Homeecommerce blogEvolving with Trends: Modern Practices in eCommerce Email Design

Evolving with Trends: Modern Practices in eCommerce Email Design

A lot of e-commerce interactions take place via email. Just think about your last online shopping. You probably went to the store and maybe bought something, but you glanced at the inventory even if you didn’t. Then, a few weeks later, you received an email stating that the item you were looking for was now 20% off. 

Still, the format is far more important than you think because it’s the message that matters (that the item you’ve shown interest in is now on a discount). With that in mind, here are some of the best modern practices in e-commerce email design that you should follow.

Email gamification

The easiest way to persuade people to interact with your brand is to turn this interaction into a game. This is the so-called concept of gamification, where you take an activity that has nothing to do with video games and try to make it a game-like experience.

This often involves elements like:

  • Progress bar
  • Point system
  • Small rewards

Most importantly, the “game” has to make sense as an email element. You can’t fit any type of game into an email. A quiz, a puzzle, or a progress bar easily fit into an email naturally, but you shouldn’t try to use them all simultaneously. Remember, interacting with an email is supposed to be a brief and simple experience. 

It also has to make sense regarding your products and businesses. For instance, Duolingo sends emails that are mini-language quizzes. This helps remind users of a fun time with an app and encourages them to reengage. Also, it fits the context of an app/business. It’s not out of place, so it fits the larger branding purposes.

The integration of the CTA, like making it into the part of the game, is also a good idea. You could, for instance, make the CTA into the last step of the game. You can reward an email recipient with an in-app prize; they must follow the CTA to redeem it. You must put this at the end since leaving an email ends the game.

Customization of email templates

Emails are the most important type of outreach, and, as such, they’re one of the best-researched formats. This is why email templates are so great. They help by providing you with an optimal format as the starting point so that you can later customize it in whatever way you like. 

The first major advantage is the ease of customization, which means you can try out more things. You can engage in A/B testing regularly since a few edits separate you from making a new idea. Also, you won’t get too attached to some of your least successful creations. Since you made them without much trouble, discarding them won’t hurt. 

Another amazing aspect of this is the fact that it makes onboarding much simpler. Bringing your employees on board and showing them the ropes with email templates is easier.

Segmentation, the key concept in internet marketing, will be much simpler. You can make and save different email templates for different parts of your market. 

Then, there’s the issue of consistency and personalization. Have you ever watched a video on your favorite YouTube channel and, after a while, realized that the content creator sticks to similar structure patterns? People look for these patterns and feel a particular sense of familiarity when they spot them. In other words, it will become consistent with their branding.

Ultimately, even when done via an automation platform, automation is much simpler when you have email templates to help you out. You can set up abandoned cart reminders, welcome emails, and post-sale follow-up templates and use them whenever possible. 

Mobile optimization

According to one statistic, roughly 55-65% of all emails are opened on mobile phones. Therefore, we can’t stress enough just how important it is to get into mobile optimization.

First, the layout should be in single columns so it’s easier to scroll through. This will also be amazing for narrower screens, greatly benefiting your responsiveness.

If you have clickable buttons, make sure to make them large enough to make clicking on them easier. Now, don’t be afraid of making the button too large. When the button is tiny, people struggle with clicking on it. Even if you make the touch range of the button larger, many people will spend more time aiming and feeling uncomfortable. Also, misleading people about how easy/hard it is to click on something can lead to many accidental clicks. 

If you use images, which is generally a smart idea, ensure they’re compressed to not prolong the loading time on mobile devices. Also, pick the right image size so the image doesn’t look distorted on smaller screen formats.

Pick the right fonts. They need to be at least 14-16 pixels for the body of the text. However, the way you format text matters just as much. Leave a lot of whitespace to make it more readable. This will also make it more scrollable and minimize the chance that you touch something interactive. 

Remember to always test the results. You want to preview an email before you send it. Check what it would look like on various devices, and this usability will be very telling of what the result will be like. 


Adding videos to your emails was always an effective strategy; however, it’s also quite a resource-heavy solution. Instead, you can use animations, where cinemagraphs come into play. These are subtle, looping animations that will improve your email visually.

The best thing about cinemagraphs is that they can be simple and subtle, so they don’t draw attention from the main message. After all, an email is a professional outreach program, and you need to stick to a minimalist approach.

When using cinemagraphs, treat them like images. Provide alt text and metadata for each that you use.

You can use them to show a particular product feature or rotate it slightly to show it from all sides. You also get to demonstrate a process by showing it in action. Sure, an actual review is superior, but people often don’t have the time to watch through a long introduction and often skip seeing a product in use. 

A cinemagraph can enhance CTA buttons but make them stand out much more. A subtle animation of the CTA button will draw attention more effectively than any other method. Even making a CTA button larger, choosing a more appropriate color, and using different button sizes to create contrast won’t do the trick.

Ultimately, you can add seasonal greetings to strengthen this sentiment or even a nostalgia card. When there’s a major holiday coming, you can prepare adequate decorations. Playing on nostalgia cards, in general, is a recipe that never fails. 

AR (augmented reality) experiences

A good email can give a user a quick glimpse into the experience of doing business with you. For instance, let’s say you’re a real estate agent and include an AR tour through one of the flats (or just rooms) you’re selling in your email.

You can also offer a virtual product try-on. Just imagine how much more effective it would be to show a customer what a certain necklace would look like on their neck instead of showing it in a vacuum, on a background, or a mannequin. 

This AR showcase is an incredibly effective marketing tool and sales funnel. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t use it in your email marketing. Combined with your knowledge of the digital identity of your customers, the right message should be easy to make. 

AR is an incredibly immersive format, which is so important when it comes to making people invested in the story you’re trying to tell. It makes it easier to make people care, which is a huge objective on your priority list. You need to ensure that your message aligns with your client’s interests.

This also works perfectly well with the gamification trend we discussed earlier. Even when it comes to simple games, people are a bit saturated. So, you have to offer them something enticing and unique that will grab their attention. A short AR game might be just what you’re looking for. 

The best thing about AR is that it requires just a phone, which is a device that everyone has, and you can make it simpler by just adding a QR code to the email that will take them straight to the app.

Email design is crucial for its CTR; take careful considerations before making a move

Improving your emails will not only boost your CTR. It will also affect your sales, improve the entirety of the customer lifecycle, and even have a positive impact on your reputation. It’s a lot of gain for a minor improvement, so do your best to keep up with these latest trends.

Srdjan Gombar
Srdjan Gombar
Veteran content writer, published author, and amateur boxer. Srdjan is a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature and is passionate about technology, pop culture, and self-improvement. His free time he spends reading, watching movies, and playing Super Mario Bros. with his son.

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