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What to include in your order confirmation email

This is a guest post from Aaron Wiseman. Aaron is a marketing co-ordinator at SmartrMail, the easiest way to send emails that delight your customers and get more sales. SmartrMail integrates deeply with your Shopify, BigCommerce, Neto or WooCommerce store.

In the world of eCommerce email marketing, there are plenty of different types of emails you should be sending: Welcome emails, customer win-back emails and abandoned cart reminders to name a few.

While not every store will set up these emails (to their detriment), there is one type of email virtually every store has automated: the order confirmation email.

Setting up order confirmation emails is often done out of necessity though as you can’t effectively operate an eCommerce store without these kinds of transactional emails.

Smart email marketers know however that the true value of order confirmation emails lies in their ability to generate more sales.

The power of order confirmation emails

So what makes these emails so great?

Well firstly in terms of email engagement they achieve astonishing open rates of approximately 65%, blitzing the retail industry average of 12.7%. After all, shoppers want to know that their purchase when through successfully.

More importantly, people receiving these emails represent an incredibly engaged and valuable audience.

It’s fairly common knowledge that it’s much easier to make another sale to a previous customer than to someone who has never purchased from your store before. And with purchase confirmation emails you’ll never have existing customers so engaged with your email marketing.

Far too many merchants sadly aren’t even coming close to unlocking the full potential of order confirmation emails. All they’ve done is automated them to send with the customer’s order details whenever there’s a purchase.

So to help merchants realize the true power of these emails, we’ve compiled a list of what you should be including in your order confirmation emails.

What to include in your order confirmation emails

All the relevant order details

This might seem obvious, but it is afterall the primary purpose of order confirmation emails to provide order details. Good news is that most merchants are already doing a good job of this.

That said, it’s good to quickly recap what order details you should be including. Almost without exception, you should be providing:

  • Confirmation that the order was successful, or if it failed, why it failed
  • An order number or confirmation ID
  • Details of what your customer has purchased (ideally include images too)
  • Payment details including total amount spent, any taxes and payment method

These are all details your customers will be looking for when they open your email. By not including them, not only are you going to frustrate some customers, but you’ll also likely have more customers reaching out to your support.

So for everybody’s sake, if you aren’t already including these details, add them to your order confirmation template now.

This example from Tom’s shows how easy it is to include all the relevant details.

In addition to confirming the order, all the details a customer could need are there. Product title, variant details (in this case color), original price and discounted price it was purchased for, quantity, shipping destination and method and finally payment details including card number.

Shipping information

Once a customer knows that their order was placed successfully, the next thing they’ll want to know is when they can expect to receive it.

Best practice is to include a link to a tracking service so that your customers can receive real time updates on the status and location of their order. However this is not always possible depending on your shipping method.

Regardless of what type of shipping your customer selected, you should at be including:

  • The destination address (sometimes customers will enter the wrong address)
  • The expected arrival date or at least timeframe of when they should expect delivery

Chewy does a great job of these by giving the shipping information top billing with a clear call-to-action for customers to track their order.

Depending on how you ship your products, it may not be possible to include this information straight away in your order confirmation email.

If this is the case, don’t delay the confirmation emails as customers expect this to be sent within a couple of minutes. Instead make it clear to your customers that they can expect a second follow up email soon (let them know exactly how long) with all the relevant shipping information. And then make sure you actually send it once the details are available.

How to contact your customer support

Failing to provide an easy way to reach your customer support is something where a lot of eCommerce stores fall down.

Imagine the frustration a customer would experience when upon reading through their order confirmation email, they notice they’ve made a mistake. Such as providing an incorrect address.

Then they desperately try to reach you to rectify the issue before the order is shipped, only to find that it’s virtually impossible to get in contact quickly.

Providing great customer support obviously has countless benefits beyond just your order confirmation emails. The point here is that whatever level of support you offer, make sure it’s clear how your customers can reach it in your confirmation emails.

Considering the amount of space they’ve dedicated in their order confirmation template to customer support, it’s clear that Gearhead understands the importance of this.

Product recommendations

As previously mentioned, it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than to someone who has never purchased from you before.

This makes getting your second sale incredibly important as it’s the difference between a repeat customer and a one-off purchaser.

And as you’ll likely never have existing customers so engaged with a piece of communication from you, your order confirmation is a great way to try convert your customers into repeat buyers.

A great way of increasing the chances of achieving this is to include personalized product recommendations towards the bottom of the confirmation email. These recommendations are determined by analyzing your shopper’s purchase and viewing history data and comparing it to the shopping habits of your other customers.

This is just what Nordstrom does.

By including these personalized recommendations, you’re increasing the chances of conversion compared to if you just included items you think appeal to everyone equally.

An incentive

While personalized recommendations will increase sales more than non-personalized suggestions, sometimes your customers just need that little bit extra push.

Including a simple offer such as a discount coupon can work wonders here. Especially seeing as your acquisition costs for this sale are quite low.

A creative way of doing this is to offer free shipping on the customer’s next purchase (if you don’t already have free shipping). Not only does this provide that extra push some customers will need, but helps keep costs low for you.

Making the offer time sensitive will increase conversions further and also means that you can ship your customer’s second purchase along with their original order. Minimizing extra freight costs for you.

This is exactly what Gilt does in their confirmation email.

Keep it simple

Including the information and offers mentioned above applies to pretty much all retailers. Depending on what you sell and how you market your business, there may be other things you want to include in your order confirmation template.

A store that relies heavily on spreading word-of-mouth through social media will likely want to include clear incentives to entice people to follow their social profiles. Or maybe to encourage user generated content (UGC) such as by offering a reward in return to posting about their purchase on Instagram.

Whatever you decide to include on top of the above points, just remember to keep it simple.

Best practice email marketing involves having a single clear behavior you want people to engage in after reading each email.

With your order confirmation emails, this can be to get your new customer to track their purchase or add more items to their order. But if you ask too much of your customer (such as to follow you on social media, join your loyalty program, post about you on Instagram for a reward and go back and shop more) people will just ignore the email altogether.

Optimizing your order confirmation template

Now it’s over to you to start optimizing your order confirmation template.

On top of adding all of these necessary elements, you still want to make sure your email looks great. If this is something you don’t feel confident with, don’t hesitate to view examples of well designed order confirmation email templates for some inspiration.

Best of luck with generating more sales with your confirmation emails!

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