A simple roadmap for maximizing conversions from your ecommerce email list

A guest post by Jennifer Kessler, co-founder and CEO of Bizzy. Bizzy is a simple and smart customer segmentation and email tool for Shopify and WooCommerce that is specifically designed to maximize conversions for your ecommerce shop.

We’ve all heard it before -- the more targeted your emails are, the more sales you’ll make. Smart customer segmentation is crucial for successfully generating conversions from any ecommerce email marketing effort. There are a gazillion ways for any business to segment, subsegment, and further subsegment their customer lists, but complicated segmentation does not necessarily guarantee effective marketing. We’ll walk you through a simple roadmap for maximizing conversions from your ecommerce email list.

Let’s first get to know three customers on your ecommerce email list:

  • Sam visited your site, browsed for a bit, and signed up for your email list with the promise of exciting updates from your shop. Sam has never made a purchase.
  • Julie browsed your business’ site a couple of times until she finally settled on a brand new pair of flying goggles. She bought them three months ago.
  • Tyler has bought from your business multiple times. First he bought some paint brushes and then quickly followed up with an easel two weeks later. Four weeks after that, Tyler treated himself to some paints and another easel. It has been six weeks since his last purchase from your store.

Like Sam, Julie, and Tyler, each one of your customers will have a unique profile, meaning that there are countless way to divide your list. But, our goal is to get more conversions, not create countless segments. By answering three critical questions, we will create customer segments that are designed to drive customers to their next purchase:

  • Has Sam/Julie/Tyler ever made a purchase?
  • How many purchases has Sam/Julie/Tyler made from your ecommerce shop?
  • How long has it been since Sam/Julie/Tyler’s last purchase?

1. Think about segments as phases of a customer’s lifecycle

Segment 1: Potential Customers

Sam is a great example of a Potential Customer. He has shown interest in your business, but has failed to make that first purchase. All of your marketing efforts should guide him toward buying something from you. It is critical that you have an email series to convert your Potential Customers into paying customers.

The probability of selling to a new prospect is less than 20%, but the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. This makes customers like Julie and Tyler especially important to target effectively.

Segment 2: One-time Customers

Julie is your stereotypical One-time Customer. She has purchased one item from you, and is on the verge of becoming a repeat customer. It is up to you to catch her while she is most interested in your business, so that you convert her to a Repeat Customer who visits your business again and again.

But, Julie and Tyler are different. A One-time customer like Julie has a 27% chance of buying again, but a Repeat Customers like Tyler have a 54% chance of buying from you again!

Segment 3: Repeat Customers

Tyler is an example of your most valuable customer segment: Repeat Customers. Cherish them. On average Repeat Customers spend three times more per visit than One-time Customers. It is critical that you nurture your relationships with your Repeat Customers so that they stay in close touch with your business. As it turns out, Repeat Customers are actually less price sensitive than One-time customers, which means that you can offer fewer discounts for more conversions!

2. Every segment of customers should receive its own series of emails over time

Now that you are already thinking about your customer segments in terms of lifecycle phases, let’s talk about how you can create a series of emails over time within each of your segments.

When a Potential Customer first signs up for your list, you should send him or her an initial welcome email. Then, a few days later, you should follow up again. This series of emails should continue until customers like Sam make their first purchase. For some ideas on a well designed welcome flow for ecommerce, take a look at these marketing teardowns for Warby Parker and Chubbies.

Now, if Bob arrives on your site and becomes a Potential Customer 30 days after Sam’s sign up, the two should NOT be receiving the same emails at the same time. Instead, Bob is 30 days behind Sam and should therefore receive emails with a 30 day lag. So, in essence, you are creating emails for points in time instead of for full segments.

The same type of “series over time” logic is important for your One-time and Repeat Customers. Customers who purchased today should receive a different email than customers who purchase three, six or nine months ago. Emails designed for specific points in time will drive customers to convert!

3. Your segments MUST automatically update as your business grows

This is actually easier than it sounds! Now that you have taken the time to create lifecycle segments and series of emails over time within each segment, you need to make sure that your lifecycle emails are sending to the right customer at the right time. How? Your order system and lead collection tools need to be connected to your email service so that customers enter and exit segments correctly. For example, when Sam makes his first order, he needs to immediately leave the Potential Customers segment and join the One-time Customers segment. If Bob takes 90 days to make his first purchase, he needs to remain in the Potential Customers segment until that time. If your marketing tools are not talking to each other, then your customer segments and related series of emails will be incorrect.


Smart segmentation is critical for successful ecommerce marketing, but “smart” does not have to be complicated or difficult. Following a simple roadmap for maximizing conversions from your ecommerce email list and using the right tools will make it possible for you to segment for marketing success!


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