Your online retail business is going strong, and now you’re looking for ways to grow. Email marketing is one of the most effective methods to boost your ecommerce biz, but you have to find the right tool to maximize your impact. There is a seemingly endless supply of email service providers out there, each offering their own lineup of features, plug-ins and integrations. You might find that you prefer an à la carte option to choose the tools that fit the needs of your business, or you may want the ease of an all-in-one, full-service platform.
Get started by building a robust subscriber list, and then it's time to dive into the emails. Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve got a list of all the features you’ll need to evaluate when looking for ecommerce email marketing tools for your online retail business.
Feature #1: It’s designed for online retailers.
There are countless email service providers out there, but weeding out those that aren’t tailored to ecommerce will narrow the field tremendously.
What to Look For: A provider that understands online retail and integrates with your ecommerce platform. If you’re on Shopify, for instance, there are numerous options that will allow you to create and manage email campaigns directly from your ecommerce site.
Top Tool:Klaviyo is the leader in ecommerce email marketing, with a comprehensive and robust platform designed for online retailers.
Feature #2: It provides seamless automation and is CRM compatible.
When it comes to email marketing, you can’t quite “set it and forget it,” but you can choose a tool that makes creating and implementing an email marketing campaign pretty painless.
What to Look For: Tools that offer a full spectrum of email marketing automation, so your emails always hit the right audience at the right time…with the right message. Integrating with your existing CRM will also help save time and make subscriber lists easier to manage.
Top Tool:ActiveCampaign is designed with CRM in mind, and it lets you make notes or interact with subscribers from the app, which then transfer seamlessly to your CRM.
Feature #3: It provides in-depth email analytics.
Tracking email metrics and KPIs is about more than knowing your open rate. Digging deep into the data will help you craft more effective campaigns and win more conversions.
What to Look For: A provider that offers robust analytics and goes beyond the basics. Look for a program that gives you a look at mobile performance, spam rates, domain breakdowns and more.
Top Tool:HubSpot offers email marketing software that provides clear and detailed analytics tracking to help you align with your buyer's journey.
Feature #4: It simplifies the email design process.
Unattractive emails aren’t likely to get you far with your customers, but creating custom designs for every email is time-consuming and frustrating.
What to Look For: A program that offers drag-and-drop templates to make designing appealing emails simple and easy and ensures your campaign is consistent and always on-brand.
Top Tool:CampaignMonitor has one of the most robust drag-and-drop building programs out there, saving you time and hassle.
Feature #5: It offers enhanced personalization.
When it comes to personalizing your emails, it’s time to think beyond “Hello, [Name]!”
What to Look For: Multiple ways to connect to customers, such as geographic location, previous purchases, abandoned cart items, reviews and recommendations.
Top Tool:ConvertKit is considered one of the top email marketing services for ecommerce, and its personalization function is one of the reasons. The program will create auto tags for each subscriber to generate behavior-based personalization.
Feature #6: It helps you craft more effective subject lines.
Subject and headline analyzers can be found within some email service providers, but there's a wide range of standalone tools out there to help you grab your readers’ attention.
What to Look For: A quick tool that can provide you with an index of how your subject line ranks and offer tips and suggestions for optimization.
Top Tool:SubjectLine.com says it all in the name. This free tool will run a quick analysis of your subject line, rank it on a scale of 1–100 and give you suggestions and feedback.
Feature #7: It grows your subscriber list.
Email marketing for retail isn’t just about building relationships with existing customers; it’s also about generating and nurturing leads.
What to Look For: A program that focuses on exit-intent and helps you create popups, forms and retargeting ads to capture leads and rekindle your relationship with those who are on their way out the door.
Top Tool:Remarkety is one of the best ecommerce email programs for retargeting and lead generation, making it easy to automate your exit-intent messaging and deliver it where it counts.
Feature #8: It’s optimized for mobile.
More and more of your customers are interacting with your brand from mobile platforms, and it’s becoming more likely that when they open an email, they’re doing so from their smartphone.
What to Look For: A provider that is ready to deliver on mobile optimization with templates that are scaled and ready to go.
Top Tool:Constant Contact is upping their game by offering more than 100 mobile-ready email templates and designs. Their drag-and-drop function makes it easy to scale for mobile devices.
Feature #9: It provides deeper audience segmentation.
The most successful email marketing campaigns are those that deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. Audience segmentation will help you hone in on how those audiences break down and what they want to see from your brand.
What to Look For: A provider that makes audience segmentation easy and hassle-free, but one that also helps you mine segmentation data for insights into how your buyers search, make decisions and shop.
Top Tool: Klaviyo gets another mention here, as the program’s segmentation digs deep into your subscriber list and generates automated segments based on behaviors across your store.
Feature #10: It’s a cost-effective option.
You manage your marketing budget wisely, and it doesn’t make sense to ignore your other channels in favor of going all in on email marketing.
What to Look For: Most of the platforms mentioned here offer free trials and budget or “lite” membership tiers. This allows you to test out providers and find the right fit for you.
Top Tool:Mailchimp is the industry standard for email marketing, especially for small to midsize businesses. Their free plan offers many of the features and tools we’ve mentioned today and is perfect for businesses with less than 2,000 subscribers.
We hope you’ll use these tips to find an email marketing service that’s just right for your online retail business. By the way, we love to see how our customers are growing as business owners, so submit your story and you may be selected as our Spotlight of the Month!
Wendi is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis, IN, with over a decade of experience writing for a variety of industries from healthcare to manufacturing to nonprofit. When she isn't working on solutions for her clients, she can be found spending time with her kids and husband, working in the garden or doing more writing (of the fiction variety).