Strategy 5 Types of Triggered Emails + When to Use Them

By Liz Bedor

Triggered email is a powerful marketing tactic that generates millions of dollars of revenue for eCommerce brands every year. Since its initial capabilities of Abandoned Cart, the technology has progressed to become a sophisticated and automated system that brings shoppers into the purchase funnel and retains valuable customers.

The key to a successful triggered email marketing program, however, is to deploy different triggers that will guide prospects down the purchase funnel at different stages. Think about your typical purchase funnel and how intent changes as a user moves closer to purchase. In order to engage your shopper with the appropriate message in the moment, marketers need to use a variety of triggered emails to make the path to purchase as seamless and helpful as possible.

 

triggered email purchase journey

 

Below are five different types of triggered emails and when to use them at different stages throughout the purchase funnel.

Abandonment Triggered Email

Abandonment triggered emails are sent to shoppers who have demonstrated a behavior of jumping ship before completing a purchase with your brand. These behaviors can be as late-stage as abandoning a shopping cart filled with products or as early-stage as abandoning after browsing a category.

  1. At-Risk: At-Risk triggered emails are sent to shoppers who used to purchase regularly from your site, but haven’t for a defined period of time. Thus, these shoppers have essentially signaled that they are ready to abandon your brand. At-Risk triggered emails let these shoppers know you miss them (and their business) and invite them back to your site.
  2. Abandoned Category: Abandoned Category triggered emails are sent to shoppers who have viewed a category overview page or several items within a specific category. Categories can be types of clothing, such as t-shirts or dresses, an age group, such as infant or toddler, or even a pattern or trend, such as floral or summer.
  3. Abandoned Search: A shopper who searches for a specific category, or better yet a specific product, is showing serious interest with high intent to purchase. Abandoned Search triggered emails are sent to shoppers who have searched for a specific product or generic term on your site.
  4. Abandoned Product: The more research a shopper does on a given product, the more interested they become. Hours after shoppers leave your eCommerce site, a triggered Abandoned Product email (sometimes referred to as Window Shopping) can bring them back by showing the exact products that were researched, with an opportunity to present similar products, new arrivals and best sellers that are directly related.
  5. Abandoned Cart: The Abandoned Cart email is probably the most common triggered email in all of eCommerce (and one many of us have likely received before). This triggered email is sent to shoppers who added products to their carts but didn’t complete the purchase.
Product Catalog triggered email

Product Catalog triggered emails are sent based on changes to your brand’s catalog data, mainly at the price and inventory level. Since Abandonment triggered emails only take shopper behavior into consideration, there is a one-way stream of data from the shopper to the brand. Product Catalog triggered emails open a second, critical stream of data: from the catalog back to the shopper. As a result, these triggered emails offer a two-way communication that keeps shoppers in the know about catalog changes for products they’re most likely to buy from your brand. Because of this, these triggers are generally used at the middle stage of the purchase funnel.

  1. New MerchandiseWho doesn’t love getting first dibs on new arrivals? The New Merchandise triggered email is sent to shoppers who have previously purchased or otherwise shown an affinity to certain items in a certain category, letting them know new, related merchandise is now available.
  2. Price Decrease: Because product catalogs are complex and always changing, eCommerce brands usually drop prices on old merchandise when new merchandise is added to the site. Price Decrease triggered emails are sent to shoppers who have previously completed Abandonment actions for full-price products that are now discounted.
  3. Price Increase: No one likes to miss out on a sale. Before your discounted merchandise jumps back to full-price, give your shoppers a heads up. A Price Increase triggered email is sent to shoppers who have previously completed Abandonment actions for items that currently have a lower price, but will be going back to full price soon. Think of this triggered email as a discounted merchandise last call.
  4. Low Inventory: Even though you may be able to see your inventory is running low on popular products, your shoppers are left in the dark. Low Inventory triggered emails keeps them in the know and are sent to shoppers who have previously completed an Abandoned action for items that are now low in stock.
  5. Out of Stock: Going, going, gone. Out of Stock triggered emails are sent to shoppers who have previously completed an Abandoned action for items that are now sold out.
  6. Back in Stock: Despite receiving a Low Inventory triggered email, some shoppers wait too long to purchase and the item they’ve been considering sells out. Back in Stock triggered emails are sent to those shoppers who have previously completed an Abandoned action for items that were sold out, but are now back in stock.
Recommendation Triggered Email

Recommendation triggered emails are intended to inspire shoppers and surface products they haven’t yet discovered or considered purchasing. The dynamic content of these emails can be informed using an individual’s previous browse or add-to-cart behavior, past purchases, or site-wide trends and best sellers. Recommendations are generally used at a late stage of the purchase funnel.

  1. Wishlist: Enabling both wishlist and cart “save” features on eCommerce sites help retailers better identify which stage of the purchase funnel a buyer fits into best. Abandoned Wishlist triggered emails are similar to Abandoned Cart triggered emails, but are sent to shoppers who have added items to their wishlist instead of cart without completing the purchase.
  2. Cross-Sell: Do your shoppers ever wonder, “What shoes would I wear with this dress?” or “What helmet would I buy with this bike?” Cross-Sell triggered emails suggest complementary products that are typically bought with a specific product the shopper is looking to purchase.
Post Purchase Triggered Email

The experience a shopper has on an eCommerce site doesn’t stop once they click “purchase.” Post-Purchase triggered emails solicit feedback on the shopper’s experience with your brand, recommend accessories related to a purchase and/or plant the seed for their next purchase. As the name suggests, these campaigns are best to used at the post-purchase or retention stage of the purchase funnel.

  1. Purchase Confirmation: Making a purchase on an eCommerce site gives shoppers delayed gratification. They’re excited about the product they have coming their way and are anticipating its arrival. The Purchase Confirmation triggered email thanks your eCommerce customers for shopping with your brand and confirms what they have purchased.
  2. Customer Service Survey: Email marketing engagement metrics, such as open rates, clickthrough-rates and conversion rates give you a general idea of how recipients are liking your emails. But what about their overall experience with your brand? What if you just simply asked? Customer Service triggered emails sends surveys to customers who have interacted with your brand and requests feedback to measure satisfaction.
  3. Product Review: In addition to providing amazing customer service, eCommerce brands also need to offer products shoppers love. Product Review triggered emails are sent to customers who have recently purchased and received a product, asking them to submit a review.
  4. Social Share: A brand’s social media presence and following is more important now than ever. Social Share triggered emails are sent to customers who have recently made a purchase from your brand and asks them to take and share a of photo of them using or wearing your product on their personal social media account.
  5. Next-Sell: Next-Sell triggered emails are sent to customers who have recently made a purchase with your brand, recommending another product that is frequently purchased next or complements the the item they just bought. This takes into consideration more data than just a customer’s recent transaction, but rather your entire audience’s overall purchasing patterns.
Reminder Triggered Email

Reminder triggered emails are exactly what they sound like. These are triggered based on a calendar date that marks a birthday, anniversary or time to replenish products. These are excellent campaigns to use for customer retention.

  1. Birthday/Anniversary: Never miss out on an opportunity to celebrate! Birthday or Anniversary triggered emails are sent to customers on their actual birthday or anniversary, or an anniversary they have with your brand, such as their first purchase.
  2. Replenishment: A Replenishment triggered email is sent to customer who commonly order certain products on a regular basis. This can be for basic necessities like prescriptions and toiletries or for products that will always wear out over time, such as running shoes.

 

For everything you need to know about triggered email, check out our Ultimate Guide

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