The Evolution of Ecommerce: From Box Stores to Inbox

Shopping online is a pastime that many have enjoyed since the
very beginning of the process. Who knew that, when Amazon first
launched back in June of 1994, it’d become the internet’s
number one stop for just about everything?

The evolution of ecommerce is an ever-continuing process, and,
with more big-name retailers moving from brick-and-mortar stores to
online shops, it’s a trend that won’t be slowing down anytime

What is ecommerce?

Before looking at the evolution of ecommerce, it’s vital to
understand exactly what ecommerce is.

defined as both internet commerce and electronic

This term refers to the selling and purchasing of either goods
or services using the internet. Ecommerce falls under the larger
umbrella term, ebusiness, which refers to all aspects of running an
online business. Ecommerce, however, refers specifically to the
transaction of services and goods.

What typically sets ecommerce brands apart from other companies
is the fact that ecommerce focuses heavily on a sale as their end
goal. Non-ecommerce brands, however, focus heavily on informing
their audience while encouraging an action, such as a purchase or
subscription. This is easily seen in the following comparison of
two very different newsletters.

Ecommerce newsletter vs. Non-ecommerce newsletter

Really Good Emails
Good Emails

In the image to the left, we see a typical ecommerce newsletter.
It’s appealing to the eye and catches the reader’s attention,
but it’s clear that the action the sender wants you to take is to
make a purchase. In the image on the right, the newsletter is
purely informational, focusing on informing the reader of upcoming
events and opportunities to meet the team.

How ecommerce became the booming industry it is today

While many consumers will identify the beginning of ecommerce as
the time when
Jeff Bezos
shipped his first-ever Amazon online book order in
1995, others claim it was the purchase of a Sting
in August of 1994, when a man sold the CD to a friend
through his website NetMarket.

Since those humble beginnings, ecommerce has since grown to a
$501 billion industry. The overall revenue brought in from the
ecommerce industry is only expected to continue to grow moving
forward, as more and more consumers prefer the ease of online
shopping and having their goods delivered right to their front

Ecommerce revenue in the U.S. expected to continue to grow yearly


Now, the numbers above strictly represent the United States, but
these numbers are expected to continue to grow exponentially across
the globe in the coming years.

So far, in 2019 alone, retail ecommerce sales worldwide have
amounted to $3.53 trillion. By 2023, that number is predicted to
double to nearly 6.54 trillion.

Retail ecommerce sales worldwide

Source: eMarketer

With these numbers only expected to continue rising, marketing
teams everywhere are looking for ways to grow their online
presence. While brick-and-mortar stores are great, moving online in
some fashion is the way of the future.

Can ecommerce brands benefit from email marketing?

One ideal way to get your brand online is to invest in email
marketing. While you may not be focusing a ton of time and
attention on an online store, having a completed and detailed email
marketing strategy in place can and will get you noticed by the
right people. Not only that, but email marketing is the best
channel for generating ROI online, bringing in an average of

$38 for every $1 spent.

Email delivers the highest ROI for marketers

Campaign Monitor

Now, we mentioned that you don’t need to have an impressive
online store for your ecommerce brand to benefit from email
marketing; however, that can and will play a massive role in
overall customer engagement.

While many brick-and-mortar stores indeed utilize email
marketing to stay in touch with the customers, ecommerce brands
need to take things up a notch and have an online store available
for their audience to browse.

Once your storefront is all set up and running, you can start
focusing your attention on your email marketing campaigns to not
only catch your audience members’ attention, but get them to make
the conversion from browser to customer.

Why email marketing works for ecommerce brands

Still not convinced that your ecommerce brand needs to add email
marketing to your digital marketing strategy? Here are a few key
stats that may help convince you:

  • Transactional emails average 8 times more opens and clicks than
    any other type of email, which can help generate 6 times more
    revenue overall. –
  • Typically, an average of 75% of email revenue is generated by
    triggered campaigns, such as transactional emails. Automated email
    campaigns also account for nearly 21% of all email marketing
    revenue. –
  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers
    than social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. –
  • Seventy-two percent of people state that they prefer to receive
    promotional content through email, versus 17% of those who prefer
    social media. –
  • Email marketing campaigns drive more overall conversions than
    any other marketing channel, including search engines. – Monetate
  • An ecommerce email message is 5 times more likely to be seen
    than a Facebook message. –

3 examples of excellent ecommerce email marketing at work

The evolution of ecommerce requires that marketers have a solid
understanding of digital marketing, and that requires at least a
basic understanding of ecommerce email marketing campaigns that
should be included in your marketing strategy.

Read on to discover a list of excellent ecommerce email
marketing examples to help you gain a clearer idea of what email
marketing campaigns you should include in your brand’s personal
evolution of ecommerce.

1. Ecommerce welcome email by Seafolly

is a beach and swimwear company from Australia, and
they’ve done an excellent job of not only welcoming their new
subscribers to the brand, but catching their eye with their welcome
email. What makes this email stand out is the fact that the
ecommerce brand keeps it super simple for their subscribers.

Instead of featuring all sorts of products, they include one
hero image with a simple welcome message to their readers. The
image itself intrigues the reader, while the warm welcome makes
them feel at home on the site. This encourages visitors to go ahead
and use the navigation at the top to browse at their leisure.

This is an excellent way to welcome your new subscribers, while
not forcing a sales pitch on them during their first real contact
with your ecommerce brand.

 Welcome email from beach apparel company Seafolly

Campaign Monitor

2. The personalized/segmented email

Both email personalization and segmentation play vital roles in
the success of your email marketing strategy, even as an ecommerce
brand. While many non-ecommerce brands can easily slip the name of
their reader into an email message, ecommerce brands have to get a
little more creative with how they choose to segment and
personalize their messages to customers.

Some of the best ways to segment and personalize your ecommerce
emails are by creating lists based on the following

  • Contact activity
  • List membership
  • Geographical location
  • Gender
  • Birthday
  • Subscription date
  • Other personal preferences

One excellent example of personalization and list segmentation
can be found in the following example by Adidas.

Adidas uses gender as a way to segment their email list and target specific audience members.

Campaign Monitor

For this email, they decided to create two email campaigns and
send them out to subscribers based on their gender preferences.

A segmented email campaign such as this can help your customers
out quite a bit, especially when it comes down to the time they
spend browsing for specific products. Many consumers know what it
is they’re looking for, especially if a particular product was
advertised in your most recent email message to them. So, by
segmenting by gender or a specific style of clothing, you’re
helping your subscribers get right to what they want, with little
to no friction involved. Remember, the less friction and
frustration, the more likely your subscriber will follow through
with a purchase.

3. Product/inventory updates

Whether it’s
new stock notices
or product updates, your ecommerce brand
should include product and inventory updates as part of your
regular email marketing strategy.

Think of it this way; your subscribers have come to you because
you have something they find of value. Instead of making them wait
for updates on new or out-of-stock inventory, why not send those
updates directly to their inbox?

Adidas does a great job of that in their inventory update email
to their customer, who was in search of a very specific shoe. This
update is useful for several reasons:

  • Customer doesn’t have to continue browsing the site for
    something that’s still out of stock
  • The email gives them some recommendations for similar
  • Doesn’t waste the consumer’s time with unnecessary

Adidas ecommerce inventory email update

Really Good Emails

Again, these messages can be tailored to meet many needs,

  • Product launches
  • Product updates
  • Brand updates
  • Service updates and more

Wrap up

With the evolution of ecommerce comes changes in what’s
required for brands to stay relevant in the minds of their
audience. Not only is having a workable website a must, but your
ecommerce marketing team needs to investigate other channels for
reaching out and staying in contact with your audience. One of the
best ways to do so is through email marketing and sending campaigns
such as:

  • Welcome emails
  • Inventory/product updates
  • Personalized/segmented emails

Is your ecommerce brand looking for an email marketing
product explicitly tailored to your needs? We’ve got you covered.
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our latest product
designed for ecommerce brands in mind. Want more information?
Check out
our CM Commerce page

The post
The Evolution of Ecommerce: From Box Stores to Inbox
first on Campaign

Source: FS – Email Marketing Blogs!
The Evolution of Ecommerce: From Box Stores to Inbox