Transactional emails are integral to any online business or retailer. They enable businesses to update customers on delivery information, answer any questions (to help increase the odds of conversion), and best of all — they are initiated by customer action and behavior.
Whether it’s a purchase made, a question asked, or a pre-order, transactional email exchanges are triggered by your audience. This means they offer prime opportunities to engage your customers because they are already awaiting contact from your business when you join the conversation.
Compared with standard marketing messages, the average revenue per transactional email is two to five times greater based on an Experian study. Below is a highlight graph from the study comparing revenue per email for transactional and bulk emails. (Note that most MageMail customers see higher averages between $4-$7 per email.) This suggests that if you’re not using transactional emails in an innovative and engaging way, you’re missing out.
So how do you set up transactional emails for Magento store? Magento has some foundational capabilities, while MageMail is designed to extend those capabilities, and to create a much more powerful, all-encompassing marketing platform.
In this guide, we explain how to set up transactional emails in both systems.
We’ll go over:
- The difference between transactional emails and marketing emails sent en masse
- How to select and use templates in Magento
- How to use transactional emails to market your business and boost profits
By the end, you will have learned how you can make Magento and MageMail work to better engage your customers.
What Is a Transactional Email?
First of all, what is a transactional email?
They’re one-to-one emails containing information that allows people to complete a transaction or process initiated by the recipient. In e-commerce, often after purchasing an item, you’ll receive an email confirmation with information concerning the item price, delivery details, and customer service info. Another this is transactional emails are sent to individuals, rather than to a long list of recipients.
There are two key differences that separate transactional emails from general marketing (commercial) emails:
- Individual: Transactional emails are always sent to an individual after that person has completed a purchase or process. Whereas marketing emails tend to be sent to groups of prospects or customers.
- Purpose:The main purpose of a transactional email is to inform and confirm a purchase or process is complete. As opposed to marketing emails that are used to promote your brand or products.
A really nice infographic from Sparkpost further clarifies the distinction.
However, transactional emails can be used for marketing, but under the condition that it does not distract from the main confirmation message.
Here’s a classic example from Amazon, where they tied in marketing messages within the transactional email. The core message is the order confirmation sent immediately after the customer completes the checkout process. The e-commerce giant never misses a trick and includes two related products for cross-selling.
(Source: Author’s screenshot)
The average open-rate for order confirmation emails can be as high as 70%. So it’s easy to see why companies like Amazon take the opportunity to add a small promotional section.
One thing you need to consider is what’s acceptable as a transactional email under the CAN-SPAM Act. The regulations do allow for promotion as long as it’s related to the purchased product and is secondary to the main message.
You should read the regulations yourself and seek legal advice if you’re still uncertain.
Email Templates on Magento
In Magento (we’ll use Magento 2 for all examples), all transactional emails can be found under the “Email Templates” tab under “Marketing”:
Once you click on “Email Templates,” you will see this page:
The next step is to click on the “Add New Template” tab in the top right of the screen, which will lead you to the configuration page. The first task is to choose what type of transactional email you wish to set up:
Here’s the full list:
- Magento Checkout
- Payment Failed
- Magento Contact
- Contact Form
- Magento Customer
- Footer (Magento/Luma)
- Magento Newsletter
- Subscription Confirmation
- Subscription Success
- Unsubscription Success
- Magento Product Alert
- Cron Error Warning
- Price Alert
- Stock Alert
- Magento Sales
- Credit Memo Update
- Credit Memo Update (Magento/Luma)
- Credit Memo Update for Guest
- Credit Memo Update for Guest (Magento/Luma)
- Invoice Update
- Invoice Update (Magento/Luma)
- Invoice Update for Guest
- Forgot Password
- New Account
- New Account (Magento/Luma)
- New Account Confirmed
- New Account Without Password
- Invoice Update for Guest (Magento/Luma)
- New Credit Memo
- New Credit Memo (Magento/Luma)
- New Credit Memo for Guest
- New Credit Memo for Guest (Magento/Luma)
- New Invoice
- New Invoice (Magento/Luma)
- New Invoice for Guest
- New Invoice for Guest (Magento/Luma)
- New Order
- New Order (Magento/Luma)
- New Order for Guest
- New Order for Guest (Magento/Luma)
- New Shipment
- New Shipment (Magento/Luma)
- New Shipment for Guest
- Remind Password
- Reset Password
- Magento Directory
- Currency Update Warnings
- Magento Email
- New Shipment for Guest (Magento/Luma)
- Order Update
- Order Update (Magento/Luma)
- Order Update for Guest
- Order Update for Guest (Magento/Luma)
- Shipment Update
- Shipment Update (Magento/Luma)
- Shipment Update for Guest
- Shipment Update for Guest (Magento/Luma)
- Magento SendFriend
- Send Product Link to Friend
- Magento Sitemap
- Sitemap Generation Warnings
- Magento User
- Forgot Admin Password
- Reset Password
- Magento Wishlist
- Wish List Sharing
As you can see there is a vast array of options, and you will not need to use all of them. The key is to pick the ones most suitable for your store.
With any purchase, the buyer should receive an automated order confirmation email. This can be found under “New Order” in the drop down menu as shown above.
Once you have selected that option, you should see a page like this:
You can customize the “Template Content” field to include your e-commerce store branding and the products. If you are an accomplished developer, you will be able to code it yourself. There are also plenty of Magento certified partners who can provide additional coding support.
Once you have set up the template, you will need to save it and take a look at the preview.
The preview will give you a near complete picture of what your email will look like at the front-end. It will not include things like the person’s name or the product, but you will see any mistakes or coding errors.
Take a look at this preview of a new account email for example:
When you are happy with the content of the email, you need to configure it with the rest of your store. One of the key areas is the “Sales Emails” section which can be found under:
This will take you to a page with sections for different types of transactional emails:
To ensure your customized order confirmation email will be delivered, you need to adjust the default settings in the “Order” section:
To change the settings, simply click on the drop-down for “New Order Confirmation Template” and select the name of the template you have created.
This is a process that can be repeated for each type email supported by Magento.
Combine Transactional Emails With Marketing
While Magento offers a set of basic transactional emails, it misses a richer set of features that extend the power of transactional emails; adding marketing email capabilities; allowing non-developers to easily design emails; and closely track performance.
This is where MageMail steps in. We’ve already shown an example of adding product recommendations to order confirmations earlier on with the example from Amazon. MageMail allows you to do the same, which is why many merchants decide to use MageMail’s trigger in lieu of Magento’s default.
Here is an example of our own Madison Island store:
The email provides all necessary details that confirm the order. However, we’re also taking advantage of having the customer’s attention by offering not just recommended products, but also an incentive to purchase more with a 5% promotional code on their next order.
And that’s just the beginning. MageMail provides not just transactional emails but also a rich set of marketing campaign emails – all of which include pre-made templates – to round out a complete tool box for our customers. Here is a full list of 26 triggers and campaigns:
- Abandoned Cart
- Best Customer
- Best Sellers
- Birthday Reminders
- Cross-Sell Recommendation
- Monthly Newsletter
- Net Promoter Score
- New Products
- New Product Blast
- Newsletter Signup
- Order Confirmation
- Purchase Anniversary
- Purchase Related Recommendation
- Refer A Friend
- Registered Without Ordering
- Product Recommendation
- Replenishment Reminder
- Review Request
- Social Media Connect
- Thank You
- Unpaid Orders
- Upsell Recommendation
- Win Back
- Wishlist Reminder
- Subscription Reminder
Starting with MageMail Generation 3, all emails – whether transactional or marketing (commercial) are now managed via campaigns, which users can easily organize and schedule via the campaigns section:
(Source: MageMail Dashboard)
As you can see, you can monitor and track the performance of individual campaigns, track the average click-through-rate (CTR) and even see how many orders were generated from it. This level of detail is invaluable for any e-commerce store.
Here are additional examples of brands using the types of triggers also available via MageMail.
By offering a reward to both subscribers and their friends, it’s a perfect incentive to trigger a referral. You should try this tactic on your most loyal customers.
In addition to order confirmation, you could take it even further and send separate, personalized thank you emails.
This is a great example of how a thank-you email can add a personal touch. The note from the author gives the impression he genuinely cares about how much you get out of his book. He offers advice on how to get the most out of The Perfect Grid, which can only further enhance his reputation.
There’s no further product promotion in this thank-you note either. A perfect complement to a standard invoice or order confirmation email, giving the brand personality.
Product Review Emails
Here’s a surprising statistic: In one survey, 96% of feedback from product review emails were positive. If you are selling high-quality products and providing a great service, then you will likely receive positive reviews. However, that’s not the main reason you should do it.
Customers like to feel they are being listened to, and there’s always room for improvement. Sending product review requests is an excellent way to stay in touch with your market and understand any common issues.
After all, your customers are the ones who use your products in real-life situations.
Leading pet food retailer, Chewy, takes the opportunity to invite buyers to leave reviews on their products. By making those reviews public, the brand markets itself to two different audiences with one email. The first are recent shoppers who are hot leads and are more likely to come back after engagement.
The second audience are potential customers who are researching a product. One survey suggests 84% of shoppers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. These types of emails have the power to drive significant extra revenue to your business if they are fully utilized.
Chewy uses a simple email layout with clear images of the products the customer had bought. The call-to-action (CTA) buttons stand out, as well as the five stars at the top. There’s no harm in trying to nudge a shopper into writing a positive review.
The note also has a personal touch, with the line “other pet parents just like you.” The whole email is designed to compel the recipient to take action and click-through.
Product Replenishment Emails
If your store sells replenishable goods such as grocery, make-up, or sanitary products then it’s a good idea to send a reminder email to for the customer to stock-up.
According to a Listrak report, replenishment emails have the highest click-to-open rate (CTOR) out of any automated email:
CTOR measures the percentage of people who have clicked through once they opened the email. At nearly 54%, the findings suggest customers appreciate replenishment reminders.
Cosmetics brand Clinique delivers an excellent product replenishment email with humor and personalization. The focus is on the shaving gel, with a clear CTA saying “Shop Now.” The layout draws the attention to exactly where the brand wants it – in the center of the email.
Tapping into a common, everyday situation for couples is a great way to build rapport with your customers. It gives them the feeling that you understand them and you are providing a solution.
With MageMail, users can create advanced replenishment reminders, just like these ones, and coding is not necessary. Our easy-to-use Email Designer/Editor makes it super simple with a drag-and-drop interface, and all email types come with pre-built templates using best design practices. Here is an example of the Replenishment Reminder in MageMail:
(Source: Author’s screenshot)
As an e-commerce platform, few can rival Magento’s capabilities. It is, no doubt, the most functional and feature rich e-commerce platform you can use to create a successful online business.
Nonetheless, with MageMail by your side to retain and retarget the customers, you significantly improve your chances of recurring and increasing sales. It offers you the unparalleled ability to collate all those promising leads and upsell, retarget, remind, and recommend them about other products they might take an interest in. As an e-commerce business, using MageMail will help you gain and retain new customers and allow you to track valuable metrics under one dashboard.
Start using MageMail today to unleash the full power of Magento.