< Back


5 email personalization tactics for eCommerce

October 21st 2020

Camilla Bass

By Camilla Bass

Senior Content Marketing Manager

5 email personalization tactics for eCommerce - Blog post

Far from being relegated to the growing pile of outdated marketing techniques, email marketing remains a firm favourite. In fact, 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI.

But there’s something tainting this rosy picture of email marketing bliss – relevancy.

How many times have you opened an email newsletter from an eCommerce retailer or brand only to be met with products you have no interest in buying or links to content you don’t want to read? At best, you’ll close the email without clicking, hoping the next one will be more relevant. At worst, you’ll unsubscribe.

According to the DMA’s research, only 55% of marketers think more than half of all the emails their business sends are relevant to the individual recipient. And only around 1 in 7 people think more than half the emails they receive are useful to them.

Ecommerce retailers and brands should take note, as research shows almost 1 in 3 consumers get annoyed by Black Friday and Christmas marketing that isn’t relevant to them. Beyond seasonal marketing, 55% of consumers have stated that they like email messages that contain relevant products and offers.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Marketers don’t have to accept their fate of alienating customers with irrelevant emails. The solution? Email personalization. Email marketers often include personalization, such as product recommendations in their triggered campaigns. But personalization tends to be overlooked when it comes to regular newsletters and BAU emails. This is a huge missed opportunity.

In this post, we’ll take you through 5 tried and tested eCommerce email personalization tactics to help boost your bulk newsletters and BAU emails.

1) Product recommendations

Here at Fresh Relevance, we’re big advocates of personalized product recommendations in eCommerce email marketing. That’s because we know they work. In fact, one eCommerce brand boosted their sales by 24% by including personalized product recommendations in their email newsletters.

With many different types of product recommendations to choose from, it’s worth finding the solution that resonates most with your audience through A/B testing.

In this example, Timeout uses their email newsletter to recommend products and experiences  based on the recipient’s past browsing behavior. This allows them to display a wide range of their offerings and harness the power of familiarity, as shoppers tend to prefer products they have seen multiple times.

Timeout email personalization example

Source: Timeout email

Wilko uses their newsletter to highlight the best offers in the customer’s favorite product category. This can be a particularly effective type of product recommendation when targeted at customers who have previously bought or browsed lower priced items.

Wilko email personalization example

Source: Wilko email

2) Social proof

Social proof is a powerful conversion booster and should be incorporated into your email campaigns wherever possible. Well-placed social proof cues can increase urgency and encourage recipients to click through to your website. What’s more, including social proof in eCommerce email campaigns can lead to sales uplifts of 13%.

Viovet uses social proof in their email newsletters, boosting the efficacy of their personalized product recommendations with popularity messaging alongside 5 star ratings and reviews. With over half of consumers claiming to look for star ratings when making a decision, this is a tactic worth adding. The results speak for themselves – Viovet have seen a 19% increase in click throughs since implementing reviews and ratings into their email marketing.

Viovet email personalization example

Source: Viovet email

3) Personalized banners

Your hero banner is the one and only chance you have to make a good first impression on your recipient. And since the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, it pays to use your banner wisely. Catch your recipient’s attention with a hero banner that caters to their interests and brand preferences, for example tailoring the imagery to their favourite brand or product category. Or try using contextual data to display weather-appropriate content.

In this example, Halfords use their banner to display a rain-splattered car window with relevant text when it’s raining in the recipient’s location, using the rest of the email to promote products such as wiper blades.

Halfords email personalization example

Source: Halfords email

Thorntons personalizes their hero banner by displaying the recipient’s name on a chocolate-shaped heart for their Valentine’s Day newsletter. Who wouldn’t be tempted to read on when the email starts in such a deliciously personal way?

Thorntons email personalization example

Source: Thorntons email

4) Dynamic pricing

One surefire way to ensure your customer has a terrible experience is to promote out of date discounts in your marketing emails. But I’m willing to bet you want to provide your customers with an experience that keeps them coming back for more. So make sure you use real-time dynamic pricing in your emails promoting discounts and deals to avoid customer frustration.

FFX uses real-time dynamic pricing to serve their email recipients with live prices at the time of open, ensuring they only promote deals that are still available on the website. This tactic has paid off for FFX, as the inclusion of dynamic content into their bulk marketing emails has increased their click to open rate from 3% to 25%.

FFX email personalization example

Source: FFX email

5) Countdown timers

Speaking of real-time dynamic content, countdown timers are another nifty tactic to increase recipient engagement. Countdown timers increase urgency, build excitement and reduce click to purchase rates, making them a useful tool to have in your email marketing toolkit.

The Entertainer uses their countdown timer to highlight the approaching deadline for their flash sale, helping to speed up the purchase process and increase the desirability of their products by creating urgency.

The Entertainer email personalization example

Source; The Entertainer email

Marketers shouldn’t have to resign themselves to a life of sending predominantly irrelevant emails. Instead, use our 5 email personalization tactics to inject some relevance into your eCommerce marketing emails and wow your recipients with engaging content that increases click through rates and boosts sales.


This blog post is for informational purposes only. Fresh Relevance is not claiming to provide its services to the companies and brand owners referred to in the blog post.

Download the email personalization checklist

Camilla Bass

By Camilla Bass

Senior Content Marketing Manager

As Senior Content Marketing Manager at Fresh Relevance, Camilla leads the global content strategy and manages, writes and edits user-centered content that helps marketers in the eCommerce and travel spaces get their jobs done.