Nine Reasons Why eCommerce Businesses Fail at Email Marketing

November 7, 2019 | Admin

Last updated on November 20th, 2019

Nine Reasons Why E-Commerce Businesses Fail at Email Marketing

E-commerce businesses are easy to set up. They often require less than $1,000 to set up and get going. Plug-ins allow an eCommerce business to be completely automated, reducing the tasks that you needed to do. Sounds great, right? Well, it’s a little complicated.

80% of online businesses are destined to fail. Only 5% of all eCommerce stores are selling products worth $1,000 a year.  It’s not profitable for most eCommerce sites. It’s a harsh world, but some businesses are making massive profits.

Here are nine reasons why ecommerce businesses fail at email marketing:

1. A lack of brand awareness. 

If people don’t know you, they’re not going to trust you. It’s that simple.

If you’ve just started an online store, expecting people to buy everything you have is foolish. Optimism does have a limit, you know.

Before you launch an email marketing campaign, it would be a good idea to use different channels to raise awareness about your brand such as live chat app to help visitors get answers to their queries in real time. Social media marketing (SMM) is a great way to raise awareness about your brand. The good thing about generating awareness with social media is that you’re able to target an audience who already have similar interests as your business.

Here are three easy ways to you can raise your brand’s awareness:

  • Get a relevant influencer to advertise your business.
  • Start a social media campaign. Contests and giveaways work very well to raise brand awareness.
  • Partner up with another business and provide even more value for potential customers.

2. Not enough budget for effective email marketing.

People who have no prior background in business wrongly think that marketing is often of little priority.

Most people that start an eCommerce business only want to get paid and not do any work. These people completely forget that they need to market their products first, and then expect sales.

According to Campaign Monitor, if you spend a dollar on email marketing, you’re likely to get $44 as a return on investment.

If you’re not spending an appropriate amount on email marketing, you’re just not going to get results. Marketing to a limited number of people limits your chances of making a conversion. 

No prior relationship with the email recipient

3. No prior relationship with the email recipient.

Would you open an email sent in by someone that you don’t know? Of course you won’t. It doesn’t make any sense.

Most eCommerce businesses choose to ignore this fact. If you haven’t had any interactions with a person in the past, it would not be wise to send them an email telling them about the new products you have on sale.

If you make the mistake of sending an email to a person who hasn’t had a previous interaction with you, you might have permanently lost a customer. 

Having a large pool of emails to market to is a good thing. But an eCommerce business shouldn’t care about that. The only metrics that eCommerce store should only focus on are conversions and sales. 

Be strategic about who you’re sending an email to. People like to have an empty email box. If they receive an email from your eCommerce business, then they should already be familiar with what your business has to offer.

Bad subject line

4. A bad subject line.

A study conducted by the Radicati Group concluded that an office worker sends and receives 121 emails every day. 

With so many emails floating around, making your email stand out is a difficult task.

A lousy subject line is going to lead to an unamused recipient, who’ll most likely unsubscribe the next time they get an email from you.

According to Get Response, 9% of all email subject lines contain emojis.

If you want to increase conversions, keep these in mind when writing a subject line for a marketing email:

5. Horrible email design.

As bad as it sounds, looks do matter.

If you want people to look at your email longer, you’ll need to put some effort into it. Making the email easy to read is a good thing to start doing. Optimize the subject line. Stay up to date and follow the best industry practices if you want to stay relevant.

If a person opening your email isn’t immediately wowed by your email’s design, chances of him converting are significantly low.

If your eCommerce business has bright themes and a fresh vibe, try converting that into your marketing email as well. 

If your marketing emails don’t have the same bright themes and fresh vibes, it could send mixed messages to the recipient. 

Email design does play an essential role in communicating your business’s message. Try to avoid mixed messages.

6. No personalization.

If the person in charge of sending marketing emails on behalf of your eCommerce store doesn’t care about personalization, you’re doomed.

People want constant pampering. Little personalization features do indeed go a long way. 

People want their inbox with emails that they wish to receive. If an email doesn’t have the person’s name on it, they’re not going to see what’s inside.

Make sure to send marketing emails that a person wants to see. Let’s consider an example. Your eCommerce store sells bodybuilding supplements. A person visits your website and buys weight gaining supplements. Your email marketer decides to send an email to the same person with a discount voucher for fat burning supplements — not a swell idea. Your chances of making a conversion are next to none, even though you’re offering a discount voucher. You should have taken what the customer had bought into consideration. Offering a related product would have a higher chance of conversions.

Exhausting your email recipients

7. Exhausting your email recipients.

If you frequently send the emails to the same person, you’re going to get unsubscribed.

Sending too many emails is not a good practice. A person will only open so many marketing emails before he gets tired of them.

It’s hard to gain new emails. But spamming the living daylights out of your existing email database isn’t a good idea either.

Try to identify people who are the most loyal visitors to your eCommerce site. Sending them a few relevant and meaningful emails might be okay. 

To grow your email list, follow these simple steps:

  • Focus on producing quality content for your emails.
  • Strategically position Call To Action (CTA) buttons on your eCommerce website.
  • Offer a free product that people can use just by giving their emails and details. Try to provide as much value as you can and make the sign-up form as short as possible too.

8. No value for the recipient to open the email.

People want free stuff. If you’re not offering free stuff, at least offer people something of value.

If your email doesn’t contain any value for its recipient, it’s most likely going to be ignored.

What does value mean? Value is the benefits customers get when they sign-up to a newsletter or buy one of your products. Your unique selling point (USP) should make your offering stand out from what your competitors have to offer.

The one size fits all strategy isn’t ideal for email marketing or marketing in general. Each person is unique, and so is his concept of value. Finding what a person wants and then provide it to them is what’ll make your customers remember you.

Now that you know what value means, here is how you can offer value to your email recipients:

  • Provide a free e-book on a topic that your recipients would like and is related to your business.
  • Offer access to a product that provides incredible value for free.
  • Discounts, sales, and gift cards also work well to increase value for your audience.
An overwhelming amount of information

9. An overwhelming amount of information.


That’s me when I get an email that tells me about 30 different unrelated things that I don’t want to know about.

When sending a marketing email, it is essential to be clear and concise. No one has the time to read your email.

If you have a new product to sell, only mention that in your marketing email. And make sure you tell the email recipient what to do. If you send an email informing the reader about a new product and nothing else, you’re not going to get a conversion. Include a link or CTA button if you want to make a conversion.


E-commerce is here to stay. It’s cheaper to set up an online store. An online store has more potential for sales when compared with a brick and mortar store.

If you don’t want to fail, use your head, and think about what you want to see when you get a marketing email. The chances are that most people would like the same thing as you do. Do what is right, and your ecommerce store will excel at email marketing.

Guest Blog Author BioHamzah Adil is a creative blogger in the entrepreneurship niche. He mostly likes to address issues small businesses and new entrepreneurs face. eCommerce is the industry that is growing fast, and most of the entrepreneurs in this niche find it incredibly challenging to manage their operations and growth. He is currently associated with product-based startup Swift Chat which has come into being to help startups, especially in the eCommerce niche.

2 thoughts on “Nine Reasons Why eCommerce Businesses Fail at Email Marketing

Comments are closed.