Spice Up Your Transactional Messages and Increase Revenue

Julie Waite

PeppersHow would you like a 47% open rate and 20%+ clickthrough rate?  That’s what most transactional messages like order and shipping confirmations are getting these days. Some studies even claim open rates as high as 75%. Yet so many marketers don’t take advantage of this great opportunity to sell more products when they have so many customers’ eyeballs on these emails.

If you’re looking to start, please read our posts on how to create the best transactional messages and maximize them to keep customers informed and engaged.

Today, I want to look at two major retailers who do cross-selling within transactional messages: Amazon.com and drugstore.com.

First up is Amazon.com’s order confirmation email (click to see full size).

As great as they are at telling shoppers what other customers who viewed a particular product also purchased on the website, their order confirmation falls short on cross-selling. The only thing they’re offering are gift cards. They already have that recommendation data; why not include it in this message? Additionally, this ad is buried further down in the message, and I typically don’t scroll that far. I make sure the order is correct and stop, so they’re not capitalizing on prime real estate. You always want to stick to the 80/20 rule when it comes to marketing in transactional messages, but a sidebar ad that can be seen above the fold would probably garner more response.

Next, let’s check out the shipping confirmation email. Plain text and no marketing whatsoever? What a missed opportunity.

Let’s look at drugstore.com in comparison. Here’s an order confirmation email.

This email is very nice – a clean layout with a sidebar for promotions, as well as a note in the body about redeeming my drugstore.com dollars. In the sidebar, they have chosen to promote their pharmacy services, followed by partner ads. The partner ads are a bit of a turn-off – while I do wear contacts, this site doesn’t know that, so I assume this is a blanket ad that won’t resonate with customers who don’t wear them.  I would have like to have seen promotions related to my purchase. For example, I bought Luna protein bars, so perhaps I’d be interested in other flavors Luna offers, or other supplement or nutrition related products.

And finally, here is their shipping confirmation email.

They’re promoting the drugstore.com dollars and pharmacy services again, which is nice, but that’s it, and they’re buried at the bottom. I’ve seen this as fairly common amongst internet retailers. Why no marketing in shipping confirmations? Perhaps marketers assume once the item has shipped, the customer is out of shopping mode and wouldn’t be interested? Or perhaps they’re overlooking  another hot touch point where they could earn more dollars? What do you think?

  • Corbin

    Any examples from retailers who have done a GREAT job?

  • Hi Corbin – good question! Williams-Sonoma does a great job – see their message here. For more good examples, check out this article from MediaPost that is packed with examples.

  • […] – dedicate some space in your transactional emails for a sign up call to action. Remember the 80/20 rule. Here’s a great example from philosophy that promotes the sign up clearly in the right side […]