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3 Must-Have Shopify Email Automations (+ How to Build Them)

3 Must-Have Shopify Email Automations (+ How to Build Them)

Last Updated:  
March 18, 2024

There’s at least one cliche about email automations that will never die: “They make money while you sleep.”   

Let’s shake things up with an analogy. Imagine a music theater production and the people who make up the cast on stage. You’ve got your principal roles: the stars who headline the playbill and drive the story forward. Then, there’s the supporting ensemble: cast members who add depth through song, dance, and other supporting parts. 

Promotional newsletters are like the lead characters. If you’re a typical ecommerce shop, they’re the bread and butter of your email marketing program and the prime focus of your attention. Email automations are the ensemble. They work tirelessly behind the “email stars,” playing a huge part in building subscriber and customer relationships.  

You need both newsletters and automations to create a strong email program.    

If you implement only a few automations, they should be: a welcome email, an abandoned checkout email, and a post-purchase message. In this article, we’ll dive into each type of automation and deconstruct some examples of quality emails, as well as frame some templates for creating your own.  

What is Email Automation?

When a shopper engages with your brand, you’ve got their full attention for a brief window of time. We call it a “meaningful moment.” As the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot. Enter automations. 

Automations are email workflows triggered when a subscriber takes (or doesn’t take) a specific action. They’re the best avenue for reaching subscribers with relevant content at the right time. 

An abandoned checkout workflow within Seguno email marketing.

Numerous email automations exist for advancing your customer lifecycle marketing strategy. But, there are three meaningful moments that always merit a response from your brand: 

  1. When someone subscribes to your email newsletter 
  2. When a subscriber starts the online checkout process but doesn’t finish 
  3. When a shopper makes a purchase

This power trio often generates two to three times higher conversion rates than newsletters because of their innate personalization. Consider that 80% of consumers are more apt to buy when brands offer personalized experiences. 

Now, it’s doubtful you’ll see a massive lift in sales by just activating one automation. Expect a consistent trickle as you concurrently build trust and loyalty. One automated email for each subscriber activity is okay. A series of at least three messages is better. Two more emails = two more chances to connect. No matter how many you send, make sure they’re quality messages! Let’s break down the types of automations you should be running with.

Shopify Email Automation #1: Welcome Message

When a person subscribes to your email newsletter, that means they actually want to hear from you. Make sure you’re meeting their expectations with a welcome email that can be used as a first-impression of sorts. You can use it to set the stage for what type of communication they can expect from you moving forward. 

One of our favorite examples is from MᐧAᐧC Cosmetics. What we like: 

  • Unique selling proposition (USP) spotlight: MᐧAᐧC highlights brand values and aspects that make their products special, with designated sections and correlating calls to action (CTAs). 
  • Photos: Animated GIFs are always a good idea. Rotating between product images and pictures of the makeup applied on a person shows more angles of the brand.

A Welcome Email Framework 

To begin your relationship on solid footing, adhere to the following welcome email tips:  

Subject Line

Keep the subject line simple and friendly; a sterile vibe doesn’t fit most brands. Even a lone “Welcome!” can do the trick. Or a “welcome to the family” if it aligns better with your brand. Did you promise a 10% off code for signing up? The subject line is an excellent area for referencing the code they’re hoping for. If you’ve got it, slide a first name into the subject for a personalized greeting. 


Photos can heavily influence the first impression you make, so bring out the eye candy! Feature people using your product and/or beautiful images of best-selling products. 


Express gratitude and enthusiasm for your new subscriber. Briefly discuss your brand’s story by communicating why you sell what you do, introduce your USPs, and tell your subscribers what they can expect. 

Include a discount code if you offered it in exchange for signing up. We advise unique coupon codes — instead of a generic one that anyone can use (‘WELCOME10’) — to guard against coupon abuse. 

Also, make it personal. Decide on your pronoun. Will it be “us” and “we,” or “I” and “me?” The choice can subtly shape perceptions. 

Consider including a signature if you go the “I” route to reinforce your small business status. You always want to remind shoppers that you’re not a big-box store.


Be clear when nudging subscribers back to your site. Standard CTAs include “Shop Now,” “Take a Peek,” and “Let’s Go!” 


Trigger delivery immediately upon newsletter signup.  

Make it a Series

Highlight top products in the second message and send it two days later. East Fork does it nicely in the example below by featuring best-seller The Mug. 

Reserve the third message as a final reminder for the welcome discount and send it two days after the second. You can also use one message to promote social media accounts. 

Shopify Email Automation #2: Abandoned Checkout Message

According to the Baymard Institute, the average online cart abandonment rate is 70%. That adds up to a lot of lost sales.  

Abandoned checkout emails are the ticket to rescuing some of those potential lost opportunities. The email is triggered after someone adds items to an online cart, begins the checkout process, and leaves before completing the purchase. 

The Dad Hoodie has a great abandoned checkout email for shoppers who expressed intent to buy. What we like: 

  • Copy: We love the text-based message from the company’s founder that emphasizes the product’s value and points to the 50,000+ customers who have experienced it. Closing with the founder’s name and dad alias, plus inviting questions, serves as a customer service spin.  
  • Photo: An image of the abandoned product doesn’t need to be front and center. Bonus points for including the price.  

An Abandoned Checkout Email Framework 

Steal our formula below to convince some shoppers to complete their purchase.  

Subject line

Be straightforward. Try “Did you forget something?” or “We’re saving your cart for you” to emulate the customer service approach. 

Or, be more creative while remaining direct, with a “We hate goodbyes. Come back and enjoy a special treat on us.”


Include image(s) of the abandoned product so your recipient instantly knows what they left behind. 


Imagine that you’re giving a friendly nudge/reminder when writing your message. Don’t be afraid to pepper in some urgency by mentioning there’s no guarantee the product will be available much longer. You could also use the space to address typical customer concerns or frequently asked questions. 


Use something like “See my cart” or “Complete checkout,” with the link directing them straight back to where they left off. 


Wait at least an hour after the cart is abandoned before sending, or up to three hours later. 

Make it a series

Send another reminder about a day later. Waiting about a week works well if you need a third. Should you include a discount or incentive, such as free shipping? It’s up to you. If you do, wait until the third message, make it a limited-time offer, and only provide it to new customers. Otherwise, you train customers to wait for an incentive before buying. 

Rothy’s offers free shipping while warning size availability is not a guarantee.

Shopify Email Automation #3: Post-Purchase Message

The cost of retaining a customer has become increasingly cheaper in comparison to acquiring a new one. 

One study found that in 2013, ecommerce merchants lost an average of $9 for every new customer gained; in 2022, losses increased to $29. Conversely, the average repeat sale generated $28 in 2013; in 2022, profits rose to $39. 

Post-purchase emails help foster loyalty and repeat purchases. Bombas does a great job with its post-purchase thank-you email. What we like: 

  • Headline and copy: The banner announcing the impending discount expiration evokes a sense of urgency. More importantly, the main message triggers the warm fuzzies. Who wouldn’t enjoy recognition for contributing to a charity, even if it’s indirect? 
  • CTA: The coupon code is unique — assurance that the deal is meant solely for the recipient. 

A Post-Purchase Email Framework

Post-purchase emails can take various forms. The framework below is for an email with an angle of gratitude, being super thankful for your customer’s support.

Subject line 

Simplicity rules. A “we appreciate you” can do the trick. Similar messaging goes for the headline, too.  


Photos are optional. We recommend lifestyle shots. 


Thank your customer with a coupon or another incentive, such as free shipping, for a future purchase. Segue to how awesome they are and how their support enables your business.   


Use your CTA to offer an idea for their next purchase. It could be a product that’s complementary to the one they purchased. 


Send this message one day after the purchase and before the product arrives. 

Make it a series

Be mindful of timing. Request a product review after delivery, but only once the customer has enough time to use it. You could send a lapsed purchaser email 90 days afterward or later to entice them back. 

Envision follows up with a product review request.

Grasp The Impact of Email Automations with Triple Whale

When you capitalize on the meaningful moments within the customer journey, you fuel engagement, sales and brand loyalty. So, get your ensemble in place. Use our frameworks to create welcome, abandoned checkout, and post-purchase email automations that will work for you behind the scenes. Launch them even if they feel incomplete. The beauty of email automations is that you can make changes whenever you want!

Give it some time before checking opens, clicks, and conversions. And use Triple Whale’s Pixel Attribution to understand the spot these emails fill within your overall marketing strategy. Patch the holes. Expand the series. Tweak the incentive. Keep improving and enhancing to create a powerful email automation ensemble.

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