As consumers, we are all familiar with the emails that are sent to us following a purchase online. Typically you will first receive an email confirming your order with the items listed, as well as the tax, shipping a total you paid. These emails usually see open rates of 60-70%, astronomically high in comparison to their marketing email counterparts. We know that transactional emails are being underutilized. Today, we explore the various types of transactional emails being sent.

The Standard Transactional Email Flow

Under normal circumstances, consumers encounter only three transactional emails. When operations are running smoothly, the company doesn’t have a need to contact their customers more than three times per order.

  1. The Order Confirmation: All transactional email flows begin with the order confirmation. Customers take this email as a sign of reassurance - their order has been successfully placed and they were charged what they agreed to for the items they desire. The order confirmation is the most opened email in the transactional email flow and is currently only personalized with a name and confirmation number. This is where the missed opportunity I referenced in the previous blog begins. 
  2. The Shipping Confirmation: The second email in our standard transactional email flow is the shipping confirmation. This email has high open rates as well as click through rates due to the available tracking link within the email content. Customers want to know from the carrier that they will receive their package when you, the company, claim.
  3. The Delivery Confirmation: The most exciting transactional email of them all is the delivery confirmation. These emails are usually linked to the carrier’s information about the package.  When the package is signed for or noted as delivered, the email is sent.

The above flow is familiar to any of us that have ordered something online, but there are other transactional emails that we see less often, and some may hold a hidden opportunity to appeal to our customers.

Other, Less Common Transactional Emails

If you’re a store owner that allows for refunds and returns and exchanges, the following transactional emails should be incorporated into your portfolio.

  1. Return Accepted Notification
  2. Refund Generated Notification
  3. Exchange Confirmation (followed by the shipping and delivery confirmations for the replacement item)

Some retailers offer backorders or preorders on their products. If you are one such retailer, ensure that the following emails are incorporated into your transactional flow.

  1. Backorder Confirmation (followed by the shipping and delivery confirmations for the item)
  2. Pre-Order Confirmation (followed by the shipping and delivery confirmations for the item)

Unfortunately, sometimes issues arise with orders that need to be addressed with the customer. All retailers run into these problems at some point and need the appropriate emails to communicate with customers. With both of these emails, you should ensure that you include a way to complete the transaction and order, as well as access to your customer support, in order to keep the customer loyal and happy.

  1. Failed Delivery Notification
  2. Failed Payment Notification

In our next post, we will continue to investigate transactional emails and the missed opportunity they hold by discussing real examples of order confirmations and how they can be improved upon.