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5 best practices for your ecommerce welcome email series to turn new shoppers into loyal customers

5 best practices for your ecommerce welcome email series to turn new shoppers into loyal customers  Headshot

By Jenna Paton, Content Executive, dotdigital

5 best practices for your eCommerce welcome emails - thumbnail image

Making a good first impression is essential for creating loyal customers. As soon as they subscribe to your email marketing, an automated welcome program engages customers from their first interaction with you. Here are our 5 top tips to create the perfect ecommerce welcome email series.
 

What is a welcome program?

After signing up to receive your email marketing, a welcome program is your triggered automation campaign to greet your new subscriber. It’s the first – and only – chance you have to make a first impression with new potential customers. 

At this stage you need to introduce your brand and hook your new subscribers. 
 

Why are welcome emails important for ecommerce brands?

When a new shopper arrives on your ecommerce website and subscribes to your email marketing, they’re at their most engaged point with your brand. They’ve discovered your brand and chosen to receive your marketing, so it’s important you maximize this sentiment with an engaging email series. 

Open rates for a welcome email usually sit around 60%. That’s 40% higher than the average open rate. To hook your new customers, your welcome program should:

  • Introduce your brand
  • Emphasize the benefits of subscribing to your marketing
  • Outline how you differ from competitors
  • Set customer expectations 
  • Gather data to segment and personalize your email marketing

If you include all of these in a well-planned, tried and tested welcome program during your customer onboarding process, you’re likely to enjoy a 71% boost in retention. But, it's nearly impossible to fit all of that in one email. That’s why we recommend a multi-stage welcome email series. 
 

What to include in your ecommerce welcome email series?

Competition among ecommerce brands is fierce. Modern shoppers are discovering more brands than ever before thanks to the dominance of search engines. To make sure you’re converting new subscribers into loyal customers, your welcome email series should follow these five best practices:

1) Introduce your brand 

With so many brands vying for customers’ attention, ecommerce brands have to quickly show customers how they’re different from the competition. Today’s consumers aren’t always driven by finding the lowest price product. They’re looking for a brand that aligns itself with their interests and ethics. 

Introducing yourself, outlining your USPs, and showing readers how and why they should choose you lays the foundation for a strong relationship. You need to establish this from your very first interaction to build a loyal customer base.

 

2) Set customer expectations 

Let new customers know what they can expect from your email marketing. By setting expectations at this early stage, you should inform subscribers about the benefits you’ll be offering. After you’ve thanked them for signing up, tell customer about the offers, discounts, and exclusive content they’ll have access to. 

Personalization at this stage is key. As part of the subscription process you should have collected essential customer data such as names and date of birth. This will enable you to start your customer journey up right. By adding personalized images or subject lines to your welcome email series, you’re also showing shoppers why they should share their data with you.


 

3) Data collection

A fundamental part of building a loyal customer base comes from understanding what your customers want. The only way you can know what your customers want out of their relationship with you is to ask them. 

With open rates at their highest, the welcome program is your best opportunity to discover what customers want. Engagement levels are at their highest during these early stages readers to tell you what they want. By getting them to set up accounts or update marketing preferences you can collect the information you need to segment and personalize future email campaigns.


 

4) Outline the brand benefits

The best way to encourage customer loyalty is with a loyalty program. The welcome email series is the best way for brands to show customer that their loyalty will be rewarded. 

Loyalty programs are especially successful for ecommerce brands as they provide an incentive for shoppers to become repeat purchases. When you outline the benefits customers can enjoy during this early stage, you’re giving the reader the final push they need to convert. 

The rewards you offer in your loyalty program can vary depending on customers’ actions. If a customer refers you to three friends, you reward them with a 20% off discount code. When spend over a certain threshold, offer them free gifts or sample product. This is a fantastic cross-selling opportunity as well as loyalty builder. 


 

5) Encourage action

Click-through rates are 5x higher for welcome emails than standard email marketing campaigns. You need to make it as easy as possible for readers to convert. 

A common practice in ecommerce welcome series is to offer new subscribers' a discount off their first purchase. This drives them straight into action. The faster you can convert subscribers, the faster you can earn their loyalty. After they’ve completed their first purchase from you, you’ve earned their trust and are therefore more inclined to purchase from your brand again. 

From there, you’ll be able to enhance customer’s profiles to include with shopping habits and behavioral data. That’ll help you drive more revenue with your email marketing

To drive customers to act you should limit the number of calls-to-actions you include in your email. Make converting easy by driving customers to one main CTA per email in your welcome series.


Conclusion

The ultimate goal of an ecommerce welcome email series is to turn new shoppers into loyal customers. It’s the first stage of a customer’s journey with your brand, so it’s important you make the right impression. But it’s equally important that your welcome series works for you. 

The perfect welcome program will collect all the data you need to create personalized and automated campaigns. Equipped with this data, you’ll enjoy higher customer engagement, better conversion rates, and more devoted customers. 

Getting the right data from new subscribers as quickly as possible is essential. We recommend implementing a three-stage welcome series to achieve this, but depending on how engaged your new readers are, you may decide to expand or decrease this. As a result, you need to be testing and optimizing your welcome series to ensure it is working for you.

While many marketers believe that marketing automations can run in the background and still deliver results, brands with highly engaged and loyal customers are regularly refreshing their programs. And the welcome program is no exception. 

 

5 best practices for your ecommerce welcome email series to turn new shoppers into loyal customers  Headshot

By Jenna Paton

Content Executive, dotdigital

Jenna Paton is Content Executive at dotdigital, the omnichannel marketing solution for B2C, B2B, and NFP marketers.