I have a friend who has a special ringtone for every time he receives an email from Paypal notifying him of an online order. He says it’s one of the sweetest sounds in the world.
Who wouldn’t agree, if every time you heard that unique sound, you looked at your phone and read, “You’ve just received a payment!”
Online marketers spend a lot of time optimizing websites, deciding on which “click now” button to use, and how to frame a call to action in an email. It may be too easy to forget the transactional email and why it’s so important.
When a customer sends money or purchases a product online, she not only wants your product, but she also shows that she TRUSTS you. Look, she pulled out her credit card and plunked down the number and linked to your website (or Paypal) explicitly to send you money from her account! That’s a really big deal, folks.
Now it’s your turn to show her a little respect. It begins with an email; a transactional email that alerts her that yes, your website has received payment and is processing her order. Hopefully your shopping cart and email service automatically send this message.
Let’s fine tune a bit.
When your email comes to your customer’s inbox, it should be readily identifiable and familiar to your customer — not some elusive mailbox with an address she doesn’t recognize. I went to my receipts folder in MacMail and grabbed a few, shown below. Fortunately these are all crystal clear.
CustServ@OldNavy.com Just a note about this one. This Old Navy purchase was transacted at a physical store. As an email junkie, I was astounded when the sales associate who rang up my purchase asked me if I wanted to receive my receipt online, as well as the paper receipt she just handed me. I said yes, of course. Before I reached home it was in my email box.
Do you agree that the only way this would be helpful to someone who saved receipts is if every bricks and mortar store began doing the same thing? That way, you could bypass all those paper receipts and simply access your email inbox and a specific folder designated for receipts.
Actually that would be really cool, but Old Navy is the only shop I’ve ever experienced to do this. However, I’m not sure a duplicate online receipt is necessary, since they seem to be an anomaly in this practice and also issue a paper receipt after your purchase anyway. I do know that now Old Navy emails me specials…that could be the reason they offer to send online email receipts — simply to acquire your email address. I don’t think I was on their email list before this incident.
(By the way, up until this very day, I was always slightly perplexed that Old Navy emails were text-only emails, with no product pictures and no design –which is odd for a retail clothing store. Just as I was considering writing a blog post about this, today I got a Christmas email bursting with product pictures. I stand corrected.)
Finally, regarding transactional emails, keep in mind “timeliness.” Your receipt of orders should go out immediately. That’s a given. But it’s also very considerate to alert your customer when her shipment was sent from the store or warehouse, as well as when she can expect to receive it.
If the purchasing experience is flawless and leaves no questions unanswered, why would a customer order from anyone else but you? Consider these factors and make sure you are implementing them in your email automation.
Oh, and you might offer a choice of follow up products at the bottom of your transactional email. Because ’tis the season for repeat sales!