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Tips, Tricks, & Advice

How Email & SMS Are Shaping The Customer Experience

How Email & SMS Are Shaping The Customer Experience

by Jimmy Kim

5 months ago

How Email & SMS Are Shaping The Customer Experience

Mass emails and texts? That's old news. Now, eCommerce marketing is all about hitting the right note with personalized messages.

I've worked in physical retail and eCommerce, and let me tell you, the old tricks don’t work anymore. Customers expect more from brands. And we’ve got to meet that expectation.

It’s time we start focusing on how our customers want to be treated, not just on making more money. Marketers need to use email and SMS in a way that offers their customers a truly unique experience.

Below are 6 ways email and SMS are changing the customer experience—and how you can get in on the action:

1. Pre-purchase funnels focus on the customer, not the product

Traditionally, pre-purchase emails focused on selling products.

It's not surprising. Email has over 4 billion users, and, according to HubSpot, around 60% of shoppers say marketing emails have influenced their purchase decisions.

But customers no longer want these pushy email funnels that make brands look like they’re just trying to make as much money as possible.

The newer pre-purchase funnel prioritizes the customer experience. It helps you build connections with your customers and slowly gain their trust.

Let’s look at an example:

  1. Start a conversation with a warm welcome, make sure you give them what they initially signed up for—the discount, freebie, etc.
  2. Tell your story and show your audience what your company and brand stands for.
  3. Send personalized reminders, user-generated content or educational blog posts to improve subscriber experience and help them learn more about you.
  4. Offer demos, tutorials and how-to guides to show your audience what your product does and how to use it.
  5. Inject urgency by telling customers your product or offer is about to expire and they need to take quick action.
  6. Finally, segment users by engagement level and funnel stage, and send personalized messages to help each segment convert.


Remember, the goal of pre-purchase emails is to solidify trust and relationships with customers—so they not just buy but also stick around.‍

2. Welcome emails go beyond selling

Welcome emails are the bread and butter of email marketing.

But most marketers use welcome emails as a sales pitch—no wonder they usually end up in the trash. Here’s what a typical welcome funnel looks like:

  • Email #1: Welcome aboard! Thanks for joining us.
  • Email #2: Check out our latest product—you might like it!
  • Email #3: Here’s another product you might find interesting!
  • Email #4: Don't miss out—grab our newest product today!

While this might sound like a good idea to marketers who want to increase revenue, it doesn’t feel very welcoming to customers.

Marketers are now changing their approach by using welcome emails to show customers what to expect and educate them on what the company offers.

The new and improved welcome email/SMS sequence looks something like this:

  • Message #1: Welcome! This our mission and here’s what to expect.
  • Message #2. Your order’s on its way! Customers love transactional messages. According to G2, the top two messages customers want are shipping updates (75%) and delivery confirmations (65%).
  • Message #3. What’s your brand story? What’s your business about? Tell your customers a little more about who you are and what you stand for (likely via email.)
  • Message #4. Provide guidance on how to use your product, show off its best features and talk about how it benefits your customers.
  • Message #5. Share some of your favorite user-generated content. Use case studies and testimonials from happy customers to prove how awesome your product is.
  • Message #6. Share reminders and updates with customers, such as a new product launch or upcoming sales. The goal is to keep the conversation going.


Go beyond selling when welcoming customers. Use these emails to connect with your customers and invite them to become part of your brand’s story.

3. Customer feedback can give you a competitive edge

Honest feedback is the best thing we could ask from our customers.

It helps us grow, improve, and learn from our mistakes. But brands have been using feedback all wrong. Instead of peppering customers with review requests, ask yourself—what are you offering them in return?

Here’s how to use customer feedback to connect with customers and encourage them to be honest about their experiences with your product:

  • Don’t ask for a review right off the bat. Start by letting customers know you’re happy to have them on board.
  • Survey customers and ask them what they want to hear more about, how you can improve your product, and what you can do to provide a better experience.
  • Use tags to segment customer feedback, making it easier to analyze all that data and use it to improve your business and products.

Graza is great at this. 


Remember—it’s easy to ask for reviews. The hard part is to actually implement that feedback and improve the customer experience.

4. Post-purchase emails are more personalized and targeted

The customer journey doesn’t end at the first purchase. In fact, that’s the perfect opportunity to upsell, cross-sell and nurture buyers.

Instead of putting customers on a “buyers” list and sending newsletter after newsletter, marketers are now sending personalized, data-driven emails that get results.

Does this work? You bet. According to McKinsey & Company, 78% of customers are likely to repurchase from retail brands that use personalization.

So, how do you personalize post-purchase emails and SMS? By using the data you already have on hand. Here are some ideas:

  • Segment customers by key metrics like Average Order Value (AOV), Lifetime Value (LTV), number of purchases, purchase category and more.
  • Automate your emails but use data to trigger them so they’re still highly relevant and personalized to each customer.
  • Set a goal for each email or SMS. Are you trying to make a sale? Or do you want customers to hit a certain AOV level?

Tailor your emails and texts, and only send out targeted messages that will improve your customer's experience.

5. Omnichannel strategies create seamless experiences

Omnichannel isn't just about using multiple channels to fire messages from every angle. It’s about listening to what our customers are telling us about which channels work best for them.

Instead of jumping to conclusions like older people won’t read SMS or younger customers don’t use email, do the following:

  • Use Google Analytics to track data on which channels your customers are using.
  • Reach out to customers and ask them how they prefer you communicate with them.

Once you have your answers, create an omnichannel strategy that works seamlessly to delive ramazing customer experiences.

Braxley Bands does a great job of keeping their customers engaged on various channels.

6. Marketing efforts are driven by data and technology

What’s the most important thing for improving customer experiences? Data.

There’s a reason marketers rely so much on analytics and tech stacks. To understand what’s working, what needs improvement, and where to focus your energy, you need to measure everything—including how your customer feels about your brand.

Here are some key metrics you should be tracking:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). This tells you how happy your customers are with your business. Responses are measured on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10, and then multiplied by 100 to get the final score. So, if you survey 30 customers and 18 of them are positive, your CSAT would be 60% (18/30 x 100 = 60%). 
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS). This score gauges customer loyalty on a scale of 1-10.  Customers within the 9-10 bracket are your "promoters." Those who fall into the 0-6 bracket are your "detractors," and these are the customers you need to win over. 
  • Retention rate. Are customers sticking around? Are they making repeat purchases? Retention is a key metric for understanding how loyal your customers are. Use tools like Sendlane to drive retention by sending product recommendation emails, motivational messages and referral coupons to keep them coming back. 

Use these insights to improve future campaigns. Remember—every move you make impacts the customer experience.

Want to learn more about how Email and SMS are shaping the customer experience? Rewatch Jimmy's presentation at Commerce Roundtable!

Or if you're ready to optimize your customer journey with these messages, get a personalized tour of Sendlane’s unified eCommerce marketing solution.


Jimmy is a former eCommerce retailer and 15+ year email marketer turned SaaS founder. Located in Austin, TX, Jimmy is the Founder & CIO of Sendlane, an email, SMS, reviews and forms eCommerce marketing platform that helps over 1,700+ companies save time, generate more revenue, and increase customer retention.

He leverages his expertise and market knowledge to build a product designed for the data-driven digital retailer, enabling them to make better decisions in their marketing. Jimmy brings a unique voice as a former retailer, an email marketing lover, and an email deliverability expert.


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