Automated Follow-Up emails in eCommerce


Main Menu

Upon visiting Your Shop > Follow-up Emails you’ll be greeted by the screen that will be your cockpit for building your automated marketing and sales engine.

The main screen will show you a run-down/summary of all emails you’ve created, and also give you a birds-eye view of total sends for each email that you’ve created.

Under the menu you’ll notice three links:

  • Storewide Emails: Emails that you created to be sent regardless of products purchased.
  • Category Emails: Emails that are created for when a customer buys a product within that specific category.
  • Product Emails: Emails that are created for when a customer buys a specific product.

Each link will show you a summary of all the emails created under that email “type.” For example, you might have a “Product” email set up, and you’ll see:

You’ll notice a number of columns – these columns are the same on each summary section for created emails. They include:

  • Priority: This priority defines which emails are most important, and because Follow-up Emails only sends one email for the purchase by default, we choose the email to send with the highest priority when a customer buys across two categories or products.
  • Name: The name of your email campaign
  • Interval: When your email will be sent (more on intervals below)
  • Product or Category: The product or category associated with that email campaign
  • Used: Number of emails sent in total for this campaign (more on reporting below)
  • Always Send: This is an override for the Priority defined above. If you set a campaign to be “Always Send,” Follow-up Emails will ignore all other rules and always send that email, even if it means that your customer will receive 2+ emails after purchase. This is a powerful setting – be careful in using it

Creating Emails

It is time to create an email! Clicking the “New Email” tab will bring you to the email creation page.

We have tried to keep this page simple, but there are actually ALOT of features here. It is time to have fun!

  • Email type: Choose your email type: “Storewide” or “Product/Category”
  • Always send: Set your email to always send, regardless of prioritization – see above
  • Email name: Give your email a name
  • Interval:Set the amount of time that you want to elapse after your campaign trigger occurs before the email is sent
    • Available Intervals: Minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, or on a specific date
  • Trigger: This is the “after.”
    • Available Triggers: Purchase date (processing status), Order is completed, First purchase (customer’s first purchase in your store – by email), or Added to cart.
  • Product or Category: You will see these two options if you are creating a Product or Category email. You can create an email for a single product or category
  • Custom Field: If you select a specific product, you can use a custom field from that product to use as a replacement variable in your emails. For example, you could select “Price” and use {cf 556 _price} as a replacement variable to include pricing in your emails. The benefit here is that the price becomes a dynamic field for that product ID, and you will never need to update the body text to change the pricing.
  • Coupons: If you have created a coupon, you will be able to select that coupon to include automatically in each email as a variable that will create dynamic coupons personalized for each customer (more in the coupon section below).
  • Email subject: Set the subject of this specific email.
  • Email body:Compose your email. Use one of the nine replacement variables that will make it easier for you to manage the content of your email. The email body does accept HTML. Variables include:
    • {customer_first_name} – The first name of the customer who purchased from your store.
    • {customer_name} – The full name of the customer who purchased from your store.
    • {store_url} – The URL/Address of your store.
    • {store_name} – The name of your store.
    • {item_name} – The name of the purchased item.
    • {item_category} – The list of categories for the purchased item.
    • {order_number} – The generated order number for that customer.
    • {order_datetime} – The date and time of the customer’s order.
    • {unsubscribe_url} – URL where users will be able to opt-out of the email list for this email.
  • Link tracking: Enter tracking variables, like those for Google Analytics, and these will be added to all links in the email sent to your customers. With this you can track the efficacy of your campaigns in Google Analytics (in addition to with Follow-up Emails built-in reporting), and learn which emails are working best.
  • Send test email: Enter an email address to send a test of the email you are creating.


Coupons are a new addition to Follow-up Emails! We figured, why not add coupons to the most powerful auto-responder and email marketing tool for WooCommerce? When clicking on the Coupons tab, you will be greeted by the following screen.

You’ll see a very similar interface as you are used to with WooCommerce’s built-in coupon functionality. But, we have added some great features to the basic options, and will be adding more in the future to keep up with WooCommerce development.

The coupons that are created are unique for each user. Each code is also tracked after being created and sent to the user, allowing you to track usage of each coupon.

In addition, our coupons allow you to personalize the coupon for your users by adding their first name or last name to the automatically generated code – or you can create your own personalization. Save the coupon, and use them in your emails!


Now you don’t have to leave your WooCommerce admin to track the efficacy of your email campaigns and coupons. Follow-up Emails detailed reporting gives you insight into the total number of emails sent per campaign, the number of email views, and the links that are clicked. Track how each campaign performs, and what your customers are interested in by seeing what they have clicked.


Emails aren’t getting sent! Why?

This is a known issue on WordPress sites that get little, or no, traffic on any given day. Follow-up Emails rely on a function called WP-Cron, and this function only runs when there is a page requested. So, if there are no visits to your website, then the scheduled jobs are not run.

In a perfect world, scheduling perfectly timed events to run at specified intervals is what should occur, but WP-Cron is not the same as the Unix cron scheduler. The key distinction lies in how it is run; unlike a background process, WP-Cron kicks in every time a visitor opens your WordPress-powered site. As such, it will remain imprecise in terms of timing the sending of your email follow-ups.

In the world of Follow-up Emails this can cause a “problem,” for you. If you have a schedule of emails to be sent, and no visits are made to your website, the queue will not be processed, and no emails will be sent. But, there are solutions.


This is the best set of instructions for fixing this, and making it more “perfectly timed.”

Create real cron jobs

Less Advanced

Try this plugin: WP-Cron Control.