Email Marketing is a Top E-Commerce Marketing Channel – MarketingSherpa Report

02 July 2014

How many times have social media bloggers debated that email is dead? Perhaps one too many. For e-commerce marketers, on the other hand, there is no debate whatsoever, as email marketing is a top marketing channel for them with proven ROI. This is very evident in the data from a recent MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study, which focuses on the state of e-commerce marketing in 2014 (you can download it here). Let’s look at a few insights on how e-commerce marketers are using email marketing.

Which e-commerce marketing channels are the most effective in generating traffic?

For e-commerce, generating website traffic is key. As we see below, it turns out that email marketing and organic search are the most frequently used e-commerce marketing channels to generate website traffic, across all revenue ranges. Also, notice how e-commerce marketers are using email marketing much more frequently than social media. In fact, as the revenue range of online stores increases, the use of email marketing increases up to more than 70% while social media use decreases below 40%.

Source: MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study 2014

Which marketing channels are e-commerce companies investing in?

Investment in digital marketing channels is very much prominent. As we see below, 9 out of 10 e-commerce marketers are investing in email marketing! At the same time, a few traditional marketing channels, such as print and direct mail, continue to be invested in by roughly 2 out of 3 e-commerce marketers.

Source: MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study 2014

How much of the e-commerce marketing budget is spent on email marketing?

As the report states “marketing budgets in e-commerce continue to focus heavily on channels with the potential to return high volumes of customer traffic -email, SEO, and for a select few, television advertising.” On average, 20% of the e-commerce marketing budget is spent on email marketing.

Source: MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study 2014

Which e-commerce marketing channel do you use?

There’s no question of a doubt that email marketing is a proven e-commerce marketing channel. And, as an email service provider (ESP), we see this firsthand: e-commerce marketers are a sophisticated group among email marketers: they perform email A/B tests, run automated email campaigns, and adopt mobile email best practices (watch how to create responsive emails with the MailUp editor).

Let us know in the comments which e-commerce marketing channels you find to be the most effective for your online store!


In this blog post, we’ve seen a glimpse of MarketingSherpa’s E-commerce Benchmark Study focused on email marketing. The report includes numerous other topics such as on e-commerce conversion rates, product pages, and how companies test, optimize, and track e-commerce metrics. To download the full report, go to:

This article was written by

Sergio Mandrone

Sergio Mandrone

Sergio is Associate Product Marketing Manager at MailUp in the San Francisco office. With 5 years of digital marketing experience, he writes for the MailUp blog, manages the Email Design Workshop blog, and is currently working with the MailUp BEE team to grow the line of BEE products.

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