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November 14, 2022
An order confirmation email is a critical part of the ecommerce checkout flow. It completes the experience and gives the customer everything they need to feel good about the transaction.
Your customers expect to receive a confirmation email. If they fail to get one, the seed of distrust will start to grow. This email is your opportunity to build more hype, create customer loyalty, provide important information, and even upsell.
In this article, we explain why you need an order confirmation email and offer some best practices to make your emails effective.
An order confirmation email is the transactional email you send after a customer makes a purchase on your ecommerce site. The purpose of a confirmation email is to acknowledge the order, provide a record of the transaction, and explain any next steps.
Unlike a promotional email that’s sent to your list or a segment of your list, order confirmation emails are sent individually to customers after the transaction. It’s important to send this email even if you redirect customers to a thank-you confirmation page.
Confirmation emails are important because they put your customers at ease. They provide evidence of the transaction in case something goes wrong. If this is a first-time customer, an order confirmation email is part of building a healthy and trusting relationship.
An order confirmation email is a simple message, but it needs to be done right. Follow these best practices.
The purpose of an order confirmation email is to pass along important information. You shouldn’t need a lot of text to do that. It's alright to infuse the message with your brand's personality, but try to keep the message concise, like this Asos email.
Branded emails display professionalism and intention. They tell the customer that you’re serious about this relationship and your role in the transaction. Include some light branding that exemplifies your business without cluttering the message.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to display your personality through your copy. If you’re a humorous brand, make a joke. Make use of your creative voice. Estrid does a good job of honoring their branding with colors, emojis, and playful language.
60% all emails are opened on mobile devices, so it’s absolutely critical that your messages are designed for small screens. Use responsive design so emails collapse nicely as users’ screen size decreases or use a simple, single-column layout that displays nicely on all screens.
In promotional emails, it sometimes helps to be witty, clever, and a bit secretive. But that does not apply to order confirmation emails. This is the time to be clear and informative.
Remember, your customers may refer to this email several times, so it needs to be something they can identify right away and even search for in their email client. Here are some simple and effective examples:
There’s only one appropriate time to send an order confirmation email: immediately following the transaction. If you delay too long, many buyers will reach out to your customer support and some will start to wonder if you scammed them.
Your order confirmation emails should be sent automatically by your ecommerce platform. If your customers don’t receive their emails quickly, you may need to adjust your settings.
It doesn’t seem like much, but your customers want to know you appreciate them. Include some language in your order confirmation email to thank them for their purchase. Put this right at the top of your message.
Customers save order confirmation emails as records of the transaction. It's important to include some key pieces of information so the customer has everything they need and doesn’t feel the need to contact customer support. Make sure your emails include the following:
Check out this confirmation email from iHerb. It has everything the customer needs to keep track of the transaction.
Now that the order has been placed, your customers will want to know what happens next. Allay their fears by laying out the next part of the process. For instance, you might say, “Our fulfillment team will ship your order in two business days” or “We’ll send you a proof of your custom product within a week.”
The company, Bestseller, helps customers understand what happens next with a colored timeline bar and a bit of “What’s Next?” copy.
Even though your customer hasn't received their product yet, it's a good idea to tell them how to get support in case they need it when the product arrives. This is a great way to improve their experience with the product, eliminate support tickets before they happen, and reduce the likelihood of returns and refunds.
Check out this example from Firebox. They include key support information at the bottom of every email.
If there are any obstacles or challenges that might prevent your customers from receiving their products quickly, state them clearly in your order confirmation email. For instance, you might remind customers that custom orders will take longer than standard orders.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many e-commerce stores included language about unpreventable supply chain issues and shipping delays. Lush does this well by placing their COVID-19 warning right up top.
If a customer receives an order confirmation email, it means they like your brand enough to make a purchase. Therefore, this email is the perfect opportunity to offer them additional products that might add to their experience.
Beneath the order details, include a list of products that you think they might buy. This list could include your best selling products or a curated selection of products that you think the customer would want. Limit your upsell offers to no more than three.
Harry’s does a great job of this. Not only do they offer more products, but if you buy quickly enough, they’ll go into the same package as your original purchase.
If you have a reward program or a loyalty program, your order confirmation email is the perfect location to mention it. Now that the recipient is a customer, they may want to take advantage of these benefits.
Since nearly every customer will open their order confirmation email, this message is a great opportunity to use a call-to-action to prompt them to take the next step. This could be as simple as providing a button for them to track their package, view their account portal, or return to the store. Or you might ask them to refer a friend, follow you on social media, or claim a discount.
If these best practices seem overwhelming, don’t worry! They aren’t difficult to implement and most of them are included in Shopify’s default order notification. Besides, once they’re in place, you don’t have to think about them again. But your order confirmation is a critical part of your ecommerce business, so it deserves some thought. These best practices will send you in the right direction.