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.