Email Automation: How to Use Trigger Emails to Boost Conversions

Email Automation: How to Use Trigger Emails to Boost Conversions

If you're only using automated email marketing for welcoming new customers and sending broad promotional campaigns, then it's time to switch up your strategy.

Many retailers are enjoying high conversion rates through automated email campaigns. Automation is your always going to be your friend. It takes a little effort, but email marketing automation increases efficiency, helps you target subscribers according to their behaviours and ensures people get relevant emails at the right times within the customer lifecycle.

According to a 2017 report from Yes Lifecycle Marketing, standard emails received a 13.4% click through rate compared to 27.3% for automated emails. The increased relevance and timely nature of automated email marketing, drives incredible results.

Here are some effective behaviour-based automation emails in action to give you inspiration...

Happy birthday emails

Sending automated birthday emails is an excellent way to show that your brand cares and to stand out in the inbox.

This email campaign example from ASOS is simple, fun and offers subscribers exclusivity. The key here is that it's sent two weeks in advance, giving individuals plenty of time to use discount before their birthday. Plus, it means that ASOS are most likely to be the first to wish you a happy birthday, which has a nice touch about it.

Product cross-sells in order confirmation

Now here's a clever way to get customers to spend even more with you. After they've checked out, set up automated emails with related items that they may want to add to their order before it ships.

Here's an example from Dollar Shave Club:

The brand includes quick-add buttons in its emails for subscribers to add relevant products to their order, without having to go through the checkout process all over again.

You just see your shipping address and billing information to confirm they're correct. You can also easily edit both sections at the push of a button – it doesn't get any more convenient than that!

Cart abandonment emails with coupons

If your abandoned basket rates are a little off the charts (but not in a good way), then you may find this technique to be effective.

Vitacost takes triggered cart abandonment emails to the next level, by not only reminding customers about their abandoned baskets but also offering a coupon to convince them to complete the order.

Cart and product browse abandonment campaigns are easy-win trigger emails to boost open rate and conversions. Just be mindful about offering an incentive - it's not appropriate or even necessary for all companies to do this.

Low inventory and back in stock emails

If you're tracking the visitors that come to your website effectively (and with their permission), then this tactic will work wonderfully for you. For instance, if you're tracking product views, searches, shopping carts or have predicted affinity for specific categories, then you can notify email subscribers when items they've shown interest in are running low.

This will help light the fire under shoppers who are planning to buy these products. The same goes for emails sent to notify subscribers of products that are back in stock. You can capture the activity of visitors searching for items which are out of stock and enable them receive notifications. All through automation!

Reengagement emails

Perhaps you have subscribers in your database who haven't purchased within the past 6 months. Should you boot them off your list? Or send them an automated email when they reach this threshold, to show them you care about them?

Reengagement emails are an effective and crucial automation tactic for retailers, especially post-GDPR. Consumers want more tailored content from their favourite brands.

Keep subscribers engaged by encouraging them to return to your website, by incentivising them. Reengage subscribers before they become too inactive.

Here are just a few of the things you can include in your reengagement email campaigns:

  • Monetary incentives and discounts
  • Free shipping offers
  • Helpful links, brand news and exclusive content
  • A "we miss you"-style reminder message
  • Testimonials and other forms of social proof
  • Survey asking why they haven't returned
  • Outline benefits of being a subscriber
  • Encourage subscribers to update their preferences

The last tactic on the list is demonstrated in this email example below from Gap:

Personalise your reengagement campaigns and test different tactics to see which are most effective at reactivating customers.

Check out our dedicated Email Marketing Reactivation Guide for Retailers to learn more about reengagement campaigns!

Unsubscribe email confirmations

Yes, unsubscribes are the action you hope no subscribers take, but it's inevitable. And it's important to be prepared with a triggered email that may potentially change their mind.

This may only work on a small number of people, but it's a no brainer to sign off with a final attempt to entice subscribers back. Just remind them of what they'll miss from your emails and give them a simple call to action to resubscribe.


We've outlined some really effective ways to use email automation to drive engagement and conversions throughout the customer lifecycle. The key to their success is that they use behaviour-based triggers. You're email campaigns should be relevant, targeted and able to reach subscribers when they're in buying mode.

Ready to Improve Your Email Marketing?

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Ready to Improve Your Email Marketing?

Our team of email marketing consultants are here to help you today

Let's Talk Email