Getting your welcome email right

A few weeks ago I decided to sign up to a whole bunch of retailers’ emails. In this post I’m going to talk through the welcome emails I did – or in some cases – didn’t receive.

Your welcome email is the first email that your customers are likely to receive from you. It typically has the highest engagement of any email you are likely to send, and it’s your opportunity to show off what you do and how great you are. It is also a way to thank your customers for buying from you and begin building a relationship with them; yet too many retailers miss this great opportunity. You only get one change to make a first impression.

The non-existent

Office, Sweaty Betty and Hotel Chocolat didn’t send a welcome email at all after signing up. There was no thank you, no offer, and no attempts to capture extra data. This is a lost opportunity for these three companies.

The average

Charles Tyrwhitt, Reebok and Urban Outfitters did send an email after signing up. But their subject lines and content don’t come across like a welcome email and can be easily missed  for instance,  “15% off your Reebok gear”, “Start Urban Outfitting”, “Hurry, your £10 offer is waiting!” However, their emails are on brand and offer an incentive to take action.


Reebok’s welcome email

If UO replaced its hero image with an animated GIF they would probably see an increase in engagement with their emails.


Urban Outfitters’ email has a nice graphic but a GIF would be more eye-catching

Diesel, Footlocker, Havaianas, Hugo Boss, and Uniqlo also send a timely email shortly after signing up. Yet their emails need a lot of work. They are text-heavy, aren’t on brand and are not particularly engaging. Diesel’s email copy is confusing and tries to get you to create an account.


Lack of branding let Diesel’s email down

All of these brands create a poor initial experience. Footlocker, Fossil and Hugo Boss’s emails are double opt-in emails. This is good for data quality, but it is at the expense of great customer experience. At least Fossil and Hugo Boss’s actual welcome emails are on-brand. But since signing up and confirming my subscription, Footlocker hasn’t sent me a single email.

hugo boss

The welcome email from Hugo Boss

The good

Adidas, Allsaints, Cath Kidston, FootAsylum, Forever21, Jack Wills, Kuoni, Levi’s, Schuh all sent what in my opinion are good welcome emails. They had clear subject lines that welcomed or thanked the user. The copy and design of these emails are on brand and again welcomed the user to the company.


Levi’s welcome email is image-heavy and on brand

Some of the brands like Adidas and Forever 21 included a discount to encourage the customer to engage further, and followed best practice elements to create a positive customer experience.


Adidas offers an incentive in its welcome email

The winner

However, the outstanding winner of the welcome emails goes to FootAsylum.

  • The email has great use of microcopy throughout.
  • It contains a clear benefit statement of being a subscriber. The benefit statement also set the expectations of what you’re likely to receive.
  • They use a great Call to Action “Stop Reading. Start Shopping!”
  • They are also the only company to use their welcome email to collect further data by having a very obvious preference centre within the body of the email.
  • Finally, the email is clearly on brand.

Foot Asylum wins the welcome email contest

Tips for welcome emails

  • Make sure you send it immediately after the customer signs up.
  • Keep the subject line clear and obvious that it’s a welcome email.
  • Set expectations for what the customer will receive and how frequently.
  • Provide a benefit statement for signing up.
  • Use this email as an opportunity to find out more about your customers.
  • Use preheader text as a follow on from your subject line.
  • Provide a safe sender message to encourage customers to add your email to their safe senders.

Want to find out more about creating the perfect welcome program? Download a copy of our free best practice guide: The email welcome program: Have your new subscribers at hello.

If you didn’t catch my first post on the sign-up process you can check it out here.

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