Transactional Emails: Definition, Main Types, and Best Practices

In different stages of communicating with potential customers and users, businesses send transactional emails after users take certain actions on the website or mobile app. These are automated emails that marketers send to a single recipient at a time. Their goal is to deliver vital information to assist transactions between a customer and the company. 

Users receive transactional emails when they open an account, request password recovery, or buy a product they need. By realizing the crucial role of this type of email, businesses should make them an integral part of their email marketing strategy.

Defining transactional emails, their benefits, and characteristics

There are different industries, including eCommerce, education, professional services, and many more, that can benefit from transactional emails. Let’s discuss why businesses, regardless of their type and size, need to put effort into creating the best transactional emails. 

✔ Increases customer trust

If companies provide useful information and answer all customers’ concerns and questions, eventually, they will build trust with customers. Customers will feel safe after receiving updates about transactions. And as a result, they will prefer to stay loyal to your company because you managed to create an image of a trustful and credible company.

✔ Improves customer engagement and retention

These emails are an excellent tactic to increase engagement as well. You can achieve that if you share with customers all the necessary details. This way, they feel valued and heard, and automatically customer satisfaction increases as well.

✔ Encourages more sales

One of the main goals of transaction emails is to inform, but they also provide a great opportunity to drive sales by recommending additional products.

✔ Develop brand recognition

There is a possibility that when sending this type of email, you start your first interaction with a customer. Therefore it’s your chance to present and highlight your brand identity by sharing logos and other design elements. This way, you can eventually improve your brand recognition and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Employees working on their devices

Transactional emails VS marketing emails: defining differences

One of the essential steps for defining transactional emails is to understand their differences from marketing emails.

First, the goals of these types of emails are different. The main purpose is transactional emails to confirm some type of transaction or a process that a customer has taken on the website or app and also deliver crucial information. But when businesses send marketing emails, their goal is to nurture email leads and promote their products and services. And because customers expect emails about transactions, the engagement level of this type of email is high. Based on surveys, transactional emails receive eight times more opens and clicks compared to non-transactional marketing emails. 

Typically marketing emails are sent to many recipients simultaneously, but emails that are triggered by action are sent to individuals and are relevant to them. You can send these emails to anyone who has taken action on your website or app but didn’t subscribe to your email. On the contrary,  for sending marketing emails, you need the customer’s permission. They need to subscribe to the email list to let your company send your email content.

In addition to this, the content for these two types of emails is different as well. The best transactional emails include more personalized and unique email content addressing customers’ specific needs. Whereas in the case of marketing emails, you send a group of subscribers the same content, hoping that a prospect would like to go further on the sales funnel.

Marketing emails can contain intriguing elements, but transactional emails should be more concise and to the point. And for that matter, the subject line is simple and straightforward because the goal is to convey a clear message. In addition to that, these emails usually don’t contain unsubscribe buttons, and in some cases, they don’t have CTA buttons as well. Instead of CTA buttons,  marketers can include hyperlinks that make the customer journey easier by allowing users to check the order status.  

8 Types of transactional emails that your business should consider sending

Order confirmation emails 

One of the most popular types of transactional emails is order confirmation. Statistics have shown that order confirmation emails have a 70% open rate, which is the highest rate compared to all email types. The order confirmation email is a vital part of the whole transactional email campaign. Businesses send order confirmation emails to successfully convert a prospect into a customer when they decide to purchase your product or service.

The primary goal of this type of email is to prove that the transaction has been successful and to provide customers with all the necessary details of the purchase. Effective order confirmation emails should offer a quick link to track their order and include all necessary information:

  Product and order number

Customer contact details

Shipping address

The shipping method and estimated delivery date

Order confirmation should be sent immediately, especially if your goal is to increase customer satisfaction and drive additional sales. Your job is to make customers stress-free about their purchases and ensure that there won’t be any delays. 

This type of email should be strict to the point, but you also need to appreciate your customers for trusting your brand. And here, you can offer various rewards to increase customer loyalty. Order confirmation emails can increase customer loyalty and turn first-time buyers into brand advocates. 

Although the purpose of order confirmation emails is to give information, they shouldn’t be boring. Instead, an order confirmation is captivating and hooks their attention. 

Shipping notification emails

When buying a product from online stores, customers want to know the status of their shipment and more information about shipping. This type of email also has high open and email engagement rates as order management emails; therefore, they are businesses’ chance to develop the post-purchase experience.

If your company doesn’t keep buyers updated, that will cause customer dissatisfaction. If you miss providing some important details or include a link that doesn’t work, they have to approach your customers to support them. Typically eCommerce brands send shipping confirmation emails to inform buyers of the latest updates about their orders.

Shipping notification emails keep customers informed about when their purchase has been dispatched. The email informs customers about when to expect the next update proving that they control the shipping process.

Delivery confirmation emails

Delivery confirmation emails are an excellent opportunity to increase excitement and satisfaction for a recent purchase. The purpose of confirmation emails is to ensure the product is now in its intended place. It should ensure that the customer receives a delivery confirmation email when the product is in the right place. 

The email design is simple and summarizes all necessary information about the purchase, including a link to the receipt with many shoppers buying online. Delivery confirmation emails should contain the delivery address and also include the customer’s name and picture to make the message more personalized. Moreover, sharing the return policy is a must for creating a positive customer experience. In addition to that, instructions and customer service contact information are crucial in case customers encounter some problems during the delivery stage. 

Remember that you should send messages immediately, so you communicate with them and capture their attention while they’re still interested in your brand and your products. Because time is a valuable and critical component, you should try to be as quick as possible and, as a result, build trust with your customers. Also, remember that being quick is vital when you send onboarding emails because these types of emails also have the goal of increasing customer retention. 

Double opt-in emails

The double opt-in email goals have significant importance as they ask users to confirm their email addresses or other important details. Usually, people receive requests to confirm emails after receiving confirmation messages or some interaction. They also receive double opt-in when signing up for a service or newsletter. Furthermore, businesses can add your email address to their email list and later send their promotional messages as well.

This way, companies avoid spamming and develop email deliverability. They create steps for protecting customer data and building trust with the user because if customers know businesses value their data, they trust businesses and prefer using their products and solutions.  

Password reset emails

Regardless of how secure and attentive users are trying to be, they sometimes forget their passwords. And when they click the “Forgot password” button, they usually receive a password change link. Customers expect password reset emails quickly; in other cases, they will need to contact your support team.

Password reset emails remain the most crucial and important type of transactional email because they ensure customers always have access to your product. These types of emails share critical information that is personal to each customer. And similar to other types of transactional emails, password reset emails should also be clear and strictly to the point, but here marketers can be creative and add their unique perspective.

Password reset emails, like other types of transactional emails, deliver crucial information to the customers. Therefore taking necessary steps to guarantee the protection of these emails. Not only that, transactional emails can provide an extra portion of security by sending security alerts, protecting people’s accounts from unauthorized access, and keeping their accounts safe and secure. 

Smartphone and social media apps


Social Media Event-Triggered Notifications

Big social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn try to keep users informed about the latest activities on their profiles. Usually, users receive this type of message when specific actions are taken on their profiles. Some social media channels send notifications when there is an activity or interaction that the user should need to be informed about. Facebook, for example, sends emails when users receive messages or someone posts on their wall. Users can control the frequency of notification emails, but platforms like Facebook might send transactional emails to inspire users to re-engage with the platform. 

Users can receive notification emails when someone has commented or liked their social media post or any other type of interaction What is interesting to know is that notifications are the second most opened emails after welcome emails. Therefore, make sure to put effort into creating effective copy for them.

Customer feedback requests

The importance of collecting customer feedback can’t be underestimated because it can give a customer a chance to try out their new item, or it’s a good idea to connect with them and ask about their experience with a feedback request.  

Customers sometimes ignore feedback requests, so emails can be a great way to collect feedback effectively. Sharing feedback requests will also give users a chance to share concerns they might have about their order. And then, businesses can use this information for their benefit and take necessary steps to develop customer experience and the quality of their products as well. Also, when asking for reviews for customers, you can build trust, which is a fundamental factor for business growth. 

Cancellation notifications

Not every product will be a great fit for your customers for a number of reasons. Therefore you need to send a cancellation email when a user cancels the subscription or doesn’t want to purchase a product. Reasons can be different, some technical or onboarding issues, or high price. Maybe they didn’t receive the support they needed. 

Businesses should send a cancellation email immediately after a user cancels their subscription in-app surveys to understand why customers cancel their subscriptions. After knowing the reasons, you have to take the necessary steps to improve the process and solve all problems. This way, you can turn a poor experience into a positive one, and later prospects will consider using your services and products.

Employee writing transactional email

Transactional emails best practices that you should know about

  1. Prioritize personalization

Customers of the digital era demand personalized experience through all customer journey touchpoints. Therefore you have to boost the efficiency of these emails through personalization. Moreover, you can drive additional sales through personalized email. And for that matter, the process starts by including customers’ and companies’ names in the message. You increase the chances that customers will open a name if the inclined company’s name is in the subject line because it reminds customers about the purchase. And consider including the customer’s name not only in the subject line but also in the body of your email. Don’t forget to also include a thank you note after their purchase is complete and you send personalized recommendations. This way, you will create an image of a company that appreciates its customers and cares about their needs as well.

There are a few tactics that you can use to personalize this type of email. First, collect relevant information about your customers and use it to offer personalized recommendations. You can do it based on data you can collect on customers’ online behavior and purchases. Thanks to this data, you can figure out what products customers need and would love to buy. 

In addition to this, you can transactional emails best practices and offer discounts for your next purchase, boosting your sales. Some companies offer discount codes or rewards if a customer has a positive experience and will share it with his friends, family members, and social media followers.  

  2. Provide customer service information and all resources

Companies try to guarantee a smooth transaction process, solving all potential obstacles that users may encounter. But they should make it easy for customers to contact the support team in case they have any questions or concerns. Also, you can include links that users can follow if they need additional support for their order. One link could go to the customer service page on your website, and the others could direct the customer to your social media pages or the website.

What is important to consider is that as a company, you should put yourself in customers’ shoes. It means you should know what customers would like to know and then add a link to where they can find all the necessary information about their concerns or questions.

Desk with the laptop and mobile


 3. Use upselling opportunities

We already mentioned that the main goal of transactional email marketing is to share detailed information and be helpful. But the secondary goal is to bring more sales, but many businesses miss that opportunity to increase their revenue. It doesn’t mean that your message should be over-promotional and salesy. Instead, you can come up with the right strategies for upselling and send relevant suggestions. 

The price for upselling should be similar and modest. It means, when making product recommendations, don’t offer upsells or cross-sell that will demand customers to increase purchases by any more than 25%. You could also use upselling opportunities by encouraging customers to subscribe to receive email updates or create an account if they purchased your eCommerce product. Moreover, you suggest they join your loyalty program and drive revenue thanks to them.  Finally, always strive for improvement and measure the result to decide which phrases, content, or transactional messages convert better.

Employee working and creating content


 4. Have a consistent brand image

There is a huge misconception that transactional emails can’t be engaging. While it is true that you need to share clear facts, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make these emails interesting and engaging.

You can overcome this obstacle by giving personality to your emails and sharing your brand voice and elements of your brand identity with your email readers. As it’s a customer’s first interaction, you should try to be memorable and captivating. Don’t forget to share your brand values and your mission. What is important is that you should keep branding consistent on all types of email and all channels, whether it is your website or social media channels. To achieve this, you need to have brand guidelines and follow them when building email marketing strategies.

5. Have strong subject lines

It’s never enough to mention the importance of subject lines. It’s the first thing the customer sees, and it is also a reason they will decide whether to open or not. When sending emails about transactions, you should include relevant information in your subject lines. You need to make sure they are clear and relevant to readers. 

You can let your creativity guide you, but the main goal is to send crucial information to the recipients. Therefore, your subject lines should highlight the purpose of the message and make users notice the importance of the email and open it.

Being simple and short is another crucial component that you need to follow when creating subject lines. And because space for subject lines is limited, you can include important detail in preheaders too. 

Customer checking smartphone


6. Make them mobile-friendly and accessible

A large number of customers read their inboxes from their smartphones, so it’s an absolute must to make these types of emails mobile-friendly.  Another reason you should optimize for mobile emails that are designed for transaction processes is that they include important information that users shouldn’t miss. 

Firstly pay attention to your images, so when they read your emails on other devices, speed isn’t slow because images can cause customer frustration.

In addition to this, you should ensure that your CTAs are in the front and the center. It contains valuable information, so it should be visible on small screens as well. Usually, you include helpful links, then make sure users can access them on their mobile as well. Moreover, take the necessary steps for granting responsive design.

In the end, don’t forget to test your messages across multiple devices, guaranteeing a positive experience for your customers; you are using mobiles for communicating with businesses.

To sum up

Making an efficient transactional email is a mixture of giving helpful, informative content and adding creativity. We discussed defining the characteristics of this type of email and also the benefits that they can provide to different types of businesses. In addition to that, we went through the main types of transactional emails and cases a business needs to send them. What is important is that we also talked about best practices and gave suggestions on how to make this type of email successful.

And if you follow them automatically, your business will benefit in a number of ways. Starting from building trust to finishing increasing sales, emails that are triggered by customer action can help your business to grow and scale.

SEO Content Writer

Lilit Yeranyan

Lilit is an SEO content writer at and a literature admirer. She believes that words have power and that we should use them for good. If not writing, Lilit loves to play with her nephews, then water the flowers and trees of their garden.