Relevance is at the heart of effective marketing. The right message, to the right person, at the right time—pick three. Otherwise, your marketing will miss the mark. And what entrepreneur has time for that?
Email marketing has always been the premier channel in this regard. It traces back to email's roots in ownership. Your email list, like your online store, is one of the few channels you fully control. You pay to host your customer list and send them campaigns, and those broadcasts get sent with the message you want, to the recipients you've selected, at the time you specify. It's beautifully simple!
We believe so strongly in email marketing's importance to independent brands that today we're making Shopify Email even more accessible: every merchant on every Shopify plan can now send 10,000 emails per month, at no additional cost.
There's a lot more in store, too. It's always been easy to create and send campaigns in Shopify Email. Now, we're making "right person, right time" even simpler, with new feature-rich customer segmentation and marketing automation tools that live directly in your Shopify admin.
Nice to know you: how segments power personalization
A blanket broadcast sent to all customers ignores the all-important detail of who—it's one-size-fits-none rather than tailor fit for the right audience. It's funny to imagine the same experience IRL. You won't find retail staff shouting generic sales pitches across the floor, but that's exactly what happens when an email starts its journey with "select-all" segmentation.
New customers are different from long-time customers, who are different from customers that are slipping away. But since we can't ask every customer to self-classify, we need data to serve as the building block for segmentation—the tool for finding and filtering the right customers. In fact, the best dimensions for building segments are often the simplest: When was a customer's last purchase? How many times have they bought from us? How much have they spent with our business overall? With the right data, you can pinpoint almost any stage in the customer lifecycle.
With the right customer data, you can pinpoint every stage in the marketing lifecycle.
That sounds great, but once inspiration strikes, the next step for many entrepreneurs is to open up a database and start frantically Googling "SQL tutorial." For the average person, these building blocks have been kind of hard to build with! But not anymore.
Shopify's brand new customer segmentation feature lets every business owner easily group their customers based on a wide range of attributes and behavior, straight from the Customer section in Shopify. The segmentation editor itself is powered by ShopifyQL, our simple but powerful query language that's designed for commerce.
You may have already built valuable segments in Shopify without realizing it. In addition to the editor, all saved searches that previously lived in the Customers section have been migrated into your customer segments. All of those segments, and any you create in the future, are stored securely in your admin—ready to receive personal, revenue-driving campaigns sent from Shopify Email.
Customer segmentation also keeps long-term maintenance in mind because customers can change rapidly, especially if they're highly engaged. Any time a customer meets criteria in one of your saved segments, they'll be added instantly. And should a customer no longer fit the criteria, they'll be automatically removed, so you can broadcast to any segment at any time, with confidence.
Before you hit send, customer segmentation shares data on how a specific segment compares to the rest of your customer list. For example, you can see the number of current customers that fit a particular segment, along with the percentage of current customers the segment represents. Knowing the relative business value of a group of customers can guide the campaigns and promotions you send them.
📨 Customer spotlight: Propeller Coffee
"Shopify has introduced a powerful new way to segment customers so we can send them content and campaigns that engage them," says Aaron Zack, VP, Sales, Marketing and Strategic Projects at Propeller Coffee.
The Propeller Coffee team is using customer segmentation to fine-tune customer groups based on location and purchase history, an approach that's helped increase their email conversion rates by 175%. "Thanks to Shopify’s new customer segmentation tool, we’re creating campaigns that are as personalized as our customers’ taste in coffee."
Email marketing is either well timed or tuned out
The best time to offer someone an aspirin is when they have a headache. It seems obvious, but the average inbox tells us that lots of messages are still sent around the company's agenda rather than the customer's current needs. What a pain!
The challenge is that while customers can share similar traits, their journeys are wholly unique. Even a perfectly crafted message for a single customer will miss the mark if it reaches their inbox when they aren't ready. And since it's not the customer's job to tell you when to get in touch, staying timely and personal means engaging them based on their actual activity with your business. So, how can you put time on your side?
Even a perfectly crafted message will miss the mark if it reaches a customer's inbox when they aren't ready.
Shopify's new marketing automation features help unlock more profitable campaigns with emails that trigger based on purchase history, key milestones, and other actions taken across your online store. We’ve even included pre-built templates for essential campaigns with the timing and conditions ready to go live. Welcome messages, post-purchase upsell emails, and customer win-back campaigns are turnkey and easy to activate, all without leaving the Shopify admin.
Once you've edited the content, simply switch on the automation and put your email campaigns to work. Batch and blast? That's a thing of the past.
Need help with design before you press send? Businesses of all sizes can already use Shopify Email's dynamic templates, many of which automatically include your brand's assets, like your store logo, color palette, and products.
Entrepreneurs everywhere deserve access to the time-tested sequences that make email marketing so valuable. Our marketing automation tools bring these campaigns to life in minutes, and you won't have to touch a single line of code.
A platform for customer engagement
Email has always been a reliable companion for online businesses. It's changed relatively little over the decades, and that's what makes it valuable: as other channels rapidly shift, email holds steady. Email also plays a crucial role as a direct line to customers that you own a relationship with. Once a visitor has made it to your online store or becomes a customer, email is the ideal channel to stay in touch and earn more from each purchase.
We also believe email marketing works best when it's working with the rest of your business. With our new segmentation and automation features, your customer data inside Shopify becomes a powerful platform to engage with customers. Campaigns are effortless to create and send, segments are simple to query, and automation ensures your messages arrive right on time.
However your business reaches customers today, you can use Shopify Email and these new tools to make every dollar you spend on marketing go further.
Illustration by Susan Lee