Denise Chan


In a recent survey of 300 international marketers, we learned that German companies use transactional emails slightly more than other countries. From anecdotal experience, Germany also sees higher opens and click-through rates than do their counterparts in other countries. In fact, transactional emails drive higher revenue than do marketing emails.

However, transactional emails still tend to be the most underrated email marketing weapon. The templates are often designed once and forgotten about by the marketing team because it’s so convenient. Campaigns are set up in the system to run automatically.

Traditionally, you might also think of transactional emails as shipping confirmations, password resets or receipts. But these days, they are so much more.

Here’s how you can create and use transactional emails to drive the highest possible ROI.


Help out an already loyal customer

Use receipts or invoices to inform and encourage the customer’s next purchase or action. Each interaction is a learning opportunity to fine tune each customer profile. Over time, you will be able to produce relevant product recommendations based on historical shopping behaviors.

Below, Crate and Barrel recommends similar lights based off this customer’s hanging light purchase. Note that they take the recommendation one step further by also pointing to related brands that would be of interest.


Order Confirmation  123456789   Really Good Emails

Make it easier for the customer to engage

Use transactional email to eliminate steps in the user experience. This can range from the traditional abandon cart campaign or a drip campaign that teaches users how to engage with your product on a deeper level. If 55% of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a site, can you imagine how hard it is to capture a user’s long-term attention?

Medium does a great job keeping authors in the loop on comments readers leave in response to posts. Even better, they leave a hotkey tip at the bottom on how to easily link an image within a post. It’s a short but effective tidbit that makes me want to click through to read more writers tips.

A note was added to “Don’t forget to play.”   Really Good Emails

Catch them before they lose interest

Preventing attrition can also help improve your overall ROI. Transactional emails make it easy to add feedback loops throughout the user experience process. A few great points to start collecting feedback from are right after a free trial, customer service inquiry or a purchase.

Below, Squarespace collects feedback on how well their customer service team responded to the reported bug.

Customer Support Survey Email Design from Squarespace   Really Good Emails

Always lookout for ways to improve

Last but not least, as you do with marketing emails, don’t forget to analyze KPIs to pull deeper insights into what type of content your customers are engaging most with. While the look and feel is slightly different for transactional emails (there is no stats dashboard), you or your tech team can just as easily pull these stats by using our Event API.

What are some creative ways you currently use transactional email? Which do you send more of, marketing or transactional emails?