Order confirmation emails are unique in their own right...
They’ve got elements of welcome emails, discounts, cross-selling, and newsletters all rolled into one super helpful email that customers absolutely love receiving.
To say order confirmation emails can help you increase sales, generate user engagement, and improve your overall ecommerce email marketing strategy is an understatement.
To put things into perspective, here’s what goes through the average customers’ mind once they order a product online:
Did the company receive my order? Did they get it right? And when will it be delivered to my house?
In other words, your customers are asking you to send them an email – how often does that happen?!
Purchase confirmation emails create an opportunity for businesses to let customers know that their order has been received and it’ll reach their doorstep in no time.
But there’s so much more you can do with an order confirmation email beyond simply confirming the customer’s order. And, in this quick guide, we’ll explain how you can write great order confirmation emails to generate more sales and more user engagement.
What Are Order Confirmation Emails?
Order confirmation emails tell your customers three things: their order has been received, it’s being processed, and it will be delivered to them before long.
Take a look at this example from Fitbit:
See how this simple order confirmation email lets customers know their Fitbit order is confirmed along with product and order details? Speaking of which …
Here are some of the details you want to include in your order confirmation email:
- Product details. The name of the product, quantity, and an image.
- Order details. The order number, the date the order was placed, and estimated date of delivery.
- Billing details. The customer’s shipping address, billed amount, and payment method.
Easy peasy, right?
Many companies – especially larger e-commerce stores – go all in and create an entire order confirmation email series to keep customers informed about their order every step of the way.
For example, they might send out the first email as soon as the customer places an order on their website telling them that their order has been confirmed. The next email will let them know that the package is in transit. And, finally, the last email provides an estimated arrival date.
It’s basically the e-commerce equivalent of a paper receipt – but much better!
Unlike a receipt, with order confirmation emails, you can do so much more. Next, we’ll look at some of the ways you can deliver more value through order confirmation emails and pave the way for higher sales and more user engagement.
#1: Encourage Customers to Join the Referral Program
Word of mouth marketing has been (arguably) one of the most effective forms of persuasion since basically forever.
Translate it to the digital world and you have yourself a referral program.
Think about the last time a friend told you about the really cool new product they just bought. Didn’t it make you want to get one for yourself to see what the hype was all about?
By encouraging happy customers (read: customers you’ve just satisfied with an order confirmation message) to promote your products, you’ll be able to generate qualified leads and increase sales.
Of course, to run an effective referral marketing strategy, you need to offer some sort of an incentive. For example, you could encourage customers to share your product with their social media followers in exchange for a flat 10% off on their next order.
Check out how Uber does it right:
Notice how towards the bottom of their order confirmation email, Uber rewards customers to referring their ride service to a friend?
And here’s another great example from FilterEasy:
See how the incentive is super clear and actually pretty helpful? Now that’s a referral program we’d love to join!Here are some quick tips for setting up a successful referral program:
- Encourage customers to share your products with their friends and family – particularly after you’ve sent them an order confirmation email.
- Offer incentives for referring products through social media. This could be a flat $5 or 10% off their next order.
Sendlane’s ReferralHero integration makes it incredibly easy to set up and execute referral programs for your email marketing strategy!
#2 Make Compelling Upsell and Cross-Sell Offers
When a prospective customer expresses interest in purchasing a product, what do you do?
Send them reminder emails? Put your retargeting campaigns into action? Upsell? Cross-sell?
Regardless of your marketing strategy of choice, the end goal is simple: you want them to buy more from you, right?
Making upsell and cross-sell offers on your landing pages, in email newsletters, and after customers reach a milestone certainly makes sense. After all, if a customer has already (1) expressed interest or (2) bought something from you, you’d want to get them to buy more from you.
But the way we see it, there’s no better time to cross-sell products than in an order confirmation email!
Check out this example from Indiegogo:
See how they’ve used their order confirmation email to cross-sell more crowdfunding campaigns that the recipient might be interested in backing?
And here’s a shipment confirmation email from Dollar Shave Club:
This perfectly-crafted order confirmation email gives customers a chance to toss more [products] in their cart before their order is shipped.
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when upselling and cross-selling through order confirmation emails:
- Don’t overwhelm customers with too many offers! And before you ask, yes there’s such a thing as too many offers. The sweet spot is around 2 to 3 products – with images, of course!
- Personalize your product recommendations based on what the customer just purchased.
- Share your best-selling products with customers – especially if they’re related to their order. Chances are, they’ll be interested!
- Bonus tip: the price range of your recommended products should be around the same price (or less) than what the customer just bought. For example, if someone buys an RGB mousepad from you, trying to sell them an RGB wireless mouse might be a bit much!
By using Sendlane tags with conditional splits and goals, you can automatically tag contacts to trigger upsell funnels. Pretty cool, right? Check out our guide on tagging to get started.
#3 Show Your Brand Personality
Here’s a crowd favorite tip for generating user engagement: show your brand personality and share your vision with customers.
Big name brands use emails to inform their customer base what they stand for. Which is precisely why order confirmation emails are great for reminding customers why they bought from you.
Here’s another quick tip: use your email message to make a lasting impact. A dash of brand personality never hurt anyone!
Check out how Rover spices things up with emojis:
See how using two simple emojis can add so much personality to your order confirmation emails? That’s a win in our books!
And here’s a personality-filled order confirmation email from Firebox:
Exhibit A: Countless hours spent crying into the pillow.
Exhibit B: One-of-a-kind parcel will be extravagantly chauffeured (in the back of a van).
Exhibit C: We salute your savvy shopping skills.
Need we say more?
Use these simple tips in your purchase confirmation emails to bring out your brand personality:
- Craft a compelling subject line that’s equal parts compelling and simple.
- Personalize your email message based on what the customer just bought. Think of all the ways they could use your product and get creative!
- Use words that capture excitement and project your brand as a fun and caring one.
#4 Use Images
In regular circumstances, a picture is worth a thousand words. But, in the context of an order confirmation email, it’s worth a lot more!
And if you want to take things to the next level, you might consider using user-generated content.
What’s that, you ask?
User-generated content (UGC) is any form of content that your customers have posted on social media platforms, forums, and wikis. This could be customer photos, testimonials, or reviews. You get the idea!
Incorporating UGC in your order confirmation emails helps build trust with your brand and creates authenticity.
Here’s how Tens uses images in their order confirmation emails:
Notice how they’ve simply included product images under the Items Ordered section to let customers know what they added to their shopping cart at the time of purchase?
Here are a few quick tips to get you started with a step in the right direction:
- Including an image – along with the product details – will let customers rest assured that they placed the correct order. You’d be surprised at how many people order the wrong product without realizing!
- You might even consider linking back to your product page from the image in case recipients want to go through the product details again or check out related products.
- If you sell physical products, include images. And if you sell tools or apps, include screenshots and GIFs.
- Don’t use too many images! Remember, your primary goal is to let the recipient know their order is being processed.
Use Sendlane’s pre-designed email templates to get a headstart!
#5 Offer Discounts
You can also use order confirmation emails to reward loyal customers by offering them special discounts or coupons on a future purchase. I mean, who doesn’t love a good discount?
Now you might be wondering: aren’t discounts and referrals the same thing?
Not at all! Discounts are purely one-sided since you’re not asking customers to return the favor.
In other words, instead of saying, "Share our products with your friends and family," you’re simply rewarding customers for their brand loyalty!
Take a look at this example from Chewy:
Notice how they’ve tacked on a flat $10 discount for customers who opted for the Autoship option? There are are four main ways to offer discounts with order confirmation emails:
- Give them a percentage discount on all products e.g. X% off your next purchase!.
- Offer dollar amount concessions on individual items e.g. Join the newsletter and get $10 off your order now!.
- Buy one get one free discount offers are very popular in the world of online shopping.
- Offering discounts on a minimum order value is a great way to encourage customers to buy more from you.
Of course, there are many other ways to offer discounts. For more ideas, be sure to check out these Nine Promotional Emails Your Contacts Will Love!
#6 Be Transparent & Set Expectations
Although most online shoppers have ordered products from online stores, there’s always a sense of uncertainty surrounding online purchases.
Why is that?
The way we see it: it’s a lack of transparency.
Customers shopping online aren’t able to physically see or touch the product they’re purchasing. And until they receive it, there’s no way of actually knowing it’ll show up.
However, by giving customers access to information about their orders and how much you’ll charge for shipping and handling, you’re able to create transparency.
And, as you might have already guessed, your order confirmation email is the best way to get that information across!
Here’s how iFit Nourish does it:
See how they make it easy for customers to track their shipment? It’s as simple as including a link to your order tracking page! Here are some of the ways you can be more transparent with your order confirmation emails:
- Send out an order confirmation email once the customer’s order is received, is packed, in transit, and reaches your shipping partner. Let ‘em know where their product is!
- Include a link to your customer support channel or live chat in case recipients need to update their order or modify their shipping details.
- If you charge extra fees for shipping and handling, make sure they’re clearly mentioned in the email.
Order Confirmed! Here's What To Do Next
Order confirmation emails are undoubtedly some of the most engaging, most awaited, and most informative emails you’ll send. Which is precisely why you should seriously spend more time crafting them!
It lets customers know there are real people behind the online store who are busy processing their order and making sure it gets to them on time!
And since you can pretty much throw in upsell and cross-sell offers, tack on some discounts, show them what other customers are saying – there’s really no reason not to do order confirmation the best way possible!