18 transactional email examples we love and why
Transactional emails are the unsung heroes of your marketing strategy.
These messages are informative, timely, and personal—helping customers get to know your brand, services, and products better.
Transactional emails are delivered throughout the entire customer lifecycle, and every single one is a vehicle of value. Customers appreciate the confirmation about their order shipments as well as the security alert to check their accounts for any suspicious activity.
Since several transactional email examples exist, we created this guide to make it easier for your team to come back to. We’ve also categorized the messages for our email librarians.
Here’s everything we’ll be covering:
- What is a transactional email message?
- Transactional emails vs. marketing emails
- Do transactional emails need an unsubscribe link?
- 18 transactional email examples that will inspire you
What is a transactional email message?
Transactional emails are automated and personalized messages triggered by a user’s specific action or event. Unlike a marketing email, a transactional email contains only essential, expected information like an order receipt number, shipping confirmation, or instructions for resetting a password.
These types of emails are essential for making a user’s experience with your brand absolutely seamless.
Transactional emails vs. marketing emails
Marketing emails typically contain promotional content, whereas transactional emails do not. With the primary purpose of promoting products, services, events, or engaging with subscribers to achieve marketing objectives, marketing emails try to get a user’s attention and drive a specific action (like visiting the website). As a result, your marketing emails do require you to give subscribers the option to opt out.
Do transactional emails require an unsubscribe link?
On the other hand, transactional emails are messages your subscribers implicitly opt in to—regardless of whether they’ve opted out of marketing emails. Translation? You do not need to include an unsubscribe link in your transactional messages. The FTC provides guidance on what qualifies as a transactional message (and therefore does not require an explicit opt in).
Be wary—if your email combines both transactional and marketing content, the deciding factor comes down to its primary purpose. For example, if you send an email that includes a discount code for future purchases and tack on a reminder about an upcoming delivery at the end, that email likely qualifies as a marketing message. It will require an unsubscribe link.
18 transactional email examples that will inspire you
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get inspired! We’ve selected 18 of our favorite transactional emails to help you create engaging, informative, delightful experiences for your subscribers. Here are the categories we’ll be covering:
Account creation emails
The first customer email sets the tone for their relationship with your brand. This transactional email is your opportunity to make a memorable first impression and excite your customers about your products or services.
The account verification email
Verification emails are an easy opportunity to earn your customer’s trust. A quick email confirmation lets recipients know that you care about the security of their accounts.
Our pick: Webflow
Why we love this verification email
- The main point is clearly front and center: verify your email address to start designing your website.
- Including the exact authentication link below the CTA button is a value-add in case anything goes awry with clicking the CTA button.
- They provide additional, value-driving content with a short video tutorial to help users get started.
The account confirmation email
Like the verification email, the account confirmation email is typically sent right after verification. It confirms that the account has been set up properly, and it’s time to get started!
Our pick: Chewy
Why we love this account confirmation email
- It’s focused on a single message: the account confirmation.
- The copy is help-focused, it’s all about showing the user that Chewy is there to support them if they need help during the account setup.
- Bolding the login information and the support email address shows they’re prioritizing the user’s needs during the account creation process.
Of course, many transactional emails focus on the actual transaction. It’s vital your brand communicates billing information accurately so it’s easy enough for customers to continue doing business with you.
The subscription confirmation email
Subscription confirmation emails do just that: they confirm that a user’s billing information is on file and that it’s either been charged (if payment automatically renews) or will be charged on a specific date.
Our pick: Maker’s Row
Why we love this subscription confirmation email
- The message is congratulatory, reminding the user that their new subscription is something to be excited about.
- The plan details, billing cycle, and the amount charged are clearly displayed, so there’s no question as to what you’ve been charged for or why.
The payment details email
Similar to the billing confirmation email, the payment details email ensures that the payment information on file is, in fact, correct. It’s a pre-dunning email that helps reduce unwanted churn from out-of-date payment information.
Our pick: Lyft
Why we love this payment details email
- They use simple, friendly copy that’s helpful and easy to read.
- The product shot makes it super clear where you need to go to update your payment information within the app.
- They provide an obvious opportunity to reach out for help.
The receipt email
The receipt email confirms payment has been made for a product or service. It should include the exact amount charged and how the payment was processed.
Our pick: Uber Eats
Why we love this receipt email
- This email makes everything crystal clear for the user: The amount spent, what payment method was used, the date it was charged, and what was purchased.
- The main CTA is to rate your order—encouraging users to participate, as others do, in the Uber Eats community by sharing their experience.
- Adding the options to view in full online or to download the receipt as a PDF is user-oriented and thoughtful.
The dunning email
Dunning emails notify users about their credit card expirations and failed payments. These emails solve a pervasive problem at companies of all sizes: delinquent churn.
These emails inform the customer about outstanding payments. They request action to resolve the issue and provide alternative payment options or solutions.
Our pick: Squarespace
Why we love this dunning email
- The headline makes it clear why you’re receiving this message: there was a credit card billing failure.
- The CTA is prominent and uses a different color to stand out from the rest of the email copy, helping to encourage the click.
- They make it clear what the consequences are without being aggressive.
The renewal reminder email
Renewal emails signal to your customers that you’re keeping tidy records and looping them in about their recurring payments. As far as transactional email examples go, they should be straightforward and to the point; if the renewal is automatic, it should function as a simple courtesy notice instead of an interruption.
Our pick: Reincubate
Why we love this renewal reminder email
- The email copy is friendly and thoughtful, it’s a nice touch to thank the customer for their support.
- They’ve bolded the two most important elements for easy scanning: the payment amount and the renewal date.
- If there are any questions or concerns, the team at Reincubate simply suggests replying to the email to get in touch.
The pricing update email
Navigating a pricing change or increase is never easy. You’ll want to balance being direct while reiterating why your product’s value earns the higher price point. It’s also essential to be clear about when the pricing update will take place, so customers can make an informed decision before automatically accepting.
Our pick: AllTrails+
Why we love this pricing update email
- The transactional email copy is friendly and personal yet professional. The pricing update is positioned as a reminder and something that will happen automatically.
- They explain precisely why pricing is changing: rising business costs combined with the value they provide.
- The bulleted list of how AllTrails+ helps you do more outdoors ends the email on a high note, reminding the user of all the value they continue to get by using the app.
Activity emails serve up mini-reports about new activity affecting a user’s account. These emails are considered transactional only when they relate to a specific action or interaction pertaining to a business transaction.
The invitation email
When users are invited to a group, a project, or an upcoming event, they’ll want to know about it immediately. This email informs your users promptly to get them into your app.
Our pick: Harvest
Why we love this invitation email
- Even if all you read was the giant green CTA button, you’d understand the purpose of this email.
- It’s simple, straightforward, and gets right to the point.
- The email includes a reminder of when the invitation expires so the user knows there is a time limit.
The reservation reminder email
A simple message works well to remind customers about events they’ve signed up for with your company. It draws customer attention back to your brand and ensures they have all the details they’ll need when the big day arrives.
Our pick: Apple
Why we love this reservation reminder email
- The top section is reserved for the most important information: a reminder that your appointment is coming up. It then offers helpful options to ‘add to calendar, ‘manage a reservation,’ or ‘find more to do’.
- The bottom half of the email is dedicated to reminding the user what the event is all about and reinforcing why they signed up in the first place.
The account statement email
Typically sent by financial institutions or service providers to their customers, account statement emails summarize essential information related to their accounts. That might include account balances, recent transactions, and payment due dates.
Our pick: Robinhood
Why we love this account statement email
- The messaging hierarchy makes it very easy to read and understand: right away, you know this email provides information to access your Robinhood account summary.
- The instructions for finding and accessing your statement on the web are helpful additions, especially if the CTA doesn’t work for some reason.
Account alerts are timely messages about changes to a user’s account. These transactional email examples carry urgency and often require immediate attention.
The terms and conditions email
A terms and conditions email outlines the legal terms, rules, and guidelines that govern the use of a business’s products or services. These rules are like a contract between the user and the company, and they explain what someone can and can’t do when using a website or app.
Our pick: Monzo
Why we love this terms and conditions email
- It clearly summarizes what is changing while focusing only on the most important stuff.
- They offer an opportunity to reach out if an individual has questions about the changes.
- We love the callout about unsubscribing at the bottom—this transparency most likely answers the question, “Why did I get this email if I’ve already unsubscribed?”
The password reset email
Forgetting a password is a common roadblock for users. A clear password reset email removes the barrier, ends the frustration, and allows business to resume as usual. Password requests almost guarantee an open, so don’t miss an opportunity to create an on-brand message that exceeds expectations.
Our pick: GoDaddy
Why we love this password reset email
- The most important elements of the email are emphasized via design and font size.
- It’s purely transactional—there’s no marketing message anywhere in sight, so there’s no need for an unsubscribe link.
- The instructions in the body copy are simple and easy to follow.
The security notification email
A security notification email is sent to inform users about potential security threats or incidents related to their accounts or data. These emails typically alert recipients to suspicious login attempts, password changes, or other unauthorized activities on their accounts.
Our pick: Airbnb
Why we love this security notification email
- The CTA copy in this transactional email is personable yet direct.
- It includes all the information a user needs: the location, the time, and the device type used to log into the account.
- The ‘Sent with love from Airbnb’ sign-off is a nice, friendly touch that reminds the user that Airbnb cares about their account security.
The cancellation confirmation email
When a customer cancels an order or a subscription, the cancellation email confirms their request. It’s also an opportunity to try to win them back. A company can balance this plea while respecting the customer’s wishes.
Our pick: Hulu
Why we love this cancelation confirmation email
- The only CTA is win-back focused, aimed at making it as easy as possible for the user to reactivate their Hulu account.
- The copy is clear and succinct, just two lines with one focused on the cancellation confirmation and the next focused on reactivation.
Order-related emails help businesses run smoothly. They communicate the items purchased, creating momentum from the transaction to the post-delivery follow-up.
The order confirmation email
The moment of conversion is a milestone worth celebrating. You can bring that joy to your customers with an order confirmation email.
This transactional email should include a version of a receipt, images of the purchased items, the total spent, and the payment method. A call to action to view your order status is also helpful.
Our pick: Haoma
Why we love this order confirmation email
- Although long and a mixture of transactional and marketing copy, the email hammers home the brand message: your order has helped plant a tree.
- The primary transactional information is prominent and includes all the details a user would need to recall what they ordered, where it will be delivered, and the amount charged.
- The note to recycle your packaging aligns nicely with the brand’s ethos.
The shipping confirmation email
The purchase is complete, and the anticipation is growing. Shipping confirmation emails provide key details about a package as it goes from the warehouse to the doorstep—and beyond. These transactional emails also offer a chance to build excitement and even plant the seed for a second purchase.
Our pick: Ten Thousand
Why we love this shipping confirmation email
- The primary CTA to track your order is prominently placed and easy to see, just in case something went wrong with the delivery and their information is off.
- The copy is simple, yet on brand: “The wait is over, now go get after it.”
- Including a customer quote and user generated content from social media might help nudge users towards a second purchase in the future.
The post-purchase email
The customer journey doesn’t end at delivery. A smart company will use transactional emails to follow up with helpful guidance to continue delivering value to their customers.
Our pick: Formula Fig
Why we love this post-purchase email
- Although transactional, the copy is worded in a way that the recipient will still feel valued.
- Email is a two-way street, and this email is an olive branch to connect back to the brand with any feedback—it doesn’t just talk at the subscriber.
Now it’s your turn
By examining each email’s unique attributes and strategic elements, we’ve uncovered valuable insights that can be applied to your transactional email campaigns. Whether you’re seeking to enhance user engagement, build trust, drive conversions, or simply improve the overall user experience, these real-world examples show you how to connect with your audience via email.
Remember: successful transactional emails go beyond mere functionality; they’re an opportunity to reinforce your brand’s identity, foster customer loyalty, and provide a seamless and memorable experience for your customers.
Ready to build transactional emails that improve your customer relationships? We can help! Learn more about using Customer.io for transactional messages now.