When is the best time to segment your email list for eCommerce? Before you send out your first email.

Let’s look at why you should segment before your first email.

Segment, segment, segment!

The rallying cry of every email marketer known to the earth.


More than 50% of people won't open the first email after signing up (it only goes down from there in terms of open percentage), 25% of your list will churn annually, and relying on at max a 10% click through rate (usually about half of this) to collect single points of data via progressive profiling is pretty inefficient.

The industry averages are actually much lower than those stated above, but we’ll be optimistic.

Progressive Profiling

The most common ways of collecting data are via an email signup then progressive profiling via email or sending out a short survey via email.

Progressive profiling requires a subscriber to open the email and click on a CTA that is linked to creating a data point on the subscribers profile.

If a subscriber doesn’t open the email and doesn’t click on it, no data will be collected.

Survey via Email

An email survey requires the subscriber to open the email, click on the survey link and provide more information before hitting submit.

Both have a rate of success of less than 10% on average. With surveys there is usually a reward or incentive for the person to complete the survey. A little bonus cost in exchange for data.

If a subscriber makes it to the survey but doesn’t hit submit at the end no data will be transferred.

Understanding the Gap

The problem with the current methods revolve around timing.

There are only two points of intention that a visitor takes that requires more than a click, entering an email to unlock a discount or subscribe or checkout.

Collecting data about a subscriber is a goal from the beginning of the engagement, however, the means of doing so adds friction to the interaction. Too much friction, and you won’t get the sign-up. So most companies only ask for the essentials.

If more data is not collected during the sign-up, a subscriber must leave the website, find an email, open the email, and click something inside the email to add data to a profile.

By the time you get those first data points about subscribers, you've already lost more than 90% of people that showed intention and were willing to provide you with information about themselves when they typed in their email address during a sign up.

Understanding the Cost of Doing Nothing

When emails cost ~$5 per, things change a bit.

The math changes pretty quickly:

  • 50% open rate means you've doubled your cost per email to $10
  • 10% click through rate to collect data means you're paying $50 per email with data.

What began as $5 per email gets hit with a $5 - $45 dollar premium on an email to attach data to it in a pure chasing the customer method of segmentation.

This isn’t efficient or cost-effective.

The new way forward

Instead, we believe brands should enable technology that allows for live data collection and logic mapping during the sign up, then only pay for the value of having more data.

When we implement an incentivized data sign up we see 95% of people providing up to 4 data points during the signup process.

This allows us to collect data relevant to the customer journey and sets us up for defining the journey.

Understanding the advantage of making this switch

Progressive profiling leads to 10 data points per 100 email addresses.

Incentivized data signups lead to 380 data points per 100 email addresses.

That’s a 38x improvement for subscribers providing 4 data points per sign up.

Sidenote: More than 99% of people provide at least one data point during sign up in our observed four question flow. The 38x claim is the baseline assuming 10% click through rate, in actuality this is often much lower for most brands.

All of this happens before the first email is sent, which removes the need for people to open the email, click through the email, and allows you to better tailor content in the email to increase your trackable rates of interaction.

We’ve removed one of the largest leaks in data collection in the eCommerce journey.

What this means for your brand

This is the single biggest shift in data collection available to eCommerce stores.

The above gains are only based on data collection, they don’t even begin to factor in other use cases.

Data influences website, ads, retargeting, email campaigns, email flows, product development, and much more.

Remember, 25% that will churn out while probably not telling you anything about themselves.

This is how much you’re already losing every year just in pure churn without data.

  • 1,000 List size - 250 x $5 = $1,250
  • 10,000 List size - 2500 x $5 = $12,500
  • 100,000 List size - 25,000 x $5 = $125,000

Odds are you’ll have gained little value from them, and you’ll have failed to truly connect with them, something that could have been planned for by using just a few data points that would have aided you in understanding what content to show them.

Change the approach, change the game

Converting a sunk cost with low efficiency and switching to a data driven approach earlier in the customer journey allows for better personalization which results in higher conversion rates.

It's seriously a win-win on all fronts.

This is the future of the customer journey for eCommerce, and a 38x more efficient way of collecting data that you’re already trying to collect.