Transactional emails are usually sent after eCommerce transactions, such as order confirmation emails, POS receipt emails, and shipping confirmation emails. The purpose of these emails is to inform users about their transactions.

What’s interesting about them is their high open rates.

A study by Epsilon found that the open rate of transactional emails for the first quarter in 2017 was 69% higher than regular email marketing campaigns for the same period. Another study found that transactional email campaigns lead to 6.5% click-through rates, whereas usual email marketing campaigns only had a 1.6% click-through rate.

In recent years, clever marketers have made use of these transactional emails by including elements such as recommendations or discounts that could encourage customers to buy again.

How can you drive repeat purchases through transactional emails? How do you customize emails to encourage impulse purchases? Here are four ways you can use transactional emails to drive eCommerce sales:

1. Product recommendations

Product recommendations are must-haves in transactional emails, such as order confirmation emails. This gets customers in the habit of returning to your store, buying again and making a purchase.

In fact, brands like experienced a 175% boost in email CTR and 30% in conversion rates due to product recommendations, while Lux Fix experienced a 85.7% increase in email conversion rates!

For the best results, try sending personalized product recommendations based on a customer’s past purchases, browsing behaviour and demographic data. Personalized product recommendations lead to more impulse purchases, increased product discovery and more engagement.

For example, the Creative Market’s product recommendation email includes products similar to the item bought in order to pique the interest of consumers. They also have buttons such as “Message Shop,” “Leave a Comment” and “Contact Support” which makes it easy for them to contact customer service once they experience any problems.

Creative market product recommendations

2. Coupons / Discounts

All customers want to buy items at a cheaper price. A small discount or coupon could be the  incentive they need to return to your eCommerce store!

Placed’s coupon study revealed that 60% of consumers prefer discounts over other types of promotional offers, such as free gifts, rebates or gift cards. Another study found that 91% of coupon users say they’ll revisit a store after using a coupon, and 57% say they wouldn’t make a purchase without the coupon first.

These results show that coupons can attract new customers, and encourage more customers to return. In the long-run, customers will build the habit of returning to the online store and become loyal to the brand.

While decreasing the prices of your products is never a good long-term strategy, it’s a small price to pay for increased customer loyalty and retention!

Bare bones email coupon

3. Referral Codes

People love to refer products or services to friends and family.

Unlike sponsored ads, these referrals are trusted because they were given by the people you trust the most. Not surprisingly, we prefer to trust people in our network rather than promotional messages!

In fact, word-of-mouth improves marketing effectiveness by 54,  and converts 3 to 5x higher compared to other channels. Furthermore, 70% of U.S. consumers trust brand and product recommendations from friends and family. By contrast, only 15% of consumers trust posts created and shared by brands on their social accounts.

You can send referral emails immediately after a customer makes a purchase. Afterwards, offer them a significant discount if they make a successful referral.

Tictail’s referral marketing email lets customers get a 10% off discount once they refer-a-friend. It’s a small price to pay for getting a new customer!

Tictail referral remail

4. Navigation Bar

The CTR isn’t the only way to get your customers on your landing page. Navigation bars in emails can also get users to view products in your eCommerce store.

Remember that you don’t need to include tons of categories in your navigation bar. This ensures that mobile users can easily click through to the pages they want to visit.

For example, Public Desire’s email navigation bar has three categories such as “New In”, “Shop”, and “Sale”. They’re evenly spaced and far apart so that mobile users can easily select the page that they want to visit.

Public Desire promotional email

You can also customize the navigation bar based on your brand’s color and aesthetic. For instance, Public Desire’s categories have a black font underlined by a pastel pink hue. This ensures navigation bars can easily blend in on your emails.

Drive Sales Through Transactional Emails

It’s easy to drive sales through transactional emails once you know the right elements to include.

Leverage product recommendations to make it easy for customers to find products that could interest them. Use discounts or purchases to encourage them to make their next purchase.

Set up your own referral program and deliver referral discounts to current customers. Don’t forget to leverage navigation bars that could link email readers to your eCommerce store! If you're on Shopify, you can get started using Spently. They've got a neat little builder that can help you curate custom transactional emails!

This is a guest post by Sal Noorani. Sal manages Product & Growth at Spently. Their application allows Shopify merchants to leverage their store emails as an additional sales channel by embedding marketing components to cultivate engagement, and queue follow up sequences to foster customer retention.