Transactional emails may not seem like the most exciting message in your arsenal of customer communications, but clever marketers know that every email is an opportunity—especially when these types of emails receive open rates as high as 85 percent1 (compare this to the 20-25 percent average open rate of marketing emails).
Specifically, shipping and order confirmation emails are two transactional emails that don’t always get the attention they deserve from marketers. But by including a few basic components and adding a little creativity, these emails can help build customer loyalty, improve the post-purchase experience, and establish a unique voice for your brand.
Here are seven tips to take your shipping confirmation emails to the next level and get the most out of those high open rates:
1 | Include a tracking link
A tracking link is the most important component of a shipping confirmation email since it allows customers to see the status of their purchase in real-time.
Apart from giving customers peace of mind that their package is on its way, tracking links also give customers a sense of excitement.
When you include a tracking link in your shipping email, your customer can watch their new purchase make its way to their doorstep—because who doesn’t check the status of their package every day when they’re waiting for a shipment?
Brand doing it right: In this shipping confirmation email from FitBit, they put a clickable tracking number right at the top, so you can’t miss it. Like they say in the copy, you don’t need to camp out by the mailbox—you can camp out by your inbox instead.
2 | Include product and shipping details
Leverage customers’ excitement about their recent purchase by including an image of what they just bought in your shipping confirmation email.
Although customers will usually remember what they purchased, an image of the product or products they bought ensures that it’s easy for them to access order information. As an added bonus, they can effortlessly pull up the email and show their friends all the amazing items they just bought from your brand.
Additionally, include product detail and purchase information in your shipping confirmation email.
A few details to include are:
• Name of the item(s)
• Description (size, color, quantity, etc.)
• Shipping method (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.)
• Delivery address
• Order number or ID
• Billing summary
Brand doing it right: Sephora is a master at the shopping confirmation email. In this email, you see an image of the product, the name of the item, the SKU number, the size, the price, and the quantity. Plus, if you click the image, it brings you right to the product page so you can easily access any product information.
For any customer that has an issue with their product, a problem with their shipment, or perhaps wants to re-order in the future, having all of this information a click away makes for a premium customer experience.
3 | Provide support resources
Always include an easily accessible way for customers to contact your support team in the event that they have questions about their order.
There are few things more frustrating to a customer than not having easy access to support when something goes wrong.
For example, if they notice in their shipping confirmation email that there was a mistake in their order, they’ll likely want to contact you immediately to remedy the situation. If it’s too difficult to find a contact or ask a question, it can cause a very frustrating experience that could deter them from making a future purchase.
You may also want to anticipate some of your customers’ questions and preemptively include links to FAQs, return policies, or other helpful pages.
Brand doing it right: MeUndies does a great job of creating a clear way to contact the team on their shipping confirmation email. With an entire section dedicated to customer service information under the subheading “We’re Here to Help,” there’s no question as to where you should go if you want to talk to the team.
4 | Highlight the estimated delivery date
Including an estimated delivery date in your shipping confirmation email goes hand-in-hand with including a tracking link, but instead of allowing customers to follow their new product’s journey, it allows them to see the estimated arrival time.
Build up a sense of anticipation and excitement—your customer’s shipment is arriving soon, after all!
Call attention to the delivery date by putting it in a prominent position in the email. For example, try using a headline or subject line like “Congratulations! Your order has shipped. You can expect it in your mailbox by [date]” To get even more personal, include the name of the customer or the item they purchased.
Brand doing it right: This shipping confirmation email from Ritual keeps it simple by making the expected delivery date one of the most prominent visuals in the email.
5 | Suggest complementary products
Once a customer has placed their order, you may want to suggest related items that will go well with what they just bought.
Suggesting complementary products post-purchase is optional, but it can be an extremely effective way to encourage a second purchase. To do this successfully, make the email as personal as possible—try suggesting products that are from the same collection, or even curate a set of products that would complement the particular item a customer just bought.
Additionally, the benefit of including product recommendations in a shipping confirmation email as opposed to an order confirmation email is that, by the time a shipping confirmation goes out, order info will be processed so that the product recommendations will take the shipped order details into account.
But before you get too excited about promoting your products, remember to keep transactional information as the main message.
Brand doing it right: A popular method of encouraging the next purchase is linking to new arrivals, like lingerie brand Adore Me. They include all the necessary shipping information and a clickable image that directs customers to shop new arrivals at the bottom.
How could you make an upsell offer even better? Offer customers free shipping on their next order. While someone might be hesitant to place another order if they have to pay twice for shipping, they might reconsider if the added cost is no longer an issue.
6 |Provide value adds
Consider what other content you can include in your transactional emails to spice up the experience for subscribers.
Transactional emails don’t have to be all business. There are plenty of ways to provide extra value to customers through your order confirmations.
A few examples that we’ve seen (and you can even find throughout this post) include:
• Referral program call-outs
• Instagram feeds and social proof
• Membership or subscription offers
• Blog content
• Surveys, review, or feedback requests
• Helpful guides or next steps
Brand doing it right: Toothbrush brand quip added value to their shipping confirmation email by including two relevant videos that explain how to swap your brush head or refresh the cover.
This is a prime example of a content addition that is helpful, informative, and educational—any customer that orders through quip could find these videos to be useful.
7 | Make it yours
There are little ways you can improve your confirmation emails and make them better match the tone of your brand.
While you should always start with and include the basics (steps 1-4) for transactional emails, employ the right side of your brain to add in some creativity, make it personal, and showcase your brand’s voice.
Brand doing it right: This clever email from Native uses copy to showcase the brand’s humor. Native doesn’t make their products like everyone else, so they aren’t doing they’re emails like everyone else either. They walk you through their (slightly embellished) shipping process which includes gold trimmed pillows, magnifying glasses, and a professional polisher to effectively make a simple operation into a standout experience.
Making the most of every transaction
Transactional emails are often overlooked as an opportunity to interact with customers, but they’re a great way to make your brand stand out while offering important order information.
And because your customers are likely to open transactional emails, you should pay just as much attention to them as you would your marketing emails.
The goal for order and shipping confirmation emails is to build excitement around a customer’s recent purchase and give them the tools necessary to track and verify their order. And with the right combination of information and innovation, your shipping confirmations might even be a crucial touchpoint in your customer retention strategy.