The Various Types of Transactional Emails

As consumers, we are all familiar with the emails that are sent to us following a purchase online. Typically you will first receive an email confirming your order with the items listed, as well as the tax, shipping a total you paid. These emails usually see open rates of 60-70%, astronomically high in comparison to their marketing email counterparts. We know that transactional emails are being underutilized. Today, we explore the various types of transactional emails being sent.

The Standard Transactional Email Flow

Under normal circumstances, consumers encounter only three transactional emails. When operations are running smoothly, the company doesn’t have a need to contact their customers more than three times per order.

  1. The Order Confirmation: All transactional email flows begin with the order confirmation. Customers take this email as a sign of reassurance – their order has been successfully placed and they were charged what they agreed to for the items they desire. The order confirmation is the most opened email in the transactional email flow and is currently only personalized with a name and confirmation number. This is where the missed opportunity I referenced in the previous blog begins. 
  2. The Shipping Confirmation: The second email in our standard transactional email flow is the shipping confirmation. This email has high open rates as well as click through rates due to the available tracking link within the email content. Customers want to know from the carrier that they will receive their package when you, the company, claim.
  3. The Delivery Confirmation: The most exciting transactional email of them all is the delivery confirmation. These emails are usually linked to the carrier’s information about the package.  When the package is signed for or noted as delivered, the email is sent.

The above flow is familiar to any of us that have ordered something online, but there are other transactional emails that we see less often, and some may hold a hidden opportunity to appeal to our customers.

Other, Less Common Transactional Emails

If you’re a store owner that allows for refunds and returns and exchanges, the following transactional emails should be incorporated into your portfolio.

  1. Return Accepted Notification
  2. Refund Generated Notification
  3. Exchange Confirmation (followed by the shipping and delivery confirmations for the replacement item)

Some retailers offer backorders or preorders on their products. If you are one such retailer, ensure that the following emails are incorporated into your transactional flow.

  1. Backorder Confirmation (followed by the shipping and delivery confirmations for the item)
  2. Pre-Order Confirmation (followed by the shipping and delivery confirmations for the item)

Unfortunately, sometimes issues arise with orders that need to be addressed with the customer. All retailers run into these problems at some point and need the appropriate emails to communicate with customers. With both of these emails, you should ensure that you include a way to complete the transaction and order, as well as access to your customer support, in order to keep the customer loyal and happy.

  1. Failed Delivery Notification
  2. Failed Payment Notification

In our next post, we will continue to investigate transactional emails and the missed opportunity they hold by discussing real examples of order confirmations and how they can be improved upon.

Why Transactional Emails are a Missed Opportunity

As marketers, we are always on the lookout for inventive ways to attract qualified leads to our store fronts and turn them into loyal customers. The majority of customers are one time purchasers and transitioning them into returning customers can be a struggle for even the most established brands. We rely on email marketing to convert customers time and time again. But what if marketing emails and newsletters aren’t the only emails we should be adding marketing content to? It’s at this point that you might be thinking, “I already send every marketing email in the book – what other emails are there?” Transactional emails!

Transactional emails see a 114% opens rate in comparison to 14.4% for non-transactional emails (Litmus, “Best Practices for Optimizing Order Confirmation Emails” 2015) and it is truly a missed opportunity.

Defining Transactional Emails

Before we discuss why transactional emails are important to your marketing plan, let’s clarify what a transactional email is. At the heart of it, a transactional email is any communication that is related to a transaction that has taken place on the site. This most commonly includes order confirmations, shipping confirmations and delivery confirmations, but can also reference backorder notifications, refund confirmation, failed payment notifications and gift card deliveries. Emails outside of these, such as sale emails, birthday emails, and weekly newsletters, fall into the marketing email bucket.

Why are Transactional Emails a Missed Opportunity?

Straight to the point: transactional emails consistently see higher open rates and click through rates than any marketing email. In fact, transactional emails sent by top-performing companies are opened almost four times (Silverpop, “2014 Silverpop Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study” 2015)

However, for retailers, opens and clicks are only meaningful if they result in revenue, and we understand that. You’re marketing to make money! Well, order confirmations, also known as receipts, generate $0.13 per email. This is in comparison to $0.09 for marketing emails (Experian, “Q1 2013 Quarterly Benchmark Study” 2013) And that is only the order confirmation! Complete transaction email campaigns bring in revenue up to six times higher than bulk marketing emails from the same brand (Experian Marketing Services, “The Transactional Email Report.” 2010)

The writing’s on the wall – it’s time to embrace your transactional emails and market to your customers when they are most interested in your products. The real question is “how do I best market within a transactional email?” Check back next week when we discuss best practices for marketing within transactional emails.

Dynamically Create Coupon Codes with Custom Words and Merge Fields

Revenue Conduit subscribers on our Growth plan and above (and on any cart but Shopify) can now dynamically create coupon codes that include custom words and merge fields!

Let’s say you want to create a single-use coupon code for each customer that hasn’t bought in 6 or more months. Now let’s also say you want to make the code look like you personally created it for each customer. Watch the quick video to see how you can use custom words and merge fields like first name in creating the coupon codes!

This feature is available for our integrations with Infusionsoft, HubSpot and soon to be released ActiveCampaign!

80/20 for Online Retailers

Watch the recording of our 80/20 for Online Retailers webinar with JD Crouse of Bolder Bands. JD shares lessons on how to grow your online store through the use of 80/20 analysis and RFM segmentation. Given that JD and his wife won the Shopify Build A Business Competition in 2014, these lessons carry weight and you should heed them.

In the webinar, we offer a complimentary Growth Assessment that you can request here:

JD also offers a compelling program that gives you direct access to JD on a monthly basis to ask any questions you have about growing and running your online store. You can sign up here:

Lastly, if you’re interested in learning more about 80/20 analysis, you can click here to download the 80/20 Cheat Sheet for Online Retailers

Grow Revenue by 50% With A Popup and 3 Simple Campaigns – Webinar Recording

We had an excellent webinar with our friends over at Justuno. Watch the video below to learn why Justuno is one of the best popups for online retailers and how a popup is just the first step in growing your online store, automatically.

Interested in giving Justuno a try? You should be. Click here to sign up now!

Don’t forget to use the promo code “revenue25off” for 25% off (do not include the quotes).


Introducing Four Brand New Features for Revenue Conduit

I have some exciting announcements – after doubling the size of our development team and adding a full-time Quality Assurance Tester, we have been pounding out new features like never before! Today I have four new features to tell you about.

By the way, in all cases, these features were requested by you, our subscribers. Thank you for the feedback and your continued help in making Revenue Conduit the best it can be. Now on to the details…

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The Ultimate New Lead Welcome Series for Small Online Retailers

It is getting harder and harder for small online retailers to compete. In a world dominated by Amazon, if you are competing on price, you’re in a race to the bottom and Amazon will win.

There must be something that sets you apart. Something that Amazon cannot replicate –  a unique selling proposition (USP).

Your USP must be unmistakable. Woven into your online store and communicated via every touch point with your prospects and customers.

One of your first areas of focus should be your method of turning an anonymous visitor into a lead, a lead into a known prospect and a known prospect into your customer.

You can do this through an automated New Welcome Series.

If you go to 10 small online retailer websites, I can almost guarantee that 70% of them will have nothing more than a hard-to-find “sign up for our newsletter” form. The other 30% will have a popup form.

Of the 30% with the popup form, two out of three will have just a single welcome email. That leaves one company out of ten with a multi-step Welcome Series.

With traffic being harder and harder to come by, you better be doing a better job at capturing leads on your website. It’s a low-hanging fruit.

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Popup Lead Generation Campaign Results in a 23.9% Conversion Rate and $20,134 in Revenue

When we put marketing automation in place for a small online retailer that has done little more than send out email newsletters in the past, the results can often-times be staggering.

We started working with one particular client a few months ago. The project started with getting all of her historical data (customers, orders and products) out of her shopping cart and into Infusionsoft. In Part 2, I’ll explain how we then conducted an 80/20 analysis and put a reengagement campaign in place. For now, I’ll focus on our popup lead generation campaign.

Our approach is to always go after the low-hanging fruit first. We want to put campaigns in place that will to bring cash into the company as quickly as possible.

At the very least, we want the initial campaigns to pay for our implementation services, Infusionsoft and the Revenue Conduit integration between the shopping cart and Infusionsoft. Even more so, we want the initial campaigns to provide a quick ROI. For most small online retailers, there’s enough low-hanging fruit to bring in enough cash to move the needle and be meaningful.

Popups – love ‘em or hate ‘em, but they actually work.

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Battle of the Apps Champion (Thank You)

Do you remember that email I sent you a bit more than a week ago? The one asking for your help – for your vote? Well, all I can say is thank you!

Among 41 apps that were submitted, Revenue Conduit was named the #1 Kick Apps Champion in the Infusionsoft 2014 Battle of the Apps competition.

Battle of the Apps ICON14 ChampionWinning is a huge honor. It’s validation for why we exist – to help you, the small business online retailer, connect your online store to your marketing so you can market like the Amazons of the world on a small business budget with some semblance of a work-life balance.

It is hard to find words to describe ICON14, the annual Infusionsoft conference.

More than 3,000 small business entrepreneurs descended upon the Phoenix Convention Center. The energy was intense. It was exhilarating, contagious and ultimately exhausting.

On the flight home, with adrenaline and exhaustion fighting the final fight, my fellow co-founder Parag and I reflected on where we are now and on how this all began…

A few years back, my wife and I were running an online store selling jewelry. We were using Magento for our store and Mailchimp for our marketing.

We wanted to automatically market to our prospects and our customers based on where they came from, what they were interested in and how engaged they were.

We wanted our online store to be deeply connected to our marketing. Mailchimp was not cutting it.

Infusionsoft showed up in a google search and my uncle also happened to be using it. So, we signed up, went through the Kickstart program and partnered with long-time friend and colleague, Parag, to build the first version of Revenue Conduit simply to scratch our own itch.

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Lean Marketing – Get More Customers With Less Time and Money

staples-easy-buttonAutomating lifecycle marketing takes time. It takes effort.

You will never be done because it’s a journey and there will always be room for improvement.

Dramatic improvement at first and then incremental improvements over time.

To fully automate your lifecycle marketing, you have to create lead magnets, and write content for emails, landing pages and thank you pages.

You have to write emails that will welcome your new customers and start building a relationship with them.

You will need to write content that reengages your customers when they stop buying.

And you will need to write other emails for countless other lifecycle marketing opportunities.

The promise of lifecycle marketing is that you can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, automatically.

And guess what? You just don’t know what will work until you try and test. Read more