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What exactly is a Shared Inbox?

This post will explain shared inboxes in simple language. What they are, why some are better than others, and how your team can benefit by using them.

If you are brand new to the term or just want a refresher – start at the beginning. Don’t worry,  it’s a quick read.

But if you’re already familiar with shared inboxes you can skip straight to the section on ‘why your team should be using one’, or check out some ‘typical use cases’ so you can see shared inboxes in action.  

If you’re trying to decide which collaborative inbox is best for your team’s workflow, check out ‘the best shared inbox for teams’.

What is a shared inbox?
Why your team should use a shared inbox?
What is the best shared inbox for teams?
What are some typical use cases for a shared inbox?
And a few other frequently asked questions about shared inboxes?

What is a shared inbox?

You may have heard these terms before. Shared Inbox. Collaborative Inbox. Group/Team email. 

Or maybe you haven’t. But if you work in a team environment and most of your communications are centered around email… the thought alone will give your team feelings of hope and possibility.

Shared inboxes, when truly designed for teams, are the ideal tool for effective collaboration. Your company can create shared inboxes for specific email addresses, invite relevant team members, and let them manage it together.

A [email protected] email address for your sales team; [email protected] for your support team.

One for [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] — or whatever your company’s workflow requires. 

What’s so great about shared inboxes?

Shared inboxes allow everyone to work together and tackle the incoming workload. Email sharing and email delegation become clear and simple.

No more internal Cc’s, Forwards, and cluttered inboxes.

And with all activities fully-synced in real-time, you can be sure that everyone is on the same page. This means accountability would be clear with no more confusion. No more mistakes, or missed opportunities.

Before we get into more benefits and use cases of shared inboxes, let’s look at why your team should be using one in the first place.

Why your team should use a shared inbox?

Email was not designed for team collaboration and it doesn’t take long for teams to realize that.

As a one-to-one communication tool – email is great, and to be fair it’s tried its best to keep up with modern teams. But workplace environments with constant communications, internal and external, have stretched email into shapes it wasn’t built for.

As the volume of communications increases – so does the need to collaborate. Working teams have real actions that need to be performed in response to every email.

An incoming email normally leads to internal team chat, followed by a series of multi-member, multi-department actions. All with periodic returns back to that email – either as a reference point to re-inform or a source for additional inputs as new emails come in.

So what are teams doing? In most cases, they come up with work-arounds. As unique as these hacks may be, they’re just not efficient and definitely not sustainable as your team grows.

On one end of the extreme, you have teams that physically share a computer in order to access the same inbox. One bad step, in the wrong direction, are the teams that share passwords so they can access the same account. 

No need to go into the security issues on this. Or organizational issues. Or the fact that your email client probably doesn’t allow it.

The opposite side of the extreme is where you’ll find companies using over-bloated tools they don’t actually need. Tools that promise to fix everything but actually make things worse. 

Shared inbox “solutions” outside of your inbox!?

It’s frustrating to get promised a shared inbox “solution” that, ironically enough, lives outside your inbox!

The first of many complaints from your team will be the time and effort needed to learn this other tool. Not to mention having to manage the data between your original email client and this new third-party platform. Sporadic syncing is a common issue with solutions that live outside your inbox. 

What you can expect is a frustrated team that requires training sessions and lengthy onboarding times, as they struggle to manage multiple platforms.

This shows that simply having a “shared inbox” doesn’t solve your team’s problems; forcing you to look at why all shared inboxes are not created equal.

Why are some shared inboxes better than others? And which one is the best one for your team?

When it comes to your team’s workflow – the right shared inbox can mean the difference between organized success or frustrating failure. 

What is the best shared inbox for teams?

Now that we have a basic understanding of what a shared inbox is, let’s go into the details on why some are better than others.

A shared inbox will organize your incoming emails, but it won’t do much to support the actual work you need to do after receiving the email.

Most shared inboxes don’t include the accompanying features that will actually benefit your team’s workflow.

What makes Gmelius shared inboxes different? 

Gmelius takes the concept of shared inboxes further into the workflow of your team.

To start, Gmelius shared inboxes are designed with a collaborative-first approach. Meaning, your team will have the ability to work together on client and project management – without leaving their inboxes. Not just the communications, but the actual work that comes from them.

Once you install Gmelius, your Gmail inbox will be transformed into your new workspace; home to not only shared inboxes and shared Gmail labels, but a host of other features for team collaboration and workflow automation.

But don’t be fooled. Gmelius fits elegantly into the Gmail you’re familiar with. Features are out of your way when you don’t need them and easily accessed when you do.

Your new shared inboxes will be organized with a set of subfolders, making it easy to monitor and manage multiple inboxes with your team.

Gmelius shared inboxes are organized for clarity and built for collaboration.

You can easily share and delegate emails to specific team members.

It’s done in one click!

And so is changing statuses from ‘Assigned’, to ‘Pending’, and ‘Closed’ giving you clear visibility on the progress of emails and tickets.

Adding tags to emails gives your teammates additional context. They can further collaborate behind the scenes with private notes. @mentioning your teammates will auto-share the conversation and ping them with a note that runs in a chat-style thread alongside each email.

With Gmelius, your team can forget about duplicate and colliding emails or ignored customers. Teammates will see each other’s avatars if they are viewing an email, and the red ellipsis will pulse in real-time if they are replying.

To further outline how Gmelius turns your inbox into the best collaboration tool, let’s look at how teams of all sizes, across many industries, are using Gmelius.

What are some typical use cases for a shared inbox?

Managing group emails like [email protected] and [email protected] has never been easier, but Gmelius shared inboxes also act as the base for your team’s workflows, including client, project, and account management.

[email protected]

Sales teams use Gmelius as a complete sales automation tool; to scale their outreach and streamline their team’s workflows. 

Again, Gmelius is much more than just a shared inbox – so sales teams are able to:

  • Work together on incoming emails from their shared inbox
  • Organize conversations by client name with Gmail shared labels
  • Share and assign conversations for clear accountability
  • Automate their sales outreach with smart sequences
  • Speed up and scale communications with personalized email templates
  • Collaborate behind the scenes with email notes.
  • Turn emails into task cards and add them to Trello-like kanban boards
  • Get clear visibility over your sales pipelines on those shareable boards
  • And more

The foundation of this workflow is the [email protected] shared inbox.

[email protected]

Yes, you can turn your Gmail inbox into your company’s help desk. 

No, you don’t need expensive, difficult to use help desk software.

Gmelius is the best alternative to over-bloated solutions, making it easy for your team to deliver the best support without leaving their Gmail inboxes.

  • Create a shared inbox with help desk style ticketing
  • Share and assign email tickets for clear accountability
  • Change statuses and add tags for context
  • Speed up support communications with email personalized templates
  • Organize conversations by client name with Gmail shared labels
  • Collaborate behind the scenes with email notes
  • Turn emails into task cards and add them to Trello-like kanban boards
  • Easily monitor support pipelines on those shareable boards
  • And more

Gmelius makes it easy for your team to manage your [email protected] email address by turning your emails into helpdesk-style tickets.

“______”@yourcompany

No matter your use case, Gmelius will simplify your team’s workflows. And getting started is easy. You can create a shared inbox in a few simple steps from your Gmelius dashboard. 

It’s clear that if you’re part of a team that relies heavily on email – you need a shared inbox.

If your team works together on client and project management – you need Gmelius. 

Install Gmelius and transform the way your team communicates, collaborates, and gets work done.

And a few other frequently asked questions about shared inboxes…

Do we need a separate login or password for a shared inbox?

No. Gmelius shared inboxes are integrated into your standard inbox. One login, one password – one inbox. Your new shared inbox is seamlessly located in the familiar lefthand pane of your Gmail or G Suite inbox. 

Who gets the incoming replies to a shared inbox?

Everyone on the shared inbox will receive and have a record of all replies. Depending upon your workflow you can choose to “Assign” emails to specific teammates, making them the delegated owner of that conversation.

What’s the best way to organize who replies to a shared inbox?

Gmelius shared inboxes allow you to structure the best workflow for your team. Email sharing, assignments, and ticketing make accountability clear. So, it’s all up to you: who is able to view and monitor the emails versus who is responsible for replying.

Can anyone send an email from a shared inbox?

Yes, any member of a shared inbox can send emails with the from address of that particular shared inbox. For example, any member of the [email protected] email address can send and reply to its emails – directly from their respective inboxes.

Why is a shared inbox better than a Google Group?

Google Groups miss the main benefits of Gmelius shared inboxes: being able to collaborate in real-time and all shared inbox activity being fully-syncing into your personal inbox. Google Groups are not accessible from your Gmail or G Suite inbox. This means your team will have to manage two inboxes, each on separate platforms. And you won’t know if anyone has replied or what the current status of a conversation is. With Gmelius all replies and inbox activities are synced, in real-time, across all inbox members and all their devices. 

What is a collaborative inbox?

If you Google “Collaborative Inbox” most results will lead you to Google Groups. But for reasons stated in the previous answer – Google Groups is not the best fit for teams looking to truly collaborate. At Gmelius we define Collaborative Inbox as an email address turned into the central hub for your team to work together. They can communicate and truly collaborate – not only on incoming emails but also the many workflow actions that follow. Gmelius is a collaborative inbox.

What’s a shared inbox again?

A shared inbox is the answer to your team’s internal and external communication issues. When packaged into a complete solution like Gmelius, with collaboration and automation features, it’s the key to your team’s success. 

Install Gmelius and turn your inbox into your team’s workspace!

Ermias Giovanni
Ermias Giovanni Head of Marketing
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