The Store Owner's Guide to Shopify Email

March 3, 2021

Email marketing is largely recognized as one of the most cost-effective ways to generate sales for your Shopify store. 

First, email requires much less of an investment than most other digital marketing tactics. The low upfront cost explains how email is able to return as much as $42 in revenue for every $1 spent.

Another benefit to especially strategic email marketing is that it gives you a high degree of control over your store’s campaigns. With social media or paid advertising, an algorithm change outside of your control can undermine your efforts and time spent. But with email marketing, you’re communicating directly with your subscribers: people who have a confirmed interest in your store and products. 

Indeed, email can be one of the best tools for promoting your products. In fact, a SmartInsights survey found that professional marketers rate email marketing as more effective than any other digital channel.

Image via Smart Insights

While there are many ways to get started with email promotions for your store, in 2019, Shopify released Shopify Email. 

We’re covering how to get started, but first:

What is Shopify Email?

Image via Shopify


Shopify Email is a user-friendly email tool for merchants that gives you all the essential building blocks you need to run effective email marketing campaigns.

This Shopify-based option is especially handy in that you can create and manage promotional email campaigns directly from your Shopify account. As a bonus, it's also more affordable than other options if your store’s just getting started. 

You can save time by starting with a template — these range from sale announcements to special holiday offers, to promotions for particular products, and more. Your logo and store colors get pulled into these templates automatically. 

Once you’ve got your template, you can edit the text, buttons, and images to customize. All your work gets saved automatically, so you don’t need to worry about losing progress. 

Importantly, you can segment your audience to target specific groups of shoppers (maybe you want to send a promotion to only subscribers who have purchased with you before, for example). You can also send the emails directly from your domain name, which helps improve brand recognition and avoid spam filters.

For each campaign, Shopify tracks open rate, add to cart rate, and sales conversion rate. With these metrics, you can improve your email marketing strategy iteratively, come up with clever segmenting ideas, and drive even more sales. 

How to use Shopify Email 

Here’s how to set up Shopify Email and start your first campaign:

1. First, download Shopify Email from the Shopify App Store.

Image source: Shopify App Store

2. After the app is installed, go to your Shopify account dashboard and select the “Marketing” option in the left sidebar.

3. Click on the “Create campaign” button.

4. Select “Shopify Email.”

5. From here, choose a template:

6. In the “To:” field, you can choose whether you want to send the email to all the customers that have subscribed to your mailing list, or a segment of your audience. 

There’s a 200 character limit for the subject line. There’s also a 200 character limit for the preview or hint text, which is an optional field for text that will appear next to the subject line in your subscribers’ inboxes.

Once you’ve filled out these fields and customized the body content with images and a careful proofread, you’re set.

Shopify Email analytics

To help you see how your email marketing campaigns are performing, Shopify shares the following metrics with you:

  • Delivery rate: the percentage of your emails that were sent successfully 
  • Open rate: the total number of recipients who actually opened your email — retail open rate benchmarks average around 15-18% or slightly above, so it's good to aim for something in this range
  • How many recipients clicked a link within your email
  • How many unique visitors the email generated for your store
  • How many times the email led to a visitor adding an item to their cart
  • How many times the email led to a visitor placing an order
  • The dollar amount of sales generated by the email
  • How many times the email was reported as spam
  • The number of subscribers who unsubscribed after receiving the email

Shopify Email pricing

All Shopify customers can send up to 2,500 emails for free each month. 

Here, each individual message to a recipient is considered an “email”. That is, if you send a given email message to 500 subscribers, this counts as 500 emails toward your monthly total. Any unused emails from your free 2,500 messages do not get rolled over to the next month. 

After those first 2,500 emails, you’ll need to pay $0.001 for each additional email. So, if you sent a total of 12,500 emails in a month, you would be charged $10.

How Shopify Email pricing compares to other email service providers (ESPs)

For comparison, here are the rates for a few of the most popular third-party email marketing apps that scaling ecommerce stores often consider:

  • Mailchimp: Free plan offers up to 2,000 contacts and 20,000 monthly email sends. You’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan (prices start at $9.99 per month) for more contacts, email sends, and advanced features such as audience segmentation.
  • GetResponse: No free plan, prices start at $15 per month. 
  • Constant Contact: No free plan, prices start at $20 per month.

Overall, Shopify Email’s pricing is quite competitive compared to other options, and it's a great entry point for starting to build your subscriber base, or experimenting with your store's early promotional wins.

Building your Shopify Email subscriber list

Due to online privacy laws and compliance, it’s really important that only visitors who have opted in to your mailing list get sent your store’s marketing emails. Buying an email list from a third party or using some other method to send emails to people who haven’t opted in is bad for your brand’s reputation, you risk potential fines, and your messages will likely end up going directly to spam anyway. 

To build your subscriber list organically, you can include signing up for emails as the default option on your checkout page:

1. From your Shopify account’s dashboard, select the “Settings” option in the left sidebar.

2. Select “Checkout.”

3. By default, your checkout page will already display an option for customers to sign up for promotional emails. But you’ll need to manually activate the setting that preselects this option for your visitors. 

With this setting enabled, customers will need to opt out of your subscriber list, versus needing to actively opt in. This small step can lead to many more sign-ups for your store, but you’ll still want to be mindful about frequency of communication with your subscribers, and sending especially relevant messages.

Click the box next to “Preselect the sign-up option” and save your settings.

You can also use a newsletter sign-up section on your store’s homepage to collect contact information from interested visitors.  

Depending on the Shopify theme you’re using, you may already have such a section on your homepage. For example, Shopify’s default “Debut” theme has a newsletter sign-up form located in the footer of the homepage.

To really improve your store’s email list-building efforts, it's best practice to offer great value upfront: a discount or the chance to win some sort of prize (gift card, free product, etc.) in exchange for a store visitor’s email address. Above all, make sure it’s clear that the visitor is aware they’re agreeing to receive your marketing emails.

For best results, pair Shopify Email with relevant, custom landing pages

Of course, email marketing can’t generate sales on its own. Once you’ve used an enticing email message to attract a visitor to your site, you still need to convince them to take whatever action it is that you want them to take (purchasing a particular product, signing up for an event, etc.). 

That’s where Shogun comes in. With over 2000+ five-star reviews on the Shopify app store, our page builder helps you create custom Shopify store pages for driving conversions. With an extensive library of page-building elements, you’ll have everything you need to quickly drag and drop together high-converting product and landing pages matching the exact context of what your visitors first clicked on in an email. 

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Adam Ritchie

Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.