Even though email fatigue is real, and SMS marketing is on the rise, email still continues to be one of the most effective marketing channels for the ecommerce industry. Traditional email marketing with defined campaigns is still useful and effective, but contemporary marketers need to get a little creative to combat communication fatigue.
While most people are familiar with typical email marketing, many Shopify stores are finding success by using transactional emails to convey both operational information and marketing offers.
The order confirmation email from your ecommerce store may seem like a dull but necessary step in your ecommerce operations, but it's actually the first step to creating a good first impression in your customer's post-purchase experience. Don't mess it up!
What is an Order Confirmation Email?
An order confirmation email is so much more than just a receipt email. When a customer purchases from your ecommerce store, most ecommerce platforms will serve an order confirmation page in the web browser. They will also send an automated order confirmation email notification.
The information in the email body should at minimum communicate all the important order details, including:
confirmation the order has been received
the order number
inclusion of details of the quantity of each item(s) and the cost of each
the customer’s payment information
expectations for the order timeline and the estimated delivery time
contact information such as a customer support email or phone number
But these line items are just the basics. Savvy store owners who customize their emails to go beyond these transactional functions see success because they understand the checkout process is only the beginning of a long journey to cultivate customer loyalty and combat buyer's remorse. Make each communication touchpoint count.
Best Practices for Order Confirmation Emails
Order confirmation emails should be treated in the same way as any other way to engage with customers. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when creating all transactional emails for your store:
KEEP BRAND VOICE CONSISTENT
Remember, content is queen. The first thing to get in order in your shipping confirmation email is the copy. Make sure to include all of the pertinent information (like the items listed above), but keep the same brand voice (style and tone) in accordance with the copy style on your website, your social media channels, SMS notifications, and all other customer-facing communications.
For example, if your brand voice is typically light-hearted and playful, don't leave your order confirmation email with the same near-robotic default copy. Make sure your customer experience offers the same tone throughout all of your email notifications.
CUSTOMIZE THE VISUAL STYLE
Much like the brand voice, customizing and coordinating your brand's visual style across all communications will help your emails stand out.
While it's possible to find developers to create custom HTML order confirmation email templates, there are plenty of stock email design templates provided by Shopify and other ecommerce platforms.
An admin can easily make edits to existing templates to update the header, footer, modify CSS for custom colors, and add a custom logo and graphics.
TEST EACH EMAIL
Remember: test, test test. While the email preview may look flawless, it's essential to conduct testing with different email clients, as each client can render the HTML differently. There are software tools you can use to simulate the most popular email clients.
Also, remember to format emails for reading on both the desktop and on mobile devices. It's best practice to make plain text email versions available just in case.
When sending any marketing emails, it's a good idea to keep an eye on email deliverability rates to make sure they are ending up in inboxes rather than the spam folder. If you suspect your email sender reputation is affecting your deliverability rates, you can hire an email deliverability expert to warm up your email IP.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT LINE
The subject line is one of the most important elements of your email. An effective subject line will draw the reader in and entice them to open the email. For example, if you are promoting a sale, it might be a good idea to include the discount in the subject line as an incentive for opening the email and learning more.
A subject line that fails to interest the reader may result in deleting the email before it's even opened, especially if the prospect is reading emails through the mobile app. Try A/B (split) testing subject lines with smaller email batches before sending the winning line out to the wider database.
Communicate Regularly and Proactively
Beyond the order confirmation email to confirm the transaction and the shipment tracking email, proactively communicating with customers when delays and exceptions occur directly impacts customer satisfaction. These notification emails help manage customer expectations when the inevitable snafu occurs. Regular communication also helps keep your brand in your customers' focus.
USING TRANSACTIONAL EMAILS FOR CROSS-SELL AND UPSELL OPPORTUNITIES
Because post-purchase transactional emails enjoy significantly higher open rates and click-through rates, they can be an effective marketing channel for cross-selling and upselling other related products or recommended products to your customer base.
Post-purchase emails are also great times to offer customers other valuable content, like educational content, so customers stay engaged with your brand between purchases. Newsletters are also a great way to stay at the forefront of your customers' attention.
PROGRAMS: LOYALTY, REFERRALS, AND REWARDS
Beyond product recommendations, order confirmation emails are also a great time to offer new customers a chance to join a loyalty program, a referral program, or even a points-based reward program.
OVERCOMING CART ABANDONMENT
We'd be remiss if we didn't address cart abandonment, as cart abandonment emails are some of the most critical types of automated emails. Cart abandonment is when shoppers add items to their online shopping cart and then leave the online store before purchasing those items. Sending reminder emails to shoppers when they have left items in their cart has been shown to significantly reduce abandoned purchases and increase sales.
Order Confirmation Email Examples
In terms of design templates, both Shopify and Klayvio have responsive email templates that are simple to fill in to create professional, visually appealing emails. If you are unfamiliar with coding for these platforms, it’s a good idea to stick to the native templates or hire someone with experience developing for Shopify and Klayvio (or whatever platforms you are using).
Even if you have less flexibility in terms of design, don’t sweat it. Order confirmation emails don’t need flashy graphics. Content is more important.
COMPELLING GRAPHICS & VALUE REINFORCEMENT
In this example, Patagonia adds some zest to their order confirmation email by adding an inspiring photo of a rock climber that their customer base will find compelling. They also reinforce their values at the bottom to build trust.