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Ecommerce Email Sequences: From Abandoned Carts to Customer Retention

Email marketing is indispensable for ecommerce success today. Segmented autoresponder sequences allow you to guide customers through every stage of their journey – from abandoned carts to repeat purchases and loyalty.

This comprehensive guide will explore the critical email workflows and automations to implement, including proven templates and examples to model.

With the right sequences in place, your store can nurture leads, convert shoppers, and retain customers like never before. Let’s dive in!

Why Email Sequences Are Essential for Ecommerce

Email marketing checked all the boxes for effective customer engagement:

Hyper-targeted: Messages tailored to each recipient’s needs and history.

Cost-effective: Email generates $42 for every $1 spent – the highest ROI of any marketing channel.

Scalable: Reach every customer individually, no matter your size.

Automated: Send the right messages automatically at the optimal time.

Measurable: Track every click and conversion to gauge ROI and impact.

Optimizable: Continuously test and improve your emails for better results.

With email sequences, you can guide people through personalized journeys designed to convert at each stage from stranger to loyal advocate.

Well-crafted workflows nurture relationships over time through valuable content and offers delivered when most relevant. The long-term value of email subscribers typically lands between $5,000-$25,000.

Email automations provide ecommerce stores an automated sales team that never sleeps. Let’s look at the key sequences to implement for maximum impact.

Abandoned Cart Sequences

Abandoned carts represent a massive missed opportunity for most ecommerce stores today. The average cart abandonment rate is over 75%.

But cart abandonment emails can recover up to 30% of these shoppers. That translates to massive revenue gains.

Set Emails to Trigger Immediately After Abandonment

Timing is critical. Send the first abandoned cart email within minutes after basket abandonment. Follow up quickly before the shopper leaves your site.

The shorter your initial trigger, the higher your recovery rate. Every minute counts.

Lead with Scarcity and FOMO Messaging

Play to shopper emotions by highlighting scarcity and the fear of missing out. Limited-time discounts or expiring products create urgency to complete the purchase.

Subject lines like “Don’t miss this discount!” capture attention in crowded inboxes.

Showcase Top Abandoned Items

Display the shopper’s specific abandoned items first and make it easy to add them back to the cart. Remind them what caught their interest originally.

Offer a Compelling Discount

A discount or promo code is table stakes for abandoned cart success. 15-25% off is ideal – enough to sway them without undervaluing your brand.

Sweeten the deal for high-value carts. The savings often more than offset the discount.

Follow Up Multiple Times Over Days

Send 3-5 abandoned cart emails in total. Continue offering fresh discounts and urgency until they convert or opt-out.

The more relevant contacts, the higher your recovery rate. Vary your subject lines and content.

Make Mobile Friendly

With over 50% of shopping happening on mobile, ensure your recovery emails are optimized for mobile browsers and apps. Streamline checkout.

Review on every device your customers use. Mobile effort matters.

Post-Purchase Sequences

The moments after a first purchase represent a critical window to convert one-time buyers into loyal return customers.

Welcome and thank you sequences make the difference.

Send Quickly Post-Purchase

Send the first post-purchase email immediately on the same day as the sale while it’s top of mind.

Capitalize on the customer’s excitement to get your relationship started strong. Delay means lower engagement.

Offer Resources Relevant to Purchase

Provide bonuses like ebooks, video tutorials, or email courses related to the shopper’s purchases.

Double down on the value to build loyalty.

Give VIP Access

Granting exclusive offers, early access to sales, and special discounts makes new customers feel part of a VIP club.

Special treatment kicks the relationship off strongly.

Show Appreciation

Thank customers directly for their purchase and belief in your brand. Make it personal.

Gratitude goes a long way to turning them into brand ambassadors.

Ask for Product Reviews

Requesting reviews of recently purchased products helps build your social proof. Prioritize this shortly after delivery.

Feedback helps others find your store and improves future purchases.

Preview Upcoming Collections

Give new customers a sneak peek at upcoming releases or products to watch for.

Whet their appetite for what’s in store down the road.

Replenishment Sequences

For consumables or renewable products, replenishment emails remind customers it’s time to stock up again.

These are fantastic for retention for ecommerce sites selling:

  • Supplements
  • Cosmetics
  • Pet food
  • Office supplies
  • Household goods

Set Timing Based on Average Replenishment Cycles

Study historical purchase cycles to determine the average re-order rate for each product line. Use this timing in your sequences.

Data beats guessing when to notify customers.

Display Previous Orders

Show past purchases of the product and note when they occurred to trigger replenishment.

Visual reminders make the need concrete.

Offer Volume Discounts

Provide multi-unit or subscription discounts to incentivize larger replenishment orders.

Maximize order value with savings for stocking up.

Highlight New Product Options

In addition to staple re-orders, showcase new products or flavor/style options that may interest repeat customers.

Upsells increase cart value.

Feature User-Generated Images

Pepper your sequences with customer photos and videos featuring products in their lives.

User-generated content builds credibility.

Retention Sequences

Beyond replenishment, create sequences focused on long-term customer retention and satisfaction. Retaining customers requires ongoing value delivery.

Send Based on Meaningful Events

Set automations around birthdays, loyalty anniversaries, new product releases relevant to past purchases, and seasonal use cases.

Personalization shows customers you care.

Spotlight Curated Recommendations

Share personalized suggestions based on order history and browsing behavior.

FitSpotter emails show items a returning shopper would like based on AI algorithms.

Provide Ongoing Education

Share tutorials, insider tips, and guides to get the most from your products.

Useful education builds enduring relationships.

Survey Product Performance

Check in regarding which items they love, what works well, and where you can improve.

Feedback tailors future purchases to actual usage and needs.

Give VIP Access

Invite repeat customers to members-only sales, product previews, and events to make them feel valued.

Exclusivity retains influencers within your niche.

Browsing Abandonment Sequences

Beyond shopping carts, browsers who leave without purchasing represent potential customers. Remind them of their interest with onsite browse abandonment emails.

Trigger After X Minutes Without a Pageview

Send the first email within 10-20 minutes after a visitor exits your site if they haven’t purchased. Act while the visit is still fresh.

Showcase Pages Visited

List the specific product and category pages the browser visited to remind them of their interest.

Visual cues spark memory and desire.

Offer an Incentive to Return

Provide a discount, free gift, or exclusive deal if they complete the purchase within X days.

Incentives turn lookie-loos into buyers.

Limit to High-Intent Segments

Focus browse abandonment on visitors who got deep into category pages or spent significant time researching.

Casual visitors won’t convert regardless.

Make Mobile Optimized

With mobile driving over half of browsing, ensure your sequence displays beautifully cross-device.

Mobile abandoners demand mobile-first treatment.

Account Winback Sequences

For lapsed customers who haven’t purchased in 3+ months, winback campaigns gently reengage them.

Trigger Based on Purchase Recency

Send winback emails to shoppers with a purchase history who haven’t bought recently – tailor timing based on their average frequency.

Spotlight Previous Purchases

Share a few of their favorite past purchases as a reminder of their relationship with your brand.

Positively rekindle the fire.

Offer a Reactivation Discount

Provide 15-20% off or free shipping to incentivize lapsed shoppers to make a purchase again.

Make it easy to give you a second chance.

Preview New Arrivals

Share products, styles, or content released since they last visited to entice re-exploration.

Ask Why They Haven’t Been Back

Survey winback segments to understand why they left and improve your store for the future.

Feedback identifies issues to address.

Referral Sequences

Referrals from existing customers provide the most valuable leads. Cultivate referrals with targeted sequences.

Trigger After Their First Purchase

Ask for referrals right after that first purchase when excitement is highest.

Warm leads refer others once they’re customers themselves.

Explain the Value to Them

Educate customers on how referrals help your business and why their advocacy matters.

Connect the dots to your mutual success.

Make it Easy to Share

Provide pre-written messages, post templates, and click-to-share links to lower barrier to refer friends.

Convenience drives higher referral volume.

Offer Compelling Incentives

Give customers discounts, credits, or exclusive gifts in return for successful referrals who convert.

Sweeten the value exchange.

Close the Loop

Let customers know when someone they referred makes a purchase. Recognition keeps them referring.

Thank customers again for the introduction when deals close.

Winback Sequences for Unengaged Subscribers

Email subscribers who signed up but never engaged deserve special reactivation attempts as well.

Try these approaches:

Spotlight Your Best Content

Share your top 3-5 posts that new subscribers shouldn’t miss. Make it irresistible.

Previews motivate unengaged folks to re-explore content.

Ask for Feedback on Why They Haven’t Opened

Survey to understand if your subjects are missing the mark or if contacts wound up in the promotions tab.

Insights guide re-engagement.

Offer an Exclusive Deal or Content

Provide special discounts, sales access, or gated content only for reactivation.

Exclusivity entices action.

Let Them Choose Content Preferences

Give inactive subscribers total control over what types of emails they want to receive moving forward.

Choice and control build openness to your messages again.

Segment and nurture disengaged subscribers with tailored content catered to their needs until they re-engage.

Sequences to Scale Customer Lifetime Value

Building these sequences lays the foundation to maximize customer lifetime value – the cornerstone of all successful ecommerce brands.

Targeted, individualized messaging tailored to each subscriber’s timeline and demonstrated interests provides unmatched value.

Yet automation makes scaling personalization easy. As you expand your store, keep optimizing sequences using email and conversion metrics. The sky’s the limit on revenue per customer.

At every turn, remove friction and provide fresh value to nudge contacts closer to their next purchase. Email marketing combined with accurate analytics is your competitive advantage for putting the customer first.

Top Sequence Optimization Tips

Once your sequences are up and running, the real work begins. Continuously improve performance with these optimization techniques:

Review Email and Conversion Metrics

Analyze open, clickthrough, and conversion rates for each sequence. Find your best and worst performers.

A/B Test Subject Lines

Test 5-10 subject line variations per sequence to drive higher open rates. Match to campaign goals.

Refine Content Blocks

Try different offers, discounts, copy blocks, images, etc. to boost engagement.

Adjust Timings

Send sequences faster or slower and see if conversions improve. Find your ideal delay.

Personalize Dynamic Content

Add subscriber names, referenced products, purchase dates, etc. to hyper-personalize messages.

Segment Users

Divide VIP customers, high-value orders, and geographic regions into separate streams with tailored offers.

Optimize Mobile

Ensure flawless mobile responsiveness. Preview all emails on mobile devices.

Refresh Sequences Regularly

Put older sequences to rest and launch new ones regularly to keep content fresh.

Automate Reporting

Establish dashboards and alerts for critical email and conversion metrics to stay on top of performance.

By continually testing and optimizing your automations, they’ll drive more value than any solo blast ever could.

Make Conversions Flow with Workflows

Email sequences provide the missing link for most ecommerce stores – automated, personalized guidance tailored to each customer’s timeline and demonstrated interests.

Success comes down to carefully crafting journeys adapted to your product’s ideal sales cycle – then relentlessly optimizing performance using data.

With workflows aligned to your business, leads will progress smoothly from abandoned carts into loyal repeat customers. But expect to refine and expand sequences continually as you learn more about your audience’s needs at each stage.

At the end of the day, email sequences run your ecommerce business for you. Treat them as a 24/7 automated sales team personalizing the experience for each subscriber.

The deeper your customer relationships, the bigger your lifetime value. Turn to email and its unrivaled targeting, automation, and optimization capabilities to unlock the next level of customer engagement for your store.

The amazing power of triggered sequences is they work while you sleep. Now press play, watch the sales roll in, and just keep making your store better every single day. Ecommerce success awaits!


By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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