We marketers tend to think about the transactional email in its most literal sense, relating to a specific transaction as defined by the CAN-SPAM Act and by conventional wisdom.
transactional emails can become a potent force in your email program when you broaden your vision and look for ways they can enrich your customer relationships, from pre- to post-transaction and
These triggered messages, based on abandonment, recent purchase and CRM
data, enable additional touch points that provide further value to customers and additional revenue and customer data for your company.
Four Categories of Purchase-Related
Following are 19 examples of purchase-related emails organized into four categories:
data from Web analytics and ecommerce software can help you identify customers who break off browse or purchase sessions. Note: These are customers or prospects already enrolled in your email
- Browse abandonment: Personalized with images and details of a Web site category, page or product the shopper viewed but didn't result in a
- Cart abandonment: Multi-stage recovery email program, with the first email sent within minutes after shopper places items in a cart but doesn't
complete the process.
2. Purchase Process
These support the purchase process itself and are intended to increase customer confidence
in the ordering process.
- Order confirmation: Confirms the order was received and provides details of the order, shipping method, expected arrival date
and customer-support contact information.
- Order status: Essential when some or all of the items in an order are out of stock (OOS) or when OOS items become
- Shipping notice: Lists package pick-up date, shipment tracking number, range of expected arrival dates and customer-service contact information for
you and shipper.
- Post-shipment confirmation: Asks if items were received on time and in proper condition. Restates order details and
customer-support/troubleshooting contact information.
- Trip/Stay preparation: Confirms trip details (flight/check-in times, destinations, special requests/advisories,
contact information) and includes helpful information including weather forecasts, maps, attractions with booking information and links, etc.
Additionally, some or all of the
above may contain cross-sell and product recommendations that are driven by the specific purchase.
These post-purchase process emails are focused
on the customer experience and additional purchase opportunities once the product has been received, trip taken, etc.
- Purchase/Trip Satisfaction Survey: Email
requesting the customer complete a survey measuring satisfaction with the product, trip/stay, order/download process and shipping or delivery, plus customer-support or troubleshooting
- Review/recommend: Invites buyer to review the purchased product(s) and/or share the purchase with their social network
- Product recommendations: Upsell/cross-sell messages such as "Since you bought this, you might like this," or "People that bought
this, also bought this."
- Repurchase deadline: Invites repurchase of products about to be closed out, discontinued or nearly out of
- Replenishment: Invites repurchase of consumable products (e.g., printer cartridges, pet food, baby supplies, etc.).
version/Upgrades: Invites customer to upgrade to newer version, replace old/outdated products or purchase related products and accessories.
While not focused on a specific purchase, these messages are sent to people who have purchased, created accounts, downloaded or requested
information, joined loyalty programs or otherwise engaged with you.
- Account reminder: Email notice sent a week or so ahead of a deadline (payment, renewal,
- Invitation to join loyalty/preferred customer programs: Benefit-focused message sent to customers who didn't join loyalty/preferred-customer programs or
register for an account.
- Member-status statement: Reports membership status and progress toward achieving higher status or qualification for rewards/discounts;
should link to subscriber's account log-in and show points, purchases, miles, etc., at a glance.
- Bounceback: Offers incentive to bring recent buyer back to
repurchase; can feature upsell/cross-sell items.
- Purchase anniversary: Notes anniversary of first purchase and invites to repurchase, with or without
- Additional channels: Invites customer to sign up to receive direct mail catalogs, receive communications via SMS or Twitter, become Facebook fans or
shop in nearby retail outlets.
This list is just a starting point. Your unique business and customer-relationship model can foster even more special pre- and post-purchase messages.
If you've been successful with these or other "beyond the purchase" messages, share them in the comments section.
Until next time, take it up a notch!