5 ways e-commerce brands can improve transactional emails in 2021

If there’s one thing marketers should know, it’s that transactional emails are incredibly valuable marketing real estate. They have an average click-through rate that is 3 times higher than other marketing emails.

Yet I was surprised to find that our inaugural US Operations Experience Study  demonstrated communications surrounding retail delivery and returns remain a completely untapped channel. Leading up to the delivery, 56% of retailers send only three to four emails. However, there are at least five touchpoints for communication during the post-purchase experience.

Transactional emails can be used to drive customer loyalty and encourage an additional purchase, so the lack of communication is a wasted opportunity for marketers. After looking at the data from the study, it’s safe to say that these five transactional emails present the most potential for retail marketers.

1.   Order confirmations with product recommendations

Surprisingly, 68% of retailers are wasting their order confirmation emails by including little to no marketing material. Instead, you should include dynamic personalized product recommendations to push for a follow-up sale.

2.   Tracking email with a link to an on-site tracking page

Retailers send 1.22 emails about shipping confirmation on average. However, there’s still a lot of room to improve this email’s performance. 65% of retailers send clicks from these emails to a third-party site. (A shocking 8% don’t send any link for status updates!)

Instead, you should continue this email’s high engagement over to your website with a custom tracking page. That way you can return up to 85% of your customers to your online shop after purchase.

3.   Shipping updates

I learned that shipping update emails are largely absent from retailers’ marketing arsenal, despite our findings that customers value a steady flow of communication at each step of the Operations Experience.

I was rather surprised to find that even delays fail to motivate communication from retailers. Around half of retailers don’t communicate delays in shipping. Those who do often allow the carrier to make contact for them.

So, when there is a delay, you should create a positive experience by sending an email to communicate the delay and offer a discount code for the next purchase.

4.   Delivery notifications

56% of retailers fail to notify customers when their packages are delivered, despite package theft issues. Those that do notify customers often outsource the communication to the carrier, losing out on yet another valuable touchpoint.

We know that delivery is an emotional step and the first one where your brand makes physical contact in many cases. Retailers need to take back ownership of this crucial moment. This year, try sending out your own delivery notifications.

5.   Return communications

Marketers seem to ignore the returns experience almost entirely. 54% of retailers don’t send a notification upon receipt of the parcel and 64% don’t communicate when the customers can expect their refund. By failing to proactively update customers about the receipt of the item or when the customer should expect their refund, retailers are missing another opportunity for customer engagement.

Add flair to transactional emails

Retail marketers are missing out on valuable touchpoints to create loyal customers. In 2021, we can do better. Find more opportunities retail marketers can take advantage of by reading our US Operational Experience study.

About the Author: Julia
Julia is our Marketing and Communications Manager. She focuses on spreading the word about how parcelLab can help US brands improve their Operations Experience. Outside of work, Julia loves the mountains, online shopping and finding playgrounds with a view (for her daughter and herself).