Table of Contents

Introduction

Marketing automation is a powerful tool for e-commerce businesses. Whether you’re a brick and mortar looking to supplement your business online, an online-only retailer, a daily deals site, or a retail giant, MailChimp has everything you need to connect with your audience, advertise your products, sell more stuff, and grow your business.

In this guide, we’ll highlight the tools, features, and integrations that can be particularly useful and empowering for online retailers. We’ll discuss your options for growing your list, using your e-commerce data, engaging your customers, and more.

Connect Your Store

Many of MailChimp’s most powerful e-commerce features are powered by your store data. When you connect your store, your customer and purchase data syncs automatically, and you can grow your list by giving people the option to subscribe during checkout.

All that data will help you learn what resonates with your customers, recommend products they’ll love, create targeted segments, send abandoned cart emails, and build customer lifecycle automations that help you stay connected with your audience every step of the way.

MailChimp integrates with a number of different shopping carts and e-commerce solutions, including:

If none of our available integrations suit your needs, you can take advantage of our robust e-commerce API and develop your own custom integration.

Many of MailChimp's most powerful e-commerce features are powered by your store data.

Manage Your List

You can create as many lists as you’d like in your account, but for most users, we recommend maintaining a single list and using segmenting data and groups to manage your customers. Each of those contacts will have their own subscriber profile page, filled with valuable information like social data, member rating, location, activity history, and more.

Once you’ve connected your store, we’ll even display the purchase history for each person on your list, so you’ll always know which campaign their purchase was tied to, how many orders they’ve made, and how much money they’ve spent at your store.

Segments

MailChimp’s powerful segmentation tools allow you to use the information you have about your customers to create and send targeted campaigns. Segments are a great way to increase relevance in your marketing, and they’ll help improve your open and click rates, too. We’ve found that, on average, segmented campaigns result in 21% higher open rates and 55% higher click rates than unsegmented campaigns.

You can create 3 different types of segments in MailChimp—auto-update, static, and pre-built—and they can help you target people based on their interests, location, demographics, subscriber activity, and a whole lot more.

E-commerce segments

Many of our segmentation options have been developed with e-commerce businesses in mind, so you’re always able to view and target the right customers at the right time. And while segmentation isn’t always necessary for every campaign, our research has shown that sales per subscriber are nearly 3 times higher in campaigns sent to e-commerce segments than in unsegmented campaigns.

  • Once you’ve connected your store and turned on e-commerce tracking, it’s easy to target people based on their purchase activity—including what they’ve ordered, when they’ve ordered, and how much they’ve spent. Let’s take a closer look at all your options.
  • With our pre-built e-commerce segments, you can target potential, recent, first-time, repeat, or lapsed customers with just one click. We’ll even automatically move your customers into and out of these segments as they meet the segmentation conditions, so you’ll never need to worry about the relevance of your message to the specific audience you’re targeting.
  • With our custom segmenting options, you can build your own unique e-commerce segments using a variety of available criteria. Target customers by their total order count, average number of products per order, past purchases, purchase date, average (or total) amount spent, and more.

 

Groups

In MailChimp, you’ll create groups within your list to categorize your customers by their interests and preferences. Those groups can then be used for building segments and sending email to targeted audiences. If, for example, you operate an online clothing store, you might have customers interested in a variety of apparel: mens, womens, children, accessories, etc. By creating groups in your list, you can provide customers with the opportunity to select the clothing type(s) that interest them, and then only send marketing emails relevant to those interests.

Predicted demographics

Predicted demographics is a powerful tool that predicts the age range and gender of your customers, so you can target people—using both custom and pre-built segments—based on that data. Then, you can analyze the demographic data in your campaign reports, list overview, and subscriber profiles to help you identify key audiences and refine your marketing strategy.

Sales per subscriber are nearly 3 times higher in campaigns sent to e-commerce segments than in unsegmented campaigns.

Grow Your Audience

Connecting a store can provide you with helpful options for growing your audience—and if you already have a list of customers, you can quickly import it into your MailChimp account—but there are several other methods available to help e-commerce businesses organically and effectively build an audience, too.

Signup forms

When you create a list in MailChimp, there are a bunch of different signup form options available to you, including:

  • A hosted, mobile responsive signup form that customers can use to submit their contact information from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
  • Embedded forms that can be placed on any page of your website. There are several design options available, and the code for each form can be generated in just a few clicks.
  • A form that displays in a popup modal shortly after someone visits your website. You can use this form to help promote giveaways, contests, and other offers, or to invite people to join your list.
  • MailChimp Subscribe, a free app available for iPad and Android tablets. Use Subscribe to collect email addresses wherever you might be, like trade shows, events, or at your brick-and-mortar store.
  • Integrations with services like Wufoo, WordPress, Squarespace, and more, so you can build sophisticated forms and reach potential subscribers no matter where they are.

Each of your forms can be customized to fit the needs of your business, and MailChimp offers a lot of different field options that will help you collect data from people as they subscribe to your list. So, be strategic by including list fields that can help you learn more about—and increase relevance for—your customers.

Ad campaigns

With millions of active users worldwide, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram present marketers with a great opportunity to connect with customers and attract new ones. MailChimp provides you with the tools you need to turn your Facebook fans and Instagram followers into engaged subscribers—and paying customers.

  • Target people who are similar to your existing contacts with an affordable Facebook Ad Campaign or Instagram Ad Campaign designed to introduce folks to your business, showcase products, and drive new subscribers to your list.
MailChimp provides you with the tools you need to turn your Facebook fans and Instagram followers into engaged subscribers—and paying customers.

Create an Email Campaign

Once your list and forms are in place, you can start building an email campaign. You’ll select what type of campaign you’d like to create, pick a template, use our drag-and-drop campaign builder to design and test your email, and then send it off to your contacts.

It’s easy to design beautiful, effective email campaigns in MailChimp. There are 4 different campaign types to choose from (regular, A/B testing, plain-text, and RSS), each providing a different benefit to e-commerce businesses.

  • Regular campaigns are the most common type of email our users send. They can be formatted and customized with your product images, colors, and other design elements to fit the needs of your business.
  • A/B testing campaigns allow you to test different subject lines, from names, sending times, and content, so you’ll always know exactly what resonates with your audience and can optimize future campaigns. We’ll send up to three different variations of the email to different portions of your list, track their performance, then send the winner to all remaining recipients.
  • Plain-text campaigns are the simplest form of email you can send. These campaigns will only contain text, and have no formatting options.
  • RSS campaigns allow you to automate your email marketing by sending content from an RSS feed (like your blog updates or company news headlines) directly through MailChimp.

We’ve got a variety of customizable layouts and pre-built themes that can be used as starting points for your campaign, along with a selection of intent-based featured templates that can help you create the perfect campaign for showcasing your products, sharing news or stories, following up with your customers, or helping folks get acquainted with your business.

Or, if you need to fill a specific design or branding need, you can always import a template or use our powerful template language to create your own custom-coded solution.

And if you need inspiration or advice along the way, visit our inspiration gallery to explore some of the beautiful campaigns that other MailChimp users have sent, or check out our Email Design Guide for tips and best practices that will help you convey your message in style.

Product blocks

Customizable product blocks provide you with a quick way to promote your best-selling items or showcase seasonal products in your campaign or automation email. Once you connect your store, we’ll automatically pull product images, descriptions, and prices for you.

All you have to do is drag and drop a product block into your email, select the products you’d like to advertise, determine your call to action, and review your reports after sending to see how much revenue you’ve generated.

Product recommendations

When you’re comfortable with product blocks, add personalized product recommendations to your campaign or automation emails to increase the relevance of your email. Our product recommendations feature analyzes the previous purchase behavior of your customers and automatically suggests products they’re most likely to buy. You’ll learn more about your customers and you’ll make more money, too—our data shows that e-commerce businesses generate 31% more revenue on campaigns that include product recommendations.

Schedule and send your campaign

When you’re ready to send, there are several different delivery methods available. All users have the option to send the campaign immediately or schedule it for a specific date and time.

If you have a paid account, you’ll also have access to 3 additional scheduling options:

  • Send Time Optimization analyzes the click history of your customers to identify when they’re typically most engaged with MailChimp campaigns, and uses that data to calculate your optimal send time.
  • Timewarp delivers the campaign to your list based on the customer’s time zone rather than your own. If you schedule a campaign to send at 10am, for example, Timewarp delays sending to anyone until it’s 10am in their specified time zone, no matter where they are in the world.
  • Batch Delivery sends your campaign in timed batches rather than all at once to help control traffic to your site or store and prevent strain on your server.
Our product recommendations feature analyzes the previous purchase behavior of your customers and automatically suggests products they’re most likely to buy. You’ll learn more about your customers and you’ll make more money, too.

Automate Your Marketing

MailChimp’s marketing automation tools will streamline your communication process, so you can personalize the buying experience for customers and provide them with relevant content at exactly the right time.

Using the same powerful segmenting, scheduling, and design tools you’re accustomed to in MailChimp, you can create a targeted email—or a series of emails—that automatically send over a period of time when triggered by specific criteria, like a date, event, or customer activity. And since each email in an automation can have its own unique trigger, you have the flexibility you need to build automations that address the needs of your business.

In this section, we’ll cover the powerful automations available for e-commerce businesses, but for a full rundown of everything you can do with MailChimp marketing automation, visit our Getting Started with Marketing Automation guide.

E-commerce automations

Our selection of preset automations options cover a range of different industries and events, including a handful of automation types that have been specifically designed to help e-commerce businesses. Here are just a few of the things you can do with automations:

  • Welcome first-time customers. Send a series of welcome emails to folks when they make the first purchase from your store. Introduce them to the other products you offer, or add an incentive to encourage future purchases.
  • Reward your best customers. Send special discounts, offers, or sale announcements to thank your most loyal customers for their patronage and support.
  • Send a product follow-up message. Follow up with customers who show an interest in a certain category or buy a specific product. Ask for feedback, provide helpful usage instructions, or promote related items.
  • Re-engage lapsed customers. Reach out to customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while, and encourage them to check out your new items

 

Abandoned cart

Shopping cart abandonment is a common occurrence—research has shown that two-thirds of shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is completed—but that doesn’t mean the customer is no longer interested in buying your products. Our abandoned cart automation allows you to give customers the incentive they need to return to your store, so you can recapture sales and generate more revenue. In fact, our data shows that MailChimp users earn 12% more email-generated revenue when they send abandoned cart messaging.

When you connect your Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce store to MailChimp, you can use our abandoned cart automation to automatically remind customers what they’ve left behind and give them a reason to return to your store and make a purchase. You can even add product recommendations to suggest other products they’ll love, too. It’s a great way to keep your products (and business) fresh in the minds of your customers, and improve your bottom line in the process.

Order notifications

Our order notifications tools allow you to design, send, and track all of those notifications you need to send customers—like order confirmations, invoices, shipping confirmations, refund confirmations, and cancellation confirmations—directly through your MailChimp account.

Create a delightful, cohesive experience for your customers from cart to checkout and beyond by customizing order notification emails with logos, colors, and fonts that match the look and feel of your brand.

Add a personalized message to thank customers for their purchase or provide them with follow-up instructions, and include a product recommendations block to suggest other relevant items right after they’ve completed their purchase.

Advertise with MailChimp

MailChimp has the tools you need to create beautiful email campaigns, but we can help you with other aspects of your marketing, too. No matter what type of products you sell, MailChimp can help you create an integrated marketing campaign for your business.

Facebook Ad Campaigns

Facebook is an important channel for online sellers, and our powerful Facebook Ad Campaigns make it easy to create beautiful single-image or carousel ads directly from your MailChimp account with no additional fees; you’ll pay the same as you would if you purchased ads through Facebook. In just a few simple steps, you can use the customer data you already have to promote your business, grow your audience, and sell more stuff. And, when you connect your store to MailChimp, we’ll track your ad’s revenue, products sold, and customers acquired, too, so you can learn which ads make you more money and result in more new customers.

Instagram Ad Campaigns

Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app, offers marketers a unique opportunity to reach an audience, showcase products, and build relationships in a creative, visual way. Instagram Ad Campaigns in MailChimp are ideal for brand awareness campaigns, and the perfect complement to direct-response, conversion-based campaigns on channels like Facebook or email. In just a few clicks, you can create beautiful single-image or carousel ads and use your customer data—along with Facebook’s powerful targeting tools—to connect with your audience and expand your reach. After running your ad, we’ll close the loop for you with thorough engagement and ROI reports so you can track your performance and see what’s working.

Analyze Your Data

MailChimp offers insightful tracking and reporting, along with a comprehensive account dashboard that’s full of data to help you monitor growth, revenue, engagement, and more. Review your results after each campaign to find out what resonated with your audience and what didn’t, and then put what you’ve learned to work for you in future campaigns.

The Dashboard

Once you’ve connected your store and start sending campaigns, we’ll fill your account dashboard with important performance and engagement data so you can get a high-level look at how you’re doing from the moment you log into your MailChimp account. On the account dashboard, you’ll find:

  • E-commerce performance. We’ll track the revenue and orders that your MailChimp campaigns and automations are generating, along with your total store revenue and progress over time.
  • Audience growth. We’ll show you how many people have joined your list, along with a graph so you can see the effectiveness of your various signup sources
  • Email engagement. We’ll show you how many people have opened and clicked your emails, along with the number of customers who have added items to their cart or completed their purchase.

Your account dashboard will also contain actionable tips and product news that have been tailored to your account usage. We’ll suggest actions you can take and features to try that will help you improve engagement and get the most out of your marketing.

Reports

The account dashboard can give you a high-level overview of your performance, but for a deep dive into key stats—like engagement, unsubscribes, social activity, and e-commerce data—visit the Reports page in your account. In just a few clicks, you can review the performance of your campaigns and automations, see which of your products or services are the most popular, measure ROI, and discover engagement trends.

In the e-commerce section of your reports, you’ll find the total sales generated by the campaign, total number of conversions (orders received), and a breakdown of each subscriber’s purchases. You can track sales from a click in your campaign all the way to purchase. This lets you see which customers make a purchase—and what they buy—after opening your campaign. And if your campaign includes products from multiple connected stores, you can even filter purchase data by store.

A/B Testing Reports

A/B Testing reports are similar to your regular email campaign reports, but they also provide insight into how each combination of your email performed in terms of opens, clicks, sales, and more. Use this data to learn more about the preferences of your customers and optimize your marketing going forward.

In just a few clicks, you can review the performance of your campaigns and automations, see which of your products or services are the most popular, measure ROI, and discover engagement trends.

Explore More Resources

MailChimp’s features offer tons of opportunities for you to connect with your customers and generate revenue for your business. Visit our blog for customer stories and new feature announcements. Take a look through our Knowledge Base for demo videos and how-to answers. You can also explore our selection of guides and the latest research reports from our data science team. And, if you have any questions along the way, our friendly support team will be happy to help out.