If you are a successful e-commerce marketer, your communication with clients is not only based on your website. An integral part of it is e-mail communication, which proves to be an effective way to directly reach your customers.
It can be as easy as sending an e-mail to those, who have just visited your shop and filled in a form with their e-mail addresses. However, it can also get complex, such as creating a few marketing campaigns to multiply the sales. The important thing is, at the end of the day, when you think about a variety of e-mails with special offers, newsletters or information about product delivery – you grasp that e-mails are above all about building relationships.
You bond with your customer by encouraging him to buy your products, by checking up on him after the sale and by informing him about the upcoming special offers or simply asking how he’s been. The thing is, the customer feels important to you and it’s a powerful marketing tool. Apart from its obvious marketing function, e-mailing serves an informative purpose and it is never to be underestimated. Any given information goes directly to a customer’s inbox, which saves a lot of time, so precious not only to our customers but also to all of us.
There are three categories of e-mails, according to the purpose they serve: welcome e-mails, transactional e-mails and retention e-mails. Transactional e-mails are one of the first your customers get and they include information related to the purchase – not persuading to get a purchase. That is why they get really high engagement scores. The average open rate is 70.9%, whereas any other typical ecommerce e-mails have only 17.9%. It directly influences the revenue:
So, with that explained, here are examples of transactional e-mails ready to be included in your own marketing campaign.
The order confirmation e-mail
In other words, it’s a digital receipt your customer gets after purchasing something from you. It lists the purchased items, their quantity, price and sometimes delivery details, so the majority of customers (more than 70%!) will open it. It creates a perfect opportunity to have some legwork done for you.
Imagine your customer has just bought your product. In response, he or she gets an e-mail with an invoice, actually the message is awaited and looked for. That’s why it’s a brilliant idea to prepare such an e-mail to be not only informative but also to show your advantage over the competition. You can enrich it in a high-quality image, a social-media link or, like Amazon does, offer recommendations, like people who bought this, also bought…
Nonetheless, common sense here is essential. You don’t want to lose grip of what’s vital here: the transaction information. This is what your customers are expecting in the first place.
The delivery details e-mail
This kind of transactional e-mail outlines the necessary information on delivery, such as the cost, the time, the expected day and time of delivering goods into customer’s hands. More and more e-commerce businesses add a link to a package tracking, so a customer sees in real time what the stage of delivery process is. E-mails of this kind come in handy when you need to pace customer expectations, e.g. a 12-hour delivery demand to a distant part of a country. An ingenious solution was offered by Joybird, an online furniture shop. They included a short video to a transactional e-mail, explaining the delivery process.
Delivery information served in the form of an easily digestible video does not only attract customers’ attention, but also saves you from receiving hundreds of annoying e-mails or phone calls with the question: When is my package coming? Plus, it builds trust toward your business, since your customers feel important and well-informed.
The abandoned cart e-mail
Abandoned cart e-mails are sent to customers who have logged in to your website, added items to the cart but somehow failed to purchase them and left. The average percentage of online customers abandoning their carts is 69.23% (source). Such an extraordinarily high rate suggests quite a big chance to win back those customers and clinch the sale. Especially, if abandonment was caused by a distraction, a knock on the door, a phone call or a Facebook notification. Your job is to remind them, what was happening, before something riveted their attention.
The most frequent kind of e-mail customers get is a kind reminder with a photo of the product still waiting in their cart. A link to return to the website and shopping is an additional incentive, since it’s just a click away from the goods the customer wanted. Reminders can be sent once or a few times, e.g. just after cart abandonment and later, after three or five days.
Another simple and subtle way to reach out to the customer is to ask for good old feedback. Not every abandoned cart can be recovered, but thanks to making this effort, you will learn the reason why the purchase wasn’t completed, which allows you to improve and polish the checkout process. This is what Ugmonk (ugmonk.com) does. After collecting some products in the cart and closing the website, you get the following e-mail:
More risky way to get the customer back is offering him something special. Dollar Shave Club (dollarshaveclub.com) decided to treat the customers with a free shipping month.
The company can afford to take a slight financial blow, because they know that once customers try their services, they will come back. If you are sure of your return on this kind of investment, you can spoil your customers with a special offer like this, it’s a very effective deal-maker.
The survey e-mail
This kind of e-mail is sent after the purchase, so that the customer gives his or her opinion on your services. It gives you a feedback and, at the same time, it reminds the customer about you. Surveying is crucial in clients’ needs satisfaction, there is no one size fits all approach. So the more you ask, the better the chance to give the customers what they really want.
Of course, surveys are boring, not to mention those long with dozens of questions. You can encourage your audience to fill them in by offering a gift, just like Frye (thefryecompany.com) does:
However, there are some experts arguing that a gift can bias customers in your favor. A solution to this is a simplistic, short, one-question survey, just like NPS questions, for example: How likely are you to recommend an X company to a friend or colleague? It’s too short to bore a customer, it takes a blink of an eye, so the reasons of ignoring it are really reduced to zero.
Transaction e-mails, just like any other type of e-mails you send to your customers, are a unique voice of your company and your brand. It is your vehicle for building value and relationships with customers. Don’t waste this direct opportunity to speak to customers on impersonal and automated e-mail series. Send smarter e-mails, not more e-mails. Focus on well-prepared informative content and soon you’ll see, that transaction e-mails prove to be priceless in non-intrusive marketing. They gently nudge a prospect along the buyer’s journey until he or she becomes your customer.