The 3 Most Important Email Automations Every Brand Needs

Want to make money for your DTC brand while you sleep?

Use email automations. 📧

Unlike individual campaigns, once your automations are set up and running, your work is done (aside from continuing to A/B test, of course!)

However, with the sophistication of email service providers today, it’s easy to become:

a) Carried away, creating a complex web of email flows that require a few Aspirins to untangle.

b) Too confused to know where to start, so you just send one-off campaigns.

Or maybe you’re more like… 

c) Wait, I can automate my emails?

Whatever camp you’re in, we think you’ll find this article helpful. 

We cover the three essential email automations every brand needs, exactly what should be in each email, and examples from dozens of other successful DTC brands.

You’ll find guidance on:

  1. Pre-purchase: Your welcome series flow
  2. Mid-purchase: Abandon cart emails
  3. Post-purchase: Post-purchase emails

Get ready to dominate your automations! 👇

1️⃣ Welcome Flow

Your Welcome Flow is a critical piece of your sales funnel. This series of emails gives you a chance to introduce yourself and allows you to make an impactful first impression.

In general, a good Welcome Flow should:

  • Introduce your brand to new customers: tell your founder story, what makes your products unique, and why customers should shop with you.
  • Give something of value: anything ranging from education to entertainment to a discount code, free gift, or other offer.
  • Aim to convert first-time customers: showcase popular products, provide social proof, and/or give an incentive to purchase (e.g., discount, free shipping, etc.)

Your flow's look, feel, and tone will be unique to your brand, but after analyzing hundreds of welcome emails, we’ve outlined a basic winning structure you can implement to fast-track your progress! 🏃

Here’s a basic breakdown of a Welcome Flow with examples from other brands.

Email 1: Welcome

Deliver immediately

  • Deliver code/offer (if applicable)
  • Brand introduction/founder story
  • What your brand offers and popular products

Four Sigmatic

Email 2: Brand differentiator

2-4 days later

  • Outline your brand’s unique quality standards
  • Detail the benefits of shopping with your company
  • Discount code/offer reminder (if applicable)

Who Gives A Crap

Email 3: Social proof

2-4 days later

  • Include social proof and testimonials
  • Showcase more popular products
  • Discount code/offer last chance (if applicable)


Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at some pro tips:

👉 While three emails every two to four days are standard practice for a welcome flow, your schedule will vary. For example, if you sell a premium/expensive product, your customer may need more convincing to make a first purchase, which might mean a longer welcome flow!

👉 If a customer converts, remove them from the rest of the sequence (ideally, they’ll go into your Post-Purchase Flow… more on that below!)

👉  Avoid adding new subscribers to your general email list **until they have completed the Welcome Flow.**  There’s nothing more confusing than getting a random sales email the same day you opted in for a 10% off code — and trust us, we see this A LOT!

If you’re using Klaviyo, here’s a helpful article on the logistics of setting up your Welcome Flow automation.

2️⃣ Abandon Cart Flow

You’ve got your flow to capture curious leads at the top of the funnel — but what about those shoppers who get cold feet in the middle of a purchase?

The dreaded Cart Abandoners. 😵 (Which makes up 7/10 of site visitors!)

Optimizing the shopping experience and checkout process is the best upstream defense against cart abandonment… but you’ll also need good downstream defense. This is where Abandon Cart emails come into play.

Research shows Abandon Cart emails get incredibly high engagement (average 34.5% open rates, 7.5% clickthrough rates) and make brands a lot of money (average $8.25 revenue per recipient).

In other words, devoting time and energy to your Abandon Cart Flow can be an incredibly high ROI investment. 💸

However, many brands are still just setting up one basic Abandon Cart automated email and calling it a day. You can do better!

Here’s what a good Abandon Cart flow should accomplish:

  • Address common objections: Shoppers usually abandon their cart for a reason, like unexpected costs (shipping, fees, taxes) or unanswered questions (return policy or subscription terms). Use your abandon cart emails to answer questions and address objections!
  • Provide an incentive to finish checkout: Data shows that Abandon Cart emails with a discount code perform better (no surprise there). However, you can also try to win your customers over with other methods if discounting isn’t your jam, such as explaining the benefits of shopping with you or providing social proof from other customers. 
  • Include 2-3 emails: According to Klaviyo, this is the sweet spot for maximizing revenue and performance. AC flows with three emails get the best engagement and generate the most revenue — $24.9M compared to $3.8M for just one email.

Here’s a template you can follow for your awesome Abandon Cart flow!

Email 1: Abandoned cart reminder

1-24 hrs after cart abandonment

  • Cart details
  • Other items you might like
  • Reasons to shop with you


Email 2: Overcome objections

1-2 days later

  • Address common concerns and questions
  • Provide a channel for asking more questions (CS hotline, FAQs)

Liquor Loot

Email 3: Sweeten the deal

1-2 days later

  • Deliver discount code/offer, ideally with a limited-time use
  • (While some brands do this in the first email, it’s often unnecessary and can “train” customers to wait for a discount. If you’re going to offer a discount code, wait until the last email in your series to entice price-sensitive shoppers.)

Full Leaf Tea Co.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at some pro tips:

👉 Personalization is key with these emails! Include information like the customer’s name and the product(s) they left in their cart.

👉 If possible, have your CTAs link directly back to the customer’s cart, and use language like “Finish Shopping” or “Complete Checkout.”

👉Using urgency/scarcity language can incentivize customers to take action.

👉 In general, the sooner you send abandoned cart emails, the better they perform. But test a variety of send times – especially for email one – to find the best timing for your customers. 

If you’re using Klaviyo, here’s a helpful article on the logistics of setting up your Abandon Cart automation.

3️⃣ Post-Purchase (First-Time Purchaser)

So, you know you need a Welcome Series to introduce your brand to new subscribers and an Abandon Cart flow to capture lost shoppers… 

Now let’s talk about how to nurture all those new customers you’re bound to get with Post-Purchase emails.

Shoppers are the most motivated and excited about your brand right after their first purchase. 

So, delivering thoughtful post-purchase emails can help grow your relationship with these new customers, build brand loyalty, and turn them into repeat customers!

Plus, customers love them. ❤️ 

Post-purchase emails get a 217% higher open rate, over 500% higher click rate, and 90% higher revenue per recipient than other email campaigns!

A good Post-purchase Flow should:

  • Deliver basic order logistics: Including an order confirmation, shipping details, return policy, customer service contact, and so on. These are often automated in your ESP, but you can usually customize or have a developer code in more sections!
  • Set customers up for success: Give them the info they need to get the most out of your product (FAQs, tutorials, how-to’s, blog content, etc.)
  • Gather feedback: Ask for reviews, testimonials, and feedback to help you improve.
  • Encourage repeat purchases: Follow up the first purchase with replenishment notifications, loyalty/rewards programs, and cross-sells/upsells.

Here’s your recipe for a Post-Purchase flow that keeps the stoke high and customers coming back for more!

Email 1: Order confirmation

Immediately after purchase

  • Thanks for your purchase
  • Order details (order number, itemized list of products purchased, pricing, shipping address, and estimated delivery date)
  • Customer support contact info for questions

Who Gives A Crap

Email 2: Shipping Confirmation

When order is shipped

  • Order details
  • Tracking information and link
  • Estimated delivery date

Who Gives A Crap

Email 3: Delivery Confirmation

After delivery

  • Confirm order delivery and include tracking
  • Link to social channels so customers can share their experience

Who Gives A Crap

Email 4: Product education

1-2 days after delivery

  • Information and tips on how to get the most out of your product (tutorials, blog posts, how-to videos, FAQs, recipes, etc.)
  • Link to more helpful content


Email 5: Review request

2 weeks after delivery, or an appropriate amount of time for your product lifecycle

  • Ask for a review or rating of products purchased
  • (Optional) Offer a small incentive for leaving a review, like a discount, store credit, or loyalty points


*Optional* Email 6: Replenishment email OR cross-sell/upsell

30 days after delivery, or based on the product life cycle

  • If the customer purchased consumable products (e.g., skincare, supplements), send a reminder email when it's time to reorder.
  • (Optional) Offer an incentive, like a discount or free shipping, to encourage repeat purchases.
  • OR if your product isn’t a consumable, replace this with an upsell or cross-sell email to promote relevant or complementary products to their first purchase.

Replenishment email example from Rockin’ Wellness:

Cross-sell/upsell email example from Wildling:

*Optional* Email 7: Loyalty Program, Rewards, or Refer-a-Friend

4-6 weeks after delivery

  • Invite customers to join your loyalty program if you have one
  • Explain the benefits of being a loyal customer, such as exclusive discounts or early access to sales
  • Encourage them to refer friends and family to your brand


Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at some pro tips:

👉 Eventually, you’ll want to build out various post-purchase flows depending on the frequency a customer has ordered. For example, you might have a 1) first-time purchaser flow, 2) repeat purchaser flow, and 3) VIP flow (multiple repeat purchases). With most email automation tools, it’s possible to send customers a different email after every purchase they make! How cool would that be?

👉 Building strong customer relationships is the ultimate goal of your post-purchase email flow. Think of it like dating: You’re playing the long game. Make sure your emails provide value, convenience, and a positive brand experience!

If you’re using Klaviyo, here’s a helpful article on the logistics of setting up your Post-Purchase automation.


Whew, that was a lot of info! Don’t worry, here’s your recap:

Automation 1: Welcome series

  • Email 1: Welcome
  • Email 2: Brand differentiator
  • Email 3: Social proof

Automation 2: Abandon cart

  • Email 1: Abandoned cart reminder
  • Email 2: Overcome objections
  • Email 3: Sweeten the deal (discount)

Automation 3: Post-purchase

  • Email 1: Order confirmation
  • Email 2: Shipping confirmation
  • Email 3: Delivery confirmation
  • Email 4: Product education
  • Email 5: Review request
  • Email 6: Replenishment OR Cross-sell/Upsell
  • Email 7: Loyalty Program/Rewards

Now go forth, automate, and dominate! 👊

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