Email Marketing

Triggered emails

Email is one of the best ways to connect with customers and build a relationship. It’s important you understand the stages of your customers' journey so you can create specific segments that reflect those stages accurately. Triggered emails enable you to send emails at the appropriate time with relevant context.

Email marketing is a powerful tool that drives up acquisition, traffic, and conversion for any ecommerce store. By sending emails with relevant offers, you can increase the likelihood the recipient will not only visit your website, but convert as well. 

In fact, email marketing is so successful that it boasts some of the highest conversion rates of all acquisition channels.
According to this research, the average email marketing conversion rate is 10% for small and medium-sized businesses

While this all looks great on paper, email marketing isn’t without its own challenges. There are a few issues to be mindful of in order to maximize your email marketing campaign. Most ecommerce websites have hundreds, if not thousands, of email addresses on their mailing lists. 

And if you’re new to email marketing, connecting with all these registered customers and newsletter subscribers can be challenging—and not to mention, nearly impossible if you wanted to do it manually.

Fortunately, there are applications that allow you to automate the entire process. What’s more, these tools let you to use different triggers to send emails to customers on your mailing list. This type of email is called “triggered emails,” and it looks at the behavior and various actions of your visitors when sending an email.

But why would you need triggered emails?

The biggest advantage of triggered emails is their open rates, which can reach as high as 

50% when used effectively. 

Let’s examine some of the trigger types you can use.

Types of triggers 

There are a few different types of triggers you can use to initiate emails to your customers and visitors. We can divide them into the following categories:

  • Contextual 
  • Behavioral
  • Event-based 
  • Engagement 

Let’s look at how each of them differs.

Contextual triggers

Every website contains content aimed to engage your visitors and guide them down the conversion journey. Your website may have blog posts, videos, case studies ,and other types of content designed to engage visitors. But did you know you can use this content to enhance your email marketing campaign?

To make your email offers more relevant, look at the content your customers are viewing. This helps you see:

  • What they’re interested in
  • What products appeal to them
  • What they intend to use your products for

By sending customers messages with offers that match their interests and preferences, you can effectively increase click-through rates in your emails. To do this, use information that looks at what customers like, then send them more emails containing similar content. 

One key advantage of this is that you get additional knowledge of what customers and visitors like by looking at how many open and engage with your emails.

Not only can you use this data to improve your marketing campaign, you can also use it to optimize your content too. Spot which content is the most popular within certain segments and create more of what they’d like to see.

Behavioral triggers

Tracking the behavior of your visitors on your website is useful for: 

  • Spotting patterns
  • Improving your user interface
  • Optimizing the customer journey
  • Collecting information on how to address (and more importantly when to address) your visitors

Do this by analyzing your visitors’ sequence of interactions and spotting points where that interaction stops. Then, trigger an email that addresses the visitor at the very moment they drop out of an interaction. 

You can also use behavioral triggers to send emails to visitors who’ve followed a series of actions on your website. An example of this would be sending an email to visitors who abandoned their carts, encouraging them to complete their purchase. 

By triggering a behavioral email, you can catch the customer at a particular stage of their purchasing journey and convince them to proceed.

This tactic is commonly used by ecommerce companies, which send abandoned cart emails that offer benefits like free shipping, samples, and discounts to convince cart abandoners to finalize their purchase. 

Event-based triggers

Another category of triggers you can use is event-based triggers. 

Most actions performed on your website can be tracked in the form of events. Common events include:

  • Purchasing a product
  • Scrolling through a blog page
  • Looking at product information
  • Playing videos
  • Downloading documents
  • Registering for a newsletter/account 

With event-based triggers, you can send emails to customers after they perform a specific action. For example, when a customer registers or completes a purchase, you can use this opportunity to cross-sell or upsell a product. 

Using event-based triggers is great for establishing relationships with prospects and creating a truly interactive website. 

A good example of an event-based email is when brands send post-purchase emails informing customers how they can optimize their product.

Engagement triggers

The final type of trigger is the engagement trigger. 

This trigger initiates an email when the customer reaches a certain milestone in interaction with your website or if there’s a lack of engagement over a prolonged period of time.

With increased engagement, you can use this trigger to send your regular customers emails asking them to provide testimonials or take a survey—both great for turning supporters into brand advocates.

If your customer hasn’t engaged with your website over an extended period of time, use the engagement trigger to send a re-engagement email. Offer them additional content related to products they’ve bought in the past, or specials for purchases related to the ones they’ve bought.

Different types of emails

As you may have guessed, there are different types of emails you can categorize and use with your triggers.

Probably the easiest and most logical way to categorize your emails is to sort them according to a specific stage in the interaction process.

Let’s look at the various types of emails you can use.

Welcome emails

When a prospect registers to your newsletter or creates an account on your website, you can use this opportunity to welcome them to your community. 

Your email should point out the primary benefits of your store, encouraging visitors to explore your offers while motivating them to make a purchase. You can achieve this by offering deals or coupon codes.

First impressions are important for creating a long-term relationship with your customers. Here is how Bonobo welcomes theirs:
Bonobo welcome email

Bonobo offers a 20% off discount to new customers, including a “Shop Now” call-to-action button that urges them to proceed down the purchasing journey. 

In contrast, uses a long form email that includes several calls to action.
Welcome email from is full of images

As you can see, uses a series of images and calls to action to invite registered prospects to browse their collection (and ultimately, make a purchase). Here are some ways they achieve that:

  • The copy points out how comfortable the men’s and women’s shoes are
  • They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • They accept returns, no questions asked

This promise helps increase the trust between the brand and its customers, removing any fear the customer may have about products being uncomfortable or the wrong size.

Now, let’s look at the landing page you see after clicking on the “Shop the Collection” button. landing page for their welcome email is their homepage

When customers click the call to action, they’re taken to the homepage. Unfortunately, they missed a great opportunity to direct readers to a customized landing page that welcomes new customers

Another good example of welcome email is this one by Harry’s, a subscription-based service that specializes in shaving products.

This welcome email invites readers to explore their products, while promising to make their morning routine easier. Pain point addressed.
Harry’s welcome email

They include a short, teaser email intended to arouse curiosity and get the reader to make a purchase on the website.

When you click on the “Explore Harry’s” CTA, you’re taken to their product catalog. This is a good tactic, as it takes the visitor directly to a page where they can find something to buy.
Harry’s landing page is a products catalog
Shave plan landing page

However, Harry’s could’ve done a better job with the welcome email by including some of the benefits in their message. That way, customers would be more likely to click on the call-to-action button.

Welcome emails are generally triggered by events, as they require a prior action from the customer to set off the trigger. Another popular type of event trigger emails is the order confirmation email, which is sent to customers who purchase something from your website.

Abandoned cart emails

By tracking visitor behavior and figuring out when customers drop out of your purchase funnels, you can initiate an email inviting them back to complete their transaction.

An abandoned cart email is one of the most important tools for bringing back customers. As you may already know, over 67% of all products added to virtual cart remain there. Cart abandonment emails seek to remedy this. In fact, abandonment emails can help you reclaim up to 29% of abandoned carts according to a study by eConsultancy. This makes it well worth your while to send your customers reminders.
Here’s an example of an abandoned cart email 

When you abandon a cart on, they send you a reminder with the witty phrase: “Don’t get cold feet.” 

When you click on the “Get your shoes” link, you’re taken to your cart page where you can complete your purchase, hassle-free.

To make your abandoned cart emails more relevant for customers, try offering them free shipping. But first, be sure to check whether their location is eligible for shipping at all. If it’s not, send them an email promising that you’ll contact them once shipping does become possible.

If a prospect has left at the payment stage, offer them a discount, a free sample, or some other benefit to entice them. You can also show them alternative products that are cheaper, if you suspect they abandoned due to costs. That way, they can still convert and become a customer.

Another way to boost conversions is by offering a wide range of payment methods. Many times, customers are not used to the primary payment methods sites offer, or they’d prefer to pay another way.

Cart abandonment emails may offer other courses of action, especially if visitors provided minimal engagement prior to adding products to their carts. In cases like this, you can ask them to register an account or sign up for your newsletter. That way, they can learn when their preferred products go on sale. You can even ask them to add products to their wishlist, effectively creating a completion bias. This is especially helpful if you plan to re-engage your prospects on a regular basis.

These are just a few ways you can use behavioral triggers. Other examples include observing the page sequence your customers visit, looking at the types of videos they watch on your website, and so on.

Thank you for your purchase emails

A good way to build (and strengthen!) your relationship with customers is to send them an email thanking them for their purchase. The purpose of the thank-you email is to let your customers know that you appreciate their service. Still, it can be used in a number of different ways, including:

  • Confirming a purchase
  • Notifying customers their items have been sent for delivery
  • Offering related products
  • Gathering additional information about the customer’s preferences

Harry’s, in their traditional short email style, sends the following thank-you email when you purchase an item:
Harry’s thank-you email

Notice that Harry’s offers customers advice on how to care for their skin. This serves to increase engagement and make the email relevant, as the customers have recently bought shaving equipment. 

What’s more, this tells customers they can depend on Harry’s, not only to supply shaving equipment, but also with giving advice on how to use it.

Engagement emails

Finally, there are engagement emails. These are great for gaining the trust of visitors and email subscribers, as well as showcasing your goods and services. 

You can use different content to drive up engagement and arouse interest in your website. Try sending videos, stories or testimonials. And to make your emails even more relevant, be sure to include as much information about your readers as possible. 

Creating customer segments provide readers with consistently relevant content. For example, Harry’s sends this email to engage new customers and increase trust.
Harry’s engagement email


Email is one of the best ways to connect with customers and build important relationships. 

These are some of the most important types of triggered emails you can use to improve your marketing campaign.

To get the most out of triggered emails, you need to make and send them at the appropriate time. For this reason, it’s important you understand the stages of your customers' journey so you can create specific segments that reflect those stages accurately.

Most tools for email automation can do the work for you, so that emails are always sent at the best time. This leaves you only with the task of creating relevant content for those emails.

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