The 7 Ecommerce Emails Every Food Brand Should Be Sending

email marketing food brand

Food entrepreneurs tend to be great at building a social media following. When your likes and follows rise on Instagram, it’s easy to forget that there’s actually a better way to drive direct-to-consumer sales: email.

Email is not dead—it’s thriving. A massive 2015 study found that for every $1 spent on email, businesses could expect $38 in sales (that’s a 3,800% ROI). So it’s no surprise that 30% of marketers say email marketing generates their highest ROI of any platform.

Getting started with email, however, can feel daunting. When should you send emails? How do you keep from bugging your customers?

And while it may feel like a lot of work upfront, automating your email flow means you’re making sales, 24/7, without lifting a finger.

To get you the valuable secrets of email marketing, we brought in a heavy hitter. We got the scoop from veteran food copywriter Garrett Oden on the seven essential emails every food brand should send. His piece is below!)

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1. The “Here’s Why You Should Love Us” Email

Some people call this a ‘welcome’ email, but we think that’s lame, because if you’re using a full email to just say “Thanks for signing up to our newsletter”, you’re wasting a big opportunity.

Welcome emails have the highest open rate of any email type—nearly 60% on average. This is your chance to get your best, most valuable messages in front of your customer. It’s the perfect opportunity to remind them why they should love you.

Start off with a warm-hearted welcome, then go into a loyalty-building message, like one of these:

  • Something that makes your businesses unique
  • A way your product solves a major problem
  • The big reason they should remember you in the future

Aloha does a great job of this. They begin with a quick hello, then move immediately into a vision statement about their all-natural approach that’s designed to make the reader think, “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for!”

ecommerce emails food brand

2. The “Your Cart Is Waiting” Email

The average ecommerce store experiences a 75% abandoned cart rate. That means 3 out of 4 people who show interest in your products don’t actually buy them. And as much as 25% of those people end up leaving because of a “website crash” or “website timeout”—which means they didn’t intend to abandon their cart in the first place.

Whatever the reason, a quick reminder can go a long way.

Show them what they left (use a store-connected email app that brings up the exact item), mention the intangible benefits they’re missing out on, and send within 24 hours to ensure they don’t forget about your store and why they were there.

23andMe’s abandoned cart email is beautiful. They say exactly what’s been left behind (a DNA kit), drives home the main value proposition (know more about yourself), and even touches on some FOMO (don’t miss out on what your genetics reveal).

3. The “Here’s Your Order” Email

Any ecommerce setup—Shopify, Squarespace, whatever—automatically sends post-purchase order emails. They’re acceptable as-is, but not great. And with a little tinkering, you can turn a meh order email into a conversion-generating one.

When someone buys your product, they’re experiencing two emotions: excitement and buyer’s remorse. They’re eager to get the tasty food they just purchased, but they’re also wondering if it’ll be worth what they paid.

Did I just waste my hard-earned money? Will I like how it tastes? Are these peeps trustworthy?

Add some delight and personality to your standard confirmation emails, answer questions, and remind them why they decided to buy from you in the first place.

It’s hard to beat TOMS in this area. Their order confirmation email puts their mission and goal that drives the TOMS brand: giving the less fortunate good shoes.

It’s impossible to look at this email and think, “Hmm, I shouldn’t have done that”. The mood is instead, “Ah, that feels good.”

4. The “So How’d It Go?” Email

You’ve sold a product, now you’re eagerly awaiting for that customer to leave a review on your website. Spoiler alert: they’re not going to. You’ll always be left wondering if they liked it or not unless you prompt the feedback with an email.

It’s true, 99% of everyone find survey emails annoying, but they still work. Just ask how they liked your food—customers understand that you have to ask for feedback. Once you set up the email and automate it to send a few days after each purchase, you won’t even have to think about it, but the feedback will still roll in.

Nokia’s email is just right: short, sweet, and warm. The first question everyone asks about a survey is, “But how long is this going to take?” Nokia answers it right off the bat: 2 minutes.

5. The “You Should Buy This Next” Email

“But I don’t want to sound sales-y.” We hear it all the time, especially from newer food business owners.

Unless you’re employing car salesman tricks in your emails, customers won’t find your emails gross and icky. In fact, they want to know when you’re releasing a cool new product or when you think they’ll love something else you sell.

Why do you think they joined your email list in the first place?

Write with pride—customers love seeing when owners are passionate and confident about what they create—and your promotional emails will land smoothly.

Once again, Aloha comes in with the win. Their be-your-best-self energy is contagious, the benefits clear, and the hype is genuine.

ecommerce emails food brand

6. The “Cool Stuff You Should Know” Email

Customers are inevitably going to disengage at some point. Life will get busy. They’ll find other food products they want to try. They’ll simply forget about your brand.

We’ve found the most effective way to keep them engaged is to offer value-packed information. Something intriguing. Something controversial. Something odd. They’ll love that you’re so generous with helpful information, and as long as the emails help them solve a problem or answer their questions, they’ll keep opening them.

These engagement emails are perfect for when your customer hasn’t visited your website in a long time, but you want to make sure they don’t forget about you. And with most software, emails like this can easily be automated.

JavaPresse is a master of this kind of email. They’re extremely personal for a coffee brand, honest, and almost always tease an article that’ll help the reader brew better coffee or live more mindfully.

7. The “Please Come Baaaack” Email

Eventually, you’ve just gotta go straight for the prize with a winback email. Those customers who’ve been loving your helpful emails—they’re likely to convert. According to the principle of reciprocity, when we freely give, people respond by giving (or buying) in return.

Incentives like discounts, free shipping, and extra goodies (get a free cookie with every order) tend to work well here, but don’t forget that getting a customer to buy again is primarily about solving a problem they have, so infuse your mission and benefits in there too.

One of the best winback emails we’ve ever seen came from Plated (the meal kit company). The discount is available up-front, but they also hit on their most beloved features/benefits: flexibility, variety, and dessert.

ecommerce emails food brand

For further email inspiration, check out these email repositories:

Is email working well for you? We’d love to hear about your success (and epic fails) with email marketing. Drop a comment and let us know!


Garrett Oden is a freelance food copywriter based in Waco, Texas. When he’s not writing emails, blogs, or website copy, he’s brewing coffee. That’s it. That’s all he does.

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