9 min read

What Is the Best Time to Send eCommerce Emails

Written by Andriy Boychuk
9 min read

Timing is everything. A boxer knows when it’s the right time to throw a knockout punch. A rally driver knows the perfect time to throw his or her car into a gritty corner. A comedian knows when it’s the best time to drop the punchline on the audience. And a great copywriter knows when it’s the best time to end a paragraph.

For online businesses, knowing the best time to send eCommerce emails is a vital part of conducting a successful eCommerce email marketing campaign.

Your customers need to be kept informed and engaged. That goes without saying. However, if you send the right message but at the wrong time, chances are your email will miss the mark, like a poorly-timed punchline.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to choose the best time to send eCommerce emails, maximize your click-through rates, and avoid the eCommerce version of those long, awkward silences you get when you tell a joke that nobody laughs at!

Is There Really a Best Time to Send Ecommerce Emails?

That’s a good question. I’m glad you asked it. Because just like the audience at a comedy show, all businesses are different. And all of a business’s customers are different as well.

So in order to maximize the ROI for your marketing campaign, you have to be able to read the room, just like a good comedian. You need to have your customer audience segmented into lists that can be targeted at appropriate times and with the appropriate messages.

And you have to have your email marketing workflow set up in such a way that it can send those messages out automatically, at the correct times, according to pre-set triggers on your email marketing software.

But before we find out the best time to send eCommerce emails, let’s have a quick refresher about what an eCommerce email is.

What’s an eCommerce email anyway?

Example of an ecommerce email that needs good timing to be sent.

E-commerce emails are essential for maintaining customer relationships. Your customers expect to receive notifications about the progress of their purchase, when it will be shipped, and other messages about upcoming products, product anniversaries, and any other useful information that you can send to them.

Ecommerce emails can, among other things, be used to engage your customers according to parameters such as:

  • Browsing behavior
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Post-purchase information such as shipping details
  • Purchase anniversaries
  • Servicing and product updates
  • Personal moments such as birthdays and special occasions

Know your customers

Although there’s no such thing as a perfect time to send eCommerce emails, there are ways to figure out the times that will give you the optimum click-through rates for your carefully thought-out emails.

An email that drops into a subscriber’s inbox at the perfect time can create a lifelong customer for your business. So it’s worth taking some time to understand what makes your audience tick.

One of the key preparation methods is to consider your customer’s individual needs and what it is you are hoping to provide them with.

As you go about setting up the timing for your e-commerce emails, have a think about some of the following factors:

  • What are the demographics of your target audience?
  • What problems do they face, and how can you help?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Which time zone do they live in?
  • What does a typical day look like for them?

Each segment of your customer database will have a different set of circumstances and characteristics that will determine how likely they are to open your eCommerce emails.

You also need to bear in mind that people have a barrage of emails coming at them all the time. So by making sure that your message pops up in their inbox at the perfect time, you can help ensure that your message is one that catches their attention, and that they will not only open and read it, but act on whatever CTA you are hoping for.

You know how to get your customer audience primed for the metaphorical punchline. So now let’s look at how to deliver it with precise timing.

The Importance of Perfect Timing

Let’s crunch the numbers. Studies undertaken by marketing research organizations have come up with a range of data about the best time to send eCommerce emails.

But just like your different customers, the data reveals all sorts of nuances that have to be allowed for when you are setting up the timing for your particular set of emails to be sent out. You need a strategic approach.

Morning is perfect timing for this example of ecommerce email.

Time of day

Your segmentation should take into account what sort of work your customers do so that you can avoid sending messages at the wrong time of day.

There would be no point, for instance, sending an eCommerce email to a dairy farmer at six o’clock in the morning: he or she would be milking their cows.

If your customer is a commuter, on the other hand, those hours when they are sitting on public transport may be a good time to attract their attention.

A study conducted by the marketing research organization Omnisend concluded that email open rates peak at 8 AM with an average open rate of 20.23%

It makes sense, then, that your email messages should be timed to coincide with such things as:

  • Customer work schedules
  • Daily commutes to and from work
  • Lunch and/or coffee breaks
  • The first half-hour of the working day, when people check their emails.

Day of the week

Another Omnisend study concluded that the best day of the week on which to send promotional emails is Thursday. Tuesday comes in a close second, with Wednesday at third place.

Another research organization, Campaign Monitor, dug a little deeper into the pile of data and found that:

  • Thursday is also the best day for email open rates
  • Tuesday is the best day for click-through rates
  • Mondays and Sundays have the lowest unsubscribe rates.

Timezone

Your customers could be scattered all over the world. So you need to consider what time it is in their neck of the woods when they receive your email message.

When it’s lunch time in LA, for instance, it’s 3 AM in Geraldine, New Zealand. So your Kiwi customer isn’t likely to open and act on your message.

So a good plan is to schedule your messages based on timezone groups, or on a certain time and day, which can be set up in your automated email workflow to send out batches of emails timed to coincide with optimum local times.

Beta test again and again

Time is a fluid concept. What works for some segments of your audience may not work for others.

Comedians constantly test out jokes on audiences to see which ones get the best laughs. Boxers try different combinations of punches to see which ones can flatten an opponent the fastest.

So you need to be continually monitoring and testing your email marketing campaign timings to see which things work and which ones do not.

Look at your metrics to determine which days and hours result in the best click-through rates and bring the most traffic to your business’s site.

Run A/B tests to work out what works best for your customers. You can then tweak and adapt your timings until they are, so to speak, getting a laugh every time.

Choose Your Email Message Timings Carefully

The best time to send out your emails is going to depend on many factors. So when you are choosing the time settings for your automated emails, remember to consider these few notions:

  • Your audience’s behavior. Study and observe your audience. Pick up on their behavior patterns and model the timing of your emails to suit them.
  • The product or service you sell. Figure out which days, and at which times, the users of your product are most likely to be available, and in the right frame of mind, to open and respond to your message.
  • The all-important subject line. Depending on the time of day, your email’s subject line, or even the entire template, may be the factor that determines whether or not your email is opened or consigned to the junk folder. An email that says “Good Morning” is no use if the recipient is about to go to bed.
  • What’s the frequency, Kenneth? Not just a great REM song…your email timings should be carefully set up so that they don’t overload the senses of your customers. We all get loads of emails these days, so you don’t want yours to be the one that alienates an already touchy and hard-to-reach audience.

Get a Laugh Every Time

So there you have it. Timing is everything in the world of eCommerce email marketing campaigns.

You need to be able to read your audience, pick the right opening lines, deliver the correct message at exactly the right moment, and then, hopefully, bask in the metaphorical applause of increased sales and more cash rolling in.

You don’t have to be a comedian. But if you get your timing right, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank!

Further Reading

Top 10 Email Marketing Service Agencies for eCommerce in the US

How to Choose the Best Email Marketing Tools for eCommerce

Email Marketing: the 10 Components for a Successful Email

How to Write an eCommerce Thank You Email

The Follow-Up Email for eCommerce: Types and Examples

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