Email delivery and deliverability

There are two factors that contribute to your email campaigns successfully reaching your customers' inboxes:

  • Email delivery refers to when an email is successfully delivered to your customer's email server. Emails that aren't delivered are bounced by the receiving server or email provider. A good email delivery rate for an ecommerce store is 95%. Emails sent to large subscriber lists can take a few hours to send completely.
  • Email deliverability refers to the ranking of your email after it's been successfully delivered to your customer's email server. Optimal email deliverability ensures that your email reaches your customer's primary inbox, or in the appropriate designated inbox section, such as Gmail's "Promotions" inbox tab, instead of their spam folders.

Use this page to learn about best practices to improve your email delivery and your chances of landing in your subscriber's inboxes instead of their spam folders.

Safe send limits

Safe send limits determine how many subscribers you can email during a period of time, such as over a day or week. The number of emails that you've sent in a day is calculated by how many emails were delivered to individual subscribers that day, rather than the number of email campaigns that you've sent.

The delivery system might use safe send limits to stop delivering an email campaign when subscriber engagement is low, or when there are other negative performance indicators, such as a high number of your subscribers marking your email as spam. This safeguard is in place to protect your sender reputation and to ensure that future email messages are delivered.

Improving your sender reputation can help increase your safe send limits and improve the deliverability of your emails. As you improve your sender reputation, Shopify Email might automatically send out emails in batches to help avoid spam filters and improve your delivery rate.

If you encounter an email limit, then consider either of the following solutions:

  • Schedule an email for the next available date.
  • Create customer segments to tailor your email to certain customer segments. You can use customer segments to strategically target specific subscribers with specific campaigns, or to split up your subscriber list into smaller groups. If you choose to send your email to a smaller customer segment, then consider editing your email content to be tailored to that audience. You can duplicate the email and send it to another segment later.

Building your sender reputation

When you start using Shopify Email, it's recommended that you slowly increase the volume of emails that you send from your new email address or domain to establish your reputation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as a reliable sender and to ensure high email deliverability.

Consider the following best practices to improve your sender reputation and increase your send limits:

  • Build trust with ISPs by initially sending a limited number of emails to your most engaged contacts, increasing the volume gradually over time. By starting with your most engaged contacts, you'll encourage positive interactions such as opens and clicks, which can significantly enhance your sender reputation.
  • Improve and maintain the quality of your subscriber list.
  • Send emails consistently to maintain a steady volume of emails and keep your domain active.
  • Monitor your email delivery metrics and promptly address any declines in engagement and overall performance.
  • Take steps to avoid spam filters and reduce your spam complaints.
  • Authenticate your sender email address by adding CNAME and DMARC records to your third-party domain.

Maintaining a high quality subscriber list

Engagement from your subscribers, such as increased open rates, helps spam filters recognize that your emails aren't spam. Maintaining a high-quality subscriber list can help increase engagement and lower spam complaint rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribes.

The following suggestions can help you maintain a high quality subscriber list:

  • Verify that you have opt-in consent for all emails added to your database.
  • Update customer contact information as required.
  • Evaluate your email acquisition sources. If you're receiving many spam complaints or bounces on emails from a particular source, then remove or replace that acquisition source.
  • Never purchase or rent email lists. If you've purchased or rented lists in the past, then ensure those emails are set as “not subscribed”.
  • Activate double opt-in to ensure that subscribers confirm that they want to receive email and SMS marketing from you.
  • In the Marketing options of your Checkout settings, deselect the Preselected checkbox for email marketing to ensure that customers don't accidentally opt in.
  • Use customer segments regularly to filter and remove subscribers who have previously bounced, are unengaged, or who signed up long ago and have never made a purchase.

Avoiding spam filters

Receiving email servers use spam filters to prevent unwanted emails from being delivered to a recipient's inbox. Some emails will be blocked by the receiving server and count towards your bounces. Other messages might be delivered but end up in the recipient’s spam or junk folder.

Many mailbox providers provide requirements or best practices that help senders achieve better delivery rates. The following links are some examples:

Invalid customer email addresses, spam complaints, and engagement from your subscribers can all affect whether your email is viewed as spam by an email provider.

Refer to the Shopify Email best practices guide to improve your statistics and achieve better delivery.

Improving your delivery metrics

Improving your delivery metrics, such as spam rates, bounce rates, opens and clicks, and unsubscribes can help build your sender reputation and prevent your email campaigns from being canceled. To learn more about delivery metrics, review your Shopify Email analytics.

Spam rate

Your spam rate, also referred to as your spam complaint rate, calculates the number of emails that customers mark as spam against the number of emails that are delivered to their inbox.

You can track most spam complaints on a per campaign basis by viewing your email tracking and analytics. However, Gmail doesn't provide Shopify with spam complaint reports. If you're authenticated, have a DMARC record, and are sending more than 100 emails per day to Gmail users, then you can track your Gmail spam complaint rate by setting up Google's free Postmaster Tools.

Consider the following strategies to reduce your spam complaint rate:

   email_subscription_status = 'SUBSCRIBED'
  AND (customer_added_date > -6m
      OR (customer_added_date <= -6m
     AND  (number_of_orders > 0
     OR shopify_email.clicked() = true )

Bounce rate

Your bounce rate is the measurement of how often your emails are either not successfully delivered, or are rejected by a recipient's inbox provider, such as Gmail or Yahoo.

There are two types of bounces that are included in your bounce rate:

  • Hard bounces occur when emails can't be delivered because the recipient email address is incorrect, doesn't exist, or the receiving server has blocked delivery permanently.
  • Soft bounces occur when emails can't be delivered temporarily, such as when a recipient's inbox is too full, or the email server is temporarily unavailable.

A high bounce rate increases the likelihood of your emails being filtered as spam. The following suggestions can help you improve your bounce rate:

Segment and remove bounced email addresses from your subscriber list

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Apps > Email.
  2. Click the sent campaign that you want to create a customer segment for.
  3. On the Bounce rate metric card, click the View segment icon.
  4. Select the checkbox next to Customer name to select all customers.
  5. Click Bulk edit.
  6. Uncheck the Accepts email marketing column for each customer.
  7. Click Save.

Opens and clicks

The following suggestions can help improve your open and click rates:

  • Verify that the subject line of your email is accurate, concise, and compelling.
  • Send your emails at a time that makes sense for your subscribers. You can compose an email in advance and schedule the email to go out at a time that you think it's more likely to be opened by your subscribers.
  • Create a segment to limit your campaigns to a smaller audience of more engaged subscribers. For example, create a segment of subscribers who have made a previous purchase or opened previous emails.


You can review your unsubscribes in your email tracking analytics.

The following suggestions can help reduce the number of customers who unsubscribe from your emails:

  • Maintain a high quality subscriber list.
  • Ensure that your email content is relevant to the customer segment that you're sending it to and meets any expectations that you set during acquisition.
  • Review the Shopify Email best practices to ensure that your email content is engaging, effective, and well-designed.
  • Avoid sending emails too frequently so that subscribers don't feel as though you're spamming their inbox.
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