Triggered Emails Ecommerce

Triggered emails in ecommerce: driving sales on autopilot

In ecommerce, email marketing is the easiest and cheapest way to continuously engage your customers and drive repeat sales. To stand out in their inbox, though, your emails need to be timely and relevant. How to achieve that? Send emails in response to customer’s action, not just because. Use customer behavior as email triggers.

Triggered emails are always just in time and meaningful – the offers are customized and the customer understands why they get this email now. Depending on your ecommerce CRM and email marketing tool, you should be able to use all kinds of event-based and metric email triggers:

  • A customer places/ cancels/ gets refunded for an order
  • A customer uses a coupon/ reads a blog article/ abandons cart/ browses without buying
  • A customer hits a milestone in order value/ number
  • And more customer actions.

Here are some of the most useful ecommerce email triggers to use, the behavior based segmentation to do and the triggered email campaigns to set up with them.

Two case studies on email triggers and automation:

Coffee online shop

Craft supplies online shop

Email triggers and automations

In your email automation, you should be able to set up triggered marketing campaigns by different trigger events – actions your customers or leads did. The automated emails would be sent only if the event happens. This enables you to react to very specific actions automatically with the perfect offer or content.

Related: How to NOT be creepy in your email marketing

Tailored post-purchase engagement

Trigger: Places an order

Additional filter: product bought/ category

You can create automated campaigns for by products or at least categories for a better post-purchase experience and stimulating product use and satisfaction. Product-specific use and care tips, information about manufacturing and influencer endorsements – all will work as long as it is tailored to what the customer bought.

Related: DTC brands doing content marketing

To set up this campaign, create different campaigns for each product and/ or category with an email or an email series of content about it specifically. Away does just that about each product in their range:

Triggered Email 3


Drive repeat orders with similar promotions

Trigger: Places an order

Additional filter: coupon applied

We’ve talked before how it’s a smart move to save your discounts for those customers who really only shop at reduced prices and not eat your own profit margin where there’s no need. That’s why a useful automation is to send a coupon code to those customers who purchase something with a coupon in the first place.

Set up this campaign by combining the placed order event trigger in your email automation tool and a condition that a coupon was applied. The email sent should offer a similar coupon code to use on the next order.

Customized product recommendations

Trigger: Views product

Additional filter: by product category

This is a simple but beautiful email automation you can use to tailor the experience of your customers and offer them relevant products. Just use the products category from which they bought to generate more recommendations compatible with their taste – knee-length chino shorts, for example, or rock-climbing gear. There’s no need to flood them with your whole product range when you know what they’re interested in.

Save a sale

Trigger: Abandons cart/ Browse abandonment

Additional filter: by product category

This particular email automation means to convert hesitant shoppers. Some people backtrack at the last step of a purchase because of buyer’s remorse. Maybe they don’t like the final sum to be paid or they decide they don’t want the item so much. To put them at ease and convert them, you can set up a cart abandonment follow-up campaign, offering a cheaper product from the same category (or a smaller version). It’s still relevant to customer’s tastes but less scary on their wallet.

Related: Converting hesitant shoppers

The same goes for browse abandonment. This is when a customer visits your website and looks around but doesn’t add anything to cart. They might not be ready to buy yet. A trigger email to retarget them with more products from the category they were eyeing might do the trick.

This tactic is reverse increasing order value – you will be trying to make the sale regardless of the value just to get the customer through the door. Once they’ve tried the item, they might be willing to get the more expensive/ bigger one.

Triggered Email 1


Engage with content readers

Trigger: Read article

Not sure how to promote your blog? If you do ecommerce content marketing, you should definitely make more customers regular readers. This would increase their engagement with your brand and make customer retention easier.

So to automatically engage those who consume your blog content, use an email trigger such as “read article” or “visited blog”. Then, send them a selection of your best articles to get them hooked. It can be a single email or a series – you choose. Take it even further by starting an email discussion on a topic you share interest in. Or you can open up submission of user-generated content. It all will keep awareness and loyalty high.

Triggered Email 2


Take the edge off cancelled orders

Trigger: Order gets cancelled

A customer cancelling an order is unpleasant so it’s good to catch them and try to fix the issue. If that happens, trigger an email that asks why they’re cancelling and if there’s something you can do. If they write back, make sure to respond personally even if you cannot change anything they ask for. Also, list other payment methods – like buy now, pay later options if you have them in case they want to change.

Related: How to reduce order returns in fashion ecommerce

Ask for feedback on refunds

Trigger: Order gets refunded

Ok, this one follows up on an action on your side, but nevermind. If a customer asked for a refund, it’s important to know why. Processing the refund first and asking why later might be the more positive approach and might get you more open and willing answers. The other way round feels more passive-aggressive.

Related: Why you should iterate your product on customer feedback

If the customer does respond with feedback, keep the conversation going to learn as much as possible and improve upon. One-on-one exchanges like this might be a priceless source of insights on how to improve the customer experience.

Reward loyal customers

Trigger: Places an order

Additional filter: number of orders = x

If you need an easy way to reward your loyal customers (or surprise your new ones), this email trigger is wonderfully simple. Anyone who places an order and hits a certain number of orders you set, can get an email promising a gift in the package with the order. This works great for increasing customer satisfaction and generating positive reviews online.

Only, don’t forget to check your email automation to see who got the email so you can actually pot the gift in the package! 🙂

An alternative is to send a discount code, store credit or free shipping as a gift on you.

Triggered Email 4


Reward big orders

Trigger: Places an order

Additional filter: order value exceeds Y

This triggered email is a neat way to show appreciation for big orders. It automatically admits people with big-ticket orders into a member’s area/ loyalty club – and places them in a special segment for your marketing purposes (use the tagging option Metrilo offers as part of email automation). You choose the value threshold and voila, a series of special deals can get sent on autopilot.

Engage locally

Trigger: Becomes a customers

Additional filter: location/ city/ country

If you have a physical presence in some locations, you might want to let your ecommerce customers in the area about it to stimulate foot traffic and build a deeper relationship. Simple trigger emailing based on location is all you need. Create an automated campaign notifying any new customer in the city or country (if suitable) about your brick-and-mortar shop. Then, you can also give them a coupon to redeem offline or create a segment to invite to a local event.

Related: Localizing email marketing

Go ahead and set up these triggered emails to drive customer retention and sales without much effort. Metrilo can do all that customer segmentation, email automation and triggering for you.


About the author

With experience in FMCG and marketing, Dimira writes to help the brands of tomorrow succeed and believes passion is a key ingredient in any business.

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