A particularly hard-won customer makes a first-time purchase at your ecommerce store. They’ve spent months comparison-shopping, wish-listing various items and furiously debating whether the purchase fits within their budget.
When they finally hit the “BUY” button, they feel exuberant. They open their email inbox, expecting to see a purchase confirmation email, but…there’s nothing — no evidence to show that their credit card information didn’t go into a void, or worse, into the hands of a fraudster who’s going to resell it on the dark web.
An order confirmation email is an indispensable sales tool that lets customers know they purchased from a legitimate business, that their order details and shipping address are correct and that they didn’t make a mistake by buying from a brand they’ve never heard of.
Even if your business is a household name, confirmation emails sent immediately after purchase are a crucial part of your marketing strategy as they provide customers with peace of mind and are also a valuable tool for customer loyalty and retention.
Confirmation emails have the highest open rate — as high as 70% and an 85% higher click rate than a regular marketing email. They’re so crucial that 64% of customers consider order confirmations to be the most valuable type of email.
With that in mind, here are some best practices to note when writing an order confirmation email.
Why Are Order Confirmation Emails Important?
Even though order confirmation emails are transactional emails, they fulfill an essential psychological need — the need for reassurance. They also give businesses opportunities to incentivize repeat purchases and provide an excellent customer experience.
Order confirmation emails provide assurance to your customers.
While the pandemic reformed attitudes toward online shopping — around 76% of U.S. adults now shop online, compared with 53% in 2019 — the confirmation email reassures customers, especially new customers, that you won’t defraud them once you have their credit card details.
Or, the customer may be wondering if they mistyped their shipping address. They may second-guess or even cancel their order. A confirmation email assures them the order was received and is being processed, and that the order is correct.
The email should summarize the product ordered, the sum paid, payment method, order number, delivery address, order status, expected delivery date and order tracking information. The email should also contain the store’s return policy and links to enable customers to change or cancel orders or choose a different shipping option.
They get customers excited about their purchases.
Get your customer hyped about receiving their item. A confirmation email tells them when to expect their delivery and what’s included.
If customers were excited at the point of purchase, the confirmation email revives that excitement. This excitement lays the groundwork for future engagement with your brand.
Order confirmation emails help you cultivate a long-term customer relationship.
Savvy retailers treat the order confirmation email as a lead generation and retention tool. You can include calls to action to sign up for your newsletter, follow your brand on social media or refer a friend.
You may also wish to provide an FAQ section in the email if you tend to receive many repetitive questions about the product. The confirmation email is also a great opportunity to offer a first-time buyer discount or special promotion to incentivize a future purchase.
Can help boost sales.
The confirmation is also a great opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. For example, you can add a “You may also like..” product recommendation widget or related products, or offering product enhancements or upgrades.
Or, you can offer a subscription option for regularly used items such as cosmetics or food, helping you generate a steady revenue stream and retain customers to your online store.
What to Include in Your Order Confirmation Email
An order confirmation email should be short, to the point and contain all the information customers need to feel secure about their purchases.
An order number is important if the customer has questions or issues about the transaction. When they contact customer service, they will need to provide their order number to locate the purchase details. Put the order number at the top of the email.
Customer contact details.
Include the customer’s name, phone number and email address, if they provided one. This reassures the customer that they will receive status updates, if applicable, at their preferred phone number and email address.
Also, provide the billing and shipping address (even if they’re the same), so the customer can be sure the information they entered was correct.
Verify the customer’s shipping address, even if it’s the same as their billing address. Customers may request shipping to a different location, so provide an opportunity for them to check these details and ensure the package is delivered to the correct address.
Allow them to modify details such as shipping address or shipping method before their item leaves the warehouse.
Itemize the products that are shipping, including:
Name of the product (add an image, if possible).
Color and size.
Tracking link (if available).
Ensure the email contains all the necessary details, so the customer doesn’t have to visit your website and sign in or contact customer service to verify the details of their order. Be sure to include a thumbnail image of each product.
Break down the cost.
Make sure your customer understands what they’re being charged for. All charges should have been summarized at checkout, but you want to provide reassurance.
Surprise fees are a big no-no! Include an itemized list of each product, the quantity purchased, plus associated taxes and fees and any savings from discounts or promotional codes. Indicate the payment method, so the customer knows where the charges were applied.
The shipping method and estimated delivery date.
Provide as much information as possible about shipping. Confirm how the product is being delivered (carrier), the shipping method (standard delivery, expedited or overnight), the date the order is expected to leave your warehouse and the date the carrier is expected to deliver the item. If the customer included special delivery instructions (eg: “leave the item on the porch” or “only deliver after 5 p.m.”), include a verbatim copy of their message in the email.
Your contact info and methods.
Let customers know how to get in touch with you if they have questions or issues with their order. Include your email, phone number, social media and any messaging apps where you provide customer service.
It’s prudent to provide this information at the outset because if a customer is concerned about something, their frustration can increase if they spend time trying to find the best way to contact a customer service rep.
Best Practices for Order Confirmation Emails
Order confirmation emails are the simplest marketing email you’ll ever send. Still, you should follow a set of best practices to provide a smooth customer experience, boost conversion rates and engage the customer.
Send order confirmation emails right after a purchase is made.
Receiving a confirmation email promptly eases post-purchase anxiety. Don’t leave customers hanging. With email automation, you can trigger an email to send immediately after purchase. People are most excited about the purchase immediately after the sale, making it an opportune time to cultivate positive feelings about your business.
Ensure the order confirmation email is mobile-friendly.
Emails must display correctly on mobile devices as well as desktops. Chances are your customer made their purchase while on the go.
In fact, 72.9% of ecommerce purchases are made on a mobile device. What’s more, 60% of people check their email while they’re on the go, so chances are high that your confirmation email will be viewed on a mobile device. Provide links that are easy to click, text that fits their device’s screen and a clean email design and layout.
Statistics show that 40% of users will go to the competitor after a bad mobile experience, yet an alarming 84% have experienced difficulty completing a mobile transaction. A confirmation email that is optimized for mobile devices builds trust.
Stay on brand.
Order confirmation emails should be succinct and contain all the necessary information, but they don’t have to be bland. Use your brand colors and logo throughout and a catchy tagline that generates excitement (eg: “It’s on its way…” or “Thanks for your order!”). Don’t be afraid to infuse your messaging with personality.
Celebrate the purchase. Make the customer feel pumped about it, like they just took a big step (especially if it’s a lifestyle item or a big purchase).
Use a subject line that informs and engages customers.
Some brands use a matter-of-fact order confirmation email subject line (eg: “Your Instacart order receipt” or “Your order #12345 has been placed.”) Others infuse their subject lines with more personality.
Provide an opportunity to engage with your company.
Order confirmation emails are important for customer engagement and retention, so don’t let the opportunity slip away. Engagement is highest immediately after purchase, so strike the iron while it’s hot.
Here are some click-worthy CTAs to include at the bottom of the email:
Follow the brand on social media.
Refer a friend or join a loyalty program.
Subscribe to your mailing list.
Redeem a discount for the next purchase.
Shop additional items.
Contact customer support.
Read FAQs or your blog.
Thank the customer for their purchase.
Don’t forget to show your gratitude to the customer for choosing your brand. Customers have virtually endless choices when shopping online. Thanking customers for their patronage makes them feel special. Brand loyalty is increasingly hard to come by with the mainstreaming of online shopping.
Don’t lose customers over a triviality. Leverage every available opportunity to provide an excellent customer experience.
Also send a separate shipping confirmation email.
Send customers another notification by email or SMS (if the customer opts in) when the item ships, even if you already mentioned the delivery date in your initial confirmation email. A separate shipping confirmation email provides peace of mind and gets customers excited about their item’s arrival.
Remember, the shipping confirmation email provides another opportunity to engage customers using the CTAs mentioned above.
How to Increase Ecommerce Sales
Explore our collection of free resources designed to help you scale smarter and accelerate your online growth from $1 million to $100 million.
The Final Word
Never overlook the importance of an order confirmation email to build customer trust, incite repeat purchases and build loyalty. Email marketing automation software lets you create order confirmation email templates and send automatic emails immediately after a buyer makes a purchase.