How to, e-commerce, Guest Posts

4 things you can learn from Amazon's personalized follow-up emails

BY Jacqueline Wibowo 27 Jul, "15

We love our guests! Helen Jones, co-founder and CMO at Beeketing, a marketing automation software, shares how stalking doesn't have to be creepy  - it can actually be a core part of your e-marketing strategy. Read on for her four lessons learned from an industry specialist at this tactic - Amazon.

When you first visit Amazon’s website, it will show you a lot of different products in different categories to learn your taste. After browsing for a while, you will see that it starts to recommend relevant items to your cart. That’s just one of the clear signs that prove Amazon is secretly following you all along your shopping journey.

Hooked on how it grows its business, I’ve been “following Amazon back” for months, and what has impressed me the most is that even after I leave the site, Amazon still knows how to bring me back without annoying me.

Taking a deeper look into their automated - yet extremely personalized emails, I’ve come up with some interesting lessons that I’ve learned along the way to share with you; on how Amazon is getting it right and some tips to better use follow-up emails to your advantage.

1. Stalking makes money (and Amazon is an excellent stalker)

We all hate “stalkers”, how about you? However, Amazon has turned “stalking” into a money-making machine while still bringing customers the best experience.

Judging by Amazon’s success, the recommendation system based on visitor behavior works really well. The company reported a 29% sales increase to $12.83 billion during its second fiscal quarter in 2012, thanks to how it integrated recommendations into nearly every part of the purchasing process from product discovery to checkout, until follow-up emails.

When you visit Amazon, it automatically follows you and tracks every single activity you do. If you have already added some items to your cart without purchasing, it will send an email to remind you and make sure you complete your order.

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After 2 or 3 days, if you still haven’t purchased that product, Amazon will send you a recommendation email featuring the product in your cart and some other relevant items based on your browsing history.

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So, Amazon is taking this opportunity to talk about some other watches that they’d like to draw my attention to. It’s not even an upsell pitch. It’s using a personalized way to recommend the right products that I might consider. In this case, I’m willing to click back to Amazon’s store and shop around. Nice touch.

Lesson learned:

What can you do to give your buyers more of what they want?

Instead of emailing all your customers the same thing (such as a monthly newsletter you manually create), you can customize their experience and surprise them by sending targeted and personalized emails.

2. Offer your customers more than their expectations

Finished ordering? Amazon will automatically send you an Order Confirmation to re-assure you that everything is well on set and you just need to wait for your order to come.

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It provides you with detailed information and everything you need to know about your order. While waiting for the product to be shipped, you can always make some changes by visiting the Help page.

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To help you keep track of your order and to inform you about the shipping process, Amazon also sends you a Dispatch Confirmation.

And now, you can see the tiny, yet powerful difference between Order Confirmation and Dispatch Confirmation emails. In the latter, instead of allowing you to change your order, you are informed about the return policy. In each email, Amazon clearly tells you where you can find help.

Lesson learned:

Offer your customers more than what they expect; make sure they are never alone.

The “point of purchase” is a very sensitive case, customers can abandon their cart at anytime, especially when they don’t feel secure enough. Therefore, it is suggested to equip your customers with everything they need, and offer help whenever you can.

3. Think beyond the thanks to drive engagement

If you’re a frequent buyer at, you may have received one or two emails like this:

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Follow Amazon’s lead and use a Thank-you email as an opportunity to further engage with your customers. It works extremely well when you make it as personal as possible, especially with a first-time buyer. For example, it could be surprising if your customers receive a personal note from the store’s founder, to thank them for their first purchase.


A few days after you buy a product from (long enough for you to use it), they will send you an email to rate how much you like it (or not). It’s a great way to collect customers’ feedback, understand customer satisfaction, but to also provide quality content for their website.

Lesson learned:

What can you do to help improve your customer's buying experience?

Learn from Amazon, start tracking everything that customers do in your store, so that you can begin to put together content that communicates with your shoppers as if it were a one-to-one personal conversation instead of a blind email blast.

4. Do not rest on victory. Improve your business regularly

Based on my previous purchases, after 4-5 days, Amazon starts to send me new emails.

You can see the differences between this email and the other emails that Amazon sent me before I made my order. It doesn’t focus on one specific item or one specific brand anymore. Instead, it provides me with more choices.

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Through this approach, Amazon is learning my interests again, to make sure they can update the most suitable recommendations, without sending me repeated content (that will mostly be ignored).

Lesson learned:

Listen to your customers and constantly improve your own business.

Amazon is an expert at listening to customers and adapting its system with customer preference to make sure everything they deliver is the perfect match that results in a high conversion rate. If you want to achieve the same, you’d better change to a customer-oriented approach to grow your business.

Simply put, email automation is very powerful. If you implement it right, you will see measurably profitable results in your business. Customers always want to feel special - email automation can do the job for you. It will not only strengthen your customer relationships, but it will also guide customers in their buying decisions. has proved this all along its eCommerce journey.

So, the chance is here, the choice is yours. Apply email automation to your business to win the game.


This post is brought to you by Helen Jones - Co-founder, CMO @Beeketing and a frequent blogger @Beeketing Blog.

In Beeketing blog, we talk about marketing automation, e-commerce growth and everything else in-between.


See also:

5 ways to stay on top of the b2b eCommerce rat race

10 ways to fight shopping cart abandonment on your eCommerce site

4 customer acquisition fundamentals every successful sme knows



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