The power of email marketing for retailers – grow your sales with emails

Email marketing is a powerful, but often an underutilised tool for retailers. In the following guide, we take a look at email marketing for retailers, the benefits of email marketing, top email marketing tools, and 8 ways you can increase your email lists, and emails you should send so you can grow your sales!

Imagine a marketing strategy you could use that would generate $42 for every $1 you spend.

Even better, a marketing strategy that will reach 4.3 billion users by 2023.

And as if that wasn’t enough, imagine a marketing strategy that you have complete control over.

No more will you be worried about Google or Social Media algorithm tweaks that destroy your organic visibility.

You don’t have to imagine anymore.

Thankfully, this marketing strategy already exists, and it’s called email marketing.

Today we’re going to look at the power of email marketing for retailers.

And we’ll discuss what email marketing consists of, the benefits of email marketing for retailers and the three best email marketing tools to get you started.

We’ll also include our top tips on building your email list and examples of other retailers finding success through email marketing.

What is email marketing?

Year after year, when the results from various studies come out, one strategy towers above the others: email marketing.

That’s because, despite not being the coolest kid on the block, it consistently delivers real value to marketers.

That’s because we all access our emails multiple times a day.

Indeed, according to research by OptinMonster, 99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking a massive twenty times a day.

So, what is email marketing?

Email marketing is marketing to prospective or current retail customers by email.

Email marketing allows retailers like you to serve four critical functions:

Keep in regular contact with your customers.

Send after-sales receipts and information.

Announce new products or provide information about those new products.

Receive feedback from customers about what you’re doing right and what you maybe need to work on.

And email marketing isn’t merely a weekly newsletter; it can cover a variety of things in your business, such as:

  • Marketing automation
  • Segmentation
  • Nurturing relationships
  • Educational content
  • Entertaining content

Ultimately, the goal from email marketing is three-fold:

  1. Increase sales
  2. Build a relationship with customers
  3. Retain customers through brand loyalty

Benefits of email marketing for retailers

Retailers who prioritise and create a strong email marketing strategy will enjoy a range of impressive benefits.

Some of the benefits of email marketing for retailers include:

Building stronger customer relationships

Email marketing allows you to contact your customers 24/7, every single day of the year.

As a result, it’s an excellent platform to nurture and build a robust and long-term relationship with your customers.

Increase in sales

The worldwide value of email marketing is projected to increase to $17.9 billion by 2027.

As a result, the ROI is sensational; for every $1 you spend, you’ll generate $42.

Increase brand loyalty

Uniquely, email marketing doesn’t stop at the first sale; by nurturing your customers and building those relationships, you’ll build brand loyalty and repeat orders.

You’re in control

Every time Google, Facebook, Instagram or any other popular platform changes its algorithm, we all wait with bated breath to see whether it’ll damage our organic reach and visibility.

However, with email marketing, you’re totally in control; you own your email list, and you can choose how you engage that list and when.

Personalise customer communication

Regardless of which email platform you use to send out your marketing emails, you’ll be able to personalise how you interact with customers.

That could be something as small as using their first name in automated emails right through to sending them a discount code to use on their birthday.

Segmentation options

According to HubSpot, marketers who used segmented campaigns noted as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

And segmentation isn’t too complicated; it’s just a matter of segmenting customers into smaller segments depending on the set criteria you want.

Segments could be based on their age, their gender, their location, their interests or even their purchase history.

Get customer feedback

Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, it’s always of value to you.

After all, if something isn’t working properly or an issue turns into a pattern, you’d rather find out about it sooner rather than later.

And email marketing is an ideal way to contact your customers and ask them their opinion on everything from sales right through to customer service.

Email marketing tools

The beauty of email marketing is that it doesn’t have to be costly.

Depending on how large your company is and how many customers you’d like to email, it could even be free.

Here are three email marketing tools that we’d recommend.

1. MailChimp.

In their own words: “Mailchimp is the All-In-One integrated marketing platform for small businesses, to grow your business on your terms.”

Difficulty: Beginner – MailChimp is thankfully an easy-to-use email platform.

What it lacks in power, it more than makes up for in the relatively straightforward customer experience.

You’ll have access to lots of how-to guides and tutorials, and if you get stuck, YouTube is jam-packed with video tutorials about how to make the most out of MailChimp.

Costs and options:

Free plan: Up to 2,000 contacts per month
Essentials plan: Up to 500 contacts per month – £7.42 per month

Standard plan: Up to 500 contacts per month – £11.14 per month
Premium plan: Up to 10,000 contacts per month – £ 222.33 per month

2. Klaviyo.

In their own words: “Klaviyo is an email marketing platform created for online businesses — featuring powerful email and SMS marketing automation.”

Difficulty: Intermediate – While MailChimp is simple to use, Klaviyo is a little bit more difficult to master.

But given that it’s a much more powerful platform, once you’re up to speed, you’ll find it a reliable platform.

You’ll also find help in various formats on the Klayvio website, from webinars and live training right through to a community forum and product events.

Costs and options:

Up to 250 contacts: Free
Up to 500 contacts: $20 / £14.88 per month
Up to 1,000 contacts: $30 / £22.31 per month
Up to 2,000 contacts: $60 / £44.63 per month
Up to 10,000 contacts: $150 / £111.57 per month
Up to 50,000 contacts: $700 / £520.64 per month

Have you got more than 50,000 email contacts?

Calculate your cost per month by clicking here.

3. Drip.

In their own words: “Drip is a marketing automation platform built for Ecommerce – utilising email, SMS and tight 3rd-party integrations to help businesses drive revenue.”

Difficulty: Intermediate – Drip’s minimalist design and code-free layout make it relatively easy to use.

And for those who need some extra help, the Drip website has lots of how-to guides that’ll get you up and running quickly.

Costs and options:

Up to 500 contacts: $19 / £14.13 per month
Up to 2,000 contacts: $29 / £21.57 per month
Up to 10,000 contacts: $154 / £114.54 per month
Up to 50,000 contacts: $699 / £519.90 per month

Have you got more than 50,000 email contacts?

Calculate your cost per month by clicking here.

How to collect more emails: 8 simple ways to build your email list

All great marketing strategies start with a good foundation.

And in this case, the foundation of a great retail email marketing strategy is found in your email list.

After all, you could have the most incredible emails, but if you’ve nobody to send them to, it won’t make too much difference to your bottom line.

The good news is, building your email list doesn’t have to be time-consuming, costly or challenging.

Indeed, a lot of the tactics can be implemented into your everyday marketing.

Here are eight of the best ways to collect email addresses for your retail email marketing campaigns:

1. Add a pop-up to your website to encourage visitors to subscribe to your newsletter.

Pop-ups went through a spell a couple of years back where they were hated and blocked at nearly every juncture.

That is until people realised the power of a pop-up.

According to Sumo, “the average conversion rate for all pop-ups is 3.09%”.

So, you can expect at least three new sign-ups for every one hundred visitors to your website.

Over days, weeks and months, you’ll soon have grown your list significantly.

2. Add Call To Action (CTA) buttons to your website.

Add several CTA newsletter sign up buttons to your website to help build your email list.

When someone visits your website, they like to be guided gently.

They want to know what to do next.

And CTA buttons are critical to giving visitors a gentle nudge towards the desired action, whether that’s ‘buy now’, ‘learn more’ or ‘sign up’.

3. Post offers on your website.

We’re all a sucker for a deal.

After all, there’d be no such thing as Black Friday or Cyber Monday if we didn’t love to bag a bargain.

With that in mind, your website is prime real estate to post special offers, coupon codes and discounts on products.

And yes, you guessed it, in return, all your customers have to do is provide you with their email address.

4. Encourage shoppers in your store to sign up for your emails.

Whether you use AirPOS as your POS or another provider, it can help you build your email list.

Ask shoppers if they’d like a digital copy of their receipts to be emailed directly to them.

This serves two purposes; firstly, the customer doesn’t have to worry about losing their receipt.

And secondly, in return, you’ve collected the customer’s email address and can add it to your email marketing campaigns.

However, you don’t have to focus solely on e-receipts though to build your list.

You can run in-store competitions, special offers or other incentives to get your customer’s email addresses.

5. Run promotions only available through email.

FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out; it’s a real thing.

There’s nothing worse than buying something for £100 and then a neighbour or family member telling you they got the same product for £75.

As a result of FOMO, by offering email-exclusive offers and discounts, you’ll be able to build your list further.

6. Run social media competitions.

Who doesn’t love a competition?

While ‘Like, Share and Comment’ competitions seem to be losing their power and appeal over recent years, they’re still relatively inexpensive and a decent way to capture more email addresses for your list.

Make the prize something highly desirable; for example, a new 42 inch TV is much more likely to create a buzz than a £10 food voucher.

7. Run adverts on social media and Google.

If you’ve got the budget in your marketing coffers, running targeted advertisements on social media and Google can be a great way to build your list quickly.

With feature-rich, hyper-targeted options available, you’ll grow your list in record time.

8. Encourage subscribers to forward your newsletter.

If you watch a great series on Netflix, what’s the first thing you do?

Recommend it to friends and family, of course.

And the same logic applies to your newsletter.

Include a button or short sentence encouraging your subscribers to forward your newsletter to friends and family (if they find your newsletter exciting or helpful, they’ll be more than happy to forward it!).

Types of email campaigns retailers should use

When we think of email marketing, we naturally think of the trusty newsletter.

And, of course, it should form the foundation of your email marketing strategy.

However, newsletters aren’t the only type of email campaign you can use to achieve success.

Here are some other types of email campaigns that retailers find helpful.

Welcome emails

As soon as a customer subscribes to your newsletter, you’ve got an excellent opportunity to create value for them right from the off.

Open rates for welcome emails are insanely high, with Campaign Monitor estimating them to be, on average, 50%.

Think about a thank-you discount code to make a lasting impression.

Updates and news

It doesn’t have to be sell, sell, sell all the time.

It’s better not to be constantly selling.

Instead, update your subscribers on what’s going on inside the company, good news stories, new product updates, behind the scenes images and more.

Cart abandonment emails

You add a product to your basket, and then life gets in the way, and you forget to complete your purchase.

An hour later, you get an email from the retailer encouraging you to complete your purchase.

Cart abandonment is a huge issue for retailers, and it’s costly.

So costly that Shopify estimates that ecommerce stores “lose $18 billion in sales revenue each year because of cart abandonment.”

To avoid this, add cart abandonment email automation to your email marketing strategy, 1 in 20 customers will make the purchase then and there.

Promote in-store retail events through emails

In-store events can be notoriously hard to promote and attract footfall.

A lot of the time, you’re relying on passing footfall to come in out of curiosity.

But it doesn’t have to be that way; email marketing could attract significant numbers to your in-store retail events.

And this is backed up by evidence; 75% of event creators pick email marketing as their most effective strategy.

Announce new products

You could have the most fantastic products globally, but if nobody knows about them, then it’s not much fun.

People must know about your new products.

After all, that’s why advertisers paid an eye-watering $5.6million for a 30-second advert during the Super Bowl.

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a penny; send all of your subscribers an email with details of your new products, launch date, price, how to buy etc.

Special offers

When we sign up for an email list, we’re all looking for something out of it.

That could be a chance to win something, be entertained, be informed, or, you guessed it, for special offers.

Hands up if you like paying full price? No, me neither.

And your customers are the same; they’ll love receiving discount codes, special offers and anything that saves them money.

Post-purchase emails

Like the impressively high open rates for welcome emails, post-purchase emails are another hidden and untapped gem that retailers can utilise.

A recent study of post-purchase emails found that post-purchase emails enjoyed a huge 40.5% open rate.

If you haven’t thought about it yet, have another look at your post-purchase email templates and see if you can tweak them to provide value for the customer.

Seven email marketing tips for retailers

Every retailer and ecommerce store is different, but there are some things that all digital marketers agree can help you make your first sale and boost conversions.

1. Segment your list.

Resist the urge to have one list of email addresses and send them all the same email.

Instead, segment your lists into important demographics, for example, age, location, or interests.

That way, your customers will enjoy a more personalised experience, and the emails they receive will be relevant to them.

According to HubSpot, marketers who used segmented campaigns noted as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

2. Send out your primary email marketing campaigns on Friday.

Ah, good ol’ Friday.

When most people finish work and have visions of a lazy weekend or a night on the tiles.

And the day where retailers prepare for busy weekend shopping days.

Friday is magical for another reason, too; it’s the day with the highest email open rates, with nearly 19%.

As a result, keep your most important emails and send them out on Friday.

3. Don’t be too disheartened.

It’s nice to think that every single email we send out will be read by every person we send it to.

But, the reality is quite different.

For every 100 people, you send an email to; you can expect an average of 20 people to open it.

As a result, don’t be too disheartened if you’re not immediately getting great open rates or conversions; it all takes time.

You can use your email tools to send messages to subscribers who didn’t open your last email, try a different subject line to see if it works better.

4. Add a visible unsubscribe button.

This tip might sound ironic, given that we’re trying to be successful at email marketing.

But it’s worth remembering that under various laws and regulations, including GDPR, people should be able to unsubscribe easily from emails.

And besides, you want people on your email list that are interested in your company and products.

Remember, 100 engaged subscribers is much better than 100,000 disengaged subscribers.

5. Consistency is critical.

If you tell your customers that you’ll email them once a week with special offers, then stick to that schedule rigidly.

Sporadic emails that are too frequent or too rare will confuse your customers and may lead to unsubscribes.

6. Create an engaging email subject line.

Before they read your email, they’ll scan the subject line to see if it’s of interest to them.

With that in mind, spend a bit of time ensuring your email subject line hits the right notes.

7. Make your email content easy to read.

Forget the funky colours and fonts.

Leave the space-killing high res videos and images for social media.

People scan things, so make sure all your sentences and paragraphs are short and to the point.

Keep the word count as low as possible and use clear headings to break up long blocks of text.

Great examples of retail email marketing

1. TopShop’s birthday email.

Topshop happy birthday email

Why it works: Your birthday is highly personal to you, so the fact that a big company has acknowledged it and offered you something of value leaves a great impression.

2. HeadSpace’s welcome email.

Welcome email headspace

Why it works: It’s eye-catching, short, friendly and offers a clear CTA button to get you started.

3. Amazon’s cart abandonment emails.

Amazon cart abandonment email

Why it works: Sometimes, life gets in the way, or we forget to complete a purchase.

Amazon’s handy reminder email encourages customers to complete the purchase and includes a clear CTA button that’ll take the customer straight back to their shopping cart.

4. Casper’s new product emails.

Emma mattress new product email

Why it works: It has an eye-catching image, one short paragraph of text and includes a visible CTA button to help customers buy a dog mattress.

Closing thoughts

It might not have the street cred of TikTok or the star power of Instagram, but email marketing has proved itself time and again to be a compelling marketing strategy.

And for retailers keen to take control of their marketing, it doesn’t get much better than email marketing; you’re in charge of your list.

From increasing brand loyalty to improving sales and boosting profits, email marketing’s success has been much discussed in the retail industry.

If you haven’t jumped on board yet, 2022 can be your year to embrace retail email marketing and reap all the rewards on offer.

And if you’re starting, MailChimp, Klaviyo, and Drip are all worth considering.

We’re hard-pressed to find an outright winner between the three, but if you’re a total beginner, we’d recommend MailChimp purely for being so easy to use.

The trio is affordable, relatively easy to use and offer a multitude of features that will get you started.

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