How to increase sales in the online store by segmenting email lists

Original author: Ed Hallen
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imageAccording to an eMarketer survey , 39% of marketers who segment email lists say that it can increase the number of open emails. 28% say that this makes it possible to reduce the rate of unsubscribing from newsletters and another 24% are sure that this will increase sales and profits.

These are pretty convincing statistics, but so far most online stores do not pay enough attention to sheet segmentation for email newsletters. They continue to send the same offers with discounts and the same goods every day.

In this article, you will find tips on segmenting mailing lists from Ed Hallen and understand why it is very important to use segmentation and how it can help your business.

We borrow ideas from B2B marketing

In the fall I bought a sofa.

Before making a choice, I went to 3 stores and searched hundreds of furniture sites. On several sites, I signed up for a newsletter to get more information about furniture and about the company. I’m still subscribed to these newsletters and most of them continue to send me the same content as a year ago - “Super Sale”, “20% discount only today” ... Well, you understand.

If it was not a sofa, but a software or service, then the mailings would be built differently.
Depending on my behavior on the site, I would be segmented at the stage of subscribing to the newsletter. I would get a buyer's guide. If I showed further interest, I would be offered a demo. Then, as a final push, I would receive cases that convinced me of the correct choice of service.

Webinars and useful materials at first glance seem unsuitable for online stores, but the thing is in the approach to segmentation and newsletters.

1. All attention lead

Different companies give different definitions of what a lead is. But in any case, the concept is one. Each email address is considered a potential buyer.

2. Conducting through the stages of the funnel

B2B marketers consider email marketing as an opportunity to guide the buyer through all stages of the purchase: from finding a product to making a purchase decision and the purchase itself.

They pay attention to indicators of interest in buying (searching for a page with prices indicates a greater interest in buying than viewing an article on a blog) and use certain content to solve questions that users have when choosing a product. Before making any purchase, users conduct a study. They read information about products, read reviews, and if possible, they watch the product “live”. Each of these actions brings a person closer to buying a product.

Online stores should help potential buyers go through each step of the purchasing decision and send only those newsletters that are relevant to their interests.

3. Consider from all sides

When a single sale can bring tens of thousands of dollars or more in profit, it’s not surprising that b2b marketers pay a lot of attention to dividing the mailing list into small segments or even individual users.

This approach can work for online stores, even with a large number of customers. Potential buyers can be divided into segments for newsletters depending on their behavior on the site.

7 ways to segment subscribers

Many marketers and owners of online stores do not know what segments you can create and what to do with them.

The options for segmenting mailing lists depend on the goals that your online store pursues. There is no option that suits everyone, but there are many segmentation paths that suit you and help you get started with segmentation.

Buyers and non-buyers

First thing first. It is necessary to divide the audience into those who shopped and those who did not.

The purpose of communication with customers is to return to the store and push for the next purchase. The purpose of communication with those who have not bought anything yet is to find out their interests and guide them through the sales funnel: from the first visit to the site, before making a purchase decision.

Purchase history

What did your visitors get? Remember, your goal for this group is to push for the next purchase. With data on previous purchases, you have several options for segmentation:
  • for goods that are bought at certain intervals (cosmetics, printer cartridges, perfumes, food), you can start by sending letters with a reminder that the buyer can order the goods again. It is only important to establish the time frame through which the product ends. For example, for cosmetics - a couple of months, for food - a week.
  • Online clothing stores can help shoppers create complete looks from the clothes they already bought from you. If you have a multi-brand store, then you can segment customers by which brands they buy most often and send letters to such users with reviews of new products of this brand or information about discounts on the brand.
  • for electronics, you can use the data on purchases to offer additional accessories to the purchased equipment.

Shopping interests

What products did your customers see and what products were left in their cart in the last month? Sending useful information about the products that visitors viewed or put in the basket can help in making a purchase decision.

Continuing the example with a sofa, it would be useful for a user who selects a sofa to get an article on how to fit a sofa into the general interior of a room or how to choose a color palette for the interior.


Online stores are certainly very popular, but some products are mostly selected offline. For example, cars. Using geography data, you can invite potential buyers to come to the nearest store and see what they want to buy. Adding store location information to the newsletter will help users find the store when they are walking nearby.

In addition, the proper use of data on the buyer's place of residence can help build a reputation and a positive attitude towards the company. For example, last winter in New England was long and cold. And now, imagine, on one of these winter evenings, when everything around was covered with snow, you receive a letter with the subject: “Is it covered with snow? Here is a 20% discount for you. ” Unusually, agree.

For an example, look at the letter from Ann Taylor using data on the user's location:

But if you received such a letter basking somewhere in the sun, then the same effect did not work.

Customer reviews

Your store is a bit of an online community. In each community, there are leaders who create content, and there are those who do not write anything, but at the same time study the opinion of leaders. Product reviews are no different from this.

Meet your customers and see who is ready to answer your inquiries about how to write a review on your purchase. If every time after a purchase in the online store you send a letter asking you to leave a review, then most likely you will annoy your customers.

Therefore, if, after the first or second request, the client does not leave a review about the product, then he does not want to share his opinion and he does not need to send such letters.


NPS (Net Promoter Score) or Consumer Loyalty Index is a metric for measuring customer loyalty to your company. Measuring the NPS loyalty index includes several steps:

  1. Buyers are invited to answer the question “What is the likelihood that you will recommend a company / product / brand to your friends / acquaintances / colleagues?” On a 10-point scale, where 0 corresponds to the answer “I will not recommend it in any case”, and 10 - “ I will definitely recommend it. ”
  2. Based on the assessments received, all buyers are divided into 3 groups: 9-10 points - supporters (promoters) of the product / brand, 7-8 points - neutral consumers, 0-6 points - critics (detractors).
  3. Directly calculating the NPS index. NPS = share of supporters - share of critics.

As a rule, online stores use survey forms to identify the level of this metric. If you have this information, then it's time to start using it for your email marketing.

So, customers with a low NPS index can be sent a letter with information that the company is ready to listen to the opinion of the buyer and change something in the company based on feedback. If the buyer is heard, his level of satisfaction will increase.

For customers with a high NPS index, you can use additional channels for building relationships. This is a great group that you can invite to create content, like the Tiffany’s Love Everywhere campaign, where users mark romantic places on the map. This group is also great for newsletters asking for feedback on a product or service.

Mobile shoppers and shoppers

Segment customers based on where they prefer to shop: in the store or use mobile devices. Customers who use mobile phones to work with your online store may be interested in launching a mobile application, while customers who come to your store may be interested in information about offline promotions.


So, now you are ready to plunge into the world of email newsletter segmentation. It is important to always remember:
  • every email you have on the mailing list is a potential buyer.
  • the goal of your email marketing is to educate people and help you get through the sales funnel: from researching offers to making a purchasing decision.
  • Send users relevant content based on what they’re currently interested in and help them make choices.

To segment users of an online store, you can use the Convead service . It has the ability to create segments according to traffic sources, geography, purchase history and perfect user actions.

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