Email Offers Every Online Store Should Use

Your online store is up and running, your products are great, and your sales are… well, maybe they’re not where you’d like them to be. The problem may not be your site or your stuff. It could be that you need to ramp up your email marketing. 

Think of email marketing as the beacon that keeps your visitors and customers connected to your store. When they see you in their inbox, they’re reminded of the cool things you have to offer. And when they open your messages, they should see something that makes them want to click through to your store. 

What kinds of emails make customers want to drop in and buy from you again? Here are eight must-have messages. 

1. The welcome email

Everyone who shares their email address with your store—whether it’s to join your newsletter or make a first purchase—should get a welcome email right away. Why?

Welcome messages make people feel valued. And welcome emails can encourage people to come back to your store to buy things they looked at earlier, check out new deals or just browse some more. 

Here’s a good example from clothing reseller ThredUp. There’s a positive message, an image that evokes what they sell (fun, inexpensive fashion) and a call to action (“shop now”). 

welcome email offer example

There are also several ways the customer can save money in this message: a referral offer at the top and two discount shopping options at the bottom. (There were even more discount options below the fold in this message.) 

The overall vibe of this welcome message is “this is going to be fun and you’re going to save money.” And that makes thrift shoppers want to go back.

2. The product recommendation email

Sometimes you get a product that you know some of your customers are going to just love. And sometimes a customer’s purchase gives you ideas for other items they might like, too. A product recommendation email is the way to let them know. 

Audible, the audio book seller, includes product recommendations with every purchase receipt email. 

product recommendation email example

These recommendations land in the customer’s inbox when they’re already thinking about their audiobook queue, so maybe they’ll add on one or two of these titles. And no, you don’t have to generate the recommendations yourself. There are eCommerce tools that can automate personalization for your customers based on their searches and purchases on your site. 

You can also segment your customer list and send emails recommending individual products that way. That can work well for new items.

3. The deal email 

Sometimes you just want to drive traffic to your store, and a deal email is a time-tested way to do that. Here’s the top offer in an email Vitamix sent out last fall. It also included discounts on accessories, rewards program information and a free shipping offer.

discount deal email example

This message is ideal for getting Vitamix customers to click through. We like to talk about the horsepower of our blenders. But now there’s something more advanced? Must investigate.

4. Request for feedback emails 

Your customers are your best source of information about their experience and satisfaction. Email is the simplest way to get that information if you’re not talking to them in person. Here’s a customer survey request email that offers a reward for taking the time to fill out the form.

survey request email example

Note that you can also ask customers to leave product or store reviews, but that you can’t offer rewards in exchange for those reviews. 

5. The exclusive offer email 

Flash sales, preview sales and brand-new items or deals that are only available to subscribers make your customers feel special. 

exclusive flash sale offer email example

They also play on the human impulse to make the most of limited time offers or scarce inventory. People tend to snap up deals they know won’t be available for very long. 

6. The referral request email

One way to grow your customer base is by asking your current customers to refer you to their friends and family. A vision-care practice sent out this request as part of a marketing push to existing patients.

referral request email example

Notice that there’s a link that recipients can use to create their referral email. That’s smart, because the easier it is for people to refer you, the more likely they are to do it. 

7. The abandoned cart nudge email

Abandoned carts are one of the biggest challenges that eCommerce sellers have to deal with. All those potential sales, just languishing. One way to get more carts through checkout is with cart reminder emails.

abandoned cart email example

This reminder went out to someone who got halfway through the subscription process and then left. There’s a lot going on in this message. 

  • First, a reminder of all the resources that a subscription offers. 
  • Then, a subtle challenge with the statement that “great managers finish what they start.” What manager doesn’t want to be great? 
  • Then a text link and a button that repeat the message that the subscription task isn’t finished yet. 

For the record, the recipient went back and subscribed.

8. The holiday/seasonal gift-giving guide email

For every holiday, there’s a deal or a reminder email you can send to reconnect with your customers. Maybe it’s to feature a product that’s perfect for gift-giving, like this Dallas-area chocolatier did:

holiday gift guide email example

Any holiday can be a reason to reach out to your customers. Just make sure you include a call-to-action button, like each of these holiday messages do. And offer some kind of a deal to make it worth the effort to click. 

holiday email offer examples

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could create an entire series of holiday gift guide emails to go out during the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Of course, sending all these emails is a lot of work. It’s important to have an email marketing tool that automates them for you, so email doesn’t become another full-time job.

A good email marketing program will also help you segment your list and personalize the offers you send to different segments so that customers feel recognized and valued. And it will include tutorials to help you set up your list, segment it and create email campaigns. 

Ready to set up your email marketing campaign? HostGator customers with a shared hosting plan can get a free three-month trial of Constant Contact for a list with up to 500 email recipients. 

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance B2B content marketing writer. Her specialty areas include SMB marketing and growth, data security, IoT, and fraud prevention