As someone who has a bit of a love-hate relationship with ecommerce email (love shopping on my couch, loathe my credit card statement), I tend to get annoyed with all those emails I get–even from my favorite brands. And I’m not alone.

Each year, SendGrid’s Big Data Team analyzes email sending patterns of SendGrid’s customers, metrics, and engagement broken down by industry (note that the changes mentioned in this post represent data on SendGrid customers only).

In 2016, ecommerce email marketers experienced some of the lowest email engagement compared to other industries. These engagement metrics include metrics such as open rates, spam complaints, and click-through rates.

That might be tough news for ecommerce marketers to swallow considering the pressure to prove ROI, value, and drive leads with your program has never been higher. But before you get your email list in a bunch, I bring promising news.

In 2017, SendGrid ecommerce email marketers actually experienced improved engagement metrics.

Before diving into the changes year over year, note that these figures are trends and may not accurately represent the performance of your particular email program. Each program is different and these stats are meant to provide a benchmark so you can see how you compare to other programs. Check out the full ecommerce guide for more advice on how to optimize your ecommerce email program.

Send rates dropped

Ecommerce marketers appeared to send less email this year than last. The monthly send rate went down from 18 to 14 monthly emails. At first glance, this might not seem like an improvement, but this could mean that marketers are becoming smarter and more tactical with their emails instead of merely sending out email blasts to see what sticks.

Personally, I appreciate this trend and hope it continues because of the email fatigue I experience on a regular basis. How do you ensure you’re not overdoing your emails? Providing your recipients an opportunity to decide just how much email they will receive from you in a preference center is a great start.

There are different types of preference centers so you may need to test what works best for your email engagement.

Engagement is improving

Even with reduced email sending, email engagement across several important variables for ecommerce email marketing took a nice jump in the right direction in 2017. Some notable engagement increases include:

  • Open rates increased from 12% to 15%
  • Unique open rate increased from 6% to 8%
  • Click rate decreased from 4.3% to 1.7%
  • Unique click rate increased from 0.8% to 1.1%

This is by no means an exhaustive list of metrics that you should be monitoring, but the figures above are a great place to start. Consider monitoring your overall email list size and subscribe rate, as those are also indicative of overall email health.

Mobile-friendly is an important as ever

This should not come as a surprise, but more and more customers are purchasing products online with their phones. Mobile device usage increased from 59% to 67% for consumers of ecommerce email, and we only expect that number to grow each year.

It remains crucial it is to provide mobile-friendly email campaigns. If you don’t have access to an email developer, modular templates, like those found in SendGrid Marketing Campaigns, ensure that your emails look perfect on mobile phones.

Once you have your emails design and copy nailed, don’t forget to browser test your emails. With tools such as Email On Acid and Litmus, you can view exactly how your emails will appear not only on mobile devices, but also how they appear on different internet browser variations.

The combination of device and browser can be (nearly) endless so take a look at some of your most common combinations so you can prioritize which ones absolutely need to be tested.


Ecommerce companies and websites dominate how we purchase both life’s necessities and splurges. And when done right, ecommerce marketing can be tremendously successful. If you are an ecommerce email marketer, keep in mind that:

  • More email does not = better email.
  • The quality of ecommerce email campaigns in your industry is becoming more refined (nice work!) and resulting in improved email engagement.
  • Mobile friendly templates are only the beginning; browser testing will ensure your recipients have the best possible experience with your emails.

Check out the entire guide to learn more about ecommerce email marketing and ideas to help continually improve your own program.

As a senior content marketing manager at SendGrid, Kelsey oversees the SendGrid Delivery blog. Her downtime is dominated by either her mountain bike or skis (depending on current weather forecast)–and mixing up a salty marg afterward.