How You Can Improve Your Order Confirmation Emails
It’s well known that order confirmation emails are some of the most widely opened, read and clicked emails around.
It’s the one type of email that you can almost guarantee will be opened or at least saved for later in case there is an issue with the order.
Unfortunately, this type of email has traditionally been managed by the IT department that has often sent plain text receipts from a separate system which offers no tracking, limited HTML support, and no advanced personalization features.
So more often than not, this extremely important part of your customer journey drops off the marketer’s radar and is never optimized.
Marketers Gaining Control
Luckily many Email Service Providers (ESP) now offer tools which make it easier to integrate with these commerce systems through either an API or pre-built connector, giving the marketer much more control over the design, content, and timeliness of these emails.
In fact, I’ve seen some great examples recently of order confirmations which go well beyond the basic plain text emails that we’re used to and incorporate many of the best practices that we see every day in promotional emails.
So let’s take a look at some good examples of order confirmation emails, which I hope will inspire you to take a closer look at this extremely important type of communication.
Nordstrom: Responsive Design & Product Recommendations
Generally, e-receipts that you receive from in-store purchases are fairly bland looking and only contain your standard purchase information such as the order number, price, date, etc.
However, this example from Nordstrom is one of the best that I’ve ever seen! Not only is it nicely branded, it’s also been optimized for mobile using responsive design.
I’m not sure if I should be happy about this or depressed that it’s the only responsive order confirmation email that I’ve ever seen. Either way, this is something that I want to see more of, and not just because it looks pretty; it’s also going to make things a lot easier for the salesperson when someone hands them their phone to make a return or exchange.
Aside from the responsive design, this email also has great content. There’s a prominent “review it online” call to action; the address and contact details are very clear if there’s an issue; and they’ve included some personalized content at the bottom, which shows related products.
Although I really like what Nordstrom is trying to do with the related products section, I feel like the products in this example are too similar to the product that I just purchased. I’d rather see related, but different types of, products such as socks, suits or shirts.
GoDaddy: Value-Added Content & Mobile Aware
This order confirmation email from GoDaddy has a nice, clean design with a few mobile-aware features such as large fonts and big buttons, making it fairly easy to read and navigate on a mobile device.
However, the reason that this email stands out to me is the fact that it doesn’t just contain order and shipping information, but actually incorporates some personalized value-added content to help a new customer get started using their products.
I feel that this is extremely useful for GoDaddy customers who are generally buying technical products and may need extra help to get started, but the idea could absolutely be applied to other brands and product types.
Zappos: Customer Service Focus
Zappos is known for its excellent customer service so it’s great to see that this ethos also shines through in its order confirmation emails, which lists its phone number no less than three times! The company has also provided plenty of other opportunities to contact it via email as well as links to help pages.
In addition to great content, the design and layout of this email is very clean, easy to read and consistent with the Zappos website, helping to give customers a great brand experience even after they have clicked the purchase button.
UPS: Promote Marketing Emails
Marketers often forget that many of the people who receive their order confirmation emails aren’t on their email marketing list — yet.
So it makes complete sense to clearly outline the benefits of your promotional emails and includes a call to action to sign up within your confirmation emails. I think UPS has done this really well in this example, which includes a sign-up link within the pre-header as well as an entire section at the bottom of the email dedicated to outlining the benefits.
Key Areas For Improvement
Hopefully, some of these examples have inspired you to review your own order confirmation emails. I would encourage you to focus on the following key areas when looking to make improvements:
- Think about the customer journey – A great order confirmation email can help you grow your list, generate additional revenue, capture customer feedback and make your customers happier. Think of your order confirmation emails as an important part of your customer’s journey instead of as that ugly email that IT is in charge of.
- Customer service focus – Ensure that your order confirmation emails are always customer service focused and feature phone numbers, email addresses and help pages prominently.
- Consistent branding – Would you send out an ugly plain text welcome email? Probably not, but it seems to be an acceptable practice for order confirmations. You’re going to look much more legitimate and provide a better experience if you put some time and effort into branding your order confirmations appropriately.
- Mobile optimization – While responsive email designs are taking over the rest of the email world, order confirmations are still in the dark ages when it comes to mobile optimization. This is seriously unfortunate when you consider that order confirmations are the type of email that you really want to be mobile-friendly when you’re returning an item in-store or checking into a hotel.
- Value added content – Why not tell your subscribers how they can get the most out of their new purchase or recommend add-ons?
Obviously I haven’t addressed the major issue of how to get your IT department to give you control of these emails. Luckily Cara Olsen has covered this topic in a previous Marketing Land blog post – The Disconnect Between Transactional & Promotional Emails.