During the pandemic, online shopping skyrocketed. While being conditioned to stay at home, many of us turned to the internet to shop for groceries. Studies show that online food and beverage sales have increased by 7.2%. Grocery stores had to adapt their email campaigns to meet the growing demand and establish constant and personal communication with their customers.

In this blog post, we are taking a deep dive into how grocery stores can establish and maintain an email marketing strategy. We will also teardown the emails sent by the three major players of the grocery sector: Walmart, Target, and Lidl.

Why is email marketing important for grocery retailers?

Email marketing has become a vital marketing practice while running grocery online stores.

The send frequency for the grocery business is one of the highest reported in any industry, with over 70% of all the grocery stores issuing email newsletters multiple times a month. And, needless to say, the benefits they can get along with the email marketing implementation are numerous, from strengthening the communication with the consumers to encouraging for another purchase with nice deals.

Here are some critical points grocery stores usually targeting on:

  • enlarge the number of customers;
  • extend online presence and authority;
  • drive more consumers with the special deals and sales events;
  • increase the customer loyalty;
  • raise the rate of the store’s competitiveness;
  • boost the year over year sales;
  • improve the cooperation with the related businesses ;
  • enhance the traffic for getting a broader range of the products and services offered, etc.

As you can see, these benefits can greatly improve the grocery business performance, which means the constant ROI increases as well as achieving the leading positions in this industry.

Implementing an email marketing strategy for grocery stores

Here are the main steps you need to follow to set up an email marketing strategy for your grocery store from scratch.

Choose an email service provider

First of all, you should choose the email service provider (or ESP) – that will allow you to send email newsletters to hundreds and even thousands of subscribers.

Your chosen ESP can assist you in email list segmentation, email personalization and automation, and eCommerce integration.

For more details on how to choose the email service provider that best fits your needs, check out our full guide here.

Grow your email list

Growing your email subscriber list can be trickier than it sounds. You need to collect email addresses from people that are interested in your products and will be more likely to purchase from you.

As a first step, you can collect the email addresses of your current customers. According to a study conducted by Benchmark, 56% of grocery business email lists are composed of existing clients.

The next steps to grow your email list should be to go where your potential clients would be:

  • Restaurant openings
  • Community events
  • Food fairs, trade shows, and expos
  • Customer service desk
  • Downloadable catalogs
  • Website sign-ups

You will be able to get active consumers who are willing to be informed about the latest news, updates, sales events, and special deals of your grocery store.

How large should your email list be?

Your email list size will depend on your efforts to collect email addresses. Email list sizes can go from less than 500 subscribers to over 5000 subscribers. The size of your email list depends also on your product selection and target audiences.

For example, if you sell only 100% organic products, your email list might be smaller than grocery stores that have a wider selection of more diverse products.

Remember that quality is more important than quantity. You can grow your email list to reach over ten thousand subscribers. But if they are not part of your target audience – if they don’t fit your buyer persona, then it’s completely useless.

That is why we do not advise buying expensive email address lists from sketchy sellers.

Plan your email marketing campaigns before-hand

What makes people come to your grocery store: your product selection, your store proximity, free shipping, frequent discounts, special offers, or sales events?

Understand what motivates your customers to buy from you. And use that as the messaging in your email campaigns.

Remember, any email you’re planning to send needs to be informative, catchy, and provide a certain value to your consumers.

Among the most popular email topics, grocery retail marketers usually send the following emails:

  • new product or product line information
  • store events: new store opening, big clearance events, special promos, delivery news;
  • Upcoming holiday events (Christmas, 4th July, Thanksgiving day, etc)
  • recipe suggestions;
  • promotional sale events and so on.

By providing your audience with the exact information they expect to receive from your grocery store, you’re more likely to grab their attention and boost them to make a purchase.

👉 Download our free email marketing planning calendar for 2021!

Set up triggered email sequences

Automated emails are emails sent automatically after a certain event has been triggered.

Once set up, these email sequences will help you maintain constant communication with your subscribers, for minimum effort.

They can greatly save your time, so you don’t need to create a separate email for every single subscriber. Automated emails are a great technique for growing business – as they can be scaled.

As a usual, the automated emails are sent to the people on the general events that are important for the grocery stores, for example:

  • Welcome or signup emails – sent as soon as a customer is included in the email list.
  • Abandoned cart emails – if a customer adds an item in their cart and doesn’t purchase it, a trigger is set to send a cart abandonment email.
  • Product recommendations list – sent in a while after the last purchase according to the purchase history and personal preferences of a customer.
  • Back in stock emails – simple and useful emails to inform people about the product they want to get.
  • Winback emails – those that help to retain the customers who were inactive recently.

Comparison between grocery stores email marketing strategies

Now, let’s review the most famous email marketing retail examples to learn their strategy and how they interact with their audience.

walmart logoWalmart email campaigns


According to Statista, grocery sales accounted for 56.3% of the net sales of Walmart in the U.S., which makes it a great example of our email marketing research.

  • The sent volume of the emails can vary and is estimated as 3.2 emails per week. That’s just enough to inform customers about the sales and recommendations and not to bother them too much.
  • Over 12% of the Walmart emails include a discount or promotion.
  • Walmart also includes a customer segmentation strategy to provide the most personal offers based on the consumer’s personal data and preferences.
  • The day Walmart sends most emails: Sunday.

target logoTarget email campaigns


Another great example of email marketing for online retailers is the Target grocery store.
The detailed research of Klaviyo has shown the following discoveries about Target:

  • The sent volume of the emails from Target is estimated as 6.3 emails per week – that’s a really high rate. So there is a big chance of lower open and click-through rates.
  • Target email newsletters provide everything from “good to know” post-purchase info or cart abandonment emails to status updates on delivery.
  • Target’s customers who get multiple cart reminders instead of one are 2.4 times more likely to make a purchase.
  • The day Target sends most emails: Sunday

As you can see, they’re trying to grab people’s attention in different ways, sending email notifications about anything almost every day. But it’s still important to remember that sending the emails too often can make your consumers press the ‘unsubscribe’ button.

Lidl logoLidl Email Campaigns


Also, it’s nice to have a look at some European chains of email marketing for retail stores, so here comes some data on Lidl’s email strategy.

  • The sent volume of the emails on average is estimated as 2 emails per week.
  • Over 88% of all the emails send discounts and promotions, but since the volume of the emails is not too high, there are fewer chances to bother subscribers.
  • Stay present. The main feature of the Lidl email marketing is that it sends the recent updates on their stores regarding the pandemic changes, including the details about the in-store offers and simple recipes to try at home.
  • The day Lidl sends most emails: Monday

Target email campaign examples

In this section, we selected a few examples of the emails sent out by Target.

👉 You can find even more grocery stores email marketing examples on our Pinterest board.

Welcome email

Like every other email strategy, Target’s campaigns start with a welcome email. A huge “Hello & thanks for signing up!” starts off the email. Next, Target’s brand marketers added a description to set the subscriber’s expectations and tell them about what’s coming next.

Welcome to Target!

welcome to target!

Follow up email

The very next day, Target sent out this email newsletter. The goal behind it is to advertise the different ways the company helps its customers save money. It’s a purely informational email that presents types of products sold in Target, and how to get them.

Save every day with coupons, our Weekly Ad & more.


This email example is great to make sure all your customers understand your value proposition. This will work with any shop that you are able to have enough products that you are able to spotlight, either online or a starting a music shop you will need to have people getting into the habit of regularly checking your email.

Weekly email newsletter

Each week, Target sends out their online catalog in the form of an email newsletter. The email always has the same subject line: “Your new Weekly Ad is here”. This increases brand recognition and makes subscribers expect and wait for the email every week.

Your new Weekly Ad is here.


In Target’s Weekly Ad, the company sends out their weekly highlights of products, sales, and limited deals.

Clearance emails

Who doesn’t love a good clearance? Prices are slashed up to 80%. Target sent out this very straightforward clearance email. Bright popping yellow, color-blocked with a dark grey that immediately grabs the attention of the reader.

Up to 70% off! Clearance is ON.


The email is divided into 4 sections by product: clothing, toy, beauty, and holiday products. An action-oriented email that is guaranteed to get some clicks.

Seasonal emails

Holidays are the perfect time for sales and discounts. Brands and customers await the holiday seasons eagerly. Target never misses a holiday. The retailer sends out themed emails, highlighting holiday-specific products.

Easter gifts for every bunny.


Target’s holiday campaigns start way before the D-day. The company starts sending promotional emails weeks- sometimes even months- before the actual holiday.

Festive ways you celebrated the season.


Free shipping/order pickup

Customers are now looking for the safest way to shop and pick up their groceries. And Target understands that.

That’s why the retailer dedicated this email to promote the different ways their customers can retrieve their marchendise.

Still need to shop & have no time to ship? We’re here to help.


Wrapping Up

Grocery stores email marketing implies a deep knowledge of your customers’ needs. Once you understand what type of information your customers expect from you, you will be able to provide them with useful and relevant emails.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to get the most of the email marketing for your business.