8 Must-Have Transactional Emails For Your Online Store

The first email ever sent was in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson to himself.

Fast forward nearly 50 years and email is still around…and going strong. Especially for marketers.

According to Emma, 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI.

And as an eCommerce merchant, you’re sitting on a gold mine. You’re collecting emails from every order every day. You’re even collecting emails from visitors who don’t order and abandon their cart.

Opportunities abound, my friend, to send out emails to bring in sales.

So which transactional emails should you send out?

Here are 8 of them no online store should be without:

1. The Order Confirmation Email

Don’t underestimate the power of the tried-and-true confirmation email as a marketing tool. As the first transactional email a customer will receive, a thought-out, well-crafted confirmation email can:

  • Ensure a customer has ordered the right items.
  • Provide an estimate of when the items will be packed and delivered.
  • Function as a proof of purchase if there is an issue with the order.
  • Provide the customer with peace of mind. They have proof of their order, and that it has been placed successfully.

The above email from REI is a great example.

It contains an update about the order, when it will arrive, details about the address, and other pertinent details that a customer will want to know after they place their order.

This helps build trust – that ever-elusive carrot dangling in the way between a customer’s credit card sleeping peacefully inside their wallet and whipping it out to give you the sale. (Here’s a blog post we wrote for Trustpilot all about building trust online.)

2. The Order Shipment Email

The order shipment email is as important, and maybe even more so, than the order confirmation email. That’s because people usually remember what they ordered, but have no idea when their items will be delivered.

That’s why tracking is so crucial.

And that’s why must nail your shipping transactional emails.

They must contain information about the products ordered (a photo is a plus), shipping address, expected arrival time, and a link to tracking info.

This last one, tracking, is crucial.

88% of people check the status and tracking information of their order online, so it’s important to make this easy by sending updates when a package is shipped to your customer.

This can also help you identify shipping issues early.

If a customer knows when to expect their package, they’ll contact you early if it doesn’t arrive on time. But if they don’t know when it’s coming, they may wait longer before they can complain – which could impact overall customer satisfaction.

3. The Welcome Email

If you allow users to create their own accounts on your website, you should set up an automated “welcome” email, which confirms their account creation.

This can be as simple as the above example from Nike, or a more complex email which provides them with an offer or incentive for signing up for an account – 10% off their next order, for example.

Communicating with your customers after they’ve made an account by using a welcome email can help you build more brand equity, and stand out among other companies.

Think about how you can create a unique welcome email that showcases your own value proposition. This is a simple transactional email, but one that can build trust and value.

4. The “Price Drop” Or “Almost Sold Out” Email

This can be an extremely effective email marketing technique for people who have an account on your website. The way it works is relatively simple. Using cookies, you can track which items a customer has added to their cart, or viewed.

Then, once the stock of the item drops and it’s nearly sold out, or the price drops, you can send an automated email to the customer who was viewing the item, alerting them about what’s happened, and encouraging them to buy the item right away.

The email above from Uniqlo does many things right in their price drop email:

  • The headline is catchy and the subhead clearly states the price has dropped on a recently viewed item.
  • A photo of the product is shown in case the customer doesn’t remember what it looks like.
  • The CTA copy, “SEE THE NEW PRICE” is enticing and the color of button clearly stands out from other elements on the page.

For those customers that are on the fence about making a purchase, this type of transactional email is great for conversions.

5. The Cart Abandonment Email

Cart abandonment is a serious problem for all eCommerce companies.

Depending on your industry, Annex Cloud notes that cart abandonment rates can range from 50-80% or even higher.

Buyers often abandon their carts because:

  • Hidden fees
  • High shipping costs/no free shipping
  • Slow website performance
  • Complex checkout processes
  • Forcing users to create an account to check out

However, there is a useful way you can encourage those who have made an account on your website to come back and complete their transaction – particularly if they just forgot to check out.

A cart abandonment email can include information about the items a guest did not purchase – and you can even provide an incentive if they come back and complete their order, like free shipping or a discount.

The email below from Chubbies Shorts does such a great job they don’t need to offer an incentive. A beautiful visual, good copy and multiple links make this an abandoned cart email to copy:

A well-crafted cart abandonment email may be able to raise your customer recovery rate by up to 36%, so you should definitely implement this transactional email into your own eCommerce marketing strategy.

6. The “Win Back” Email

“Win back” emails are intended to appeal to customers who may not have been shopping at your eCommerce store recently. For example, if a registered user does not place an order for 3 months, you could send a promotional win back email.

These transactional emails are intended to incentivize the customer to come back to your store and shop – usually with some kind of promotional code, as in the example above from the fashion retailer Uniqlo.

However, you can also create win back emails that show off new features of your website, announce new products, and other such information that may encourage a user to come back, and check out what you have to offer.

7. The Review Email

If you’re struggling to get reviews, sending an email requesting a review is an easy win. And reviews/social proof, is the name of the game in eCommerce.

93% of consumers trust online reviews to help them make buying decisions, so incorporating review requests into your emails is a great idea to help you gather more reviews.

And honest reviews from real people can help convince other customers to purchase your items.

8. The Survey Email

This is similar to a product review email but is not concerned with reviewing an individual product – but rather, your customer’s entire buying experience.

Survey emails are a great way to find out what your eCommerce website is doing well – and what could use improvement. You can send these transactional emails out after a customer receives their purchase to get an honest evaluation of how well you’re doing.

You should also consider sending out survey emails after you resolve a customer service issue, to get feedback about how you may be able to improve your level of customer service.

Customer feedback is absolutely essential for improving just about every part of your eCommerce business, so we highly recommend incorporating some kind of feedback email into your store, so that you can learn how you’re doing – and how you can improve.

Get Started With One Email 

Implementing all eight emails presented here may be too much for you to take on. 

That’s OK.

Start with the most critical emails first: order confirmation and shipping confirmation. Then move to the email with the greatest ROI, abandoned cart. After you’ve honed these three, choose one per week to focus on.

If you need support creating and implementing these transactional emails, we have partnered with industry leaders in email marketing and we would be happy to make an introduction. Just contact us and we’ll take it from there. Happy selling!