5 Crucial Transactional Emails Every Online Store Should Optimize

Imagine how many online shops are competing with your business. Even if you don’t include eCommerce giants like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, you’ve still got a lot of digital competition out there. So what can you do to make sure people shop with you?

We’re seeing an increasing number of people ditch the global brands, favoring independent retailers in their stead. This is down to customer experience. Small businesses can offer a more personalized approach than global companies as they’re not working on the same scale. As it turns out… customers love this!

An easy way to implement a personalized marketing strategy is via email. Connect with your customers, build relationships, increase retention and grow your online shop from the ground up with a killer email marketing campaign!

Here’s how to do it.

Why Online Shops Need Email Marketing

When it comes to marketing your online store, email campaigns offer the best return on investment (ROI). Just check out some of these statistics. When compared with the other channels you’re considering, email has the highest percentage of company respondents deeming it an excellent or good channel for delivering a high ROI.



As you can see, email comes out on top, closely followed by SEO. A good marketing strategy would mix several tactics to ensure maximum returns. You might want to think about running some paid and organic search utilizing an enterprise SEO agency or spending some time creating valuable content for your audience.  

Whatever tactics you choose to add into your marketing mix, email needs to be there. Email marketing allows you to personalize the customer journey – more so than other channels.

Depending on the software you use, you can integrate with multi-location inventory management software to keep customers in the know about restocks. You can offer birthday discounts to increase returning customers. You can even get feedback and reviews from recent purchases. No other platform offers this kind of opportunity.

How to Make Email Marketing Work for Your Online Shop

In 2019, 293.6 billion emails were sent every day. That’s an average of over 40 emails per head of the population. And this number is growing.

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In a world where your email campaign is fighting to be seen in an inbox full of competition, what are you doing to make your messages stand out? Is it working?

There are two unwritten rules all successful email marketers follow. Firstly, they utilize the data they’ve got to personalize the customer experience and reduce bounce rates. You can start with the basics, like using names within the body of your email, but there is much more you can learn to create unique, bespoke campaigns tailored to your customers.

Secondly, they combine customer data with website analytics to build powerful campaigns that they know their customers will love. Most online shops have inventory forecasting models to track their products. You already know product X is about to see an increase in orders, and you know customer X bought ten last year. Put that data together, and you’ve got a killer campaign ready to go.

Five Transactional Emails You Need to Get Right

But what about the automated emails you’re sending? Your customers expect things like order confirmations, dispatch proof, delivery updates, etc. These transactional emails are your opportunity to turn new customers into returning ones and build a reputation for your brand that people want to shout about.

Take half an hour and think about all of the transactional emails you’re currently sending. Forget the campaigns. Don’t think about how you’re going to sell something. Just consider the customer journey that everyone who buys from you experiences. How can you improve it?

Here are some tips to get you started. Take a look at the five crucial transactional emails that every online store should perfect to boost customer retention.

1. Welcome Series

First things first: optimize your welcome series. While this isn’t a transactional email, many online shops offer discounts to new sign-ups. If your business does, your welcome series is a transactional campaign.

A welcome series is an email or series of emails that are automated to send when someone signs up to your mailing list. The first email you send to a customer has a high chance of being the only email they’ll ever open. With the highest open rate (52%) of all campaigns, you need to get this right.



Do your research and make sure your message is clear. You need a killer call-to-action to drive readers to your site. Discount codes work well, but there are also some great examples of a call-to-action that will help you achieve your goals. Run a few tests to find out what your customers are more likely to engage with.

2. Abandoned Cart

Often, people visit your online shop, browse the products, add a few things to their basket, and then leave your website, abandoning their online shopping cart. The percentage of cart abandonment is up to 83% in some industries. If only there was a way to win these potential customers back…



By utilizing your web analytics data, you can automatically send emails to the people who have abandoned a cart on your website. This remarketing strategy is proven to increase conversions by reminding customers of the items they’re interested in. You can level up your abandoned cart marketing by enticing them back with discount codes or a free delivery option. 

It’s worth noting that a lot of customers expect this level of service now. They’re happy to wait for the potential discount code to hit their inbox. Even if you don’t want to offer a code, however, you can still send a polite reminder to get them back to your store.

3. Birthday Celebrations

If you want to increase conversions, you need to send personalized birthday emails to your customer database. This is the kind of marketing that resonates with your existing customers and turns them into a loyal support base for your business.

All you need to do is include a date of birth field in your sign-up form. You can then head over to your email marketing platform and set up a fully automated campaign that will be sent to each of your customers on their birthday.

This is a great opportunity to offer discount codes and use a strong call-to-action to get them back onto your website. You can take it further by using their purchase data to recommend products you think they’ll like. Just double-check your inventory reports before you hit send! You don’t want to push products you’re running low on.

4. Review Requests

Think back to the last time you bought something online. What made you purchase it? The price? Product images? The description? Most likely, at some point, you glanced at the reviews. Everyone does. It’s the next best thing to seeing the item in real life. 

The two things you’ll look for are the number of reviews and the overall rating. These two figures can tell a potential customer everything they need to know about a product, as well as make your online shop appear more trustworthy.

The best way to generate reviews is with email marketing. You can set up an automated campaign, much like the transactional emails we’ve already mentioned, to be sent to your customer five days after they receive their item. This email will encourage them to leave a review by heading to your site, visiting a third-party platform, or completing the form within.

5. Re-engagement Emails

Does your online shop receive a lot of single orders? Customers who buy once but never return? Re-engagement emails will encourage some of these people back to your shop, increasing sales and customer retention.

Whether you use the FIFO or LIFO method to track inventory, re-engagement emails can boost product sales and reach more specific targets. Using subject lines such as “We haven’t spoken in a while…”, making the unsubscribe button clear, and highlighting new products you’ve got in stock might be all it takes to get these customers to come running back.

The best part about re-engagement emails is they give the customer an option to stop receiving your emails if they want to. That means you’ll be clearing your database of people who are less likely to buy from your brand in the future rather than wasting resources on them.

The Takeaway 

Now you know which five transactional emails to start with, the ball is in your court. Optimizing these specific campaigns will win you back customers, increase sales, and improve your reputation and brand awareness. As it’s all automated, you don’t have anything to lose! 

Once you think you’ve mastered these five, take a look at more ways to supercharge your email marketing strategy in 2021. Let’s work together to grow your online store.

Author Bio

Nick Shaw has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, the number one retail-focused digital operations platform which encompasses sales and inventory management software, accounting, logistics, CRM, and more, since July 2019 and is responsible for EMEA Sales, Global Marketing, and Alliances. Before joining Brightpearl, Nick was GM and Vice President of the EMEA Consumer business at Symantec and was responsible for a $500m revenue business. Nick has written for sites such as Hubspot and G2. Here is Nick Shaw’s LinkedIn.


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