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How to Segment Your Ecommerce Email List

What is email segmentation?

Email segmentation is when you divide your email list into smaller subsets based on demographics, website activity, email engagement, past purchases, etc.

As Klaviyo puts it, segmentation is all about “figuring out how to slice up your marketing universe into groups of people who are motivated by the same things.”

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. Email segmentation can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. And with an email marketing platform, you can automate a lot of the process.

Today, we’ll look at different ways to slice and dice your list depending on your goals.

Why segment your ecommerce store’s email list?

Why take the time to segment your ecommerce store’s list when you can send the same emails to everyone and be done with it?

This is why.


Highly Segmented Emails

Unsegmented Emails
Average open rate16.17%9.95%
Average clickthrough rate1.99%0.92%
Average revenue per recipient, per email send$0.19$0.06
Average unsubscribe rate0.1%0.2%
Source: Email Segmentation Benchmark Report, Klaviyo

By segmenting your email list, you have the potential to double your opens and clicks, triple your email revenue, and cut your unsubscribe rate in half. Suffice it to say that it’s worth the effort.

One important note: Not every email you send has to be highly segmented. The goal is to create segments you can use to in the long term to promote new products, reengage inactive subscribers, win back past customers, etc.

3 ways to segment your email list

1. Demographic data

Using demographic data like gender, age range, and geography is the most straightforward way to slice up your customer list.

Of course, you need to collect that data before you can use it. This can be challenging because introducing too many form fields during the checkout process can decrease conversion rates. So don’t just collect data for the sake of data — make sure you’re only asking for information you’ll actually use.

2. Purchase behavior

When shoppers have made a purchase from your store or even added items to their cart before abandoning it, you can use their browsing and shopping activity to send relevant emails.

And it’s not just about the products they’re checking out. You can also consider recency (have they been active lately?) and frequency (how often do they buy from you?).

3. Content consumption

Don’t make the mistake of relying only on purchase data when you segment your list. That helps you get more repeat sales from existing customers, but it doesn’t help you gain new customers.

Fortunately, a lead’s engagement with your content can tell you a lot about what motivates them. If they’re reading blog posts geared toward a certain interest or demographic, you can make inferences about what topics will keep them coming back.

Advanced email segmentation drives better results

To create more advanced segments, you can combine any of the data above to narrow your list into hyper-targeted groups.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you sell athleisure apparel, and you want to promote the launch of your new yoga pants. It doesn’t make sense to email your entire database. So, how can you create a segment that’s most likely to open the email, click through, and make a purchase?

Let’s break it down.


Segments to Consider
DemographicsWomen, ages 18-54
Purchase HistoryHas browsed yoga apparel in the past 6 months
Has purchased yoga apparel in the past 12 months
Content ConsumptionHas read an article about yoga on your blog

When you send your email to women who have browsed yoga apparel, purchased yoga apparel, or read content about yoga, you’re far more likely to drive sales (and keep your email sender reputation high) than if you were to email your entire database.


Next up: What kinds of emails should you be sending to convert these subscribers to customers?

Sign up for Email Marketing 101, a free ecommerce training course. You’ll receive five lessons via email over the course of one week, and by the end, you’ll be an email marketing master. Sign up now.

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