Congratulations on your online store! We know why you’re here. Email marketing is on your mind and you want to know how to go about it - building lists, integrating the right email marketing tools, setting up the campaigns all the way to automation of the process.

It’s great that you are confident of the potential that email marketing holds, because while a lot of brands believe the email marketing has lost it’s charm, email is still a necessity of every marketing campaign.

A lot of smaller online businesses are in fact, under the assumption, that email is their best shot at building a revenue stream that is consistently on the upward path. It is all a matter of timely and personalized messages.

So whether this is your first step to email marketing or you’re looking to scale up, this guide will be of value to you.

Table of Contents

Section 1 - Email Marketing: The What?
Section 2 - Email Marketing: The Why?
Section 3 - Email Marketing: The How?
Section 4 - Shopify Email Marketing App
Section 5 - Conclusion


Email marketing is an age-old push-marketing channel that allows you to let your audience know about your brand and products, within their inbox. It is an owned media channel, because you, the e-commerce business, will be in full control of the content. It’s a great way to keep in touch with clients and prospects to communicate about your products, and engage with them through the duration of the buying process and after. In that sense, you will be sending out various kinds of emails - transactional emails, promotional emails and those that help through the customer life cycle.


Most e-commerce businesses today function in a highly competitive environment. In that sense, if you do not stay at the top of your prospects’ mind, they will most likely visit your store and bounce to never come back. In order to stay connected with them, it’s important to build an email list of these prospects with their consent and then send relevant broadcast messages to convert subscribers into paying customers. Let us give you some reasons why it’s a good idea to invest in email marketing:

  1. Its all about keeping in touch

Like we said, you are in a very competitive market, where there are others selling the same or similar products to yours. So it’s a matter of being at the top of the mind of your customers to build that customer relationship. They need to identify with your brand. It is important to keep the average cost of customer acquisition low.

2.   Email drives home the point

If you are trying to drive sales for your brand, email must be a part of your customer marketing strategy. A lot of studies have suggested that over the years, email is the most likely channel to get the highest conversion rate over other channels. It is a great channel for upsell and re-targeting as well and important from both acquisition point of view as well as retention.

3.   Email as a strategy is omni-present to meet all marketing goals

In order to make your business and revenue grow, you could either increase your consumer base or extract more value from your existing base. Focusing on just one of these will not help you get the bang for your buck, as most people who focus on acquisition end up with acquiring customers at a very high price. Now email marketing is the most functional way to reduce this cost. Specially, automated abandoned cart emails, customer lifecycle emails, welcome emails, etc.

4.   Email is in your control

Digital marketing channels such as Google Adwords, Facebook, Instagram and the like are important for your marketing mix, but they are also controlled by entities that determine the distribution from these channels. If their algorithm changes, it will impact your distribution strategy. Email keeps the control in your hands.


Building an email marketing strategy requires a few things. Picking the right email service provider, building an email list, defining a nurture stream and automation process given your products and brand, and finally, sending your emails to the audience legally.

Some of the best email service providers that are available today for e-commerce Shopify stores are Klaviyo, Constant Contact, GetResponse, Omnisend, Conversio etc. Note that Mailchimp is no more a Shopify email marketing partner.

Each of these email marketing platform will let you put together email sequences (including email newsletters), have basic to fairly advanced email automation, track analytics such as open rate, click rate etc., a/b testing functions such as subject lines, audience set and in the process, help acquire new customers.

All you need to do is build an email list, in that, you take opt-in from prospects coming to your website, to send them communication, and from customers who have bought your product once to send them more deals going forward. This may be done in the form of them filling sign-up forms. Based on these form fills, you could contact them via emails or push notifications on desktop or mobile apps.

This list building activity can in fact be started even before the launch of your business. This may be done through the use of pre-launch landing pages. This page could have calls to actions like being part of a Waitlist to know more about upcoming products and avail early bird offers etc. Thus, when a new product launches, you already have a set of potential customers who might be interested in it.

If you already have an up and running store, the best place to get your audience to opt-in on your website is on pages they are already engaged. Try not to hamper the design and keep it neat, but the following locations are low-hanging fruits:

  1. Header and Footer
  2. Homepage Pop Up
  3. About Us Page
  4. Blog Page

In fact, pop-ups may be placed on a lot of places in the website. Setting up an exit-intent pop-up is a great way of retaining a lead. It’s like a subtle nudge to say that we understand you and we would like to help out. Several apps such as Privy, JustUno, Sumo that you can find on the Shopify App Store will help you create such pop-ups.

Once you have your lists ready, it’s a matter of sending the right e-commerce email with targeting and personalization (based on the customer’s purchase history) in your message to the audience, to get that conversion from your email marketing campaigns. In essence, there are three types of Shopify email that you could send out:

  1. Promotional Emails - Emails sent out to let people know about a particular product, promotion or sent as part of a campaign on a specific day. For instance, sales that come around Mother’s Day, Daylight Savings, Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc. are time to send out promotional emails.
  2. Triggered Emails - Emails that fall under nurture streams or email sequences which are triggered by an action a user takes on your website. For instance, an automation workflow could trigger a cart abandonment email when someone puts something in the cart, reaches checkout and doesn’t buy it. This email will remind him about that specific product and nudge him to purchase it.
  3. Transactional Emails - Emails that are meant to functionally let someone know about the completion of a purchase they made, shipping of an order etc. They of course are anticipated and have a high open rate.

Owing to their high open rate, transactional emails may be used for not just functionally solving a purpose, but also, to upsell complementary products, offer discount codes for futures purchases and to get the customer to join social media channels of the company for regular updates and engagement activities.

Time to move to next point on.


Towards the end of 2019, Shopify decided to launch their own Shopify Email Marketing App which they are giving for free until October 2020. Once that tenure is over, Shopify stores will still be allowed to send 2500 emails per month on the free plan. However, if you need any more emails sent out, you will need to pay $1 per 1000 emails sent. While this is a good solution for small businesses, it’s worth mentioning that the app is fairly limited in functionality. The email templates are basic and do not allow too much customization.

Let’s check out some other options of Email service providers that work well with Shopify.


This is one of those email tools which has proven expertise with niches like content creators. For a Shopify e-commerce business, it may not be the best in terms of features but it is one of the easiest to use.


  • It is very easy to integrate with Shopify and create email automation series.
  • Lets you use tagging.
  • It lets you create custom fields for sign-up forms.


  • In the direct integration with Shopify, automations are triggered only through purchase. This can be changed with a Zapier integration.
  • It does not come with a visual editor for email templates.
  • The reporting is pretty basic too.


  • Up to 1,000 contacts: $29/month
  • Up to 5,000 contacts: $79/month
  • Up to 10,000 contacts: $119/month


Marketing automation at it’s best is what GetResponse provides. It is also a great tool to help with webinars, landing pages and customer relationship management.


  • Comprehensive Data Integration and Analysis for synced client, product and buying data.
  • Templates are neat and as good as ready to go.
  • A good email automation software.
  • Personalised product recommendations in the email, based on customer browsing and purchase history.


  • Opt-in emails get sent to customers by default.
  • Not very smooth to integrate with Shopify and not enough resources in the Help Center.
  • There could be a delay in triggering automated email sequences as there is a day’s time lag in importing customer and product data.


  • Up to 1,000 subscribers - $15/month
  • Up to 5,000 subscribers - $45/month
  • Up to 10,000 subscribers - $65/month


This is a tool focused on e-commerce and very effective with it’s wide range of marketing automation sequences at all the different stages of the customer journey. It offers a tonne of creative features like gift boxes, scratch cards etc.


  • Easily integrates with Shopify.
  • Sign-up form can be created and linked to the store on Shopify.
  • Email editor fetches products automatically into your email from your store.
  • Lots of conversion-led features like gift-cards, scratch cards etc.


  • Features such as Product Recommendations and Gift Box are not very easy to integrate with the email editor.
  • Limited range of email templates.


  • Per month, up to 2,000 subscribers + 24,000 emails - $30/month
  • Per month, up to 5,000 subscribers + 60,000 emails - $60/month
  • Per month, up to 10,000 subscribers + 120,000 emails - $102/month


Klaviyo is a marketing tool built specifically for e-commerce stores, and it’s perfect for integration with Shopify. Klaviyo offers a great amount of segmentation and marketing automation, with built-in workflows that are meant for an e-commerce business. A drawback however, is the cost which can be very high for small to medium sized business owners.


  • Easily integrates with Shopify.
  • Has a built-in CRM.
  • Some good-looking, highly customizable email templates with modern aesthetic.
  • A/B testing is possible.
  • Very elaborate customer insights that may help with personalization of emails.


  • For 5000 contacts, it is definitely more expensive than most of the other alternatives.
  • The user experience of the mobile app is not the best, and has been a cause of concern for several users.


  • Up to 1,000 subscribers - $30/month
  • Up to 5,000 subscribers - $100/month
  • Up to 10,000 subscribers - $175/month


There are several other options of email marketing service providers that integrate well with Shopify which include Klaviyo, ActiveCampaign, Drip, Constant Contact and SendInBlue. So depending on what kind of campaigns you are running, and at what stage you are on your journey as an online store, you may pick a product.

If you’ve just launched your store recently, you are most likely waiting to find ROI from your investment and would look for a cheap option that would come with a variety of features. Also, you would want the email marketing tool to get easily integrated with Shopify and have a smaller learning curve as time is of essence to you, and you are probably multi-tasking a lot of things. A tool like ConvertKit would be good for you in this situation.

If you’ve been in the Shopify e-commerce business for a while now, and have an established store already, you perhaps are looking for faster and more innovative automation. Alongside that reporting and sharper insights are important for you too, which helps you build and retain a brand connect with your customers. For this purpose, Klaviyo or Omnisend are good options for you. However, GetResponse is a great alternative too given how holistic it is, for the cost.