Email Marketing Reimagined: Harnessing Open-Source Platforms for ECommerce

Unlock the potential of open-source platforms to revolutionize your email marketing strategy. Harness flexibility, customization, and cost-effectiveness for impactful campaigns.


What is email marketing for an ecommerce business?

Electronic mail or e-mail marketing is another essential communication model for e-commerce organizations in reaching their target market and advertising their products. As an effective selling technique, it makes it easy for the firms to keep on reaching out to their target market while at the same time making new customers for similar firms. With the help of emails, one is able to deliver exclusively content addressing the audience, and this can have an enormous impact on the improvement of the customer engagement.

Critical role of email marketing in ecommerce businesses

Due to its close-knit connection with e-commerce, which is one of the most effective and direct ways of reaching the customer, email marketing has a central position among other kinds of promotion. Regarding its benefits, it fosters messaging to target customers based on what they would want to see, making business interactions more engaging and thus increasing the chances of customer loyalty. By reaching out to the right audience, e-commerce businesses are able to create awareness and alert clients on new products on the market, promotions, and upcoming sales thus leading the clients to the business’ websites and leading to increased sales. Also, the use of email promotional tools contributes to the idea that customer relations can be built long-term by providing overall valuable content, such as newsletters as well as other forms of sale enticing by offering discounted prices from time to time, and product recommendations based on the customers’ shopping preferences. Fosters loyalty among the existing clients as well as attracts new ones which in one way or another greatly assist in creating market sustainability and profitability for the business.

Navigating Commercial Marketing, Business Essentials, and Cloud Solutions

In today's dynamic digital environment, businesses encounter a multitude of choices when it comes to email services, each designed to address specific organizational needs. Within this realm, we explore three overarching categories of mail services: Commercial Email Marketing Services, Business Email Services, and Cloud Service Providers Email Solutions. Commercial Marketing platforms offer sophisticated tools for crafting targeted campaigns, while Business Essentials services provide robust solutions for professional communication needs. Meanwhile, Cloud Solutions offer scalable infrastructure and innovative features to streamline email operations. By understanding the nuances of each category, businesses can harness the full potential of diverse email services to optimize their communication strategies and drive growth in today's competitive market. These categories offer distinct functionalities and features, catering to a diverse range of requirements across industries. From crafting compelling marketing campaigns to facilitating seamless communication within organizations, these email service categories play a pivotal role in shaping the communication strategies of modern businesses.

Commercial Email Marketing Services (e.g., Klaviyo, MailChimp)

These platforms are designed primarily for marketing and promotional email campaigns, offering a suite of tools for creating, sending, and analyzing the performance of email marketing campaigns. They provide features such as customizable email templates, automation workflows, A/B testing, segmentation, analytics, and integrations with e-commerce platforms and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The target audience includes small to large businesses and e-commerce companies that rely on email marketing to engage with customers, promote products, and drive sales. The pricing model is typically based on the number of subscribers or the volume of emails sent per month, with tiered pricing plans that include additional features at higher price points.


For e-commerce-focused businesses, Klaviyo offers specialized features that deliver significant value through advanced automation and personalization. Its powerful segmentation capabilities enable marketers to create highly targeted campaigns based on purchase behavior, website activity, and customer lifecycle stages. However, Mailchimp provides a more diverse set of marketing tools at a generally lower cost, making it a solid choice for businesses with broader marketing needs. Known for its user-friendly interface, Mailchimp is accessible to beginners and small businesses without extensive technical knowledge. It offers a range of pricing plans, including a free plan, making it a cost-effective option for small businesses. In contrast, Klaviyo can become expensive as its pricing scales with the number of contacts. While Mailchimp integrates with a wide array of third-party applications and platforms, enhancing its functionality, it is not as powerful as Klaviyo for e-commerce businesses.

Business Email Services (e.g., Gmail, Outlook):

These services are focused on providing professional email communication for businesses and individuals, offering features for email organization, productivity, collaboration, and security. Business email services typically include features such as custom domain email addresses, inbox organization tools (labels, folders), calendar integration, contact management, file attachments, and spam filtering. The target audience includes small to large businesses, professionals, freelancers, and individuals who require reliable and secure email communication for work purposes. The pricing model may include free plans with limited features and premium plans with additional storage, advanced security features, and customer support, with some providers offering subscription-based pricing per user or per month.


When comparing Gmail and Outlook as business email providers, we find that they offer similar features in their suites, encompassing list management, calendars, email security, and collaboration tools. Both Google and Microsoft suite packages typically start from around $6 in the basic package to up to $20 in the advanced packages, catering to various business needs and preferences. One notable distinction lies in their respective strengths: Gmail boasts superior search capabilities, making it effortless to find and retrieve emails efficiently. On the other hand, Outlook shines in contact management, providing robust tools for organizing and maintaining contact lists. Its comprehensive contact management features allow for easy categorization, tagging, and updating of contacts, facilitating streamlined communication and relationship management. However, a critical factor for businesses, especially those engaged in bulk email communication, is the email sending limits. Outlook permits sending emails to 10,000 unique recipients per day, significantly higher than Gmail's allowance of 2,000 emails a day. In essence, while both Gmail and Outlook offer comprehensive business email solutions with comparable features and pricing, the choice between them often boils down to specific business requirements and preferences.

Cloud Service Providers Email Solutions (e.g., Amazon SES, Microsoft ACS):

These services provide scalable and reliable email infrastructure for businesses and developers to send transactional, notification, and system-generated emails. Cloud service providers' email solutions offer features such as API-driven email sending, deliverability monitoring, bounce and complaint handling, email validation, and integration with other cloud services. The target audience includes businesses, startups, and developers building web applications, mobile apps, or software platforms that require programmable and scalable email delivery capabilities. The pricing model typically involves pay-as-you-go pricing based on the volume of emails sent, with additional charges for features like dedicated IP addresses, dedicated instances, and data transfer out of the service.

Amazon SES is a cloud-based email service designed for sending transactional and bulk emails. It offers seamless integration via SMTP interface and AWS SDKs, making it easy to integrate with various applications and existing software. With both SMTP and API integration options, it simplifies email sending with a pay-as-you-go setup and high deliverability. Amazon SES's key features include a free tier for up to 3,000 monthly messages, straightforward pricing based on the number of emails sent, and additional charges for data usage and attachments. Its cost-effective pricing model ensures users only pay for the services they use, making it ideal for mass emailing with scalable capabilities.


Azure Communication Services (ACS) provides a suite of communication APIs for integrating voice, video, chat, SMS, and email into applications. Supporting cross-platform integration, ACS ensures seamless communication across devices and operating systems, with direct connections to Microsoft Teams for enhanced collaboration. It adopts a flexible, usage-based pricing model based on services used, such as voice and video call minutes, message volume, and data usage. ACS offers comprehensive communication features, email sending incurs costs of around $0.00025 per email, along with data transfer fees of up to $0.00012 per MB.

The open source advantage in email marketing

Software that underlies web stores have been undergoing a shift towards open-source for quite some time now. It therefore stems from the freedom from vendor lock-ins, lower costs, and the ability to have these solutions modified according to the owners’ preference, hence the many e-commerce business owners embracing these solutions. In particular, the advantages of the open source approach are discussed in detail in our blog labeled The rise of open-source solutions in ecommerce cost optimization. Customer service and inventory management are among the several logistic module activities that are being backed by open-source e-commerce software. In a similar manner, email marketing is also experiencing that growth, and there are plenty of open source solutions available today. Compared to open-source, proprietary software might have very significant costs, especially as the number of emails might increase. First, open-source email marketing platforms have several benefits for e-commerce businesses. Firstly, it has the added advantage of being cheaper than many other software as there are no licensing costs which is especially advantageous for beginners, and those in less established ventures such as the start-ups. An additional advantage of open-source solutions over proprietary ones is that open-source software can be easily adapted to meet the individual requirements of a business and to be included as a part of existing business processes. This means that business can customise and enhance the product as their needs change, without being tied to specific suppliers.

Also, email marketing platforms that are open-source are frequently updated and modified by collective support of the community of users, regular security updates, and improvements in the features. More importantly, it puts the software in a position to benefit from the support a community can contribute in terms of addressing issues or seeking advice on the most effective practices. Another advantage of open source is that their code is entirely open and therefore businesses are able to monitor the code and make adjustments or developments that help in security and regulatory compliance which is crucial in matters relating to customers and adhering to regulations such as GDPR. Besides, software like listmonk reflects a number of significant parameters that are crucial for sending e-mails, including automation, segmentation, and analytical capabilities. Thanks to open-source, e-commerce businesses can still execute complex marketing campaigns, tailor messages, and monitor results – all attainable using cheap, non-proprietary tools. In general, the application of open-source approach to email marketing enables e-commercial companies to utilize robust, flexible, and often cheaper tools for their businesses.

What does it take to deploy a OSS like listmonk and manage it

Here is what is needed to deploy a self-hosted open-source email marketing software like listmonk. First of all, you have to find a server or an environment where the software can be installed and launched; usually, it is a server that uses the Linux operating system. It also requires a domain name for sending out emails and the DNS setup for the same in order to get the emails delivered. The software in this case known as listmonk or similar needs to be downloaded and installed on the server and any other essential software or packages that the software requires. Before running the application, some parameters like the details of the SMTP server, the database connection settings as well as the email templates have to be configured as per your wishes. Moreover, it is crucial to consider legal aspects of emails that can be regulated by laws and requirements, for example, the GDPR and CAN-SPAM that can be managed with features like the subscription management, unsubscribe links, or opt-in confirmation. Lastly, it is important to note that, routine maintenance and supervision of both the software and the server is paramount to achieving efficient delivery of emails.

How to bridge between a ecommerce stack and the OSS software

To connect an e-commerce platform with an open-source email marketing software, you'll typically need to set up integration between the two systems. Establish a bi-directional data synchronization process between your e-commerce platform and email marketing software. This ensures that customer data, such as contact information, purchase history, and behavioral data, is seamlessly shared between the two systems in real-time or at regular intervals. Marketing emails have to be automated and sent based on the actions taken by your customer on your ecommerce platform. There is a need to connect the actions of the customers to the email automation. Customer behaviour has to be tracked across the ecommerce platform to send information on product offers or recommendations. Dynamic content blocks can be added within your email templates that pull in product information dynamically from your e-commerce platform. This allows for personalized product recommendations and offers based on each recipient's preferences and browsing history. Utilize the shared customer data to segment your email list based on various criteria such as purchase behavior, demographics, and engagement level. This allows for targeted and personalized email campaigns tailored to specific customer segments. You can create a powerful bridge between your e-commerce platform and email marketing software, enabling targeted and personalized email campaigns that drive engagement, conversions, and customer loyalty.


In conclusion, email marketing plays a crucial role in the success of e-commerce businesses, facilitating direct and engaging communication with customers to promote products, drive sales, and foster customer loyalty. Harnessing open-source platforms for email marketing offers numerous advantages, including flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and customization options. Commercial email marketing services like Klaviyo and Mailchimp provide comprehensive tools for creating, sending, and analyzing email campaigns, catering to businesses of all sizes with various pricing options. Business email services such as Gmail and Outlook offer professional communication features tailored to the needs of businesses and individuals, ensuring reliable and secure email communication. Cloud service providers like Amazon SES and Microsoft ACS offer scalable and reliable email infrastructure for businesses and developers, with flexible pricing models based on usage. Deploying self-hosted open-source email marketing software like listmonk requires setting up a server environment, configuring the software, and ensuring compliance with legal regulations. Bridging between an e-commerce platform and open-source email marketing software involves establishing integration, data synchronization, and personalized email campaigns based on customer behavior. By leveraging the capabilities of open-source email marketing software and integrating it with e-commerce platforms, businesses can create targeted and personalized email campaigns that drive engagement, conversions, and long-term customer relationships.

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