Product Recommendation Emails: What They Are and How They Can Help You Drive Sales

Product Recommendation Emails: What They Are and How They Can Help You Drive Sales

Looking for cost-effective ways to expose your customers to more products, drive traffic to your online store, and turn casual buyers into loyal ones? 

Product recommendation emails can help. 

Read on to find out what product recommendation emails are and how they work, discover the different types, and learn how to leverage them to improve your bottom line!

What is a product recommendation email?

As a customer, you’re likely familiar with product recommendation emails—you know, those emails from brands recommending that you try this or that because you might like it. 

This type of email can reach you at any stage of your customer journey, whether you’ve just joined a mailing list or haven’t opened emails from the brand for months. 

The key thing is that they’re almost certain to grab your attention, because they usually contain offers you can’t resist.  

Here’s a good example that gives a general idea of what these emails are about:  

Apple personalized newsletters with product suggestions

Now, let’s define the term more precisely. 

Product recommendation emails are promotional emails that contain personalized recommendations tailored to the customers’ needs and preferences. 

These emails are typically triggered, or automated, which means that they’re sent automatically by software when a certain predefined condition is activated. 

Marketers set these conditions, or triggers, in advance. Some typical triggers for product recommendation emails include customer actions such as browsing a web page, leaving items in a shopping cart, or ceasing to interact with a brand for several months. 

Recommendation emails are essential for e-commerce stores with a wide range of goods. But they’re also beneficial to other businesses, like bookstores, bakeries, streaming services, software companies, and so on. 

Emails that typically contain recommendations, such as welcome emails, back in stock notices, abandoned cart emails, etc., have high open and click-through rates and convert remarkably well, a recent report by Bluecore indicates.

So, how does it work? 

Let’s take a closer look at the main advantages of product recommendation emails.  

The benefits of sending recommendation emails

Product recommendation emails are beneficial for both e-commerce businesses and customers. 

For the latter, these emails improve their customer experience by helping them discover new products and save time on product searches. 

For businesses, the ultimate benefit of sending recommendation emails is a boost in sales and revenue as a result of improved open, click-through, and conversion rates. 

Other benefits include:   

  • Increased customer engagement. Personalization is a great way to make customers more engaged because you’re offering people products tailored to their tastes and needs.
  • More website traffic. Relevant recommendations in emails compel customers to proceed to your website and check out the suggested products. This provides more traffic and, potentially, more website conversions.  
  • Increased customer loyalty and LTV. People value brands that cater to their needs and help them save resources. If you deliver top-notch personalized experiences, customers are more likely to stick with your brand long-term. 
  • More product sales. Searching for the right products is often tedious, so many people put off the task. By offering tailored recommendations, you save people time and effort, making them more likely to buy immediately. Also, recommendation emails such as upselling and cross-selling emails expose customers to products they might not have considered purchasing otherwise. 
  • Cost-effectiveness. Email marketing is remarkably cost-effective with an average ROI of 36:1 and topping out at 45:1. 

8 product recommendation email types and examples

Product recommendation emails, like the example we saw in the previous section, are what we consider a “typical” recommendation email. 

But there also are other types, since “recommendation email” is an umbrella term that includes all emails that contain product recommendations. 

As you can suggest products at different stages of the buyer journey, there are several email types that lend themselves well to product recommendations. 

Let’s take a look at the most relevant product recommendation email examples from successful brands. 

1. Welcome email 

Welcome emails are exceptionally effective at getting new customers to open and engage with them. 

At this point, people have voluntarily entered into communication with your brand, and offering them relevant products to start their buyer journey can bring impressive results. 

According to research, welcome emails have the highest open rates for first purchase and conversion campaigns among several automated email types with product recommendations. 

The welcome email example below shows how to get new customers to visit your product catalog by giving them a glimpse of your best-selling products.

Product recommendation email example with best-selling products

2. Browse abandonment email 

Finding what you need in an e-commerce store is not always easy, so some customers get frustrated and leave disappointed. Also, they might get stuck in the consideration stage or get distracted before completing their purchase. 

Whatever the reason, you can’t always convince them to buy the product they were viewing. But offering a similar alternative they might have overlooked often works. 

Here’s a great example of using this tactic in a browse abandonment email.

First, the brand nudges them to take another look at a product, and then they provide several complementary products.

Product recommendation email example with product suggestions

3. Abandoned cart email 

Abandoned cart emails are similar to browse abandonment emails, except that they’re triggered when a customer adds items to a shopping cart and doesn’t check out. 

Cart abandonment emails already boast a pretty stellar performance, but you can improve it even further by suggesting more relevant products. 

That’s what we see in this email from Huckberry.

First, they showcase the items from the cart and then suggest complementary products to offer “more good stuff” (likely items similar to what the customer viewed or purchased earlier).  

Product recommendation email example suggest complementary products

4. Feedback email 

Feedback emails, which you send at the post-purchase stage, are another good place to offer product recommendations

At this point, you’ve already secured your relationship with the customer, so they’re more likely to consider buying more if they’re happy with their recent purchase.   

Here’s how Netflix leverages product recommendations in a typical feedback email. 

Adding a hook for the customer (“the more you rate, the more we can suggest shows and movies you might like”) makes the request and the following recommendations even more appealing.  

Product recommendation email examples

5. Product launch email 

When you’re launching a new product, letting your subscribers know about it is a must. But you can also use product launch emails to offer more similar items that the customer might be interested in. 

In the example below, Apple promotes a new action game in an email with a subject line that reads “Pokémon UNITE is here! Let the battle begin”. 

In the same email, the brand throws in a bunch of similar games to make sure the customer has options to choose from. This is a great promotional strategy.

Product recommendation email example

6. Personalized email newsletter 

Personalized newsletters are probably the most common recommendation email type.

In these campaigns, brands leverage customer data available to them to craft personalized lists of recommendations and boost engagement. 

In this example from Spotify, the lists are most likely based on the customer’s previous listens.   

Product recommendation email example based on browsing history

7. Seasonal email  

A change of seasons is a great occasion to get in touch with your existing customers and also to promote seasonal offers.

Most brands can put together a list of seasonal items, and others can offer seasonal sales and exclusive discounts. In any case, variety never hurts!

In the example below, there’s a selection of tea with traditional spring flavors. 

This beautifully designed promo campaign is so relevant and appealing that it’s poised to hit the mark even without any additional incentives. 

Product recommendation email example

8. Re-engagement email  

There are several ways to get back in touch with dormant subscribers, and offering relevant product recommendations is one of them. 

For win-back campaigns, choose some of your most popular best-sellers, new products, or something similar to the customer’s previous purchases. 

In this example from Aillea, the brand focuses on products from its new collection. The categories shown are most likely based on the customer’s purchase history.  

Product recommendation email example

Best practices to craft great product recommendation email marketing campaigns

Ready to create your own effective product recommendation emails? Follow these tried-and-true tips and best practices. 

1. Automate them 

Product recommendation emails are typically automated and sent via email marketing platforms which makes handling them way easier. 

Automating the process of sending product recommendation email marketing campaigns saves you time and effort by setting up triggers and rules that determine when and to whom the emails should be sent. 

Plus, automation ensures that every customer gets the most relevant product recommendations at the right time.

It allows you to create highly personalized product recommendations based on each recipient’s behavior, preferences, and purchase history. 

2. Make them relevant 

For product recommendation emails, relevance is essential. 

The more data you have on the customer, the more relevant your product recommendations are, so remember to use analytics wherever you can (but respect your customers’ privacy unless you want to appear creepy).

Focus on providing value to your subscribers by offering relevant and personalized recommendations. 

Include clear and compelling descriptions of the recommended products, highlighting their key features, benefits, and any special promotions or discounts. Use high-quality images to showcase the products effectively.

Incorporate customer reviews, ratings, testimonials, or user-generated content to build trust and credibility around the recommended products. Social proof can help reassure recipients about the quality and value of the products.

Create a sense of urgency by including limited-time promotions, discounts, or exclusive deals in your product recommendation emails.

Recommend complementary products or upgrades that enhance the original purchase or offer additional value. 

Consider including helpful tips, guides, or educational content related to the recommended products to provide additional value to recipients. 

3. Determine the best timing

Timing matters, especially for certain campaign types such as welcome or post-purchase campaigns. 

The best time to send product recommendation emails depends on customer behavior, peak engagement times, seasonal trends, testing, etc. 

For example, sending emails during peak engagement times when subscribers are most active can increase open rates and interactions. 

Going along with seasonal trends and holidays is another way to boost engagement. 

It’s also important to track customer behavior so you can send timely abandoned cart reminders and triggered emails based on actions like visiting a specific website page. 

4. Use clear CTAs 

Vague or overly creative CTAs can sometimes work, but they’re not the best approach in product recommendation emails. Instead, focus on clear, simple, direct formulas. 

Do you want your customer to take another look at an abandoned cart item? Or check out new arrivals? Say so in your CTA. 

Also, remember to highlight your CTA button to make it stand out. Try adding more color or picking a different font. 

5. Measure and improve

ESPs offer detailed campaign analytics, and you can leverage that data to track the performance of your campaigns and improve the outcomes. 

The essential metrics to keep tabs on include open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, but you can also tap into other details for more insights. 

Once you identify the weak points, take care of them to make your recommendation emails more efficient. 

Wrapping up

Product recommendation emails are an effective way for e-commerce websites to engage customers, expose them to more products, and, ultimately, drive more sales. 

By leveraging automated recommendation emails at different stages of your customers’ buyer journeys, you can also make your marketing more efficient and cost-effective, maximizing the potential of your email marketing efforts. 

If you still haven’t harnessed the power of product recommendation emails, use the product recommendation email examples and best practices from this article to up your game! 

All email examples are credited to Really Good Emails.

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Written by

Natasha Zack

Natasha Zack

I’m a professional journalist with 10+ years of experience. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with various kinds of media—print, online, and broadcast. Currently, I write copy for brand media like Selzy and teach English part-time. I also have my own edtech passion project dedicated to teaching English via the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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