The 2017 Guide to E-commerce Fashion Email Marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Fashion Email Marketing

In today's digital world, every customer is only a few clicks away from their next fashion purchase. Email marketing enables fashion brands to get their latest styles into the minds, inboxes, and ultimately the closets of their customers.

With every $1 spent on email marketing generating a $38 return – it's no surprise that the top ecommerce fashion stores are focusing their efforts on email marketing. But fashion email marketing is no longer "This Month's Top Picks" sent to your entire subscriber list. A successful fashion email marketing strategy includes campaigns that are personalized, triggered, and automated.

We've put together 12 different emails that every ecommerce fashion store needs to be sending. While 12 email campaigns might seem like a lot to be sending, most are automated, and you'll start to see more sales by only implementing a third of the suggest emails into your fashion store's marketing strategy. If you're on Shopify, BigCommerce, or other ecommerce platforms – you can integrate email marketing apps to start sending fashioniable emails in minutes.

1. Welcome Email

Your fashion welcome email is your chance to make a good first impression – don't be lazy. The average welcome email generates four times the total open rates and five times the click rates compared with other bulk promotions. More importantly, revenue per email is eight times higher and transaction rates are nine times higher. But you won't cash in on this sales opportunity with a black and white confirmation email.

Fashion Email Marketing Welcome

When designing your welcome email include:

  • A sincere thank you
  • Creative imagery
  • Content associated with your brand
  • Links to your social profiles

The majority of ecommerce fashion stores also email a 10-20% discount to entice subscribers to make their first purchase from the store.

Take a look at how leading fashion brands send welcome emails that engage their subscribers and get them more sales for their stores.

2. Content Email

Sadly the first thing many ecommerce fashion retailers do is start hard selling their products right away. The result is a boring brand and an endless stream of apparel that your customer knows nothing about.

Fashion Content Email

Luckily as a fashion retailer you have a wealth of content options you can send your subscribers. Use your content newsletter to promote your brand, educate your customers on the latest styles, and entertain them with meaningful content. You can get started with these 3 examples from leading fashion brands:

Download Fashion Email Marketing Checklist

Email 1: Tell Your Story

Let your customer get to know you before they make a purchase from your store. Tell your brand's story, including why you sell your products and who you sell them too. While not strictly a fashion or apparel retailer, no one can deny that Huckberry are the masters of email marketing. Their email does a great job of telling their story, while still including some products from their store.

Huckberry Story Email

Email 2: Style Tips

Emailing products that your customers don't know how to wear is pointless in fashion marketing. Use your content email to educate your subscribers on the latest styles and how to wear certain items. If you have an accompanying brick and mortar store, get your staff involved in blogs where they share how they wear their favourite items. Banana Republic includes helpful style tips when they launch new collections.

Banana Republic Fashion Style Tips Email

Email 3: Guest Blog Feature

You no longer need a celebrity to wear your products for ecommerce fashion success. Partner with a local fashion blogger or influencer to create a blog post on your website. Get them to write on how they create their favorite outfits and put together a collection of related items. Share the blog post via email to nurture your leads and provide a fresh dose of content.

Check out Urban Outfitters' guest blog with surfing influencer, Mick Rodgers.

Influencer Fashion Ecommerce Email

Depending on the size of your store and the capabilities of your marketing team, schedule content emails once to twice a month as you don't want to overfill your subscribers' inboxes.

3. Promotional Email

Now that you've given your subscribers a warm welcome with thank yous, branding, and content – it's time to run your first sales campaign. The best channel to do this is email.

When it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), beating out social, direct mail and more.

The first step of any promotional email is picking your offer. If you're putting specific products on sale, segment your list so the right offer gets to the right customers. Don't forget to flex your creative muscles, as your only goal shouldn't be to get more sales. You can start with these 3 goal examples...

1. Increase average order value: A generic 20% discount might get you more sales but it also cuts into your bottom line. Add a minimum threshold that customers need to receive the discount. This will get you more sales while also increasing your average order value.

Increase average order value email

2. Get rid off overstocked or old items: Your stock room might be filled with sunglasses that didn't sell over summer, but your customers don't need to know that. Give them away for free for customers who spend a certain amount.

3. Encourage repeat purchases: Instead of offering a discount, give away loyalty points instead. On average, 40% of an ecommerce store's sales are generated by only 8% of their customers.

The next step is to create your email.

Don't overfill your promotion email with products, one of the purposes of this email is to drive customers back to your site so they can shop. The data collected from their browsing behavior can be used to power your product recommendation emails (which we'll get to next). Make your offer clear, have a clear call to action button to drive traffic to your site, and include a few products related to the sale.

Fashion Promotional Email

Now it's time to send your email....

And send it again. and again. We can't stress enough to SEND MORE THAN ONE EMAIL. People are too busy and inboxes are too full for a single email to grab anyone's attention. Average ecommerce open rates are only 17.68 percent, making your time perfecting your campaign worthless if you're only sending it once. By counting down your sale in your subject lines, you create urgency and increase the chance that your customer opens your marketing message.

Fashion Email Marketing Sale Countdown

If you think its too much work and you'd rather do social, consider this: Only 2% of your Facebook fans will see your post in their newsfeed, while 90% of emails will be delivered to the intended recipients inbox.

4. Personalized Product Recommendations

Do you know the recommended products you see when on a fashion product page? Now these product recommendations can be emailed as well.

Onsite Fashion Product Recommendations

But don't send the same selection of dresses to everyone. Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates compared to bulk email newsletters. Shopify and BigCommerce email marketing apps make it easy to track your customer's past purchase history, browsing behavior, and email clicks to power hyper-personalized product recommendations straight into your customers' inboxes.

It might sound creepy but your customers want you to do this. 73 percent of consumers prefer to do business with online retailers who use personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant. If I'm consistently shopping for shoes on your site, I don't want an email filled with hats.

Automated Product Email Newsletters

Send your personalized product emails every week or two to keep your subscribers engaged and one click away from their next purchase. You only have to set up and design them once, giving you time to plan and perfect your promotional email campaigns.

Learn more about SmartrMail personalized product emails.

5. Abandoned Cart Emails

Shopping cart abandonment alone accounts for $18 billion in lost revenue for ecommerce companies. Can you imagine what $18 billion of t-shirts, dresses, and other fashion apparel would look like in those carts?

By sending abandoned cart emails, fashion retailers have a chance at converting the over 68 percent of customers abandoning carts on their sites.

Radley London, a fashion accessory brand, recovered 7.9% of lost sales after sending cart abandonment emails. Now lets say your store store brings in $1 million in revenue through the one-third of customers who aren't abandoning their carts. If you recover 7.9% of the two-thirds abandoned carts, you generate an extra $158,000 in revenue for your fashion store.

Free Shipping Abandoned Cart Email

To craft the perfect abandoned cart email, fashion stores must understand what causes cart abandonment in the first place. According to a UPS and comScore study, the top 5 reasons why customers abandon their online shopping carts are:

  1. Unexpected shipping costs or conditions at checkout
  2. Browsing for a better price elsewhere
  3. Didn't want to create an account to purchase
  4. Preferred payment was not offered
  5. Got distracted and forgot to complete the order

Now lets use these insights to recover our lost sales.

Firstly, your customer probably isn't expecting a reminder email, so your subject line should clearly indicate what your email is about. Knowing that your customer likely left their cart due to the costs of the shipping or to find a better price elsewhere, offer free shipping or a small discount to sweeten the deal.

72 percent of customers who buy from abandoned cart emails convert within the first 24 hours – so set your email to send quickly. If your customer doesn't convert, send it again and again. Over the course of 3 emails create urgency by holding the item in their cart for a set time or by noting how many items are left in stock.

Limited Stock Fashion Abandoned Cart Email

If you want to supercharge your abandoned cart emails, add a few personalized product recommendations. These recommendations can bring your customer back to your site incase they fall out of love with the original product, or if they need to meet a minimum threshold for free shipping.

Abandoned Cart Product Recommendations

Lastly, no one likes a nag. Use witty copy and fun images to give your customers a laugh and drive them back to their carts. If you need help getting started, check out these 5 abandoned cart emails every ecommerce fashion store should steal.

Funny Abandoned Cart Email

6. New Inventory

With the cost of acquiring new customers continuing to rise, ecommerce fashion stores must shift more focus to engaging their current customers. After all, it costs 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep your existing ones.

Fashion stores can do this by regularly notifying their customers of new items and inventory.

New Inventory Email

When sending a new inventory email, fashion marketers must keep their email focused. Don't overcrowd your email with information not relevant to the new inventory. The only goal of this email is to drive customers back to your site to check out your new inventory and ultimately make a purchase.

Some other best practices include:

  • Include a few professional product photos: Adding a few of your best items to the email motivates customers to browse the entire range of new items.
  • Have a clear subject line: This email doesn't require a lot of text. However the text you choose for your subject line will effect your open rates. Keep it simple and clearly indicate what the email is about.
  • Segment your email list: Your new selection of summer dresses won't get much interest from your male subscribers. Send your new inventory email to subscribers who have previously purchased or browsed similar items. Doing so will improve your open rate, clicks, and revenue per email.
  • Link to a relevant collection: Link to a separate collection of your new items on your Shopify or BigCommerce store. Don't send your subscribers to your home page and hope they find their way.

7. Post Purchase Email

Post purchase email receipts have an open rate of 70.90%, compared to an average email marketing open rate of 17.68%.

Fashion email marketers should use this marketing opportunity to offer discounts, cross-sell, and promote their social channels. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. In fact, Amazon reported that 35% of their revenue is through cross sales and up selling efforts, mostly through receipt emails.

Post Purchase Receipt Email

Here are some examples of what you could include in your post purchase email:

  • Post purchase survey
  • Coupon code for next purchase
  • Referral code
  • Cross sell product recommendations
  • Links to social profiles
  • Link to share purchase on social

If you have a Shopify or BigCommerce store, try out Receiptful for customizable confirmation emails.

8. Review Request Email

Consumer product reviews are 12x more trusted than product descriptions that come from manufacturers and store owners. The content you generate from reviews can be used as social proof on your site and in future promotional emails. Customer generated content is also great for your SEO rankings as you'll easily be able to add keywords that differentiate from the standard manufacturer description used by other fashion stores selling similar products.

Product Review Request Email

Send your product review request email 2-3 days after you expect your customer to receive their items – keeping their purchase fresh in their mind and giving them a chance to assess the quality of the products.

You should be using Yotpo for this. Their app allows you send review requests email, display them on your site, and distribute the content on your social channels.

Download Fashion Email Marketing Checklist

9. Testimonial Email

Now that you've collected great product reviews, start emailing them. 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 72% will only take action once reading a positive review.

Fashion Testimonial Email

When designing testimonial emails, ensure that the text and product images are clear. Link each product review to a product page where customers can see more reviews of the product.

10. Reactivation Email

Over time your subscribers will begin to tune out from your emails. They'll stop opening emails, clicking to your site, and buying your products. Don't make saying goodbye so easy.

Automate a reengagement campaign that reengages and reactivates dormant subscribers after 60 days. While your main goal is to make more sales, opens and clicks you get from your reengagement email also signal to Gmail and other ESPs that your customers still love getting emails from you. If a large portion of your email list remains inactive your emails will start ending up in the promotions tab, and eventually – the deadly SPAM folder.

Read: 5 more tips for ecommerce stores to avoid the SPAM folder

Piperlime Reengagement Email

Like other promotional emails, sending it once won't get you results. Implement this series of 4 reengagement emails into your fashion email marketing strategy now.

Email 1: "We've missed you"

Include a sad face in your body text to create sympathy, and add a products based on past purchases and popularity. You can choose to offer a small discount here to further incentives visiting your site.

Email 2: "50% OFF EVERYTHING – JUST FOR YOU"

Offer a massive discount that they can't refuse. Be prepared to not to make any money from this sale. However you can leverage the data from their purchase and browsing behavior to deliver more personalized product recommendations in the future.

Email 3: "You will be deleted from our list in 7 days"

If you're still not getting any response after that massive offer, it's time to think about letting go. Notify your subscriber that they will be removed from your list in 7 days and that the offer will soon expire.

Email 4: "You've been unsubscribed"

Continuing to email inactive subscribers will lead to your emails being flagged as SPAM. Say your final goodbye to your inactive subscriber, but include a link for them to resubscribe to your email list and reactivate your offer.

11. Holiday Email

On Black Friday in 2015, email marketing drove the most ecommerce sales at 25.1% – more than both social and search.

Considering the creative and sales potential in holiday events, it's important that you keep your fashion store's email marketing a step ahead of the competition. Based on your target market, add important events such as Back-to-School, Halloween, Christmas, and Black Friday to your content calendar.

Valentines Day Fashion Email

If you're looking to get started, these are 12 ecommerce holidays that you should build fashion email content around:

  1. Valentines Day - February 14th
  2. Mother's Day - May 10th
  3. Father's Day - June 21st
  4. Independence Day - July 4th
  5. Back-to-School - September 1st
  6. Labor Day - September 7th
  7. Halloween - October 31st
  8. Black Friday - November 27th
  9. Cyber Monday - November 30th
  10. Super Saturday - December 19th
  11. Christmas - December 25th
  12. Boxing Day - December 26th

Once again! Send more than one email. Counting down your holiday sale will a sense of urgency with your subscribers and encourage them to act quickly.

Black Friday Email Marketing

12. Birthday Email

With personalized birthday emails having 5x the transaction rate of standard bulk mailings, your subscribers aren't the only ones getting a reward on their birthday.

While the goal of this email is to make a sale on your site, appreciate your active subscribers by giving them a substantial discount. An Experian study found that giving a '$X off’ gift had the highest transaction rate and revenue per email, when compared to other percentage-based, point-based, or free shipping gifts.

Fashion Email Marketing Birthday Email

Closing Note:

If you've made it this far, you're ready implement your fashion email marketing strategy. We've put together a handy checklist for you to put this guide into action.

Download Fashion Email Marketing Checklist

For your personalized product emails, newsletters, and abandoned cart emails – I'm going to encourage you to start using SmartrMail. Within minutes you can design and automate 2 of the above emails. What're you waiting for? Start getting more sales for your fashion store now!

Josh Reyes

Josh is the Marketing Coordinator and Content Lead at SmartrMail. When he's not helping stores get smartr with their email marketing, he's likely on the hunt for Melbourne's best fried chicken burger.

Melbourne, Australia

Start my free trial now:

15 day free trial. No credit card needed

Stores using SmartrMail

Trusted by 2,602 ecommerce stores

Questions?