Retail Email Marketing: Strategies to Grow Your Subscribers and Revenue

retail email marketing cover image with a shopping bag and an email icon

Retail email marketing is a strategic approach to promoting a brand and its products to existing and potential customers via email. 

According to research, 98% of consumers browse online and 53% regularly buy online daily or weekly. And these shoppers likely land on the purchase page through multiple channels such as social media, emails, etc. 

Still, studies show that not all retailers understand their consumers’ needs and wants, resulting in missed opportunities and dissatisfied customers. 

While it’s relatively easy to predict customer behavior on other channels, email marketing makes it super relevant through key campaign metrics and customer behavioral data. 

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store with an online presence or an exclusive online shop, we’ll walk you through practical tips to craft killer retailer email marketing campaigns that drive engagement and skyrocket your revenue. 

How Email Marketing and Retail Complement Each Other?

Email marketing campaigns make up 9% of the total traffic on e-commerce websites, making emails the go-to strategy to boost customer loyalty, engagement, and sales.

In fact, your customers are likely checking their inboxes for shipping updates and promotional offers, making it easier for you to incorporate email marketing into your retail business.

Email marketing helps you:

  • Build relationships: You can guide customers through the buyer’s journey, nurturing them from the awareness stage to the decision-making phase.
  • Drive sales: Emails promote new products, seasonal sales, and offer discounts or coupons. They can also remind customers about abandoned carts or products they browsed.
  • Send relevant information: Email segmentation allows you to divide customers based on their interests and offer appropriate content.
  • Spread brand awareness:  People likely check their inboxes several times a day, and emails make it easy to reach them and deliver specific information.
  • Analyze data: Email marketing metrics help you compare past and present data to ensure customer satisfaction with your brand.

Email marketing is a powerful tool for bridging the gap between online and offline retail experiences with a cohesive and customer-centric strategy.

But to make customers happy, you must know their geographical location, likes and preferences, and previous purchase patterns. Your email list is the single source of information containing every detail related to your customers.

The strategies below will help you build a healthy email list and grow your subscribers.

Practical Strategies to Build Your Retail Email List

An email list with engaged subscribers shows that people are satisfied and are likely to continue doing business with you. This means convincing existing and potential shoppers to subscribe to your list, where you can win them over with email campaigns again.

Building a healthy list is more than placing random forms on your website and social media—it’s a strategic move that must be handled with care.

Below are effective opt-in strategies to capture people’s attention and encourage them to sign up.

  • Website signup forms with incentives: Place signup forms prominently on your website and provide incentives to encourage signups.
  • In-store signups with benefits: Use signage and announcements at the checkout and around the store to showcase the benefits of signing up. You can also train staff to explain the perks of subscribing, such as special discounts or early access to new products.
  • Social media promotions: Showcase your brand expertise on social media profiles to gain people’s trust. Then, you can invite them to sign up using special offers.
  • Lead magnets: Offer valuable resources, such as style guides, first purchase discounts, free shipping, or early access.
  • Loyalty program: Create a loyalty program that benefits customers with exclusive perks for signing up.

Growing Your List Organically

Once you have a few subscribers, you will want to grow your list organically. 

Follow these 4 strategies to expand your subscriber base:

  1. Run contests and giveaways: Run contests or giveaways encouraging people to sign up with their email addresses. This can be a fun and engaging way to collect valid email addresses and grow your list of interested contacts. 
  2. Offer exceptional customer service: Satisfied customers are more willing to sign up for your email list. Be available and provide support genuinely.
  3. Post-purchase opt-in: Include a checkbox on the checkout page to encourage customers to sign up for your emails.
  4. Free downloads: Offer lookbooks, guides, or checklists for free to showcase your expertise and uniqueness. Promote these lead magnets on your website, social media, and blog posts, requiring signups to access content.

Pro Tip: Download the Lead Magnet Multiplier Course to learn insider tips and strategies on how to create effective lead magnets and increase click rates by as much as 8x.

This knowledge, combined with our unique Engagement Gamification feature, boosts customer engagement, improves email deliverability, and ultimately, increases your marketing revenue.

Organic growth takes time, but with high-quality content, valuable incentives, and a user-friendly signup process, you can convert curious people into loyal subscribers soon.

In support of that, we’ve compiled a list of strategies to nurture customer relationships and drive sales.

Retail Email Marketing Strategies For Growth

Shoppers switch from one marketing channel to the other as per their preferences. This means you must treat physical and digital channels equally to deliver a consistent and engaging experience. 

With the bite-sized information below, you can create a compelling retail email marketing strategy.

The Power of Segmentation

According to the abovementioned study by E-consultancy, around 81% of retail stores know where their customers live. For example, if you want to promote a new product and target specific people in your email list, how would you know which ones to send it to?

This is where segmentation plays a critical role helping you divide customers into groups by geographic location, shopping preferences, gender, etc. 

Follow these segmentation best practices to send the right emails to the right people:

  1. Use the RFM model: A classic approach that segments subscribers based on Recency (last purchase), Frequency (purchase behavior), and Monetary value (average spend).
  2. Segment based on value: To identify high-value segments, classify subscribers based on their lifetime value (total spending).
  3. Segment based on behavior: Group customers based on purchase patterns, browsing habits, and product preferences. This helps you send targeted product recommendations and offers.
  4. Segment based on needs: Segment subscribers based on their needs and reasons for shopping. It will help you tailor messages and product offers to suit their specific needs.
  5. Maintain data quality: Regularly cleanse and update your customer data to ensure segmentation accuracy.

Use Personalized Elements

Personalization is about creating email experiences that resonate with each individual based on their unique interests and preferences. Some people might join your list to receive deals and coupons, and a few others for fashion guidelines. Indeed, 75% of customers say receiving discounts via email makes them happy.

You can leverage personalization for maximum impact by following these steps:

  • Dynamic content: Dynamic content blocks in emails help you showcase images, send product promotions, or blog content tailored to each customer’s preferences and purchase history. 
  • Personalization triggers: Set up automated emails based on subscriber actions, such as a welcome email series, as soon as a person subscribes to your list. 
  • Preference centers: Within your email settings, allow subscribers to select the timing and frequency of their emails. This will help them choose the type of content they are interested in.

Attention-grabbing Subject Lines

Subject lines determine the open rates for retail email marketing. The average open rate for the retail industry is 40.6%, which is much higher than the overall average open rate. Personalized and intriguing subject lines could open gates to higher brand visibility and, more importantly, an increase in sales.

Use these tips to write subject lines that convince readers to take immediate action:

  • Spark curiosity: Use questions in the subject line and ask readers to find the answers inside the emails. For example, “What’s trending this summer?”
  • Highlight exclusivity and scarcity: Create a sense of urgency by mentioning limited-quantity items or exclusive deals.
  • Include the recipient’s name: Increase relevance by including the recipient’s name and mentioning past purchases.
  • Showcase value proposition: Tell readers how your email benefits them. For example, “3 skincare tips for a glowing summer.”
  • Use action-oriented language: Use strong verbs and CTAs to show subscribers the next steps. For example, “shop now and save up to 30% on new arrivals.”
  • Avoid exclamation marks: Don’t sound salesy, and avoid too many emojis and exclamation marks. Spam filters are trained to catch any email that sounds like junk mail.

Craft Compelling Email Content

Instead of describing your products to customers, walk them through the entire process. Good storytelling can trigger emotions in people and make them take action without second thoughts. 

It could be as simple as including a founder’s story or how your product helped someone live a happier life. Although both can trigger emotional experiences, stories, and reviews are two different things — stories aim to share your brand journey and beliefs, while reviews showcase the actual emotional experiences of your customers. 

Master the above fundamentals to create effective retail marketing email sequences. 

Essential Email Marketing Campaigns for Retailers with Examples

Think of the retail email campaigns as a series of opportunities for people to learn about your brand, consider products, and finally purchase them. Each campaign will have specific objectives to achieve the overall marketing goals.

For example, if your goal is to increase sales for the quarter, you can employ educational and brand-building emails, newsletters, and discount emails. 

This process of guiding subscribers toward a specific action is critical for the success of your retail email marketing efforts. 

This table summarizes key email marketing campaigns for retailers, along with examples.

S.NOEmail Campaign TypePurposeSubject Line Examples
1Welcome emailsA series of emails sent to your retail subscribers to introduce your brand “Welcome to [brand]. Here’s a special offer for you”
2Product launch Emails announcing the arrival of a product or collection“Our new winter collection just launched”
3Seasonal promotionsMessages promoting seasonal sales or holiday discounts“Summer sales: up to 20% off”
4Abandoned cart emailsTo remind customers about the products left in their shopping carts“Check out the items in your cart now”
5Retail email newslettersTo send updates and engage customers with educational content “The fall line: an exclusive preview”
6Loyalty programsEmails promoting loyalty programs for repeat customers “Here’s a little something for traveling this journey with us”
7Order confirmation emails To confirm receipt of the order“Shipping update for [recipient name]”
Retail email marketing campaign types

Let’s examine these campaigns in-depth and give examples of email sequences to help you get rolling.

Welcome Email Campaign for Retail Brands

Welcome emails set the tone for new relationships and improve brand awareness. They must outline future plans to let subscribers know what to expect from your brand. Pace out these emails by adding relevant information to each. 

Welcome emails are usually sent in a sequence, as in the table below.

Welcome Email SequenceTimelineWhat you must do 
First email Within 24 hours of subscriber sign-upsThank subscribers for joining
‣ Briefly introduce your brand story
‣ Highlight core products or best sellers
‣ Offer a special incentive
‣ Direct them to your website or product catalog
Second email 3-7 days after the initial email‣ Offer additional value based on subscriber preferences or browsing behavior
‣ Showcase user-generated content or customer testimonials to build trust 
‣ Introduce loyalty programs or exclusive benefits for customers
Third email1-2 weeks after the second email‣ Address common customer queries such as return policies, shipping information, etc.
‣ Feature blog, tutorials, or style tips related to your products
‣ Highlight upcoming sales, promotions, or new arrivals
A retail welcome email campaign sequence

Retail Welcome Email Campaign Example

retail welcome email campaign
Retail welcome email example. Full version at the source

Glossier, a skincare brand, sends a humble welcome email explaining its brand value. It also showcases sections on “Beauty inspired by real people,” enabling people to better understand its products and processes.

Retail Brands — Product Launch Email Campaigns

A product launch campaign is a series of emails that build a buzz around a new product. These emails usually generate excitement, educate customers, and drive sales. 

You will then craft product launch email sequences and schedule them, just like the example scenario below.

Product Launch Email SequenceTimelineWhat to do 
Pre-launch phase email1-2 weeks before the product launch‣ Spark curiosity with teaser emails 
‣ Reward loyal customers with early access to products
‣ Provide valuable content such as explainer videos or new product features and benefits
Launch day emailOn the same day ‣ Send the big reveal or announcements about new products
‣ Host a live stream or showcase product demo 
Post-launch phase emailOngoing ‣ Build trust by showcasing positive user reviews from early adopters
‣ Create a sense of urgency with limited-time offers
‣ Recommend complementary products 
‣ Get customer feedback through polls and surveys
Retail product launch email campaign sequence

Product Launch Email Campaign Example

retail product launch example
Product launch email example. Full version at the source

Flax Home is a home furnishing brand that invites readers to experience their new collection in-store. The email contains a high-quality image, compelling body copy, and address to entice readers to visit the store.

Seasonal Promotions for Retail Brands

According to different stats, the busiest seasonal shopping days are Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But you don’t have to wait that long to send discounts and new product arrivals to your brand fans. 

Capitalize on special days such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or general holidays to increase brand awareness and boost sales.

Use these key pointers to craft effective seasonal campaigns for your retail brand:

  1. Identify critical sales periods: Research significant holidays (Christmas, New Year), National days (Father’s Day), and seasonal shifts (back-to-school) to offer relevant email content.
  2. Align promotions with customer needs: Plan promotions around what customers are likely to be looking at, such as gifts for holidays or practical items for back-to-school.
  3. Review your competitors: Your competitors are likely sending similar offers as you. Include content they have missed out on to break customers’ inbox clutter.
  4. Track and analyze results: Monitor key metrics such as coupon usage, sales figures, and website traffic to tailor your seasonal messages according to audience interests.

Seasonal Promotions Email Example

retail seasonal email example
Seasonal promotions for retail brands example. Full version at the source

Chamberlain Coffee takes advantage of St.Patrick’s Day by refunding orders up to $100. This increases brand awareness, and the customers win free matcha, making it a win-win situation for both.

Abandoned Cart Emails 

Abandoned cart emails act as quick reminders, nudging retail customers to get back to their shopping carts. Use high-quality images, product descriptions, and a compelling CTA to re-engage disinterested customers.

While you might be tempted to send multiple reminders, keep in mind that overwhelming customers can make them unsubscribe and have a negative brand impression.

It’s best to send the first abandoned cart email a few hours after customers have added products to their carts. Follow-up with 2-3 emails paced over the next few weeks. Keep the content and tone friendly and provide straightforward CTAs such as “Go back to cart” or ” Complete purchase now.”

Abandoned Cart Email Example

retail abandoned cart example
Retail abandoned cart email example. Full version at the source

Little Beast, a pet lifestyle brand, combines the power of emotions and discounts to get people to resume shopping.

Retail Email Newsletters

Marketing newsletters help retailers share specific information and achieve various brand goals. These recurring emails share a variety of content to keep subscribers engaged and driven to purchase.

Determine a sending frequency and mix a variety of content to cater to different interests of the audience. Additionally, ensure a seamless reading experience on all devices by using mobile-optimized design.

Retail Newsletter Example

retail newsletter example
Retail newsletter example. Full version at the source

MacPaw shares “Cleanmymac Digest” to inform and engage tech lovers. The additional article on clearing iPhone storage makes them come across as an expert in their field.

Retail Loyalty Program Emails to Honor Repeat Customers

Retail loyalty program emails are a strategic initiative to encourage repeat business. These programs are usually one-off messages — broadcasts,  that can increase customer lifetime value and foster brand loyalty. 

However, based on your brand and customer behavior, you can also choose to send them as a series. You will schedule these emails after certain user actions or a specific time period.

Loyalty programs can be in the form of:

  • Points-based programs,
  • Tiered programs, 
  • Paid loyalty programs, 
  • Cashback or reward programs, 
  • And referral programs.

Loyalty Program Example 

retail loyalty rewards example
Loyalty rewards email example. Full version at the source

Dr.Squatch, a brand that prepares natural products for men, uses a simple email to convey the perks of the loyalty program. 

Retail Order Confirmation Emails

Retail order confirmations acknowledge the receipt of purchases. They are emails triggered by user actions, for example, an order placement. These emails lay the groundwork for future emails and brand communication, building customer trust.

Express gratitude for the purchase and include essential information such as order details, shipping and payment information, and other relevant details.

Order Confirmation Example

retail order confirmation example
Order confirmation email example. Full version at the source

Taylor Stitch’s order confirmation is straightforward, with the necessary information about the order.

Whether you own retail chain stores with a vast subscriber base or a small brand with a handful of email-based customers, email deliverability will be a critical component to determine your email marketing success.

The Role of Email Deliverability in Your Retail Business

In the competitive world of retail, reaching your customers at the right time with the right message is crucial. Email deliverability can supercharge your marketing efforts. 

Email deliverability is the ability for your emails to successfully reach the recipients’ inboxes without being blocked by spam filters.

Here’s why you should pay close attention to email deliverability:

  • It opens the pathway for success: No matter how great your emails are, they can’t drive sales if they land in the spam folders. High email deliverability ensures your messages reach customers’ inboxes.
  • Builds trust and brand reputation: Consistently delivering emails to inboxes gains the ISP’s trust and reduces the risk of being flagged.
  • Improves customer engagement: When customers see your emails, they’re more likely to take the desired action.

Using a reliable email service platform, such as Campaign Refinery, is fundamental for consistent email deliverability rates.

How Does Campaign Refinery Offer the Highest Email Deliverability Rate on the Market?

Campaign Refinery follows clean sending practices to ensure your emails land in the recipient’s inboxes:

  • We ensure our clients maintain a good sender reputation through email authentication and avoid shared IPs with low reputations.
  • Our integrated email list cleaning tool automatically and routinely removes inactive and harmful email addresses, which can negatively impact your email deliverability.
  • We regularly monitor the users’ sending habits for spammy characteristics. 
  • We vet all of our clients and only accept those with opted-in email lists.
  • Our engagement gamification and evergreen flash sale features boost engagement like no other.

By following email marketing best practices, such as implementing strict authentication protocols, prohibiting cold emailing, and other bad email marketing practices, Campaign Refinery creates a safe platform for users. 

Clients notice a 600% immediate increase in email deliverability rates after joining us.

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Campaign Refinery Client Testimonials

Join our top senders and enjoy the highest deliverability rate in the industry.

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