In the winter of 2016, I was assisting my friend place an order for an Adidas Yeezy shoe on Alibaba.com.

I was assisting him because, well, I am the one who has always been tech-savvy and, surprisingly enough, fashion savvy among my clique of childhood friends.

Techy savvy and fashion savvy is a blend that is hard to come by.

He was standing over my shoulder while we scoured through a catalog of shoe brands on Alibaba.com, and finally, settling for an Adidas Yeezy shoe.

We filled in his personal details, shipping address and a couple of other vital information and submitted.

In less than a minute, we got a thank you for your purchase email from Alibaba and my friend's remark after skimming through it was: “Now what?”

It was a remark made in a feat of excitement and apprehension. We had just placed an order for one of the hottest shoe brands on the planet at that point in time.

Conversations around order confirmation emails among (both seasoned and newbie) marketers are about people like myself and my friend.

How can a marketer like you make the most out of the excitement and apprehension that comes with online purchases? How can you create killer order confirmation emails that create a positive impression for your brand, and secure the loyalty of your customer?

Order confirmation emails are one of the most relevant aspects of transactional emails. How you draft your own copy of this vital element of marketing is therefore very crucial.

The following data culled from various research into email marketing in the last 5 years helps in understanding the context:

order confirmation emails - what makes them special?

  • The average open rate for normal emails isn't even up to 18%; Confirmation emails, on the other hand, can have an open rate that rises to as high as 70%.

  • The attention span of the average adult is a miserly 8 seconds. The attention span of the average adult when reading their confirmation email, however, is an astonishing 14 seconds.

  • 64% of customers consider transactional confirmation emails as most valuable. What these data tell us is that customers are more likely to click on an order acknowledgment email and spend more time reading them than they would, say, a full-fledged promotional email.

The potentials that lie within order confirmations are numerous as supported by the statistics above. It takes carefully planned and laid out strategies for any marketer to be able to tap into these potentials.

An order confirmation email is about the customer

Traditionally, marketing, and business, in general, have always been about customer satisfaction. This core principle dictates that you always adapt your business strategy to suit your customer base.

The idea is to ensure your products and services are in harmony with the customer's basic interests.

This principle also underlines email marketing. It is, therefore, crucial, that this basic principle is foremost when putting together your copy of a thank you for your purchase email.

Optimize your order acknowledgment email content

Order acknowledgment emails present a solicited platform for engagement.

But...

Don't get lost in a “What next?” moment

“What next?” models and captures one of the core rudiments of order confirmation email. Even more interesting is how this very model is at the heart of the failures of most marketing approaches to it.

A customer has just placed an order for a product. They are both excited and anxious.

This, normally, presents a window of opportunity to say more about your company and promote other interesting products.

But this is the stage where the interest of your customer should come first -– This is their moment.

An introductory “Thanks for your order” or anything similar is a simple, yet powerful, way to begin your email copy.

Again, this is their moment. Avoid generic and shoddy language- humanize your voice.

*85% of the content of your email should be about the transaction that has just taken place.
*

Your customer would want to know if they have placed the order for the right product (s) and whether there are errors.

Some of the important customer-centric details that should be at the forefront when drafting a copy of your order confirmation email are:

What to include in an order confirmation email

  • Photo(s) of the product(s) purchased
  • Name(s) of the product(s)
  • Quantity of the product(s)
  • Order number or ID
  • Billing Summary
  • Payment information
  • Shipping address
  • Shipping method
  • Estimated arrival date.

As much as you would want to be concise with your message, avoid being sketchy with details. Ensure you touch on all the details your customer will most likely care about.

The order confirmation email sample below demonstrates a highly customer-centric order confirmation email.

An example of a customer-centric order acknowledgment email Source: zappos

This order confirmation email sample uses a language that sounds too personal to be something a computer cranked up. This thanks for your order email sample exhumes the customer-centric ethos Zappos is well-known for.

Importantly, the above order thanks for your purchase email is 80% about the transaction and less than 20% promotional.

Proactive marketers would also consider providing on-the-spot support for their customers.

If they filled in the wrong information, are there available options for them to update the details of the transaction they just made?

It will be wise, also, to provide a direct link to your customer support service in your email in the case where they really need to speak to someone.

Zappos, again, as shown above also factored this in while drafting its copy of their order confirmation email template.

The company provides links to its various help pages as well as emphasizing on its phone number. That is proactive marketing.

Make your order confirmation email template mobile-friendly

In the last 4 years alone, smartphone usage has increased by 394%.

Businesses no longer consider mobile optimization a nice-to-have; A “Mobile-first” mentality in crafting email marketing campaigns is central in driving the clicks, opens, and conversions which bring revenue back to your business.

You shouldn't be left behind. More than 55% of email opens happen on mobile.

The challenge, therefore, is how to adapt your order acknowledgment email template to offer an enriching mobile experience.

The best way to go about optimizing your campaign for mobile is to use a responsive email template and a mobile-ready landing page.

In the last few years, a couple of Email marketing companies have done a lot of work in pushing the transition from Desktop experience to full-fledged mobile experience.

There are, consequently, numerous email builders in the industry that help you optimize your email marketing campaign for mobile with ease.

One of these, our software: Chamaileon.io, helps you create responsive, easily customizable email templates that render perfectly on all devices.

If you want to get early access to our platform which is still under development please click below and join our beta testers.

 

If an in-house development team is responsible for designing your template, the useful question that should be at the heart of their effort should be “How does the email template render on various devices of varying sizes?"

In creating mobile-friendly emails, deploying templates that adapt to the various device sizes in today's market is indispensable.

A relevant cue to have at the back of your mind when bringing this concept to life should be:

  • Ensuring you track the email clients of your various users.This keeps you updated with the latest development and changes your users' email clients are implementing.

Prioritize email template design and visual engagement

Order acknowledgment email design and the flare of your template is vital to your overall marketing strategy.

Steve Jobs understood the vital role design and flare play in Apple's products when he said:

Design is not just how it looks, design is how it works.

To encourage your customers to continue engaging with your future promotional emails, you must take the design and visual appeal of your thanks for your order email serious.

  • Images make or break your email design.

According to insights from Brainrules people are more attuned to remembering pictures.

images help people to remember information

When people hear/read information, they are likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant visually appealing image is attached to that same information, people retain 65% of that information in the same amount of time.

This is, however, quite tricky when designing your email templates. Images can, sometimes, be too heavy and cause emails to load slowly, which is bad for user experience and engagement.

The width and size of an email, with its limitations, can also affect the use of images when designing an order confirmation email template.

Some users are also likely to disable image view in their email. This means avoiding over-reliance on images to convey vital details of the transaction. You can make up for this possible lapse by ensuring the important details of your order confirmation email are displayed or mentioned in plain text as well.

  • Use buttons that stack, not links.

The use of buttons boosts the visual appeal of your email-- They help in punctuating the columns of text in the content of your email and, overall, offers a more satisfying user experience.

  • Use fonts that are readable and won't strain the eyes of the user.

email typography font size best practice

In designing responsive email templates, the size of the font also plays a huge role. Are they large conducive enough for the eyes when rendered on mobile?

The font type and font size you use in the copy of your order confirmation email are as important as the content of the email itself.

You would want to spend some time exploring the best practices of using fonts in email design.

A great example of a thank you for your order email that pays attention to minimalist, visually-appealing design is from Etsy.

Etsy example of a great use of thank you for your purchase email template design Source: Etsy

The order confirmation email sample above manages to pack several, useful and relevant blocks of information into just one column.

Design sleek, simple, responsive, and visually-appealing email templates. They help cement your brand personality.

The visuals of your email must not stray away from your brand identity. Colors and logos must be consistent with what is obtainable on your company website.

Optimize each compartment of your email content

Designing emails that your customers actually love to read begins with the realization that most users skim emails. This makes the structure of your email content even more important.

You would want your customers to spend as much time as possible going through your purchase acknowledgment email and other future promotional emails –Because they love it.

Your “From” name must be easily recognizable and on-brand. This is so your email doesn't come off as suspicious to your customer's email client.

You wouldn't want your email to end up in the spam folder of your customer.

You can spend time experimenting on very potent subject lines.

Subject lines are vital to how your customers receive your email. Writing a good one isn't that easy--It comes with doubts, several checks, and more doubts.

Marketers most times capitalize on the email subject line to lead the user to open the email and direct their attention to the conversion goal.

There are several subject line templates and formats used for delivering effective transactional email campaigns.

Irrespective of which format you opt for, the nature of the email must be integral to the language of the subject line. In this case, an order confirmation email.

The body of the email, as earlier stated, must be concise and detailed enough in providing information on the transaction that has just taken place.

If you intend to cross-sell, upsell or use any form of call-to-actions, ensure they do not infringe on the important details of the email. They should be, however, carefully highlighted or, preferably, in attractive buttons.

Secure customer loyalty

The priority of every marketer should be retaining and nurturing existing customers; this is more prudent than running promotional marketing campaigns to obtain new customers all the time.

  • It costs between six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to maintain an existing one.

  • 44% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition Vs 18% that focus on customer retention.

  • 89% of companies see customer experience as a key to driving customer loyalty and retention.

    -via Invespcro

A brief look at the data above subtly shows us two things:

Firstly, it reveals that companies generally consider customer retention as more important than customer acquisition.

Secondly, it unveils, surprisingly, that very few companies are actually doing successful customer retention.

A marketer's goal is to be among the few elites that prioritize customer retention in both thoughts and action.

And it is not rocket science...

Capitalize on reviews

Your first shot at getting your customers to review your products and services is through the order confirmation email and, if you have the liberty, your shipping confirmation email.

Timing matters here. You should deploy technologies that ensure your order confirmation emails arrive your customers' inbox less than 2 minutes after completing a transaction.

Remember your customer, at this point, is still excited about the transaction that has just taken place on your website – Leverage on that.

You can offer your customers incentives for reviewing your product. Attaching a sense of urgency to it plays a big role in pushing conversion for you.

The order acknowledgment email sample below makes ample use of this strategy in racking up useful reviews for their products. And their excited customers keep coming back for more.

Thank you letter for purchase with a section that asks customers for reviews Source: Warby Parker

The important thing to note is that asking for a review in a thank you for your purchase email is not conventional and not a must-have.

Usually, a separate email asking for a review is sent after the product has been delivered to the customer.

Go social with your order confirmation email

Even though email marketing is more viable in getting high ROI, social media still remains an indispensable tool in engaging your customer.

Online users are more likely to first read reviews on social media before making an online purchase. In fact, 46% of users count on social media to make purchase decisions.

Growing your social media communities should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. When merged with positive reviews, you are positioning your brand for skyrocketing ROI.

BestBuy sends out a very concise thank you for your purchase confirmation email and encourages its customer to join community forums.

With this strategy, BestBuy continues engaging with its customer on social media.That is an astute way of nurturing a long-term relationship.

Order confirmation email sample where users are encouraged to follow their social media handle

Source: Bestbuy

Beyond giving your customers reason(s) to follow your social media pages and handles, how you leverage your subsequent engagement with them matters. For example, you can create a hashtag for your product on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

You can encourage your customers to share images of your product when the order finally arrives, give feedback, reviews, and lots more with the Hashtag you are encouraging them to use.

The result of this community engagement will be a collection of raw, priceless user-generated content.

User-generated contents are invaluable in driving brand advocacy and your overall marketing strategy. You can leverage on your thanks for your purchase email in getting them at minimal cost.

Promote your marketing emails

If the bulk of your marketing strategy is focused on emails, then your order confirmation email or/and your shipping confirmation email are opportunities to get your customers signed up to your email marketing list.

Remember the customers you're dealing with at this stage are most likely first-time-users of your product and are not on your email marketing list—yet.

You can outline benefits of them joining your email marketing list and include a clear call-to-action for them subscribe to one.

UPS store has done this remarkably well as shown in the image below. Prominent enough is a clearly placed button urging users to sign up to their email marketing list.

Shipping confirmation email sample that is concise, neat and promotes their email list subscription link

Source: UPS Store

Getting your customers to subscribe to an email marketing list or joining your social media communities are both effective ways of engaging them. The route you'd prefer taking is dependent on your overall marketing target and goal.

Run a referral program

Running a referral program is an old-fashioned, but highly effective marketing technique. Integrating a referral program into your purchase confirmation email is prudent and cost-effective.

A referral program is an astute way of getting your customers to be willing brand advocates for your products, thereby establishing a long-term trust with new marketing leads.

92% of respondents in a poll conducted by [Nielsen] said they trusted referrals from people they knew. New York Times reports that 65% of new businesses come from referrals.

Referral programs are two-way processes. You have to give your customers incentives to carry out the word-of-mouth marketing for your brand. At the end of the day, you stand a chance of gaining more in terms of the trust, loyalty and, in the long run, revenues for your company.

The best way to go about offering referral programs is to personalize them and substitute the word 'referral' with something else. This is in order not to come off as trying to buy off your customers.

Airbnb, in the order confirmation email sample below, offers monetized referral programs in form of credit cash in their confirmation email.

A newsletter confirmation message sample showing how to run referral programs

Source: AirBnB

Airbnb offers you $35 when you refer a friend who ends up traveling with Airbnb. And if your friend ends up hosting with Airbnb during his/her, you get $65. And they make it easier for their users to invite their friends by providing links to popular social media platforms.

Encourage your customers to share their referral codes on various social media platforms.

The incentives packed into AirBnB’s referral program are enough for you to use in booking an apartment during your next travel. That is almost irresistible for Airbnb customers.

Again, adding a sense of urgency to your referral program is a great way to get your customers to make use of them. The goal should be ensuring conversion while the completed transaction is still fresh on their mind.

Reward customer loyalty

Rewarding customer loyalty can come in handy in purchase confirmation email if you do want your customers to return. This can be in form of a discount or coupon for a next buy.

Godaddy offers attractive discounts to new customers in their first thanks for your order email.

Confirmation email example from Godaddy that shows how to reward customers Source: Godaddy

You can decide to raise your discount and make it a limited-time offer. This again creates a sense urgency. By leveraging on your customer's fear of losing out on the reward, you're increasing conversion when it matters most.

An opportunity to cross-sell and upsell

People are more likely to accept your upsell and cross-sell offers immediately after a purchase—and your order confirmation email is timely.

Some strategies on upselling or/and cross-selling have already been touched on previously. I made mention of them under the guise of referral programs and rewarding customer loyalty with discounts and coupons.

When upselling or cross-selling, the relevant cues to have at the back of your mind are:

  • Not overloading your customer with so much advertised products. Be minimalistic as possible. 2 or 3 promoted products is a decent range to work on.

  • Customizing the products you are upselling or cross-selling aids a lot in running a minimalist campaign. Recommend products that are within the context of the transaction that has just taken place.

  • Make your up-selling/cross-selling promotional drive secondary. As much as you would want your customer to make a return buy, it shouldn't be the most prominent part of your content. This should also be reflected in your email design.
  • The prices of the products you are promoting should be within the same price range as the one just purchased. This is just logical thinking.

Walmart's approach to this is something I personally connect to.

Thanks for your order email that shows how to upsell and cross-sell Source: Walmart

With the bulk of the email focusing on the details of the transaction, Wal-Mart proceeds to offer highly personalized products as part of its cross-selling drive.
In this case, a student chair with an arm was promoted to a customer who bought a student desk. That is as proactive as cross-selling can get.

Try something unconventional in your order confirmation email

The marketing world is ever evolving- Nothing is cast in stone. Various marketing agencies are ever trying to introduce new concepts, optimize existing trends and so much more.

Sometimes, these changes are successful at introducing sophisticated and effective marketing.Some other times, they fail.

In an era where consumer behavior is ever evolving, coupled with increasing fluctuating social trends, marketing calls for brevity.

The ultimate goals of any of these trends and experimentation in the industry have always been to personalize emails --Make them more conversational and fluid in engagement. And you can be at the forefront of this drive.

There are bits of emerging email marketing trends you can begin experimenting with in drafting your next order confirmation email campaigns.

Big data personalization

The venture into Big data is engraved in the idea that marketing should always be about the customer – Created and modeled based on individuals.

Big data has been around for the last few years, but is still being referred to as the “future of marketing.”

This is because it gets ever more complex and opens up more opportunity for marketers to go personal and accurate with their email message.

Big data is now integral in brand engagement and pushing conversion rate as well as marketing ROI.

  • According to Aberdeen, personalized emails with the right data sets improve click-through rates by 14%

  • A Mckinsey & Company study of more than 250 engagements over five years revealed that companies that put data at the center of their email marketing and overall marketing decisions, improve their marketing return on investment by 15-20%

  • According to IBM, 83% of CMOs expect to enhance their use of analytics to capture customer insights (data). Forbes reports that by 2017, CMOs will outspend CIOs on information technology.

-via Emailmonks

Basically, the more you know about your customer, the better the content and flare of your email.

And that involves gathering large volumes of data with evolving complexity and requiring better and faster technology to analyze for usage.

In an earlier point raised, I mentioned that you can personalize your cross-sell/upsell products based on customer preference.

Most of the personalization currently happening in drafting purchase acknowledgment emails are based on implied preferences.

This is Basically using data a user provides to make logical assumptions and customizing your content based on those assumptions.

Brave marketing requires you go beyond that. It involves exploring rather new concepts like big data in being as accurate as possible when customizing content for your customer.

Future purchase confirmation email campaigns can explore big data in:

  • Introducing your email using the exact personal details of the customer.

  • Using location-based data to promote customized products or services.

  • Recommend products based on their behavior during Holiday seasons for example.

And so much more.

Zappos, for example, is already foraying into this “future” of complex data in churning out very creative, personalized, transactional emails for its users.

The challenge with big data has always bordered on the privacy policy you are adopting in managing such huge and complex information on your customers.

This is an ethical and legal issue that you and your team should spend time on.

Interactive email

Another trend still on the marketing horizon that might soon be a norm in designing emails is the interactivity of emails. Marketers are looking at how to ensure their customers do more with the content of their email.

An interesting instance here is customers being able to add one of your upsell products to their carts directly from the order confirmation email you have sent --Without visiting your website again. The aim is to cut down more on the barriers to deeper customer engagement.

The sophisticated interactive email sample below allows you to engage more deeply with the email content on your device -- Without leaving your email app.

Interactive email example Source: B & Q Plc

The challenge with this technology is the fact that it is mostly supported for delivering a mobile experience on just apple devices.

It is likely that in the near future, most email clients will begin rolling out support for the CSS functionality that interactive emails need to thrive.

It will then be possible to create sophisticated email displays and effects for users to seamlessly interact with.

You can be at the forefront of ensuring future emails are more conversational and interactive-- And be an early beneficiary of the opportunities it presents.

Animation and video in email

Videos and animations are increasingly playing a strategic role in email designs. Email marketers are turning towards motion videos and animations in order to deliver a fresh element to user’s inbox.

A little motion in emails basically aids in boosting user engagement. Videos and animations support the message of the email and importantly, captures imaginations and attention.

Using HTML 5, videos are daily being deployed in driving email messages. Some few Brave marketers are going a step further in using videos as email Background. Fallback images are however included to ensure it degrades.

This, generally, is not yet a common trend in the industry since most email clients don’t support the HTML and CSS technologies needed to bring such elements to live in users' inbox.

However, it is something you can explore in trying to improve your brand impression and the conversion rates of your email.

Using videos and animations can come in handy when using unconventional but creative approach towards cross-selling or upselling in your order confirmation emails.

The animated email sample below isn't exactly for order confirmation, but the idea can be deployed in similar campaigns.

A sample use of animation in email that could be frequent feature order email confirmations Source: Reallygoodemails

You only have few seconds before a user moves to another email or unto something else. Think of your emails as an experience between you and your user. Make it worth their time! A little motion helps.

Conclusion

The crux of order confirmation email borders, most prominently, on satisfying your customer. It is important that this is the goal and primary focus when drafting the copy of your order confirmation email.

When customer-centricity is the focus of your email, it is easily radiated through the content and design of your email.

  • Is your language understandable enough?

  • Are you providing the right support?

  • Does your design make it convenient enough for your email to be read?

  • Will your customer be happy receiving an email from you in the future?

As much as customer-centricity is the bedrock of modern marketing, order confirmation emails also provide a window of opportunity to drive
conversion and ROI.

This, in itself, should be guarded by the philosophy of keeping the customer happy.

These are the bedrocks of order confirmation emails.

Of course, there is no rule against trying out something new.

Sometimes you have to foray into unfamiliar territory in a bid to better understand your customers and simultaneously, boost revenue.

This involves experimenting with new technologies and marketing techniques.

If these rather simple rules are adhered to, you are inadvertently securing your customer loyalty while upscaling your revenues.

Author
Kelvin Odanz

Kelvin Odanz

Online Marketing Ninja @ Chamaileon.io & EDMdesigner.com