The Power of a Follow-Up Email in eCommerce: Boost Sales by Gaining Trust

Alex Cowell
6 min readSep 17, 2020


Show your customers some love, and they will come back for more

Despite the efforts of numerous spam filters and ad blockers, we go through a fair amount of emails daily. However, since the average open rate varies from 20% to 40% most of the emails we get stay unread.

If you run an online shop, a few solid follow-up emails can increase retention, help you grow, and build winning relationships with return customers. Return customers cost less, bring more profit, and have one undeniable advantage — you already have their email. Depending on how you’re going to communicate with them you hold the power to either make or break a sale.

Follow-up emails go beyond regular support and resolving costumers’ issues — they are about spreading love, contribution, and making your customers happy. It’s almost like art but in the form of marketing.

Follow-Up Emails: The Basics

Before we start brainstorming the follow-up email ideas, let’s talk about things you need to avoid. Remember that email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels but only when used wisely: one wrong move and you can lose the subscriber and potential return customer.

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Don’t Take It Lightly

Do not send a follow-up email hoping for a quick sale or just for the sake of sending something — chances are that you’ll end up in the spam folder. You are fighting a tough battle for your customer’s attention.

Every day we receive dozens of emails, browse through hundreds of social media posts, and read quite a few articles. An average American goes through 100,000 words per day and your job is to make your message matter.

Don’t Be Pushy

Another thing to keep in mind that the time of aggressive sales has passed. It might still work with a small percentage of people but you should never try it in your follow-up campaign. Nowadays, everybody’s taking a personal, soft, and sustainable approach.

Your customers are well-educated and savvy — the more you push them into buying, the less likely they will go through with it. If you chose to be helpful instead of pressuring them into buying things they don’t need, the response you receive will be more positive.

Use The Subject Lines Wisely

Although it might be tempting to follow the clickbait path, don’t discredit yourself like that. At the same time, you need to spend a little more time when writing a subject line as you don’t want it to be boring either. If you have a discount to offer — reveal it in the subject line. Otherwise, try to be creative and point out other benefits your customer will get.

Now, what type of follow-up emails would make your customers feel the love and care?

Say Thank You

A simple thank you goes long way. You don’t need to sell all the time — bring in some natural human interaction into your relationship with customers. Thank them for making a purchase, registering on the website, or just having a chat with your customer service rep.

A thank you letter is a good way to welcome your new customers and set a positive mood for your further communication.

Think long-term — you can always send another email with the selling offer later. Focus on building trust first.

Be Helpful

Ask your customer if you could help them with something or be proactive and give a useful tip yourself. For example, if they’ve purchased a service explain to them how to get started and if they bought a delicate garment send them essential care instructions.

Inform Them About New Arrivals

Informing your customers about new arrivals or updates helps with building up loyalty. If they actually read or briefly go through these emails they will start feeling like a part of your community. Additionally, you can offer special discounts on a new collection.

Ask for Feedback

Asking for feedback is another essential part of establishing a long-lasting partnership with your customers. You need to know what you could do better and your customers could always use a better service.

Ask for their insights and if they’re good enough, you’ll get a chance to write another follow-up email once you implement that solution. And that, in turn, will give you 10 extra points in the customer loyalty department.

Recommend a Product

Based on the data you’ve collected from your customers as well as their behavior on the website you can take the liberty of recommending them your other products.

Apart from bestsellers, trends, and discounts, you can also use their location and browsing history to offer the best-fitting items.

Modern-day marketing is focusing on providing the best value for the customer rather than exploiting their compulsive shopping experience.

When You Should Send the Follow-Up

Sometimes you won’t have to come up with a reason for a follow-up but react on certain trigger events and promptly get involved.

When You Don’t Get a Reply

Let’s say you sent an email with a survey or asked for feedback but never got a reply. First off, that’s natural — not so many of us have a habit of answering marketing emails.

As a matter of fact, 44% of business owners are giving up after the first follow-up, but you shouldn’t. Don’t be afraid to seem needy — according to a study, you’ll receive more responses on email sequence with 4 to 7 emails. Just make sure you bring value.

When They Don’t Finish the Purchase

Customers abandon carts all the time. The good news is that you can get at least 10% of them back, and that’s a good reason to send your follow-up.

Get creative, use your charm and sense of humor, offer a discount, and automate the process. And if they don’t get back to you, send another one.

If the Purchase Never Happened

If your customer had a talk with a customer support rep in the live chat and left without saying goodbye or finalizing the purchase, it’s time for the follow-up. Be open, ask them what you’ve done wrong and how you can improve your service in the future.

When You Feel You’re Losing Them

When it comes to customer service, proactive automation is a life-saver. If you’re using tools to track your customer’s journey, you’ll know what they are up to and whether you’re about to lose them. So if they haven’t visited your store for a while — it’s time for the follow-up.

Automate Your Follow-Ups

Building a strong connection with your customers and gaining their loyalty takes time. At some point, you might feel overwhelmed especially if you do all the work manually. The easiest solution is to automate the follow-up process. Luckily, there’s no lack of solutions.

Markeaze live chat allows your sales and support reps to set up an abandoned cart email campaign and automatically send emails with unread answers and beautiful cards with the items they’ve left behind. Besides, even if they didn’t add anything to the cart, you can choose to show them the produced they’ve been viewing.

And one more tip. Follow-ups are not necessarily restricted to the email channel. If the customer was talking to you via Facebook Messenger, Instagram, or other social media — it is better to stick to one platform. Omnichannel solutions, Markeaze included, allow you to meet your customers halfway and interact with them on the platform of their choice.

The Bottom Line

A well-thought-out follow-up email strategy can boost your sales, increase retention, and even attract new customers. Use this tool wisely. Although your goal is to gently push your customers towards making a purchase, focus on being caring and helpful first.

Celebrate your customer, resolve their issues, and ask them if they’re happy with your service. The results won’t disappoint you.

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