eCommerce Email Marketing in 2020: What's Staying and What's Changing

5 Dec
eCommerce Email Marketing in 2020: What's Staying and What's Changing

Black Friday is done and over with, and as an eCommerce store owner, your Christmas holiday promos are no doubt about to launch any day now.

Not to mention, you’re probably elbow-deep in all your own personal holiday plans. 

It’s a lot to think about and juggle.

I mean, phew!

But we’re like you. 

We know right now isn’t time to sit back and relax. 

As the year winds down, this is the perfect time to be looking ahead into the new year to see what changes are happening in the marketing world and plan on where your strategy may need some updating. 

We’ve done a lot of digging and take a good hard look at trends and what’s been working this year so we could put together what to expect when it comes to eCommerce email marketing trends in 2020.

So let’s snuggle up, grab some spiked eggnog and take a few minutes to think about what’s changing in eCommerce email marketing in the new year ahead and how you can prepare for it.

What’s Staying: Email Still Holds True to Being The Best Revenue Channel 

You can breathe a sigh of relief. 

Email ain’t going anywhere. 

In 2014, McKinsey & Company stated that email was nearly 40x better at acquiring new customers compared to social channels like Facebook or Twitter. 

And that trend hasn’t gone anywhere, even after GDPR came into full effect in 2018. 

3.8 billion people use email every day.

Thanks to smartphones, they never leave home without access to email. Harris Interactive found that 81% of online shoppers are more likely to make additional purchases to companies who use personalized email campaigns. 

Which is the perfect lead into an aspect that’s changing in eCommerce email marketing in 2020.

What’s Changing: The Companies Who Provide Better Cross-Channel Personalization Will Gain The Upper-Hand

While Google, YouTube, Facebook, and email have been around for 10+ years, time and human behavior have allowed for a new cross-channel ecosystem to develop that marketers are only now starting to pay very close attention to.  

Brands today no longer exist simply on one channel like a website or a storefront. 

We’re on multiple social media channels, podcasts, making YouTube videos and all the other places where our potential customers are hanging out. 

We’re everywhere, man. 

But being everywhere isn’t enough — not anymore. 

In 2020, personalized offerings and a humanized online marketing approach are going to grow more important. Consumers don’t just want personalized experiences from brands, their actions show it’s a demand

Accenture predicts that there is a US$2.96 trillion reward waiting for companies who match their smart digital marketing efforts with personalization. 

And the sooner you start on this, the better. 

So to truly personalize your customer’s experience — and considering email reigns Queen of ROI — your brand needs to rethink how all your marketing channels can work with email and vice-versa to present the personalized experience customers will pay for

This means taking a good hard look at your marketing toolset and making sure you’re using marketing automation that tracks behaviors and can segment your contacts for targeted messaging. 

What’s Staying: Automated Cart Abandonment Reminders Are A Must

Yes, email is still the best way to gain revenue in 2020. 

However, abandoned cart rates have risen over the years. Even though it’s not at an all-time high, it’s the highest it’s been in the past 5 years.  

If you’re in eCommerce, abandoned carts just come with the territory which means cart reminders by means of email and ad retargeting are just as vital today as they’ll be next year. 

With a staggeringly high open-rate of 45%, an average 50% CTR and 50% of those clicks turning into purchases, automated cart reminders are here to stay!


What’s Changing: Using Cart Reminders For More Than Just Reminders

Cart Reminders are so common that I’m sure that you have a few sitting in your inbox at any given time. 

But because they’re so common, and the way that brands use them is also similar, they are certain to lose their effectiveness if something doesn’t change.

Customers want something unique, which means brands need to think a bit outside the box here and start using cart reminders more creatively.

What do we mean by that? 

There are 101 reasons why someone put something in their cart and didn’t complete the purchase. 

Sure, they could have simply forgotten or got distracted by cute teacup pigs on Instagram (*guilty*), but there are probably other underlying reasons you can address. 

No, not price. 

A couple of the top reasons people end up not purchasing is usually due to... 

  1. Lack of understanding, perhaps around how to use the product or what their purchase supports
  2. Lack of perceived value

Knowing these two things gives you an upper hand that you should be using to your advantage. 

Don’t just send the same ol’ cart reminders as your competitors. 

Use your cart reminder automations to educate and increase your value.

This bridges the gaps that keep people from purchasing. 

But you have the why, but what about the how? How can you do this? 

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Consider sending a product video about the items that your subscriber was about to purchase. Solo Stoves does this to increase understanding of how to use their product. 
  • Put an email at the end of your automation that asks subscribers to tell you why they didn’t purchase. This will give you a clearer idea of what you can add to your automations and marketing efforts to increase ROI and how to overcome possible objections. 
  • Include some sort of social proof in your cart reminders emails or retargeting ads. This can help to increase your perceived value.
  • Offer a discount as a last resort or with a FOMO tactic applied. Offering discounts is a good way to gain the sale, just as long as it doesn’t hurt your bottom line. However, you could wait until a later email to offer it. And if you do offer it right away, consider giving subscribers only an allotted time to use it so that FOMO gets real for them.  

The broad picture for your cart reminders should be to encourage a good relationship and help keep your contacts continuing in their customer journey. 

Use of video to explain how to use your products, what purchases from your brand will support, or relaying your customer values can have a profound impact on understanding and your brand value. 

Once you can overcome these things through education, cart reminders will become just that much more effective. 

What’s Staying: Keep Mobile-Friendly Email Design At The Center Of Everything You Do

As of this post, the world has just survived Black Friday of 2019 with the U.S converting $7.2 billion in digital sales on that one day. 

And guess what? 

According to Salesforce, 56% of all digital orders made this Black Friday happened via a mobile device. 

That means more than four billion dollars happened through smartphones and tablets. 

That fact is a VERY strong indicator of the need for email design to focus on being mobile-friendly. 

Email is effective. 


Email that looks great on mobile is going to be even more effective, and smart eCommerce brands will continue to focus on a good UX for mobile viewers in the coming year ahead. 

What Changing: Using SMS With Email Will Boost Marketing Effectiveness

Traditionally, SMS has been used by brands who have a storefront. 

But times are changing. 

eCommerce brands are seeing the effectiveness of SMS when tied to their email marketing efforts. While email does have the highest ROI of any channel, SMS has a mind-boggling open-rate of 99%. 

SMS in eCommerce email marketing in 2020

That’s a close to a perfect open-rate as anyone is going to get. 

Even still, few brands — especially smaller eCommerce stores — have capitalized on this marketing tactic. And even fewer have found a marketing toolset that synchronizes SMS with email marketing to get the most ROI possible.

That gap will narrow further in 2020 as brands put more of their budget into personalized automation and marketing. 

Sendlane already has SMS integrated into our marketing automation platform so that our customers can take advantage of this opportunity. 

And brands who correctly layer in SMS into automations like abandoned cart emails, sales campaigns, and other creative ways will like experience better marketing messaging effectiveness. 


What Other Changes Are Coming To eCommerce Email Marketing Trends In 2020?

One big change coming to eCommerce email starting first thing next year is California’s Privacy Law — and yes, it’s going to affect you and your email marketing even if you don’t live in lovely CA.

There’s a lot of confusion around this topic, so it’s important to read up on it and prep your online store for the upcoming changes in the new year. 

But all and all, eCommerce email marketing in 2020 isn’t going to change that much. 

However, there are going to be new areas that brands can capitalize on to grow their business through email. 

What other changes do you think are coming to eCommerce email marketing trends in 2020? 

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