Email marketing is the highest-ROI channel for eCommerce brands, generating $40 for every $1 spent — almost double the $22.24 per $1 from SEO.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular tools for running online stores but its built-in email system is very limited. New and small businesses may be fine with this but you’re not going to generate $40 from every $1 with WooCommerce’s standard email features.
In this article, we look at the best WooCommerce email marketing tools that will help you achieve this kind of ROI. These are email marketing systems with native WooCommerce integrations and specialist eCommerce features for cart abandonment, transactional emails, customer retention and plenty more.
We weigh up the pros and cons of each system to determine which email marketing tool is the best for WooCommerce users in 2023.
What are the best email marketing options for WooCommerce?
Email marketing is fundamental to our business strategy here at Venture Harbour. We’ve analysed over 670 email marketing tools and we update our findings every year to rank the top email marketing systems for different business types.
You’ll find the complete list in the latest version of our annual review of the best email platforms.
As a WooCommerce user, you can instantly narrow this list down to five email marketing tools. The rest don’t include native integration for WordPress/WooCommerce or deliver the eCommerce-focused features you need from a system.
Unfortunately, eCommerce brands are underrepresented in the email marketing software space.
This leaves us with five email marketing tools capable of integrating seamlessly with WooCommerce and delivering the features you need:
Before we take a closer look at these five WooCommerce email marketing systems, let’s explore the pros and cons of using the standard email features in WooCommerce.
Pros & cons of WooCommerce’s email system
You’ll find WooCommerce’s default email system in the back end of WordPress under WooCommerce > Settings > Emails:
As standard, WooCommerce allows you to capture and store customer email addresses in lists. You can create emails for different actions – for example: new account, new order, cancelled order, etc. Using triggers, you can automatically send them to customers at the right moment.
You can edit the content of your emails and add images using the WordPress editor. However, you’ll have to edit the relevant PHP files to make more drastic changes or add custom CSS to customise the visuals.
Alternatively, you can use WordPress plugins or WooCommerce extensions to add greater functionality.
WooCommerce has a set of extensions for email marketing and the AutomateWoo extension is the first place you should start. The extension costs $99 per year (the equivalent of $8.25/month) and helps you create automated follow-up emails, cart abandonment reminders, birthday emails and a variety of other automated and personalised messages.
At this price point, the AutomateWoo extension is good value for money but it’s no match for the other WooCommerce email marketing systems we’re looking at today. Even with the extension, you still have to do quite a lot of manual work. You’ll also need to invest in other tools to run a complete email marketing strategy.
Unless you’re just starting out and you’ve got a very small customer base, it makes more sense to invest in a more capable email marketing platform. Ideally, one that can fully automate campaigns and generate revenue while you sleep (or get on with other stuff).
What we like:
- Triggers – You can set triggers to automatically send eCommerce emails to customers.
- WooCommerce extensions – You can enhance WooCommerce’s default email system with extensions (at a cost).
Where they could improve:
- Features – Even with extensions like AutomateWoo, you’re not getting a complete email marketing system.
- Automation – A lack of automation features requires you put a lot of manual work into email marketing.
- No A/B testing – You’re not getting any analytics or testing features to optimise your campaigns.
- WordPress interface – Managing emails in WordPress’ dated back-end system is a pain.
Who should use WooCommerce email?
We only recommend WooCommerce’s built-in email system for the newest and smallest eCommerce companies.
If you’re only getting started and still building up your email list, you can get the basics done with WooCommerce. Once you’ve got a few dozen contacts on your list, you’ll probably want to consider extensions like AutomateWoo. It’s pretty good value at $99 per year but less capable than the tools we’re looking at in this article.
However, you’ll need other extensions and plugins for customising emails, adding signup forms, optimising campaigns, etc. – and this all adds to your software expenses.
It doesn’t take long at all for more comprehensive email marketing systems to offer more value for money. The other tools we’re looking at today will help you achieve far more with less effort.
As soon as you want to start automating email campaigns, recommending products, personalising emails and retaining customers, you need a serious email marketing system.
So, now, let’s take a closer look at the best email marketing tools for WooCommerce websites.
ActiveCampaign is the top-rated system in our annual email marketing platform review. It’s also the highest-rated marketing automation platform on G2 with a score of 4.6/5 from 9,799 customer reviews and 4.6/5 on Capterra from 2,100 reviews.
We’ve used ActiveCampaign as our email marketing system for more than five years now. You can read our comprehensive review for more details.
The platform’s customer relationship management (CRM) system helps you make the most of your customer data and powers your email campaigns across the entire customer journey. You can automate email responses to any action using triggers and create custom automation workflows using multiple triggers.
For example, you can create automated cart abandonment campaigns for customers who fail to complete the purchase. You can also create dynamic workflows using multiple triggers and conditional logic.
You don’t have to create every automation workflow from scratch, either. ActiveCampaign comes with a library of over 500 automation templates for you to use and edit. This covers you for most of the essential campaign types any eCommerce store needs to run. From cart abandonment and purchase confirmations to transactional emails, customer service, and more, ActiveCampaign has you covered.
Email marketing is one of ActiveCampaign’s biggest strengths but not the only role it can play. This is a multichannel platform that allows you to integrate email with SMS and website messaging for full coverage. This means you can create multichannel automation and the platform’s optimisation system even allows you to split-test different paths in a sequence.
For example, you can test upselling campaigns with a mix of email and SMS to find the right mix of channels and frequency of messaging across both. Earlier, we mentioned the lack of analytics and testing features in WooCommerce’s email system so ActiveCampaign is a huge upgrade in this regard.
ActiveCampaign runs plans starting from $29/month. However, as a WoCommerce user, you’ll want to sign up for the Plus plan (or higher), which starts at $49/month. Pricing is determined by the number of contacts you store in the platform’s CRM and you’ll find a breakdown of the fees on ActiveCampaign’s pricing page.
What we like:
- Easy to use – ActiveCampaign is easy to learn for new users with minimal training, thanks to excellent usability and UX design.
- Email automation – You can automate advanced email campaigns across the whole customer journey using conditional logic, predictive content, intelligent insights, customer scores and plenty more features.
- Reasonable cost – While not the cheapest system we’re looking at today, ActiveCampaign is one the most advanced and significantly better for money than comparable email marketing platforms.
Where they could improve:
- Reporting – ActiveCampaign has improved this aspect of its system over the years but the other tools in this article still do a better job of visualising reports for email campaign performance.
Who should use ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign is best suited for WooCommerce sites generating less than $5m in revenue per year. For smaller retailers, the platform drives growth by automating email campaigns and helping you to make the most of your customer data.
If you want to maximise revenue by increasing customer loyalty, purchases per customer and how much they spend, ActiveCampaign removes most of the manual workload. This allows you to focus on other areas – like customer acquisition – while the system automates growth at the retention stage of the customer cycle.
While ActiveCampaign provides an email automation system for various business types (eCommerce, SaaS, retail, etc.), Omnisend is designed specifically for online stores. It’s not as powerful or flexible as ActiveCampaign but the focus on eCommerce comes with its conveniences. For example, all of the email templates and content blocks are designed for eCommerce.
Omnisend has a dedicated WooCommerce plugin to integrate seamlessly with your website. This is one of the highest-rated email marketing plugins for WordPress with an average score of 4.9/5 from 56 reviews.
Reporting is one of Omnisends’s biggest strengths and, once again, reports are geared towards eCommerce campaigns by default so so they’re ready to use right out of the box. Deliverability is another key strength and this is something many email marketing platforms overlook.
Many email marketing platforms don’t even show deliverability insights but Omnisend puts these in plain sight so you can see how many recipients are actually receiving your emails. You can also view interaction metrics in the same view to monitor open rates, engagement, CTRs and other interactions.
Automation is limited compared to ActiveCampaign but Omnisend does include a library of workflow templates covering most of the essentials for eCommerce brands. You can easily set up automations for cart abandonment, purchase confirmations, order status updates and other interactions.
Unfortunately, you can’t automate full campaigns like you can with ActiveCampaign. You can’t personalise content to the same extent, either, but Omnisend can handle the most common customer interactions. The system includes workflows for welcome emails, abandoned carts and plenty more.
You can also customise workflows and create your own using Omnisend’s automation builder. Again, it’s less capable than ActiveCampaign’s builder, which allows you to create more advanced workflows, but it’s super easy to use and a great tool for quickly creating simple automations.
Omnisend offers one of the most generous free plans for WooCommerce users who are just starting out. As long as you’ve got no more than 250 contacts, you can send up to 500 emails per month as well as 500 web push notifications and 60 SMS messages.
You get access to the vast majority of Omnisend’s features on the free plan, too. The main limitation is how many messages you can send and this is the key factor in pricing across plans. The Standard plan starts from $16/month for 251-500 contacts and the Pro plan from $59/month – also for 251-500 contacts.
Pricing increases in increments of 500 contacts with the Standard plan jumping up to $20/month for 501-1,000 contacts, $25/month for 1,001-1,500 contacts and so on.
You can check how much Omnisend will cost you for different contact list sizes on the company’s pricing page.
What we like:
- Reporting – You get eCommerce focused reporting that’s ready to use from day one.
- Deliverability – Omnisend offers a range of features to maintain high deliverability, including email warm-up (sending emails gradually to improve your sender reputation) and insightful reports to monitor your deliverability and reputation.
- eCommerce content blocks – Omnisend offers lots of content blocks to integrate products and discounts directly into your email campaigns. Their form templates also include a range of creative ways to engage visitors – such as with a wheel of fortune.
Where they could improve:
- A/B testing limitations – While you can add splits in automation sequences, we weren’t able to set a goal to run effective A/B tests within an automation sequence.
- Templates – The templates are visually underwhelming.
- The campaign builder – Performance is a little sluggish compared to the other tools we’ve tested.
Who should use Omnisend?
Omnisend is great for new WooCommerce users looking for a free entry into email marketing. It’s also a great option for companies with large email marketing lists. It offers a cheaper price point than ActiveCampaign and Klaviyo (the next system we’re looking at) for equivalent list sizes.
The downside is you’re not getting ActiveCampaign’s advanced email marketing automation features. So it really comes down to whether you want an affordable system that’s great at the basics or a slightly more expensive system that can do much more (ActiveCampaign).
Klaviyo was one of the first specialist eCommerce email marketing systems and the platform is now used by more than 100,000 online store owners.
Like Omnisend, the company has developed a WordPress plugin to integrate the system with your website. However, user reviews are mixed with an average score of 3.4/5 stars from only 11 reviews.
As an eCommerce specialist, Klaviyo also does an excellent job with reporting. In fact, it does even better than Omnisend in this regard. The system uses predictive analytics to forecast future revenue predictions. It also sets benchmarks for you to target, based on the performance of your eCommerce rivals.
Klaviyo’s campaign builder is intuitive and performance was smoother for us than it was with Omnisend. The platform’s templates are also designed to a higher standard. This makes it easier to create professional-looking campaigns without any design expertise.
Like Omnisend, Klaviyo can automate email campaigns for key moments across the customer cycle: purchase confirmations, product recommendations, cart abandonment emails, etc. However, you can’t create dynamic workflows with conditional logic or any of the advanced automation ActiveCampaign makes possible.
Klaviyo also offers a free plan for up to 250 contacts, allowing you to send up to 500 emails per month and 150 SMS messages. However, the paid plans are more expensive than both Omnisend and ActiveCampaign for comparable contact list sizes.
Honestly, this is Klaviyo’s biggest downside but it does offer a more usable system than Omnisend and better reporting features. So it all comes down to how much you’re willing to pay for these. It’s a little more difficult to make the case for Klaviyo over ActiveCampaign, given the fact it’s more expensive and less powerful – except for its excellent reporting features.
You can visit Klaviyo’s pricing page to see how much the platform will cost you for the size of your email contact list.
What we like:
- Email templates – These are some of the best eCommerce email templates we’ve seen.
- Benchmarks – Klaviyo sets tangible targets for you to hit, based on the performance of similar eCommerce companies.
- Predictive forecasts – Intelligent insights model when a customer is likely to buy from you, or how much you’re likely to make in a future month enabling you to better allocate your time and budget.
Where they could improve:
- It’s expensive – Klaviyo brings some powerful features to the table but you have to for the privilege.
- Automation – The range of automation actions are simplistic and lacking sophisticated automation actions such as split testing paths.
- Email campaign editor – A tad basic and it offers only one eCommerce-specific content block (a list of products from a product feed).
Who should use Klaviyo?
Klaviyo is most suitable for large eCommerce companies that will get the most value out of its reporting and predictive insights features.
It could also be a good option for high-turnover companies with small in-house teams that want a simple, usable system with email templates that will save you from hiring designers.
Drip is an eCommerce automation system specialising in email marketing and email capture with forms and popups. With the platform’s campaign builder, you can create emails, web forms and popup designs by editing Drip’s templates or creating your own designs from scratch.
It’s a pretty simple editor but it’s easy to use and effective enough for creating basic resources. This is a fair description of the system as a whole. It’s the least advanced platform we’ve looked at so far but, in many ways, it’s the most usable and this will benefit WooCommerce users that have less experience with email marketing and this type of software, in general.
The templates are designed well and Drip keeps them updated. This means you don’t have to make too many changes to create quality campaigns. Again, this will benefit users with less design and email marketing experience, even if you have to upgrade to a more advanced system in the future.
In terms of automation, Drip includes a simple automation builder that you can use to edit workflow templates or build your own. However, the platform only includes five templates for WooCommerce and the workflows themselves are very basic.
In fairness, the platform makes it easy to set up basic automations for welcome emails, cart abandonment and post-purchase emails.
The builder itself is easy enough to use but you’re limited by how many actions you can use and the lack of a drag-and-drop interface makes it slower than it could be.
Drip only runs one plan with pricing from $39/month for up to 2,500 contacts. Pricing increases as your contact list grows, jumping to $49/month for up to 3,000 contacts, $69/month for up to 3,500 contacts and so on.
You can send unlimited emails on this plan and you get access to all of the platform’s features. You don’t have to worry about upgrades or feature restrictions; you simply pay more as your list of email contacts grows.
It’s a simple pricing model that’s refreshing to see and you can find out how much Drip will cost for your current email list on its interactive pricing page.
What we like:
- Simplicity – Everything about Drip is simple, possibly too simple for larger or experienced WooCommerce users, but a great option for newcomers.
Where they could improve:
- Templates – While the templates included are quality, we would like to see more of them and more eCommerce-specific options.
- Campaign builder – The workflow UX could improve with drag-and-drop editing and enhanced functionality.
- Content blocks – More eCommerce content blocks in the email campaign builder.
Who should use Drip?
Drip is best suited for new and small WooCommerce users who want a simple, affordable system for basic email marketing. If you don’t have any previous experience with email marketing, you’ll benefit from the simplicity of this platform.
It’s a big enough step up from the standard email system in WooCommerce to justify the monthly software fees but you may find you outgrow the system once you’re ready to implement a more sophisticated email marketing strategy.
Privy isn’t exactly an email marketing platform in the traditional sense. It initially launched as a conversion tool for capturing leads with popups, banners and coupons but the company has expanded to include more email marketing features over the years.
It now comes with an email builder, email templates and basic automation features with a free plugin for WooCommerce users.
This gives you two options. First, you can integrate Privy with a dedicated email marketing platform and use it as a lead capture tool (popups, banners, etc.) – and the company itself even recommends doing this. Alternatively, you can use Privy as a standalone solution if you’re happy with the limited email marketing features it offers.
The platform includes a good amount of email templates but the overall quality is quite low. They’re perfectly usable for campaigns but you’ll have to put more work into customising designs than you would with Drip, for example.
The email builder itself isn’t the most capable or robust tool we’ve used, either. Again, it’s fine for creating basic email campaigns but it’s not the fastest or most intuitive tool.
Unlike the other tools we’ve looked at today, Privy doesn’t include an automation builder. Instead of genuine workflows, the platform refers to autoresponders as “Automations” so you’re limited to sending triggered emails to single events.
You can’t build workflows around rules, actions and multiple triggers with Privy.
Privy’s real strength is its conversion toolkit for creating popups, banners and coupons for capturing customers and email leads. The system includes plenty of templates built around common eCommerce problems and goals – eg: cart abandonment and cross-selling campaigns.
It’s a great tool for adding conversion tools to your WooCommerce website.
Privy offers a free plan for up to 100 email contacts and full access to its popup features. This is great for new WooCommerce websites looking to build their first email list. However, keep in mind that the free plan doesn’t include Privy’s main email marketing features.
Pricing for the Starter Plan starts from $30/month for up to 1,500 contacts. You can send unlimited emails on this plan and you also get full access to Privy’s email marketing features.
The Growth Plan starts from $45/month for up to 2,000 email contacts and 75 SMS contacts. As you can probably guess, this plan incorporates Privy’s SMS marketing features for multichannel campaigns.
You can visit Privy’s pricing page to find out how much it will cost you for your current list.
What we like:
- Conversion tools – Pre-built popup templates improve conversion rates for key eCommerce actions (cart abandonment, cross-selling, etc.).
- Reporting – Privy tracks the revenue generated from each campaign or popup built in the platform.
Where they could improve:
- The overall email marketing offering – Privy isn’t far from being a full eCommerce marketing platform but it’s let down by a basic email and automation platform.
- Template designs – They’re visually lacking and require external design support.
- Lack of automation templates – While Privy doesn’t offer workflow-style automations, the lack of templates means you have to build from scratch.
Who should use Privy?
Privy is best for new WooCommerce sites that are more interested in building their first email list. The conversion tools will help you win more customers and email contacts, which will form the basis of your email marketing strategy.
Once you’ve got a list to work with, you can try Privy’s email marketing features to see how much of an impact they make. However, you’ll probably get the best results by using Privy alongside a more capable email marketing system.
Choosing the right email marketing tool for your WooCommerce store
Choosing the best email marketing platform for your needs depends on several factors. You have to consider your budget, email marketing goals and the growth stage of your eCommerce business. If you’re an established WooCommerce business looking to use email marketing as a growth strategy, your needs are very different from a company that’s only just launched its website.
Changing email marketing provider in the early days isn’t too difficult but switching providers can get more challenging over time. If you’ve got 500k email contacts, contact profiles and customised automation workflows baked into a system, changing providers becomes a bigger job.
It pays to find the right email marketing system as early as possible and most providers offer free trials so there’s no harm in trying different options out.
|Tool||Monthly price for 2,500 contacts||Monthly price for 10,000 contacts||Monthly price for 100,000 contacts|
If you’re just launching your WooCommerce store, we recommend starting out with something simple like Privy’s free plan or Drip while you build your email list and get started with the basics of email marketing.
Once you’ve got a list and you’re ready to get more serious with email marketing, we recommend moving over to Omnisend or ActiveCampaign for a more capable solution. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign at Venture Harbour for well over five years now and the platform continues to meet our needs as we grow.
Yes, WooCommerce includes a basic email marketing system, allowing you to send purchase confirmations, cart abandonment emails and other eCommerce messages.
WooCommerce allows you to auto-send emails for actions like product purchases and select contacts to send marketing emails to. However, you’ll need a proper email marketing system for designing emails, automating campaigns, targeting audiences and optimising campaigns to maximise revenue.
The best way to set up email marketing in WooCommerce is to use paid extensions like AutomateWoo or email marketing systems with WooCommerce integrations.