When it comes to email marketing, most people think about the promotion emails only. However, there are other extremely important emails, the so-called transactional emails. These transactional messages should be the fundamental part of your email marketing strategy to build a trustworthy reputation and a great customer service.

What is a transactional email?

Transactional emails are related to account activity and triggered by certain actions on a website or application. Marketers often refer to it as transactional email, but actually, transactional email is just a fraction of triggered emails (like the bugs and insects thing). This post is about all types of triggered emails.

The purpose of these automated emails is to reassure the customer that a process has been started or finished. For this reason, you need to automate this process, so you can send the right emails to the right person, at the right time.

You must personalize these messages to make them relevant to the recipients. It would be extremely unprofessional to send standardized emails without the information the recipients actually need.

The customer expects to receive these emails. These transactional messages show that you are reliable and go the extra mile to follow up.

A great transactional email marketing strategy helps you improve the customer service you provide as well. Imagine, if you didn't send an order confirmation email when the customer orders an item, they would wonder whether you received the order at all. They would contact you by email or message you on social media causing unnecessary annoyment. You don't want that.

What is the difference between transactional and marketing emails

You send marketing emails when you aim to promote your product whereas transactional emails are to communicate with the customers based on their actions.

Generally speaking, transactional emails are more effective than promotional emails. They offer a great opportunity to boost your sales if you do it right.

Why transactional emails are so successful?

The reason is really simple. The customers open these emails almost every time because they want to read the confirmation, shipping or other product-related information.

According to Experian, transactional emails have 2-5 times higher ROI than promotional emails.

Transactional email's ROI study from Experien

The open and click rates of the transactional emails are 8 times higher than marketing emails. It means that these emails offer you the opportunity to cross-sell or get your customers to follow you on social media for instance.

What are the best transactional email service providers?

As I mentioned above, you need to automate your transactional emails to send them promptly. You can use great transactional email service providers to make your life easier.

1.Amazon Simple Email Service

You can easily integrate the Amazon SES with your application. This cloud-based email service is reliable and affordable.

2.SendGrid

SendGrid allows you to build email marketing campaigns by integrating with its API. It also has a great analytical tool to track your performance.

3.Mandrill

Mandrill by MailChimp is also a great solution supporting every type of domain.

You can also send transactional emails via a simple PHP Script.

How to build up the transactional email sequence

Your transactional email strategy depends on your product or service itself. Make sure you map the customer journey and create a message for each stage.

Here is an example of how you could build your E-commerce transactional email messages in a logical order.

  1. Send the confirmation email when the website visitor subscribed to your newsletter or created an account.

  2. Send a welcome email once the recipient confirmed their email address. Tell the recipient who you are and what they can expect from you. Don't make this email a sales pitch though.

  3. Send the order confirmation email when the customer completed the purchase process on your website. Include the important information of the items such as the name of the item, color, price, material, address etc.

  4. Send the shopping cart recovery email if the website visitor leaves your webshop without actually buying the items they placed in their shopping cart. You can use this step even if you have SaaS business, just imagine what would be the shopping cart for your service.

  5. Send the receipt of the purchased item or service. It's especially important if you sell SaaS product.

  6. Send the shipping information of the products such as shipping date and the name of the shipping company.

  7. Send the delivery information when the items arrived at the address.

  8. Send a survey to ask for customer feedback. You can use this information to either improve your service or use the positive ranking for your product site.

Remember, customers often check the product reviews before making the purchase decisions. Google calls this stage the UMOT (Ultimate Moment of Truth). Another customer's UMOT becomes the next customer's ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) when they check out reviews on a product or service. It's an important stage in the customer journey.

Transactional e-commerce email subject line examples

Subject lines for transactional emails should be clear and straight to the point.

Here are some examples of the subject lines that show you don't need to overthink it. Of course, you can add your personality to the subject lines, yet if you keep it simple it's totally fine.

  • Congratulations! You've subscribed to our newsletter.
  • Your Amazon.co.uk #1232456 order has been placed.
  • Your Amazon.co.uk #1232456 order is out for delivery.
  • Order canceled. - Your order was canceled. The seller refunded $199 back.
  • Request to change your password

Note: Transactional ecommerce email subject lines can include some promotional deals too.

Transactional emails best practices

Your transactional email strategy must focus on the customer's need. It's about providing information and help when needed.

Personalise the transactional emails.

Include dynamic personalization tokens to send the right message to the customers.

  • Customer's name
  • Photo, name, price and quantity of the purchased item
  • Order number
  • Order date
  • Billing summary
  • Shipping date
  • Date of delivery

Choose the company name as a sender name

There is a huge hype around sending emails from co-workers emails to make the communication more human. In this case, you'd better go with the company name to avoid confusion.

Don't make your email about your promotion.

You can include some offers here or there but generally, your transactional emails should be about the account activity itself.

Include contact information.

Problems always arise, customers have questions, provide an email address, phone number and local address in your transactional email. Make it easy to reach out to you.

Evade No-reply.

Make communication the simpler way it could be. Avoid sending these emails from do-not-reply addresses. It's easier to just reply. Maybe you should try to include a chat link too if you have chat support.

Align your transactional email templates with your brand.

When the customer reads your email they should be able to recognize your brand immediately. Use your logo, brand color and fonts to make your emails familiar to the customer.

In Chamaileon, we already have predesigned transactional email templates which you can easily modify to match with your brand. You can register and access them here.

Emphasize Free Shipping.

This one is important when you send a shopping cart recovery email. Customers abandon their baskets for many reasons. Offering free shipping might change their mind.

9 Types of transactional emails illustrated with 29+ examples

You can find here 9 types of e-commerce transactional emails illustrated with 29+ transactional email template examples. These examples will help you come with transactional email sequence and designs for your email templates that follow the latest best practices.

1. Welcome email sequence

Customers expect to receive welcome emails after signing up or purchasing an item. This is your once in lifetime opportunity to make a good first impression.

Connect with your audience by using inspiring welcome emails and increase your revenue.

Double opt-in emails

Double opt-in emails ask the recipient to confirm their email addresses. It protects the customer's right and you get their consent as well. Also, you could be sure, you have another active e-mail address on your precious email list.

Double opt-in transactional email template by Zulily

Source: Pinterest

This Double opt-in transactional email template by Zulily shows that the very first email you send to the customer doesn't need to be boring. The celebrating, smiling lady brings the recipients closer to the brand.

Notice the message in the upper right corner, saying "invite a friend, earn $15". Zulily recognized that they could grow their customer base from day one by including their offer in the double opt-in email already.

Welcome email

As soon as the recipient confirms their email address, you can welcome them to your community.

Ecommerce transactional welcome email template example from Lush

Source: Pinterest

This ecommerce transactional welcome email template by Lush is a great example of how to use a tone of voice in your messages. Lush has a friendly approach and uses playful language.

This welcome email design includes the contact information, a link to the brand video and product recommendations as well. Providing buttons with the "Shop Now" activating verb encourages the recipients to navigate to the webshop and take actions.

Include the social media icons in your welcome email as well. You can't send an email to your customers every day but you can communicate on social media whenever you have something to say.

Account Creation

If your website or app makes it possible to create an account, it's a must to send out an email about the successful account creation.

Your account has been created - Skywatch

Transactional account creation email template example

Source: Really Good Emails

Skywatch started its onboarding flow by confirming that the customer's account has been created. They gave instructions to finish the process by setting up the password. Skywatch provided links to its knowledge center as well, it's a great example of leveraging content.

2. Order confirmation transactional email

This order confirmation email is sent right after the recipient signed up for your newsletter or created an account.

The purpose of the confirmation is to acknowledge the customer that a certain action has happened. Explain what's going to happen and provide your contact details just in case.

Following order confirmation email best practices is necessary to nail it.

variables-that-makes-order-confirmation-email-special

Transactional order confirmation emails creates opportuntiies for the companies to maximize outcome from the sales by running referral program, cross-selling and upselling, etc. Check how you can maximize outcome from order confirmation emails

Order Confirmation - Blue Bottle

ecommerce order confirmation email design example from  Blue Bottle

Source: Really Good Emails

This ecommerce order confirmation email design from Blue Bottle sums up what you need to include in an email when the customer buys your product.

Blue Bottle notified the customer that their order was received and they would get in touch again, as soon as they ship the item. Every important information is included: the products, the prices, and the shipping address as well.

Thanks for your order - Warby Parker

Transactional-Update-Email-Design-from-Warby-Parker

Source: Really Good Emails

This beautiful order confirmation email example by Warby Parker has a great tone of voice. Enthusiastic and excited for the customers. This simple email layout is elegant and easy to screen.

Reservation information - Hyatt House

Reservation confirmation email template example by Hyatt House

Source: Really Good Emails

This ordder confirmation email template by Hyatt House allows the guests to add the booking information to their Apple Wallet. No more desperate searching in the email box, the guest can find their document in their app with one single click.

Hyatt House embedded the location and provided their phone number, the Check-in and Check-out dates are at the top of the email. You should always include the most important information at the beginning of your emails.

This transactional email provides a great, seamless experience, guest can easily modify or cancel their booking.

3. Payment accepted

Customers want to take control over transferring money online. By sending a confirmation about a payment will assure the customers that the transfer was successful. This email is the valid proof of the transaction, you must send it.

Cash accepted - Square

Square cash accepted transactional email design

Source: Really Good Emails

This transactional email example by Square is simple and straight to the point. Communicate who received how much money and when. Provide a link to your Help Center to make it easy to contact you if there is any problem.

4. Shipping confirmation email template

Customers are always excited when they wait for their order. They keep checking their phone and asking the receptionist if the delivery arrived. That's why tracking the status of the shipping process gives customers a piece of mind.

Shipping confirmation email - Joybird

Order shipped transactional email template design example

Source: Really Good Emails

This order confirmation email design example by Joybird has a nice, clear layout. The "Your order has shipped" message looks like a stamp, it's a creative idea indeed.

Note how detailed this email is in terms of data. They tell the customer who and when would call them when the shipment arrives. The tracking information is also included.

5. Delivery confirmation

Probably this one the most exciting news for your customers. If they receive your email but the order is still nowhere, they can contact your and report the problem.

It's a great idea to use a Track and Trace service so your customers can see the status of their delivery as well. Integrate with Package Tracking APIs to satisfy your customers.

Delivery completed - Postmates General Store

Delivery transactional email template example

Source: Really Good Emails

I absolutely love this email. This delivery transactional email template example is a sweet thank you note by Postmates General Store. They also included the delivery guy's name and photo which makes the note more human.

At the bottom of the email, we see another great way of referral marketing. Sharing love on social media for a few bucks is definitely a good way to get out there.

6. Cart abandonment emails

Cart abandonment happens when the customer goes to your website and start the purchasing process by putting items in their basket. However, they leave your website without checking out.

This happens quite often. Study by Statista shows that 69.23% of the customers abandoned their shopping carts in 2017.

If you use a well-thought-through abandoned cart recovery email strategy you won't leave money on the table. According to studies these emails can reach a 2.05% conversion rate.

What to include in your abandoned cart recovery transactional email?

  • Photo of the product
  • Price of the items
  • CTAs to provide seamless shopping experience
  • Contact information
  • Menu linking to the webshop

Still on your mind? - Guess

Cart abandoned basket email design sample by Guess

You don't need to give a massive discount on your very first cart recovery email. Guess offered free shipping instead for orders over $75 with using a CODE. It's also a clever idea to include a menu bar so the recipients can easily navigate to your website.

7. Account related emails

Whenever the customers make changes to their account or personal details, send a confirmation to communicate that the change has been made.

Change password

People use so many passwords it's inevitable that they forget them once in a while. Password resets save lives in this case.

Forget your password? - Vewe Wine

Password request transactional email

Source: Really Good Emails

Vewe Wine password reset email is funny and compassionate. Sprinkling personality on generally boring transactional emails is a good idea.

Status

Your listing is published - Airbnb

congrats-your-listing-is-published

Source: Really Good Emails

Airbnb sent this triggered email after the homeowner listed their apartment. Airbnb gave some tips on how to become a great host. They also added links to more information.

Your phone has been added - Netflix

your-phone-number-has-been-added

Source: Really Good Emails

This automated email example by Netflix shows how detailed transactional email flows can be. Have a written document where you list all the data you need to operate and create your transactional email flows accordingly.

In this case, Netflix confirmed that the user's phone number was added. Netflix also explained the reason why this number was needed and included a button to verify the phone number itself.

Make sure you only ask for the data that's needed to operate and tell the customer why they need to share this data with you.

Invitation

Collaborate-transactional-email

Source: Really Good Emails

Sending invitation emails is a must for collaboration tools. Dropbox quickly explained who sent the invitation and provided the direct link to directly join the workplace itself.

Weekly status update

Weekly Summary - Slack

weekly-update-transactional-email

This summary email by Slack shows data on the usage of the tool. It's important information if the user's goal is to build transparent communication across the organization.

Data visualization is useful to understand the pattern and create insights easily.

Subscriptions

The Upgrade Email - Skillshare Premium

Welcome-to-Skillshare-Premium

Source: Really Good Emails

This transactional email sample by Skillshare shows how you can combine your welcome email with the billing information. This email reassures the new Premium member that their new plan has started.

Skillshare included the new price that will be charged from a certain date. They encourage the new Premium member to invite a friend by offering a free month of membership.

Retention email

Trial expires - Squarespace

Transactional-email-trial-expires

Source: Really Good Emails

Most SaaS product offers a free trial to the users so they can try out the tool and register if they like it. Squarespace warned the user that their trail would expire in 24 hours.

Remind the user why they should keep using your software and provide the direct links to upgrade right away.

Get Premium - Evernote

Evernote upgrade transactional email

Source: Really Good Emails

This upgrade email by Evernote is a beautiful example of branded emails. The clear layout and the Evernote green makes this email easily recognizable.

Evernote emphasized that their tool helped to eliminate distractions. It lists all the benefit of the premium package to convince the user to upgrade.

Billing

Failed payment, upgrade your billing details - Dropbox

Transactional Billing and Payment Email Design sample from-Dropbox

This billing transactional email template sample by Dropbox informs the user that they were not able to charge the user. Again, the copy includes the price, the name of the package and the deadline for the payment. It's also important to communicate what happens if the user fails to pay their bill. A quick link to the upgrade the billing info can be a solution.

8. Notification email

If your aim is to get the user to use your application you need to make sure you send notifications when needed. A clever message can encourage them to get back to your app and keep using it.

Push notification

You have new notifications - Facebook

Facebook-transactional-push-notification-email

Facebook is the master of notification emails. For obvious reason, they want you to be on Facebook so they can show ads to you which generate revenue.

Re-engagement email

We haven't seen you in a while - Duolingo

Duolingo re-engagement email

Source: Really Good Emails

The success of SaaS products lies in the usage of the software itself. Duolingo encouraged the users to get back on track by using their brand mascot to express sadness because of being neglected. It's a very common way to let your users know you miss them.

Make sure you include a button that allows the recipients to navigate back to your website or application easily.

Follow these re-engagement practices to win back inactive subscribers.

Reminder email

People are busy and get distracted all the time. They might want to attend an event or buy that sweet, discounted dress but they forget about them. That's when a little reminder becomes handy.

Event reminder

Your reservation is right around the corner. - The Chicago Service

event-reminder-email

Source: Really Good Emails

The image used in this email is eye-catching. The details of the event are listed in a logical order. The name of the event, the date and the venue are the most important information you must include in your event reminder email.

Our Ultimate Event Reminder Guide helps you get your head around the topic.

Ecommerce reminder email

Reminder: 20% Off Sale - The School of Life

e-commerce transactional reminder email design sample

This promotional Ecommerce transactional email example shows how you can trigger a sense of urgency. You can use count down timers in your emails as well.

9. Request email

The best way to get to know your customers and what they really need is to ask them. Their opinion helps you improve your service and make them happy.

Product review

Content Survey Contest - FlyWheel

Feedback transactional email design example

Source: Really Good Emails

Coming up with valuable content ideas isn't easy. FlyWheel decided to ask the readers instead of guessing. In return, the responders can win t-shirts which makes the whole process fun.

Review

Customer-review-transactional-email

Source: Really Good Emails

Insurify asked their existing customers to show whether they would recommend the service to their friends. It's an easy way to find out how happy the clients are and what are the chances of being recommended.

Note: If you still haven't found an example that you like and that you want to use in your campaigns, you can take a look at our email template collection with professionally designed transactional email templates.

Transactional-templates-2

Source: Chamaileon template collection- transactional emails

You can use this free email template designer, builder, and editor to easily add your own images and text.

Take away

Transactional emails are elemental parts of your email marketing strategy. They help in building trust with your customers and maintain your customer service in a more efficient way.

Since the recipients always engage with this type of emails, you have a great opportunity to boost your sales as well. Although you need to use this technique with caution, you can include some vouchers and offers here and there. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the transactional emails must about the transaction, promotion should play a secondary role.

Setting up the automated transactional email workflow pays off at the end, saving you time and giving your customer a peace of mind.

Author
Roland Pokornyik

Roland Pokornyik

CEO / Co-founder @ Chamaileon.io & EDMdesigner.com