An Analytical Look at Email-Engagement Series of Top E-Commerce Companies

An Analytical Look at Email-Engagement Series of Top E-Commerce Companies

In last month’s blog, we talked about 3 triggered email campaigns that have the biggest impact on increasing e-commerce sales: welcome, abandoned-cart recovery, and post-purchase nurturing campaigns. How do top e-commerce companies use these types of email campaigns to engage customers? Here are some recent study results to help answer that question.

The growth-marketing platform company, Iterable, analyzed email strategies of the top 100 e-commerce retailers in the United States to see how they engage customers, specifically in terms of welcome, shopping-cart–abandonment, and promotional “blast” email campaigns sent within the first week after subscribing. The study was conducted mid-December 2016 in the midst of the busy holiday shopping season.

Here are some of the study’s most interesting observations:

Welcome Emails

  • 87% of the top 100 companies sent welcome emails
  • Of the companies that sent welcome emails, 44% sent only 1 welcome email, 34% sent a series of 2 welcome emails, 17% sent a series of 3 emails, and 5% sent a series of 4 or more welcome emails.
  • Only 26% of the companies that sent welcome emails included a discount as an incentive to encourage a sale.
  • Of the companies that offered a welcome discount, 73% offered a percentage-off discount, 19% offered dollar-off discounts, and 8% offered free gifts. The most popular discount was 15% off a future purchase.

What’s surprising about these results is that 13% of the top e-commerce didn’t send a welcome email to their new subscribers. As we pointed out in a previous NewsLever article, welcome emails are an important way to educate and nurture potential new customers during their pre-purchase consideration stage. In fact, welcome emails generate 320% more revenue per email, 86% higher open rates, and 196% higher unique click rates compared to promotional emails.

Another surprising finding was that 44% of the top e-commerce companies that sent welcome emails sent only 1 welcome email rather than a series. However, studies indicate that sending a series of welcome emails can increase the transaction rate by as much as 40% compared to sending a single welcome email. In addition, only 26% of the e-commerce companies that sent welcome emails included an incentive offer. By adding an offer to a welcome campaign, companies can as much as double their revenue per email.

For more tips on how to create a successful welcome email campaign, check out our article: “How to Optimize Your Welcome Emails for a Big Boost in Revenue.”

Abandoned-Cart–Recovery Emails

  • Only 50% of the top 100 companies sent shopping-cart–abandonment emails, typically within the first 48 hours after the cart was abandoned.
  • Of those companies that sent abandoned-cart emails, 30% sent only 1 email, 46% sent a series of 2 emails, 14% sent a series of 3 emails, 8% sent a series of 4 emails, and only 1 company sent a series of 5 or more emails.
  • 88% of the e-commerce companies that sent abandoned-cart emails included a photograph of the item that was abandoned.
  • Only 4 companies offered a discount as an incentive for potential customers to complete their purchase.

Again, it’s surprising that only half of the top e-commerce businesses sent abandoned-cart–recovery emails. As we pointed out in a previous NewsLever article, nearly 50% of abandoned-cart–recovery emails are opened, and more than one-third of clicked abandoned-cart emails convert to a sale.

Most of the companies analyzed in this study included a photograph of the unpurchased product, which is a good way to personalize the email message, as well as remind cart abandoners what they’re missing out on. However, only 4 companies offered an incentive to help motivate cart abandoners to complete their purchase.

At FulcrumTech, we’ve found that offering an incentive (e.g., free shipping or a percentage off the purchase) in a cart-abandonment email series will often be just what cart abandoners need to convince them to complete their purchase. But we typically don’t include an incentive in the first email; rather, we include it in the second or third email in the series. And we also may exclude offers from those people who previously abandoned. That’s because we don’t want our clients’ customers to routinely abandon their online shopping carts, anticipating that a discount offer will follow.

Promotional “Blast” Email Campaigns

  • 43% of the top 100 companies didn’t send any promotional emails to new subscribers within the first week of signing up.
  • Of the 57% of e-commerce companies that sent a marketing email to new subscribers within a week of signing up, 26% sent only 1 email during the 7-day period, 42% sent between 2 and 5 emails, 25% sent between 6 and 10 emails, and 7% sent more than 11 emails.
  • 7 of the top e-commerce companies’ emails were caught in spam filters.

Astonishingly, only 43% of these top 100 companies sent any promotional emails to their new prospects and customers—and this was during the height of the holiday shopping season! Just as in any new relationship, a new subscriber’s interest in your company is typically high. So, this is the time to take advantage of the piqued interest by fostering the new customer relationship with emails that educate, nurture, and provide motivation to purchase.

And as this study of top e-commerce companies demonstrates, email deliverability is something that needs to be closely and continuously monitored. If your emails aren’t getting into the inbox, your subscribers can’t respond to your email campaigns—and, thus, your emails won’t succeed. Click here for more information about what you need to do to be sure all of your email campaigns are making it into your subscribers’ inboxes.

At FulcrumTech, our passion is helping companies get the biggest return on investment from their email-marketing campaigns. Whether it’s to welcome new subscribers, encourage prospects to purchase items left in their online shopping carts, or nurture new prospects and customers with promotional email campaigns, FulcrumTech has the expertise to get it done right. Contact us and get started today!


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