First impressions count.
Especially for online stores.
Creating an highly-converting welcome email is critical for all ecommerce brands.
The first point of contact with your customer can make or break your relationship.
Don’t waste the opportunity.
You’ve got one email to let your customer know how you can better their life.
Take the time to make it worth their while!
Your welcome email must nurture your subscriber, cradle them, take care of them, and make sure they return to your website to keep purchasing from you.
No matter what industry your business is in – from jewellery to homewares to clothing – follow our steps to ensure you’re making the right first move.
I want to take you through some of the best welcome email examples from seven different ecommerce industries, and explain how three brands in each vertical use this tactic to build long-term customer relationships.
I’ll leave you with the wise words of everyone’s favourite Detroit online marketing expert on the importance of the welcome emails:
“If you had one shot, one opportunity.
To seize everything you ever wanted.
In one moment.
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?”
The original email marketing iconoclast.
An inspiration to any email marketing professional.
For those of you who would prefer some more concrete practical advice – I understand where it is you’re coming from.
I’ve profiled three of the best industry examples from a bunch of different verticals so you can make the most of that one-chance-one-opportunity welcome email. Click through to your preferred section where the email marketing helpfulness awaits.
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You can click on the dot point that takes your fancy and head straight to the relevant section.
Understand your audience.
That’s the best advice you’ll get for producing quality welcome emails in the menswear industry.
For men, styling is often not as important as it is to women. High fashion, haute couture product shoot is wasted cash lost on a bloke who just wants a good looking, well-fitted shirt that lasts a few years.
In general, men want reassurance, credibility and authority from your brand to trust you enough to purchase.
But, men still want style advice. Shocker, I know. They need to look on point for Friday night’s hot date, and if you can make ‘em look sharp, feel comfortable and make it an easy, good value shop then you just might have a loyal repeat customer.
Menswear welcome emails need to be short and sweet. Dudes don’t care so much about how many followers your brand has on Instagram. It’s about value and convenience, and these three brands know exactly how it’s done:
Mr. Porter’s ecommerce welcome email
Mr Porter balances their clear sales proposition with helpful research-based content.
Yes, they clearly drive users who are ready to buy into a simple sale.
But there’s no aggressive hard-sell!
Most customers don’t appreciate a sales promo shoved down their throat in the first email they receive from a brand.
Mr Porter’s welcome email is designed to introduce the beliefs and lifestyle of their brand to develop lasting relationships with their customers. The email nurtures, not just sells.
Consider introducing helpful, entertaining or educational content into your email marketing. This is key for Mr. Porter, allowing them to nurture subscribers who are not ready to buy.
Huckberry’s ecommerce welcome email
You need to convince subscribers your brand is the best choice – particularly if you’re a startup with low levels of awareness within your target audience.
If you want to establish authority and develop trust with your welcome email – use objective influencers to testify you have the goods.
Outdoors e-retailer, Huckberry uses testimonials to build trust with their newly minted subscribers.
It’s all about audience-first, ecommerce-second for menswear. Every single piece of Huckberry’s online content is carefully crafted to help the customer – not to push them into a sale.
User generated content works extremely well in welcome emails.
Customers need to know they can relate to your brand and your products.
Huckberry uses a credible authority source in order to earn more respect from their customers. If people like them enjoy your products – they feel more confident making a purchase decision.
Each element of Huckberry’s welcome email is precisely constructed to prove their content is interesting and entertaining for their audience. The brand is asking the subscriber to make sure they open, and read, all emails in future. Instead of relentless selling – the reader will find valuable helpfulness.
Bonobos’ ecommerce welcome email
Bonobos follows a distinct process of discovery, consideration and decision in their welcome email.
By outlining 5 distinct size and styles, subscribers can feel confident if they buy without trialing, they can still nail the right fit.
The welcome email edges the reader towards sale – driving subscribers to their product pages. The online store is the place to persuade, convince and convert the shopper into the sale. The email is the place to develop and nurture a genuine relationship with subscribers and customers. Best not to sell before you earn and establish trust.
Bonobos’ welcome email is helpful and informative without being annoying and promotional. This value-adding content helps all readers, affording ready-to-buy subscribers the opportunity to shop, without irritating those subscribers who aren’t considering a purchase just yet.
The jewellery industry relies heavily on producing quality product imagery in order to sell their products. Customers need to know the jewellery is of the highest quality.
The copy and tone in the jewellery welcome emails needs to reflect the brand values and appeal to their specific audience.
With a major focus on sensory content, it’s important to demonstrate the quality and value of jewellery products with detailed, well-styled imagery.
The Fifth’s ecommerce welcome email
The Fifth uses an exclusive club/premium offer to prompt a further level of commitment from customers.
This builds excitement and proposes extra free value for subscribers, while also allowing the brand to gather more data and information at the “Become a VIP” form stage.
The clear presence of prominent social icons entices subscribers to open another channel for regular communication with the brand.
The welcome email concisely explains the unique aspect of The Fifth’s business model (the fact they only sell to subscribers on 5th of each month is really cool and unique). Instead of a focus on selling, the brand builds excitement and suspense to begin a longer term relationship with the subscriber.
Crown & Caliber’s ecommerce welcome email
Compared to other luxury brands, the Crown & Caliber use a personal approach to help establish a trusting connection.
Establishing trust and authority is the focus of Crown & Caliber. The use of the founder’s number, name and first person language (like “you” “you’re” “here’s my number”) is no accident. When you’re selling expensive products without an established brand, you need to reduce the subscriber’s uncertainty if you expect them to make a big online purchase.
This personal approach allows the customer to directly contact ‘Nick’ with any further queries about their watches and with products worth $1000+, you can’t expect customers to buy without further nurturing any information.
Shinola’s ecommerce welcome email
Shinola doesn’t just sell watches.
Shinola stands for something.
The brand stands for good ‘ol American values.
If you care about bringing manufacturing back to America and rejuvenating cities like Detroit – there’s a good chance you’ll buy Shinola to support the cause.
How does Shinola turn a watch purchase into a political statement?
By telling a captivating story their target audience cannot resist.
Shinola’s welcome email is all about sharing their brand’s emotional story to make their subscribers care about their brand.
Their welcome email communicates what buying Shinola means. The call-to-action is to “Discover Shinola” – not too buy a watch. These folks know their fans are buying into a philosophy, and a welcome email isn’t enough to prove Shinola is serious about their cause. It’s the start of a content marketing journey intended to drive their target audience to become a loyal brand fan.
Welcome emails for sportswear brands are all about selling a lifestyle or an aspiration.
Have you noticed Nike never mention their products in their advertisements? Nike wants to communicate what their clothing says about the people who wear it. If you support their message, you’ll pay to become one of their tribe.
Online sportswear shoppers also want assurance that their purchase will be comfortable and suits their body type.
It’s all about short, clear, simple welcome emails in the sportswear industry.
Customers want assurance what they’re buying is the right fit for them. Some helpful, clear returns info will help convince fence-sitters into a buy.
Surfstitch’s ecommerce welcome email
“Welcome! You’re in”.
Surfstitch deliberately use inclusive language in their email series. Why? Because, all of a sudden, new subscribers feel a part of the team.
There is no hard push for sales, but there is a discount code offer enticing subscribers to shop.
The welcome email includes vital trust signals for uncertain first-time shoppers. Clear info about shipping, returns and customer service reassures subscribers. If they buy a bikini or sunglasses and aren’t totally sure of sizing and fit — the 100 day free return policy offers a foolproof insurance. These little additions are handy conversion boosters for any online retailer’s welcome email (particularly those without high levels of brand recognition).
Reebok’s ecommerce welcome email
Rebook immediately shows their team colours.
If you’re down to get dirty – Reebok is for you. Forget the slick features of Nike, the trendiness of Adidas or the warm friendliness of Lululemon.
Reebok is tough, rough and ready.
The bootcam-style image, the use of block black font, and the offer to join the ‘Tribe’ makes it clear. If you aspire to this lifestyle, Reebok is the gear brand for you.
Your welcome email is your first impression. Tell it how it is. Don’t be afraid to isolate the people outside your target audience. If you stand for something, those who care will love you more, even if you put some others offside.
Sweaty Betty’s ecommerce welcome email
The ‘about us’ story in Sweaty Betty’s welcome email is informative and inspirational.
Sharing a personal, emotional story immediately differentiates Sweaty Betty from their bigger, more corporate competitors. If you’re small – sell the heartwarming growth story, don’t sell the product your subscriber could buy from Amazon for less.
The brand uses a quote, a photo of the founder and even a personal sign-off welcoming new subscribers to the “Sweaty Betty Family” – going the extra mile to create a more personalised approach.
There is no hard-sell from Sweat Betty, the welcome email simply acts as an informative story, to nurture the customer into a potentially life-long caring relationship.
Customers need to make sure what they’re buying is the best value for money.
More expensive items like televisions, washers and refrigerators – shoppers demand more assurance. Shoppers want to be sure your product is the best of the best, before making a purchase decision. This often leads to more research and lead time before the final transaction.
Research-based content, reviews, comparisons and buyers guides are critical welcome email elements for an electronics online retailer.
Kogan’s ecommerce welcome email
Kogan has a very different approach to other welcome emails mentioned in this article.
They have chosen to focus heavily on the sell.
Kogan create a pseudo-catalogue with welcome email, but it really works for them. Discount retailers are all about communicating value-for-money. Kogan completes with the likes of Amazon, Walmart and Ebay – so emphasising discounts and lower prices is an effective play.
The brand knows their target audience subscribe for the best possible deals. There’s no emotive brand story, or slick graphics needed to impress in the welcome email. So Kogan gets straight to the point to showcase their low-price promise.
The smartest addition to Kogan’s welcome email is the collection of trust signals beneath the header. Brand recognition is still relatively low when compared with offline competitors like Harvey Norman, JB-HiFi and Domayne, who’ve been around for decades blanketing mass media with constant advertising.
Using ‘as featured in’ logos of the major commercial television networks and national newspapers shows uncertain shoppers that Kogan are a trustworthy, legitimate brand. Buying a $2000 flat screen tv becomes less of a risk for subscribers new to the store.
Go Pro’s ecommerce welcome email
The opening line of GoPro’s welcome email explicitly explains what they’re trying to achieve.
“Here’s what you can expect from us.”
What follows in most welcome emails is a stream of sales promotions and discounts.
Subscribers begin to expect this. As a result, open rates plummet and unsubscribe numbers spike.
The expectation GoPro sets is different.
There’s no mention of cameras or other GoPro products. Instead, the brand wants to explain the value subscribers can expect from opening a GoPro email.
Sure, special deals and giveaways are mentioned. But so is entertainment and educational content (videos, news, tutorials).
The call-to-action is not to a product or category page – rather to the GoPro Media Channel. The extreme sports superstars built their success on their breathtaking video content. For customers who engage with the GoPro brand, the product sells itself.
Appliances Online’s ecommerce welcome email
Appliances Online provides a link to a promotional ‘Legendary Service’ video in their welcome email, reinforcing the asset which sets the brand apart from the highly competitive online electronics industry. The brand prides themselves on their service. What better way to use your first opportunity to talk to a potential customer than emphasising your brand’s biggest strength?
Whatever your brand’s key differentiator – find a way to make it the star of your welcome email.
It makes the customer want to continue reading newsletters – even as the brand offers discounts and tips.
A clear “shop now” option does not compromise the experience for subscribers not ready to buy. But for those who are researching a specific purchase, Appliances Online make it effortlessly simple to start shopping.
This is a nice, plain and simple welcome email. Clean design and prominent call-to-action buttons always deliver.
If you sell swimwear online, reducing ambiguity should be your number one content marketing priority.
Swimwear is hard enough to buy in-store. An online purchase requires a leap of faith. Give your customers the content they need to feel confident enough to take the plunge.
Customers purchasing swimwear online want to know what they are buying is made of high quality, and will fit perfectly. While you can’t promise a perfect fit, you can use your welcome email (and your product pages, blog, social media, and advertising content) to give shoppers as much info as possible – on sizing, materials, style, returns and delivery.
Customers need to know what it is exactly they’re purchasing, and what will happen if they need to return the item.
Product imagery is another key component to consider. While many swimwear retailers gravitate to the perfectly airbrushed glamour model to showcase their products, the use of realistic imagery depicting real women shoppers can relate to can allow for a stronger personal connection with your brand.
Shapewear online retailer Jewel Toned is the perfect example. The brand is passionate about changing women’s attitudes towards physical beauty, and their decision to use untouched, natural images of everyday women to model their products has helped them build a tribe of loyal and passionate brand fans.
If you’re selling swimwear online, and you want to establish a long-term loyal relationship with your subscriber – it’s a good idea not to send a message that your products are designed for impossibly beautiful supermodels.
Budgy Smuggler’s ecommerce welcome email
The style of the email is more like a welcome letter, a very different approach to most others we featured.
Budgy Smuggler immediately creates a humorous and relaxed tone with their quirky copy and unforgettable image.
The letter-style note from “The Budgy Crew” gives readers a personal connection to the brand. The brand creates an underdog story, and their humble tale makes you want to be a part of their rags to riches story.
Phrases like “100% Australian made”, “quality Australian made fabric”, “no compromise on quality”, “family-owned” and “founded in a backyard” are deliberately used to make the subscriber feel like they are supporting a little brand that could.
Much more effective to tug at the heart strings than the purse strings when you’re trying to make a good first impression.
Cali Dreaming’s welcome email is a virtual promise of loyalty. Subscribers are assured “joining our family” will definitely be “worth your while”.
Cali Dreaming put their money where their mouth is, offering a 20% off voucher code, with the aptly chosen copy “FAMILYLOVE”.
Empowering copy, leading with the words “beautiful and smart”. Empowerment is a compelling message for any swimwear brand. Make your subscriber feel comfortable and confident, and you’re a much better shot at snaring a sale.
Design is inextricably linked to first impressions. People read your brand’s book by its cover. No matter the blurb you use in your welcome email, it’s the visuals your subscribers remember.
A simple black and white colour scheme immediately signals Bikyni’s superior design aesthetic.
The minimal design, ample whitespace, and contemporary typefaces reinforce the brand’s style and sophistication.
Simple, informative copy is used to complement the captivating product image, and emphasise the high quality attributes of the brand.
The inclusion of clear information about shipping, returns and sizing are guaranteed conversion boosters – providing the reassurance uncertain shoppers are looking for.
No hard sell to be found here. Bikyni’s simple and sophisticated welcome email is all about developing a relationship between subscriber and the brand. Swimwear shoppers care about style and sophistication and won’t stand for tasteless sales promotions. This shows the importance of matching your welcome emails intentions with the profile of your specific target audience.
Product imagery is vital when selling homewares. It’s important to communicate the quality of the materials, style and construction of the products when a sensory in-store trial is not possible.
Customers need to know what they are buying is the right option for them. Homewares purchases are often expensive — so reassurance is critical. Your welcome email should provide a clear path to the information a subscriber would need to confidently make an online purchase.
To try and generate an add-to-cart click on a $2000 dining table in your welcome email would be presumptuous at best.
Instead, use your first email marketing opportunity to nurture a lasting relationship with a potential customer.
Wayfair’s welcome email heavily focuses on imagery, which is extremely important in the homewares industry.
The email includes a discount offer, and shows the subscriber what is on sale. This scarcity and urgency helps drive subscribers into making a purchase straight away.
The call-to-action to “Shop Today’s Sales” is an interesting one. Straight away Wayfair is giving a genuine reason for subscribers to revisit their online store daily to check out the newest daily deals. FOMO from bargain-hunting homewares enthusiasts is powerful enough to urge subscribers to watch out for Wayfair’s subsequent emails and ensure they don’t miss a great deal.
Wayfair’s link to other retailers stocking the brand is another important feature of this welcome email. The links act as a trust signal for the subscriber, reassuring those shoppers who may not be familiar with the Wayfair brand.
The link to download the store’s mobile app strengthens communication ties with new subscribers. If you can connect with your customers on their phones, you have a chance to develop an intimate and inexpensive relationship.
Brooklinen’s ecommerce welcome email
Brooklinen’s welcome email instantly grabs the subscriber’s attention with an irresistible GIF of a puppy sleeping. If we’ve learned anything about the internet, it is surely that EVERYONE loves adorable puppies. Associating your brand with a cute fur-baby is almost never a bad move.
The email shows these guys don’t take themselves too seriously. Casual, informal tone is relatively rare for a homewares brand. A smiley face emoji is unheard of.
Traditional retailers are most often concerned with style above all else. Humour and friendliness aren’t usually values you associate with a bedding brand. Straight away Brooklinen is defying convention, making a real connection with the subscriber.
The ‘refer a friend’ discount code offer is an effective user generated marketing tactic, thrust into the mainstream of ecommerce marketing after the unprecedented success of the similarly disruptive shaving brand Harry’s.
Brooklinen might not have the budget of the big box homeware retailers, but they do have a unique brand and a superior product. Instead of competing with the massive ad budgets of their competition, Brooklinenare trying to urge their brand fans to act as unpaid ambassadors to attract more new customers for less. The incentive makes sure the referral benefits the friend, the referring customer, and the brand.
The email also displays a collection of logos from trusted mainstream media publications that have featured Brooklinen. This tactic reinforces the quality of the products and the legitimacy of the brand — both important considerations in any expensive online homewares purchase.
Room & Board
Room & Board is a traditional furniture retailer, with an established, trusted brand, and a classic design style.
Their welcome email is perfectly consistent with those attributes.
Room & Board’s target audience shares these values of classic style and sophistication.
Digital savvy and sleek modernism wouldn’t suit. So Room & Board deliver a clean design, with a simple message, a formal tone and a neutral colour palette.
Very clean cut, straight to the point and professional welcome email, showing the company is professional in their approach to selling homewares.
There is no tacky push for sales, and no discount offered. Just confirmation that Room & Board care passionately about quality, classic furniture design. If you do agree, then this is the brand for you.
Sometimes bells and whistles aren’t important. If your audience doesn’t place value in it, don’t waste time on it. Focus your email marketing efforts on the things your subscriber genuinely cares about.
Selling leathergoods online is all about communicating quality.
Leather is a sensory product.
People love nothing more than to pick up a wallet or bag and rolling the leather across their fingers. It’s almost the only department store item people can pick up and smell without looking like a creep.
Online, the senses are muted. Your welcome email needs to act as a substitute for the subscriber’s nose and fingers. Evoke the beauty and quality of your product if you want to convince your customer to buy online.
This can be a tough concept to achieve, but the examples below show how helpful content marketing and brilliant product imagery can turn a leathergoods brand welcome email into a sensorial experience.
You might not be able to read the text in this welcome email from my tiny little screenshots, but the most important factor is clear for all to see.
Poppy Barley’s visual images are stunning. Minimally styled images make the leather the hero. The muted colour scheme and brilliant lighting reassure the reader of the quality of the product.
Another critical addition is the user generated content taken from Poppy Barley’s Instagram feed.
This inclusion allows customers to see ‘real’ images of the shoes on ‘normal’ people. And they still look breathtakingly beautiful. Customer photos are one of the best alternatives to that in-store sensory trial. If the subscriber can see the products in action on a person just like them, an online purchase is much easier to make.
The Daily Edited
The Daily Edited has created a different approach from other welcome emails.
Like Budgy Smuggler, they use welcome emails as a personal letter to new subscribers.
The second line of the email should be tattooed onto the forehead of every single email marketing professional…
“We won’t send you anything unless we have something important to say.”
If all ecommerce brands lived by this rule, then the internet would be a much better place. And your email inbox wouldn’t need a spam filter.
This promise is refreshing. It’s unexpected. The candour sparks interests from subscribers who are used to marketing emails crammed full of images, graphics, buttons, coupon codes and prices.
The email is plain and simple. One colour, a basic typeface, and a good old fashioned hyperlink to shop the store are plenty enough for The Daily Edit to achieve their objective — a friendly welcome with a commitment of genuine value.
Will Leather have upped the game with their use of imagery. The images on the welcome email mesh well with the brandsethos and even include the same colour scheme as the email.
It’s a straightforward welcome email with direct links to shop highlighted by colour-contrast call-to-action buttons. The option to shop women or men is helpful on two counts. Firstly, it streamlines the subscriber’s shopping experience by pushing them one step closer to a sale.
More importantly, Will Leather can use the data from the email to improve future email communications. Women and men can be segmented into different groups, with images, copy and offers customised to suit each gender.
It’s easy to use your welcome email to get to know your potential customer so you can personalise their experience with your brand. Just make sure you don’t set an expectation you can’t meet and exceed. Don’t ask your subscriber for extra info unless you can reciprocate their time commitment with exponentially more value.
Women’s apparel might just be the most competitive online retail industry.
I actually dedicated an entire article to the importance of welcome emails for the womenswear ecommerce vertical.
You can read a detailed analysis of five brand’s efforts right now:
Here’s a link to the five womenswear welcome emails we analysed in detail. If you don’t have time to read through the entire article, here’s a quick recap…
Womenswear ecommerce welcome emails
Womenswear shoppers have an almost never-ending array of choice, and with this competition comes ever-decreasing profit margins and an abundance of juicy discounts.
Shoppers feel they can always delay purchase in the hope of an impending x% off sale.
It’s your job to prove your brand truly cares about the reader. Explain why your subscriber should be prepared to regularly open your email, and support your brand with regular full-price purchases.
The best way to achieve this goal?
Stand for something.
Show subscribers that wearing your brand means more than looking good. Find your target audience’s passion, and appeal to their emotion.
The ‘subject line version’ of your vertical’s welcome email considerations
- Menswear welcome emails need to be short and sweet. Dudes don’t care so much about how many followers your brand has on Instagram. It’s all about value and convenience.
- Focus on sensory content, it’s important to show the quality and value of jewellery products with detailed, well-styled imagery.
- Sportswear customers want to feel assured their purchase will be the right fit for them (in size and lifestyle). Some helpful, clear returns info will help reassure fence-sitters into a buy.
- Expensive purchase decisions mean research-based content, reviews, comparisons and buyers guides are critical welcome email elements for an electronics online retailer.
- Customers purchasing swimwear online want to know what they are buying is of the highest quality, and the perfect fit. While you can’t promise the ideal size, you can use your welcome email to give shoppers as much info as possible – on fit, materials, style, returns and delivery.
- Product imagery is vital when selling homewares. It’s important to communicate the quality of the materials, style and construction of the products when a sensory in-store trial is not possible.
- Your welcome email needs to act as a substitute for the subscriber’s nose and fingers. Evoke the beauty and quality of your product if you want to convince your customer to buy online.
- Prove you’re different to every other online clothing retailer. Show subscribers wearing your brand means more than looking good. Find your target audience’s passion, and appeal to their emotion.
Remember – it’s a ‘WELCOME’ email
More than anything, remember the meaning of the word ‘welcome’.
Make your first impression a friendly one.
Act like you’re finally meeting a long lost friend.
Don’t just ask this stranger for money.
You want this kind of reaction from your new-found brand fan…
Don’t settle for the generic 20% off discount code. Think hard about your target audience’s specific needs and expectations. Give subscriber the email they want. Not the email your bank balance wants.
Help, don’t sell.
A welcome email might be your brand’s only chance to prove you truly care about your customers. It’s your time to show your reader they’re more than just an email address with a credit card number.
Full-price purchases, referrals and loyalty are the foundations of long term ecommerce profitability, and your welcome email is the concrete slab you need to build that base.
Email marketing can help you establish, nurture and retain repeat customers without having to continually shell out for discounts and paid ads.
If you make your brand mean more to subscribers, you can convince them to pay a premium to support what you stand for.
Use your first email marketing opportunity to establish and develop a lasting relationship with a potential lifetime customer.