Email Marketing Customer Journey: How do email flows and automations fit into your customer’s journey?

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Email Marketing Customer Journey: How do email flows and automations fit into your customer’s journey?

The customer lifecycle or the customer journey is a concept all eCommerce owners and marketers are familiar with. This is a term that describes the phases a consumer goes through in relation to a specific brand before and after making a purchase. A lot of marketing channels are put into use in order for the brand to be a companion of the customer through those phases. However, no other marketing tool is as powerful as email marketing. Email marketing customer journey allows you to create automated flows that can help you cover the entirety of your customer’s journey

Flows, also known as automated email flows or email journeys, are the most basic marketing automation you should set up as you build up your email marketing strategy. These journeys will help you set up a system that covers every pinpoint in your customers’ journey or lifecycle, allowing you to target them with relevant emails.

The goal of each flow is to push your customer (or potential customer) into the next stage in their customer journey and relationship with your brand.

There are four phases of the customer lifecycle: 

  1. Pre-Purchase
  2. Post-Purchase
  3. Declining Subscribers & Churning Customers
  4. Gone

In this article, we will go through each stage and the most important flows your eCommerce needs to set up for them. As well as into the content you should include in each flow and email journey examples from our email marketing agency that works with hundreds of eCommerce brands. 

Email Marketing Customer Journey Stages

1. Pre-Purchase

In this phase, you have two different objectives:

  • Convert a new or existing subscriber into a customer (that’s to say, get them to place their first order). 
  • Getting repeat purchases from your existing customers

The perfect email journeys to set up for this stage are:

  • Welcome Flow
  • Browse Abandonment Flow
  • Added to Cart Abandonment Flow
  • Checkout Abandonment Flow

1. a. Welcome Flow / Email Automated Journey

A Welcome Series is an email marketing automation that allows you to target all new subscribers and send them emails to get them familiar with your brand, your products, and your value proposition. Let’s go through the two main elements of email marketing welcome automation.

Sign-up method:

The Welcome Series is an essential flow because it allows you to hit up a great percentage of the users who go into your website and eventually get them to buy. How? With sign-up pop-ups. With the right strategy, you can convert 10%-20% of users into email subscribers

A pop-up is a sign-up form that allows users to leave their email addresses and other information to subscribe to your newsletter. When setting up a pop-up you need to make sure it:

  • Has an eye-catching design
  • Has a copy that’s engaging and that sets the right expectations
  • Is mindful of GDPR and/or TCPA & CTIA regulations

Think about it. If you are browsing through a website and suddenly the form at the left pops up, are you more likely to at least read it or are you quick to close it? Now, look at the right one. The design is eye-catching and the main title gives you a reason to keep reading. Who doesn’t one a discount? And not really knowing if you are getting 35% or 10% OFF for some people is more than enough reason to leave their email. This pop-up also sets the expectations, not only you’ll get your discount for signing up, but if you keep getting our emails, you’ll enjoy new exclusive offers. 

Worst Email Pop-Up examples      Best Email Pop-Up Examples

Don’t forget to add a successful page after people leave their email, like this one:

Email Capture - Pop-Up Success Page

The email journey

Now that you have left your email in the pop-up from the previous example. Let’s look at the email journey itself. The Welcome Journey is the perfect opportunity to identify leads and to introduce yourself (in your own words)

Usually, a Welcome Series has between three to five emails. The type of content you can add to this email marketing flow includes:

  • Brand introduction: values, mission, origin story, founder’s introduction.
  • If you promised a welcome discount in your pop-up: discount code, timeframe to use the discount
  • Product introduction: what do you sell, why is it unique, what does it solve, unique selling points, showcase your best sellers (they are best sellers for a reason).
  • Social proof: user-generated content, social media content, etc. 

Take a look at two email examples from the Welcome Flow of an online art store. They do a great job at introducing the brand, its story, and the idea behind it, as well as reminding the subscriber about their welcome discount.

Best Welcome Flow Email Journey Example       Welcome Email Marketing Journey Example

And take a look at the metrics! These are higher than some of the benchmarks Klaviyo provided for welcome emails

  • 50% open rate
  • 6% click rate
  • 1.9% conversion rate

Email Marketing Flow Benchmarks Welcome Email Marketing Journey

1.b. Abandonment Flows / Email Automated Journeys

While in your Welcome Flow, your subscribers are looking into learning more about your overall brand, in the abandonment email flows, they need to learn more about the products they were browsing, adding to their carts, or starting checkout for. Let’s see how you can introduce your subscribers to the unique selling points of your products

Defining each email automation

  • An email Browse Abandonment journey is triggered when a subscriber viewed a product page but didn’t go into the next stage, which would be adding it to their cart. This is the perfect opportunity to touch base on the unique selling points of the product the subscriber was interested in. 
  • An Added-to-Cart Abandonment flow is triggered when a subscriber added a product or products to their cart but didn’t start the checkout. To set up this flow, you need to be able to create an Added-To-Cart event in your Klaviyo account. 
  • A Checkout Abandonment email marketing flow is triggered when a subscriber starts checkout but doesn’t finalize placing the order. People who get to this stage, usually just need a reminder to finalize their order, while people in the previous two flows need more information and convincing. 

The content

We usually add between two and five emails for this type of email marketing flows. You can include content like: 

  • Dynamic blocks and personalized recommendations. 
  • Product reviews. 
  • Educational emails about what the product is and how to use it.
  • Discounts. You can choose to give a discount from email number one, but you can also use a discount as your last resort to converting, and give it out in email number two or three.  It all depends on your strategy).
  • Any extra things that can help you convert. For example, if you donate a percentage of your sales to an NGO, then remember your subscribers about this, that may push them over the edge to purchase from you.
  • Optionally, you can add conditional splits to provide more personalized emails to different groups: 
    • Product collection
    • For buyers and non-buyers
    • Value of the items added to the cart
    • Location

Email Marketing Abandonment Journey Examples

Need inspiration? These are two emails from the Browse Abandonment flow of one of our best-performing stores. As you can see, these email rates are higher than average according to Klaviyo’s benchmarks (52% open rate, 6% click rate, 0.92% conversion rate):

Browse Abandonment Flow Example No Discount       Browse Abandonment Email Journey Discount

Browse Abandonment Flow Benchmarks       Browse Abandonment Email Flow benchmarks


Check this Added To Cart Abandonment flow email example! Who better to talk about how awesome your products are than your own customers. Exploit your 5-star reviews in your abandonment flows to convert.

Added To Cart Email Marketing Journey

Added To Cart Email Flow benchmarks


This apparel brand makes a great job at giving answers to their potential customers about their pain points and the reasons why they may doubt buying from them. Before making a purchase, it’s normal for a potential customer to need more information before committing to your brand and your products. That’s part of the customer lifecycle.

Checkout Started Abandoned Cart Email Flow

Checkout Started Abandoned Cart Email Journey benchmarks

2. Post-Purchase

After introducing your brand in the Welcome Flow and guiding your potential customers through browsing your website, adding products to their cart, starting checkout, and finalizing an order, you finally get to the post-purchase stage. Did you know that on average, it is five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain existing customers and encourage repeat orders? So, from this point on, you need to make your customers feel seen and feel taken care of by:

  • Preventing buyer’s remorse and making sure they feel they made a great decision by placing an order. 
  • Make them engage with your brand. When your subscribers buy from you, you are starting an important relationship that needs nurturing. 
  • Rewarding them. Make them feel how important they are to your brand by sending them relevant content and exclusive discounts or gifts that reward their loyalty. 

For this stage, you need to set up a Post-Purchase flow. Within this email journey, you can:

Cross-sell or Up-sell by using dynamic blocks

Cross-sell Up-sell dynamic blocks

Integrate with a rewards program to give points every time they purchase.

Post Purchase Email Flow Loyalty

Ask for reviews or referrals from happy customers!

Referrals Post-Purchase Flow

Or share the story from a VIP customer!

Share reviews in your post-purchase email journey

Other things you need to keep in mind in your Post-Purchase strategy:

  • Make sure you are considering your shipping and delivering times when adding delays to your flow skeleton.
  • You can add splits to personalize the experience between one-time buyers and returning customers. 
  • You can also add splits for different collections to have a super personalized path for every customer depending on the collection they bought from.

3. Declining subscribers & Churning customers

After a while, no matter how good your product is or how engaging your emails are, you are going to stumble into declining subscribers and churning customers. This is the second to last stage in the marketing customer journey. Declining subscribers are subscribers that used to interact with your emails, but haven’t recently. Churning customers are people who bought from you in the past but haven’t placed an order lately. These two types of subscribers are also known as win-back and re-engagement opportunities that you can exploit. 

When identifying your Winback or Re-Engagement opportunities, you need to think about:

  • After how long can you say it’s not normal for one of your subscribers to not open or click your emails. 
  • When can you say your customers are at churning risk? After how many days without them placing a new order?

These timeframes will depend on the industry you are in, the product you are offering and the number of emails you usually send out. 

In order to re-engage those profiles that are losing interest or those customers that haven’t purchased from you in a long time, you should create a re-engagement flow and a win-back flow. 

3.a. Winback Flow

A Winback Flow will be triggered when Klaviyo identifies a customer that hasn’t placed an order after a certain time frame defined by you. To grab the attention of these customers, you can do the following:

  • Make sure your subject line and your pre-header are engaging and attention-grabbing enough to make them open your email. 
  • Let them know you have noticed their absence and how important they are to you
  • Offer them a special discount they can refuse to use to boost sales and set a deadline to use it, therefore creating FOMO and urgency.
  • Showcase your newest releases to renew their interest in your store


Winback Email Flow Example       Best Winback Email examples

To learn how to set up a Winback Flow from scratch, see more information here

3.b. Re-engagement flow

A re-engagement flow will be triggered when a subscriber joins the re-engagement segment you created and added to the flow trigger. Let’s see an example of a re-engagement segment:

Re-engagement segment

For this email journey, you can:

  • Let your subscribers know you have noticed they stopped engaging with your content
  • Add a survey asking them why they stopped
  • Offer a special discount
  • Ask them what would they like to read more about in your emails
  • Remind them how awesome your products are and your brand is
  • If they are still uninterested, ask them if they want to opt-out of your list.

Re-engagement flow       Email sunset flow

4. Gone

After creating all these welcome, abandonment, and win-back flows, you will still encounter people that aren’t really interested in your brand anymore. It’s inevitable, and it’s ok. This is the last phase of the cycle when you accept there’s nothing else to do but let them go. 

It is really important for your brand to stay present while your potential customers go through their journey. And flows are the right tool to do that when done right. So before setting them up, make sure you have the resources in-house to set up winner flows. If not, consider booking a free call with us, and leave your flows to the hands of expert hustlers. 


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