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Email Marketing Trends for eCommerce Merchants To Watch

December 10, 2019
4 Min Read
Email Marketing Trends for eCommerce Merchants To Watch

Email marketing is anything but dead. An optimized email campaign holds incredible conversion rate potential, and of course, ROI. Time is the only cost involved in email marketing, and if you are willing to commit yourself to email best practices and upcoming trends, you'll likely see significant results. 

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2020 Email Marketing Trends to Follow

Many of these trends are best practices that you should always follow, but are also suitable trends that we see throughout our inboxes. 

Segmentation and Humanization

These two ideas are extremely important for email marketing. People are becoming more sensitive to content that is not tailored specifically to them but is still showing up in their inbox. No one wants to feel like they are receiving an email that was sent out to hundreds of thousands of people, nor do they want to receive an email from a "spammy" email address like noreply@emailmarketing.com. 

In order to make the most of highly segmented email lists, you need to make sure your database is clean and healthy. Smart lists are a great way to do this. A smart list uses specific criteria that you choose to then automatically populate contacts from your database that match it.

Creating smart lists that monitor those who have unsubscribed or opted out from receiving emails from you, are ineligible contacts, and have not opened an email in the past 9 months, are all great places to start. Anyone added to those lists can then be added to a master suppression list.

From there, you can create more smart lists with specific criteria that matches the kind of email you are about to send out. For example, if you sell a product that has different versions, such as a full, upgrade, etc., you need to make lists tailored to those versions.

How to Implement It

First, you'll want to exclude people who already have purchased your product. From there, you need to identify all the people who would be interested in purchasing each version of your product. You must also make sure that all the links in your email send these people to the right place on your website. 

Once you have cleaned your database and created various smart lists, you need to humanize your emails. Luckily, you're already a part of the way there! Using segmented lists for sending emails automatically makes your messages more personal because you know they will be relevant to those receiving them.

Additionally, using personalization tokens in your subject lines, preview text, and/or body copy, can make your emails sound personal, making your recipients appreciate what you have to say more. Lastly, make sure you are sending your emails from an email address that sounds more personal. If you can, it's always a good idea to send emails from an address with a name attached to it.


Automation is a beautiful thing that makes your life as an email marketer so much easier. You can set up workflows for really any type of eCommerce email marketing. Whether it be a sequence of sales emails or a special promotion that you have running for Black Friday, you can create an automated workflow for it. 

If you're current email marketing platform does not have an automated workflow functionality, I highly suggest looking into using HubSpot.

Two of our favorite ways to use workflows are for abandoned cart and form submissions. When you set up a workflow, you have to set enrollment criteria to make sure the contacts being added are very specific and relevant to the emails within that workflow. 

For example, if you want to set up a workflow for people who completed the "Contact Us" form on your website, your enrollment criteria would be something along the lines of, "Contact Us form completed is equal to Yes".  From there, you will create the follow up emails that you will send to people who have reached out to you. You can yes If/Then criteria, delays, create tasks, and so much more. 

If you are a lead generation business, you can create workflows for specific types of leads who are at different stages of the buyer's journey. A workflow can assign your leads properties and send them specific emails, making it easier to organize your contacts and get different messages across. 

Combine Email Marketing with Social Media

Social media requires that a user seek out information, whereas emails are delivered directly to the user. By using the two in conjunction you can capitalize on both of their strengths and grow your audience.

So how can social media and email work together to grow your business?

One way is to have an email/newsletter tab on your company’s Facebook Page. This is a great way to build your email list using social media. To build on this idea, I'd update the image to talk about the payoff for signing up, maybe with a discount offer. This will be more incentive for a customer to give his or her email address.

On the other end, you have an opportunity to increase your social media presence through email by simply including social media icons in the email. Consumers can ‘Like’ a promotion, tweet the offer, share with friends, etc. If you want to really grow your online presence, you can actually promote your Facebook, Twitter, or any other social platform in your email – even offering discounts for joining your social campaign. Again, this is a really easy and inexpensive way to grow your customer base.

So while businesses continue to move toward social media, remember that email marketing continues to be an effective marketing tool and can work with social media to help grow your client base.

Create an Interactive and Mobile-Friendly Email Experience

As the technological world becomes more interactive, so should your emails. People respond particularly well to interactive emails in the eCommerce industry. If you have one specific product that you want to put on display, GIFs perform well in email. With all of this being said, though, you cannot forget about the importance of a CTA. Each email should have one CTA – one thing that you want your recipients to do. Don't hide your CTA to make room for animation advancements. 

The prominence of mobile devices is rising and so are the number of people who go through their mobile inboxes on a daily basis. It is important to make sure each email you send renders as well (if not better) on a mobile device as it does on a desktop. This will ensure a positive experience for the recipient no matter the device they are viewing their email on. 

A/B Testing

Testing is more than just a trend. It is a methodology that you should carry over into all aspects of your marketing strategy, but I will focus on how you can use it for emails. 

There are 4 major aspects of every email: subject line, preview text, layout, and CTA. You can use A/B tests to figure out what works best, but make sure you only change one variable for each test. For example, if you want to test out different subject lines, make sure the subject lines are the only things different from each other in the emails. Everything else needs to be the same so nothing is influencing open rate except for your subject line. Think of this like a scientific experiment: one control and one variable that changes.

By running A/B tests, you can ensure every email you send out is optimized to be what works best with your recipients. 

Final Thoughts

These email marketing trends will help you optimize, specifically tailor and make the most out of every email you send. If you are looking for email experts to help out with your email marketing campaigns, we would love to help! Feel free to contact us below to learn more.

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About the author
Internal Marketing Manager

Spencer Flaherty is an eCommerce blogger who loves exploring the latest trends and technologies in the industry. From chatbots to virtual reality, they cover it all.

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