As an introvert, I’ll never get over the mind-boggling awesomeness that is online shopping. The mere fact that I can do all my research, compare prices, purchase my item, and have it delivered TO MY DOOR without having to step into a store or speak to anybody is just magical.
One of the best moments in online shopping is receiving the shipment confirmation email. I love stalking my packages, checking on their status several times in the 2–5 days before they arrive.
Shipment confirmation emails are one of many types of transactional emails in the lifecycle journey. Let’s explore how you can spread that same joy to your customers.
Transactional emails serve many different purposes. They can educate, inform, confirm, or caution. It really pays to focus on improving the quality of all your transactional emails, because they each represent opportunities for positive (or if done poorly, negative) touchpoints with your customers.
Some transactional messages are easier to write than others. When a situation is negative, like when users forget their passwords or fail to pay their bills, writing strong transactional emails can be high-stakes. In these situations, we have to focus on sending emails with an appropriate energy — ones that are helpful, reassuring, and friendly — to maintain our brand’s status in the user’s mind.
With other transactional messages, like shipment confirmation emails, we can be a little more relaxed. The key to success is to match your customers’ enthusiasm about their order, and make all the information that they need in that moment easy to access.
First, you need to match your customer’s excitement. When someone orders an item, they’re riding on a very particular type of Amazon-era high.
Think of the last time you ordered something just for you — a little “treat yo’ self” item. For me, this was a few weeks ago, when I decided to restock my essential oils.
When I need to restock, it’s a fun activity for me. I figure out which oils I need, then create a list and a budget. I go to Amazon and add different combinations of my most-needed oils to my cart, trying to stay within my budget.
When I finally click “Submit Order,” I get a rush of adrenaline. A day or two later, a notification pops up in the right corner of my screen from Gmail, a message from Amazon: Your Order Has Shipped! I do a little happy dance:
Online shopping is a many-splendored thing. The moment the customer receives a shipment confirmation email might be the second-best part of the process. (The first, of course, being when the customer actually receives their items.)
In your shipment confirmation emails, keep that high going by matching their excitement.
It’s equally important to make all relevant information readily available to your customer. What information do they need to know?
Shipment confirmation emails should include a tracking number or link. Since order confirmation emails tend to include all the order details, you don’t have to include them in the shipment confirmation email.
And yet, going back to the idea of continuing your customer’s excitement: why not include that information here too? Why not remind your customer exactly what they purchased?
We find that the best shipment confirmation emails include the following elements:
If you can do these two things — match the customer’s excitement and include all the necessary info — then your team is doing well. Let’s dive into a great example of a shipment confirmation email from online natural grocer Thrive Market.
I’ve written before about Thrive Market’s emails. In addition to providing natural foods at lower prices, Thrive Market does a great job of getting people truly excited about food through their emails. They send a healthy (get it?) mix of inspirational, promotional, and educational content, sending value-rich transactional emails.
Shipment confirmation emails are a place where Thrive Market shines. We’ll take a look at one of my recent shipment confirmation emails from them.
Your customer’s unique order number is very valuable to them, which is why you need to make it easy to find (and ideally, hyperlinked to a page on your site with their complete order details).
Thrive Market does a good job with this strategy, including the order number in both the subject line, the body header, and the body details as a link.
Often overlooked, it’s important to always thank your customers for their orders. Your customers have dozens of store options. But they chose you! #appreciate
Perhaps the most important element to your customer is the tracking link. This is how they stalk their packages! Make it easy by including a giant button that says some version of the words, “Track Your Order.”
The landing page your customer sees after clicking should be relevant to their needs. Thrive Market does this strategy well. Here’s what I see when I click “Track Your Order”:
Perhaps the most advanced feature in this email is the live package tracker element.
When I received the email, this bar said “Shipped,” then it moved to “In Transit,” then it moved to “Delivered.” The power of this element is that I don’t have to leave the email to see the status of my order. If I want more information, I can always click the tracking button above.
Thrive Market intelligently decides to include an itemized list of what I ordered — with pictures — in this shipment confirmation email.
Since lower prices is a value proposition of the brand, they also make a point to show not only the price you paid, but also what you would’ve paid if you’ve bought that item retail. This is a subtle, but powerful way of demonstrating to the customer that they are delivering on their brand promise.
To demonstrate another important Thrive Market value — carbon neutrality — the brand decides to include a mission-driven message. Although not an essential element of the standard shipment confirmation email, this reminder is savvy.
Of course, every brand wants customers to buy over and over again, which is why the subscription business model is so popular.
Thrive Market provides several places to lure me back into their beautifully designed, easy to navigate online store (I know, I’m a true fan girl). They shamelessly include two “Shop Now” buttons, one after the other.
What if your customer has a problem with her order? You always want to include an easy way to contact support within your shipment confirmation email (and all transactional emails, really). Thrive includes a bar, which has a different background color to help make it easy to find:
They also include links in the fine print at the bottom of the message, just in case:
Some of these elements provide comfort and assurance, confirming information the customer already knows, such as the itemized list of what was ordered. Other elements help keep the excitement going, like the live package tracker.
All together, shipment confirmations emails are fun and straightforward to create. Use this interaction with your customer as an opportunity to share in their excitement about your brand.