Sending lifecycle emails to your customers is a great way to increase engagement, as it helps to nurture regular communication with your customers. However, while lifecycle emails are a great way to help customers connect to your brand, they’re often an under-utilized sales opportunity.

Any merchant can add improvements to their lifecycle emails with minimal effort, such as upsells or cross-sells, so I’ll go over a few quick wins in improving lifecycle emails today. If you’d like to learn more, I’ve also done an entire presentation on lifecycle emails in the upcoming WooCurve Summit (June 1 – 4), which you can watch for free if you sign up in advance 🙂

Why Lifecycle Emails?

Email reigns as the best channel for order values and conversions, as it drives higher clicks, conversion rates, and revenue than other online marketing media.

Email average order value for eCommerce is at $82.72, which is 29% higher than social media.
Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly (EQ2 2012)

As such, email tends to be one of the top ways to sell to your customers, but most merchants only think of using dedicated sales or marketing emails as an opportunity for selling.

As lifecycle emails (such as welcome or order confirmation emails) are expected by the customer, they’re read more often. In turn, if you provide sales pitches that are relevant to the email content, they’re more likely to be seen, and the context also encourages purchase.

Using cross-sells, up-sells, or other sales nudges in these emails also targets your highest-interest audience: people who have already purchased from you recently, or are thinking about doing so (as lifecycle emails are typically sent with respect to the purchasing cycle).

There are several kinds of lifecycle emails you can be sending and using as a sales opportunity, but I’ll take a look at 3 of them specifically in this post.

Lifecycle Emails: Welcome Emails

We’ve talked about welcome emails specifically for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads before in detail, as they’re typically left to an automated, “here’s your account information” email.

Rather than using this email as a way to share basic site information, it should instead provide an introduction to your brand:

  • Thank the customer for registering and joining your community.
  • Let them know about current sales or deals. You could also include a coupon for the next order.
  • Show the customer popular products and best-sellers, or items related to their first order if they’ve registered while purchasing.
  • Show customers where to find site information like return policies, forums, or helpful blog posts.
  • This is most effective when sent a few hours to a day after registering.

Including a discount for the next purchase or showing related / popular products can help drive additional orders. Perhaps one of the most surprising statistics about welcome emails is their revenue: welcome emails have 320% more revenue per email than other promotional emails.

For example, check out Funfit’s welcome:

Funfit welcome email

It offers a discount, leads customers into the shop, and provides information about the purchase process; in this case, as it tells users about a perk of purchasing (accruing rewards), the entire email is a subtle sales nudge for the new customer.

You can use tools like AutomateWoo to set up these emails on a delay after user registration, or use the “welcome” email or an automation campaign from your email marketing tool (such as MailChimp).

Lifecycle Emails: Abandonment Recovery

A recovery email can be used to remind a customer of an item awaiting purchase in their cart to encourage purchase or increase the value of the purchase (by up-selling other items). While not every customer type finds them helpful, they’re a lifecycle email that can directly drive revenue by:

  • reminding customers to buy in case they’ve been distracted during purchase
  • incentivizing purchase via free shipping, coupons, or other offers
  • drive more sales by including up-sells, cross-sells, or coupons on additional items aside from what was in the cart
  • uncovering issues in your purchase funnel for improved conversions

There are several best practices for recovery emails to ensure you’re both overcoming purchasing hurdles and encourage purchase (or higher order values), such as iterating return / shipping policies, asking about checkout issues, or offering free shipping in later emails.

Recovery lifecycle emails

We’ve written about using Jilt for WooCommerce or EDD recovery emails, through which most merchants see 15 – 20% recovery rates. By using recovery emails at these rates, if your store sells $10,000 a month, you could expect to earn about $1,000 – $3,000 in additional revenue per month.

Lifecycle Emails: Post-Purchase Emails

Follow-up emails help facilitate positive brand sentiment which, in turn, leads to more sales
Sending an email to customers after a purchase has been completed not only improves their experience overall with your store, but is also a valuable time to ask for feedback, gather product reviews, or cross-sell related products.

Ensuring customers had a great experience also drives future sales, as according to HBR, “customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience”.

Follow-up or post-purchase emails can:

  • gather feedback about your store’s shopping and purchasing experience
  • ensure customers are happy with the product’s they’ve purchased
  • ask for product reviews for social proof, which in turn drive additional future sales
  • remind customers to re-purchase for goods that will expire or run out (AKA replenishment emails)
  • include an offer on the next order to incentivize repeat purchases and increase customer lifetime value
  • cross-sell related items for the customer’s recent purchase

For example, if you send a gift with Drizly, your post purchase email thanks you for giving a gift, and includes a coupon code as a gift of your own to incentivize a repeat purchase:

Drizly lifecycle emails

Ometria has some great other tips on designing effective post-purchase emails as well.

You can implement a post-purchase email with MailChimp automation or a plugin like AutomateWoo to send an email to customers after an order has been marked “completed”.

Driving Additional Sales with Lifecycle Emails

There are several other kinds of lifecycle emails that can be used more effectively for your store, but these are 3 that are easy to implement and provide good selling and feedback opportunities for your store.

If you’d like to keep learning about other lifecycle email opportunities, I share my top 5 and go into more detail about what selling opportunities each provides in the WooCurve Summit, which can be viewed June 1 to June 4 for free! You can sign up to watch here:

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Posted by Beka Rice

Beka Rice manages the direction of Sell with WP content and writes or edits most of our articles to share her interests in eCommerce. Or she just writes as an excuse to spend more time jamming out to anything from The Clash to Lady Gaga. Who knows.


  1. I enjoyed this post a lot due to the marketing activities. Being a marketing student I kind of find encouragement in this sort of writing. Post purchase email and recovery email are both a convenient method to catch the attentive or non-responsive customer. These are cool marketing strategies to boost up your sales.
    keep it up!

  2. Mahadev Majaladar July 19, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Most of the companies don’t keep in touch with their customers after buying a product. So it is important to send post-purchase emails.

    Great post!

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