8 Quick and Easy Hacks to Instantly Improve Your Ecommerce Emails

Posted by Hannah Stacey 9 Apr 15

In ecommerce marketing, it’s often easy to get stuck in the ‘big results only come from big investment’ mentality.

Overhauling your email templates, making your website and emails mobile-friendly, embarking on grand A/B testing projects: while all likely to get results, these are certainly resource-intensive activities.

The good news is that smaller tweaks and adjustments can also, incrementally, have a big positive effect on your marketing efforts. This blog post will cover eight simple hacks for improving the deliverability, usability, and overall effectiveness of your ecommerce marketing emails.

1) Optimise your preheader text

Businesses collectively send over 100 billion emails every day. Yup, every single day.

So unless you have a database of completely devoted subscribers who hang on your every email, you need to do everything in your power to stand out from all the other people sending them emails and distracting them from yours.   

One way of sharpening your proverbial email marketing elbows is to optimise the preheader text that appears in the preview pane next to your subject line (see below).

This is prime inbox real estate, so make sure yours is optimised with something tempting and attention-grabbing (offers, personalisation, fun stuff), rather than something unremarkable (metatags, ‘view this email in your browser’, unsubscribe links etc.).


Typically, a recipient’s email provider will grab the first piece of machine-readable text it can find. As outlined in this great post from Goolara, you have a couple of options:

  • Making sure that the first text in the email is meaningful (easy, but not always possible)

  • Using a non-displaying div preheader that contains the information you want to appear in the snippet (a bit more fiddly to implement - read how in the article above)


2) Don’t use a ‘noreply@’ email address

If you’re an ecommerce marketer, you've probably gone to a lot of effort developing your tone of voice; making your communications sound friendly, personable, trustworthy, all that kind of stuff.

When it comes to email, nothing quite kills the friendly vibes more than telling your subscribers to 'do one' right from the off with a noreply@ email address. Marketing is supposed to be a two-way thang these days, after all.


  • Make sure that your ‘from’ name is your brand name or similar.
  • Likewise, ensure that your email address is ‘Support@’, ‘info@’, ‘[yourbrandname]@’... anything that doesn’t make you look like you have a heart of stone. Even if it means you have to monitor the email address or reroute it to a support inbox.


3) Get clever with your unsubscribe process

It always stings when someone decides they’ve had enough of your emails, but the way you handle unsubscribe requests can mean the difference between you losing them forever, or you persuading them to stick around a bit longer.

(P.S. by ‘clever’, I don’t mean remove your unsubscribe links altogether, as that’s both not very clever and very illegal.)


There are many reasons someone might unsubscribe from your emails. Letting them choose how often they hear from you and what they hear from you about puts them back in the driving seat.

Below is a great example of a clever unsubscribe page from J Crew - people can unsubscribe altogether, choose to receive a once-weekly email, and even decide which categories that they’re interested in.


4) Make sure every item in your email is linked to its product page

Seeing an item you love in an email and having to then trawl through endless category pages to try and track it down is a massive pain in the neck. Nobody needs that.

Making sure that everything included in your email is ‘shoppable’ is a sure-fire way of improving your conversions from email, as well as pleasing would-be customers.


The solution to this is pretty straightforward: make sure each item in your email is hyperlinked to its corresponding product page. 

This goes for contextual images, too - either all of the products featured in the image should be individually linked from the email (like ASOS below), or the image should be linked to a multi-product or customised category page.

New Call-to-action  

5) Make promo codes copy-and-paste-able

No flicking between tabs or running to fetch a pen and paper, no forcing customers to memorise obscure letter/number combinations as long as their arm: just let people copy and paste promo codes.

It’s fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, but it really does save a lot of bother and reduces friction in the checkout process.


Make any lengthy or complicated promo codes text-based rather than incorporating them into images. And if this isn’t possible, put a secondary text-based code somewhere in your email to help the recipient out.


6) Personalisation is great, but...

So personalising your emails can be a brilliant way of making your them seem more personable and friendly. Even simple things like addressing people by their first name can be a really nice touch (Experian conducted research that showed personalised subject lines deliver 26 per cent higher unique open rates).

Trouble is, personalisation can often go wrong: most of us have been on the receiving end of a ‘Dear *FIRSTNAME*’ clanger, or something similar. Not feeling so warm and fuzzy now, huh?


The first step is to make sure that the data you need to personalise the email (i.e. first name, town/city of residence etc.) is present for all recipients.

If it isn’t, it’s no biggie - just make sure your email is coded correctly (e.g. *|IF:FNAME|* Hello *|FNAME|*, *|ELSE:|* Hello, *|END:IF|*).

Floating commas are a big giveaway!


7) Encourage people to whitelist you

In ecommerce email marketing, the hierarchy of places you want your email to end up goes a bit like this:

Primary tab > Promotions tab > Spam bin

Wanna be living the dream in people’s primary inboxes? You’re going to have to ask nicely.


While dedicating a whole email to asking the recipient to whitelist you will probably look a bit desperados, incorporating it into existing email content is a great plan. Here’s how one online retailer does it:


8) Microscopic fonts on a phone screen

We all know that mobile is a massive deal these days, and making your emails just as fabulous when viewed on a mobile screen as they are on desktop is really important for driving mobile commerce.

And while most online retailers are mobile-optimising their email templates, a lot are falling at the last hurdle by failing to check that the fonts are legible on a mobile screen.


Make sure each of your emails passes a ‘can this be read by a human?’ test. Which is simple enough to do, really.

So there you have it! 8 small hacks that, combined, have the potential to make a big difference to your email marketing campaigns. Got any killer email tips yourself? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Further reading:

An Introduction to Browse Abandonment Emails for Ecommerce

[SlideShare] Cart Abandonment Email 101

A Guide to Sending Brilliant Ecommerce Welcome Emails

Topics: Ecommerce email marketing, Ecommerce marketing tips

Top Posts