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How to Create a Highly Effective Ecommerce Welcome Email

ecommerce welcome email

Ecommerce welcome email is the first step towards building relationships with your new subscribers. This is a valuable group for any online retailer, so getting your initial contact with them right is extremely important.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Therefore, making your welcome email both informative and action-oriented can unlock a lot of revenue-generating potential.

The first impression you leave your customers with will influence the remainder of the relationship. Since email communications are one of the best ways to reach your customers and prospects, we want to talk about the Welcome email – since it is one of the first emails most subscribers will receive from your brand.

Why do you need to take your welcome emails seriously?

An automated welcome email is a great chance to make a first impression, engage new subscribers, and convince them to take further actions. Not only do welcome emails introduce subscribers to your brand, but they are also high-performing in terms of open and click rates — subscribers are most engaged within the first 48 hours of signing up to a company’s email list.
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Source: Experian Marketing Services

According to a recent study by Experian, welcome emails get more than 3 times higher opens, clicks and revenue per email over regular promotional mailings. What’s more, welcome emails have an average read rate of 34%, which is nearly two times higher than the average read rate for all other types of emails, according to research by Return Path.
Welcome emails are critical for subscriber and customer retention, which makes them highly important to get right.

How to welcome new subscribers

One important thing to remember is that the real purpose of the welcome email is to move users through your onboarding process and make them do the desired action (e.g. create a profile, download a case study or even buy your product). Let’s clarify the key goals of a successful welcome email:

  • Make a strong first impression.
  • Set clearly subscriber expectations.
  • Get subscriber preferences.
  • Encourage subscribers to connect on other channels (mostly social).
  • Offer gifts: make new subscribers your best buyers.
  • Become a “safe sender”

According to the BlueHornet Review, 74.4% of consumers expect a welcome email when they subscribe. However, most emails sent by online retailers are universal and undifferentiated: the same message is sent to everyone. Consequently, every time a subscriber receives a boring and irrelevant email you start to lose your potential clients. To prevent this, here are our best practice tips on how to plan an effective welcome email strategy.

1. Sender name & subject line

Sender name speaks volumes to a new subscriber, especially, if a welcome email is opened on mobile devices. Therefore, don’t forget to use a recognizable sender name and email address. Sounds simple, yet it has a huge effect on your conversions.  Also, use a from address that is easy to recognize, as you’ll stick with it for a long time.
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We recommend making a subject line that is clear and engaging, like in the example above. It’s hard to make an ordinary greeting creative and unique, however, try to add a spark of interest to grab attention (A big hello from BRAND!). Instead of writing just a simple “welcome” in your subject line, make it personalized by including the first name of your subscriber (NAME, welcome to BRAND!).

2. Send it immediately

Don’t hesitate to send your first welcome email right after your new subscriber confirmed his/her email address. The whole reason welcome emails work so well is that they hit the inbox when a subscriber’s interest in your brand is at its peak. Therefore, do not “batch” your welcome emails as you may waste an ideal moment for sending. To prove this fact, Experian Marketing Services found that real-time welcome emails see more than 10 times higher transaction rates and revenue per email over “batched” welcome mailing. As it is shown in the chart below, even if you wait for one day, your engagement rates will drop by almost 6 times. That’s why it’s important to automate this process.
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Source: Experian Marketing Services

3. Set clear call to action

 It’s a good idea to give subscribers a clear idea of how to get started in order to build the right expectations and the perception of your brand. Decide on the key actions you want new subscribers to take (there may be more than one). Here are some common examples:

  • Follow us on social media.
  • Read some of our best content.
  • Use this coupon code or special offer.
  • Whitelist our email address.
  • Tell us your preferences.
  • Make a purchase.

By the way, if you’re an online retailer, your aim is to get subscribers to make a purchase. So don’t be afraid to ask your subscribers to “shop now” in your welcome email.
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 4. Include links to your social media sites

Another key component in an effective welcome email are the links to your social media sites. New subscribers are interested in you and want to find out more, otherwise, they wouldn’t have signed up. So why not to share your social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook page or company blog) with some useful information? By doing this you will provide new contacts with additional ways to get in touch with you.

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New contacts may subscribe to your mailing list in different ways, for example, by making a purchase, downloading some content or simply subscribing to newsletter updates. So, it’s important to understand what each group of newcomers wants and how to segment them.  The easiest way is to divide your new subscribers into three main groups:

  • New newsletter subscribers (never received emails from you before and want to find out more about your brand).
  • First-time purchasers (never received emails from you but have done their first purchase).
  • First-time purchasers, who are on your email list (receive your newsletters and are familiar with your brand).

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Next, to get more detailed information, you can survey your customers right in your welcome email. Another option is to offer progressive profiling. How does it work? When a visitor carries out multiple actions on your site he is asked to fill in short forms several times with not more than 2-3 fields each. This enables you to gather a full profile of your customer to provide a better user experience in the future.

5. Offer a gift

By offering a discount or some sort of gift, you can start building trust to your brand. Also, it is likely to stimulate new subscribers to make a purchase. It’s important to give your customers something special, maybe a coupon code or some useful content.
Here’s how some companies offer a coupon code and recommend some of their best products:
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 6. Don’t forget to become a “safe sender”

Asking your subscribers to add you to their “safe senders” or contact list is a great opportunity to maintain your deliverability rates. This will also make it easier for recipients to find your emails in the future. Here’s a way to ask subscribers to whitelist you:
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Finally, you need to include an unsubscribe link, even if you send a first welcome email.
Here is an example that includes most of our tips:

  1. Whitelist request in the second line.
  2. Discount code in the third line.
  3. A clear call to action.
  4. One-click unsubscribe link down in the footer.

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With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create an effective and highly-engaging welcome email:

  • Use a recognizable sender name and email address.
  • Personalize your subject line and make it intriguing.
  • Don’t “batch” your welcome emails, make them real-time.
  • Give subscribers a clear idea of what to do next with calls of action.
  • Give something special to your subscribers (coupon code or valuable content).
  • Include links to your social media sites.
  • Ask subscribers to whitelist you.
  • Include an unsubscribe link.


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