Email automation is no longer a nice-to-have platform for eCommerce vendors—it’s a survival tool.
Busy brands don’t have time to manually send out product updates or shipping notifications. And without an email automation tool, eCommerce companies will burn through time and money trying to keep up with manual email marketing campaigns.
The right email automation tool will do all this work for you. It can send out abandoned cart emails, follow up with new customers and recommend products they’ll love to bring in more revenue and free up your time to keep building your brand.
But not all email automation tools are made the same. Some are ready to send professional email campaigns straight out the box and personalize messages to customers, while others are packed with features but come with a steep learning curve.
That’s why we’ve created this list of 5 essential email automation tools to help you choose the right one for your eCommerce store in 2023.
Let’s get started 👇
Why is it important to use email automation tools?
Email automation tools help put your brand’s marketing on autopilot and give your team more time to nurture customers and create your next campaign.
Automating your email campaigns helps your brand stay consistent. Once email campaigns are set up, customers will get timely and personalized messages about products, sales and discounts they care about. An email automation tool can also send:
📧 Abandoned cart emails. Automatically reach out to customers who have made it to the checkout but left items in their cart without making a purchase. These emails usually include information about the products the customer has left behind, a link back to the checkout and even a special offer or discount to sweeten the deal.
📧 Order confirmations and shipping details. Send customers information about their order, like payment details and estimated delivery time. These emails usually include the order number, shipping information and FAQs about returns and refunds. Your customers are kept in the loop and your customer support team is saved from answering a bunch of (time-consuming) tickets about shipping and orders.
📧 Post-purchase follow ups. These emails strike the customer when they’re hot—straight after they’ve made a purchase. In addition to upselling similar products, follow-ups should ask for reviews and gather feedback to improve your brand and build customer loyalty.
📧 Re-engagement Emails. Win customers back with a reengagement email that has a special offer or new product announcement to entice them back to your store. These emails remind customers why they shopped with you in the first place and give you a chance to
And what do you get from these email campaigns?
Better engagement, conversions, and retention. And most of all, more money in your brand’s pocket.
The 5 best email automation tools for eCommerce brands
Investing in an email automation tool for your eCommerce store is like hiring a (very effective) sales assistant.
The right tool can automate email campaigns, follow up abandoned carts and trigger product recommendations to be sent to customers based on their purchase history. But not all email automation tools are made the same. Some can get eye-wateringly expensive as your email list grows, while others are complicated and have a steep learning curve.
Here are our top five picks 👇
⚡Best automation feature: Multivariate testing and segmentation
💰 Pricing: Plans start at $83/month for 5000 subscribers.
Sendlane is an email and SMS marketing software built for eCommerce vendors that want to send targeted, personalized messages to customers. Our tool is full of features for brands that want to go beyond basic customer emails and build a loyal customer base.
It features 50+ pre-built email funnels for product recommendations, abandoned carts, post-purchase, and re-engagement, which can be customized and integrated with popular third-party apps like Shopify and BigCommerce.
But we go beyond the basics of email marketing. Thanks to advanced features like Multivariable Segmentation and Experiments - Multivariable Testing, our platform digs into the nitty gritty of what your customers want.
Sendlane’s biggest automation selling point is the amount of customer information it collects. The platform tracks 100 data points including customer behavior, purchases and engagement. You can then use these nuggets of information to personalize every email campaign and sequence to your customer’s likes so every email that lands in their inbox is relevant.
Is there a better way to build brand trust and grow revenue? 🤔
Best Sendlane features
- Unified email & SMS features and analytics give you a full picture customer experience for your shoppers
- Unbeatable email deliverability and super reliable ESP to make sure your customers always get your emails
- Amazing customer support—the team is here for you 24/7/365 in 30 seconds or less!
Sendlane’s pricing tiers are built for SMBs and growing eCommerce brands. We like to keep it simple and transparent—users have access to every Sendlane feature no matter what plan you sign up for. With competitive pricing, most users are saving 40% off their current email & SMS bill when making the switch! We offer a 14-day free trial and once that’s up, we will move you onto the premium plan that best fits your needs.
⚡Best automation feature: Dynamic product suggestions.
💰 Pricing: Premium plans start at $20/month for 250 subscribers.
Klaviyo comes packed with all of the basic features you would expect from an eCommerce email automation tool, like abandoned cart recovery, post-purchase follow-up and win-back campaigns.
With over 100 premade email templates to choose from, Klaviyo gives you everything you need to create a campaign quickly and the inbuilt AI tool even suggests subject lines based on what products are featured in a message.
One of the platform’s popular features is its dynamic product feed. This tool automatically pulls personalized product recommendations into an email based on a customer’s purchase history. If a customer is regularly buying (or even browsing) certain jumpers or dresses, Klaviyo can suggest similar items based on product tags and send them straight to their inbox.
- Its built for eCommerce and integrates with a ton of third-party apps like Shopify, WooCommerce, Shoplazza, Magento and Duel
- Customizable email automations including browse abandonment, back-in-stock updates and shipping updates
- Every template is responsive to any platform including mobile
- The learning curve to use all of its automation features can be pretty steep
- Some users say they feel let down by Klaviyo’s customer support
- It’s not the cheapest tool (especially for small eCommerce brands just getting started!)
Klaviyo has a freemium plan for up to 250 contacts/500 monthly email sends. After that, paid plans start at $20/month, but can the price climbs quickly once you start adding more customers to your email list.
3. Constant Contact
⚡Best automation feature: Turn emails into social media posts.
💰 Pricing: Plans start at $9.99/month.
Constant Contact is built for eCommerce brands that need a tool that covers automated email and social media marketing.
The tool comes with a bunch of must-have email marketing features, like automated nurture campaigns to welcome new customers and timed email triggers to win back shoppers who have abandoned their carts.
Constant Contact comes with integrated forms that you can easily add to your website to collect subscribers. Users can access a library of email templates to get you started. Each template can be customized with your own branding and copy using the tool’s drag and drop email builder and then added to an automated sequence that’s sent to customers.
What makes Constant Contact stand out is its social posting feature. Once it's linked up to your social media channels, you can schedule and post email content to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn automatically. And you don’t even have to leave the Constant Contact platform to do it!
- Click-tracking heat maps show you which CTAs and links get the most attention on each email
- Social media integrations can save hours distributing content and launching email marketing campaigns
- Autoresponders and abandoned cart campaigns will only work if you have a Shopify store
- The UX is slow and a little dated compared to other tools on our list
- No front-end mobile design tool to test and edit emails
Constant Contact’s basic plan, Core, starts at $9.99/month and includes email campaign templates and social media posting. Unfortunately, the plan is pretty basic and to unlock the too’s automation and personalization features, you have to upgrade to the Plus plan, which starts at $45/month.
⚡Best automation feature: Content optimizer to improve copy and images
💰 Pricing: Forever free plan. Essentials plan starts at $9.99/month.
Mailchimp is a good email automation tool for small online vendors and SMBs with small budgets that are just getting started with email marketing.
The tool’s selling point has always been to stick to the basics. It has prebuilt automated email sequences and a template library to get you started with welcome campaigns and follow-up messages. It can also put product recommendations and abandoned cart emails on autopilot using triggered sequences based on customer behaviour. Once a campaign is up and running, you can send customers a direct link to their abandoned product to complete the purchase.
For users who want a bit more from their email automation tool, Mailchimp has added some noteworthy features to up your email marketing game. First, its content optimizer can make suggestions on how to improve email copy or layout based on data it collects from its massive customer base.
Most of all, a lot of Mailchimp’s features are easy to use, making it a good option for beginners.
- Super easy to use interface and minimal learning curve (hello, beginner email marketers!)
- Good choice of basic email automation sequences like welcome series, abandoned cart emails, post-purchase and win-back campaigns
- Pay-as-you-go options for vendors growing a subscriber list from scratch so you’re not paying for a full plan
- Despite Mailchimp's wide range of automation options, some companies may find that it lacks some of the advanced features and customization tools found on other platforms
- Testing features are limited. A/B tests only allow subject lines and send times, which isn’t great if you want to get into the granular details of what’s working and what’s not.
Mailchimp’s free plan is perfect if you only need basic automation features. It allows up to 2,000 and includes basic trigger sequences and templates.
However, eCommerce vendors who need more features need to upgrade to a paid plan. The Essentials plan will unlock A/B testing and email scheduling, but features like multivariate testing and advanced segmentation are only available on the Premium plan—which starts at $350/month 😳
⚡ Best automation feature: Split testing.
💰 Pricing: Plans start at $39/month.
Drip is an advanced email marketing tool disguised as a beginner’s platform thanks to its usability and minimal learning curve.
It comes with an integrated email builder to create automated sequences based on actions customers have taken like purchases, subscriptions and past browsing behavior. Although the platform’s template library is extremely limited, you can import your own HTML design if you want full customization.
Drip will then automatically send customers messages using tags and personalization based on the data you collect during their buying journey.
But it's Drip’s workflow split tests that really makes the tool stand out. It can run tests between email campaigns, VIP discounts and Facebook Custom Audiences against email sequences to see what’s landing best with your audience. When the split test is done, it calculates a winner based on order conversions, revenue and store visits so you can use the most effective sequences in future campaigns.
- Drip integrates with a bunch of popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and even custom stores.
- Create automated campaigns to encourage customers to leave reviews and feedback to give your site some social proof
- Custom content snippets can be reused across emails to quickly replicate content
- The lack of premade templates means it takes more time to get a campaign up and running
- No integration to launch landing pages alongside email campaigns
- Some reviews say Drip’s doesn’t filter out spam and suspicious email addresses from send lists
Paid plans at $39/month for up to 2,500 contacts, which include unlimited email sends, email support and pre-built playbooks. Weirdly, the more subscribers you have, the more restrictive Drip’s plans get in terms of email sends. And if your list has over 140,000 contacts, you’ll have to move onto a custom priced plan.
How to start email automation in Sendlane
Launching an email automation in Sendlane is easy thanks to our prebuilt templates and sequences.
From the Sendlane platform:
- Click automations to get started and select email
- Browse the huge library of pre-built funnels until you find one that’s a good fit for your campaign (like a welcome series, abandoned cart or a new product launch)
- Give your automation a name
The automation will then appear inside the builder, and you can start customizing content by adjusting or adding different nodes:
Each node can add:
- Triggers: User-based actions that kickstart your automation and sends messages to your customer’s inbox
- Actions: After a trigger's conditions are met, such as a product purchase or link click, set an action to occur, such as a follow-up message or recommendation
- Timing: Set wait times and goals for each email to target customers with relevant and personalized content at the right time.
And when you are happy with the campaign sequence, all you have to do is hit send!
Want to test out Sendlane for yourself? Sign up for our 14-day free trial here—no credit card needed!