ideas that’ll not only get your emails seen by subscribers, but get them to take action.

It’s true that you can send out the average ad campaigns pertaining to seasons and new product updates. However, to stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to consider the following three email marketing ecommerce ideas.

Scarcity campaigns

Scarcity campaigns don’t get nearly enough attention when it comes to developing email marketing ecommerce ideas. These campaigns can come in several different formats, and each one can be easily tailored to your readers using email list segmentation.

One of the most common uses of scarcity campaigns is the “act now” campaign.

Rue21 ecommerce email example of scarcity

Source: Rue21

This is an excellent example, from beginning to end. The sense of scarcity begins in the subject line: “This can’t be the end!” Even the use of the ghost emojis helps create a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out. From there, the brand moves on to urge readers to act now, if they want to take advantage of the current deals because they “end tonight.”

Another excellent example of creating a sense of scarcity is through inventory updates, such as this example from Kate Spade.

Kate Spade ecommerce inventory update

Many consumers subscribe to their favorite brand’s email lists so that they can stay up to date on what’s new with the brand and on new releases. One area that many ecommerce emails tend to neglect is the “inventory update” messages. Sending new release messages is common. However, many of your readers are looking for very specific products and, when a specific or trending product goes out of stock, they’d greatly appreciate updates on when new stock is made available.

Not only do these updates help to cut down on customer frustration, but it helps them stay in the loop and save them valuable browsing time. This is a great way to implement browsing or purchase history segmentation because it helps you send information truly relevant to those who are in need.

Cart abandonment campaigns

Cart abandonment campaigns are a necessary part of developing email marketing ecommerce ideas, and, while most brands simply send a message regarding items remaining in your cart, these messages can be better tailored to encourage your readers to act and purchase the items they left in their online shopping carts.

Consider this example from Framebridge. Instead of just regurgitating the items left in their shopper’s cart, they take things to the next step with further personalization.

 Framebridge abandoned cart ecommerce email example

Source: Really Good Emails

They start by complimenting their subscriber’s taste and then offer them an exclusive 10% off their initial purchase as a way of encouraging them to revisit their cart and purchase the items they left in there. From there, they address the possibility of the consumer being torn between a few different products and encourage them to see their designer’s choice to help them pick.

Recommendation campaigns

Product recommendation campaigns are one of the best ways to send the most relevant ecommerce emails to your subscribers. Again, once you’ve segmented your email list, you can send only the most relevant content to each of your readers, and, by using segments such as browsing and purchase history, you can send genuinely relevant recommendations to each person on your list.

Take this example from Adidas. Not only are they utilizing an inventory update for this message, but they’re combining it with a personalized recommendation for their user, in the instance that the reader may need something now, versus waiting for a specific product to come back into stock.

 Adidas ecommerce example of a product recommendation

Source: Really Good Emails

What really works with this email marketing ecommerce idea is that the reader can see that the sender isn’t just looking to make a sale but wants to make sure they’re fulfilling this particular reader’s need. They’ve taken a look at the product that the reader was interested in and made appropriate product recommendations that may suit their needs, should they want to make a purchase now instead of waiting on the out-of-stock product.

Wrap up

When it comes time to develop email marketing ecommerce ideas for your brand, there are many different campaign ideas to help you stay relevant in your subscriber’s inbox.

If you really want to stand out, however, you should consider these three ecommerce email marketing campaigns:

  • Scarcity campaigns
  • Personal recommendations campaigns
  • Card abandonment campaigns

Is your brand in need of an email marketing product for your ecommerce store? Campaign Monitor is excited to announce the launch of its CM Commerce product that works with platforms including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. For more information, check out our CM Commerce page today!

The post 3 Email Marketing Ecommerce Ideas That Will Empower Your Brand appeared first on Campaign Monitor.