When it comes to email marketing, most people think mainly about promotional emails only. However, there is another type of important emails: the transactional emails. These transactional messages should be a fundamental part of your email marketing strategy if you want to build a trustworthy brand reputation and great customer service.

What is a transactional email?

Transactional emails are related to account activity and are triggered by certain actions that customers make on your website or application.

This is logical as they are in fact a fraction of triggered emails.

The purpose of these automated emails is to reassure the customer that a process has been set into motion based on their actions.

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. Sending a standardized email without the information the recipients actually need is missing the point of transactional emails.

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 or not you received their order. 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 are transactional emails so successful?

The reason transactional emails are successful is really simple. Customers almost always open transactional emails 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

Transactional emails’ open and click rates 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.

13 Types of Transactional Emails Illustrated with 29+ Examples

You can find here 9 types of e-commerce transactional emails illustrated with more than 30 examples. These transactional email template examples will help you come with transactional email sequences and designs for your email templates that follow the latest best practices.

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 rights and you get their consent as well.

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 smiling lady on the background image gives a more personal and friendlier feel to the email.

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 referral program information in the double opt-in email already.

Your double opt-in email is one of the easiest and simplest emails in your transactional email sequences. This double optin email sent by Spot Hero is short and straight to point. It still maintains that friendly tone, however.

activate-your-spothero-account

If a potential customer quits their signup process halfway through, you can send them a reminder email, asking them to complete their account activation process.

Here’s how that email can look like:

activate-square-account

 Welcome Emails

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

welcome-to-the-lush-life

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.

Your welcome email is the perfect channel to teach your newcomers how to use your product, and tell them all about its benefits. Tinder’s welcome email does exactly that.

this-is-how-you-tinder

This well-structured email layout provides for the subscriber a step by step guide on how to use Tinder. Accompanied by a compelling CTA and fun animated GIFs, this welcome email example can serve as a good inspiration for any Saas business.

Account Creation & Verification

If your website or app makes it possible to create an account, it’s a must to send out an email throughout the account creation process.

Your account has been created

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, which is a great way of leveraging content in transactional emails.

Notice how they used email design elements to clearly visualize the account creation process. 

congratulations-your-account-has-been-created

Your account has been reviewed

Sometimes, especially for SaaS companies, account activation and verification can take a while longer than usual, which is the case for more exclusive services or platforms dealing with highly sensitive information. 

In that case, you can send an email to your subscriber at the end of the account verification process, informing them of your decision. 

This email from Hunterz starts off with a huge email headline, which lets the subscriber know right off the bat what the decision was.

your-startup-has-been-reviewed

A clear call to action is added, and a quick reminder of the company’s benefits wraps up the email nicely.

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 are necessary to nail it.

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

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

Standard Order Confirmation Email Example

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.

hooray-your-blue-bottle-order-is-confirmed

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.

Thank You for Your Order

transactional-update-email-design-from-warby-parker

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 Confirmation

This order 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-parsippany-east-confirmation-smiles-davis-15-sep-2017-6500650

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.

Payment Accepted Emails

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

This transactional email example by Square is simple and straight to the point. It tells the customer that their payment was successfully accepted using a simple and clear sentence: cash accepted. 

Square cash accepted transactional email design

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.

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 peace of mind.

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. It’s a standard shipping confirmation email that can work for any brand.

your-joybird-order-shipped

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.

Delivery Confirmation Email

This email is probably the most exciting one out of all your transactional email sequences, for your customers. If they receive your email but their order hasn’t arrived, however, they can contact you 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 Email Confirmation

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.

your-delivery-from-postmates

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.

Cart Abandonment Emails

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

This happens quite often. A 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 a seamless shopping experience
  • Contact information
  • Menu linking to the webshop

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.

Cart abandoned basket email design sample by Guess

Subject line: Still on your mind? By Guess

Account Related Emails

Whenever your customer makes changes to their account or personal details, send a confirmation email to acknowledge that the changes have been saved.

Emails for Changing Password

People use so many passwords on different platforms, it’s inevitable that they forget them once in a while. Password reset emails save lives in this case (not literarily of course!).

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

Password request transactional email

 

Subject Line: Forget your password? By Verve Wine

Emails for Status Updates

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.

congrats-your-listing-is-published

Email Subject Line: Your listing is published By Airbnb

Emails for Phone Number Updates

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.

your-phone-number-has-been-added

Subject Line: Your phone has been added By Netflix

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 to Collaborate

Collaborate-transactional-email

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

slack-reallygoodemails-updates

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.

Upgrade Subscriptions 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.

Welcome-to-Skillshare-Premium

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

Free Trial Expiry Email

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 trial would expire in 24 hours.

Transactional-email-trial-expires

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

Upgrade to Premium

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

Evernote upgrade transactional email

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

Billing Email

This billing transactional email template sample by Dropbox informs the user that they were not able to charge the user. 

Transactional Billing and Payment Email Design sample from-Dropbox

Subject Line: Failed payment, upgrade your billing details By Dropbox

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 of the billing info can be a solution.

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 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 generates revenue.

Subject Line: You have new notifications By Facebook

Facebook-transactional-push-notification-email

Re-Engagement Email

We haven’t seen you in a while – Duolingo

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.

Duolingo re-engagement email

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 Emails

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

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.

Subject Line: Your reservation is right around the corner. By The Chicago Service

event-reminder-email

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

Ecommerce Reminder Email

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.

e-commerce transactional reminder email design sample

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

Coming up with valuable content ideas isn’t easy.

Feedback transactional email design example

FlyWheel decided to ask the readers instead of guessing. In return, the responders can win t-shirts which makes the whole process fun.

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.

Customer-review-transactional-email

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.

 

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.

Amazon Simple Email Service

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

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.

Mandrill

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

PHP Script

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 a confirmation email when the website visitor subscribes to your newsletter or creates an account.
  2. Send a welcome email once the recipient confirmes 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 an order confirmation email when the customer completes 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 a 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 a SaaS business, just imagine what would be the shopping cart for your service.
  5. Send a receipt of the purchased item or service. It’s especially important if you sell SaaS products.
  6. Send the shipping information of the products such as the shipping date and the name of the shipping company.
  7. Send the delivery information when the items arrive 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 product reviews before making 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.

Everything You Need to Know About Email Subject Line Copywriting

Here are some examples of the subject lines that show you don’t need to overthink it. Of course, you can add your personality and creativity to your subject lines. You can also keep it simple, and that’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 needs. It’s about providing information and help when needed.

Personalize Your 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 any confusion.

Don’t Make Your Emails Too Promotional

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

Include Contact Information & Support

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

Evade No-reply

Make it easy and simple for your subscribers to contact you, and keep communication paths open. 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 that 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 online carts for many reasons. Offering free shipping might change their mind.

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 email, 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 peace of mind.