10 Actionable Tactics For Better Order Confirmation Emails

It’s a no-brainer that every e-commerce store should be sending out order email confirmations.


Customers want to know if they have completed the checkout process. Providing this reassurance and letting them know what’s going to happen next will improve their overall experience with your company. A positive outcome will also give your reputation a boost.

Even though they are a transaction email, we can still add additional content to them to further increase our e-commerce sales. They’re a goldmine for potential sales and here’s why:

  • They have an open rate of over 70% compared to bulk emails of 17% (Conversio)
  • They have a 3x higher engagement rate than bulk emails (Conversio)
  • It cost 6-7x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one (Marketo)
  • Repeat customers tend to spend more than new customers – 67% more (Marketo)

Here’s ClickZ showing us the difference between order confirmation emails and bulk emails:

Order Confirmation Emails - and bulk emails

Source: Clickz.com

So what does an average order email confirmation template look like?

Order Confirmation Emails - boring email

Source: SellwithWP.com

Looks very basic and boring right? Most purchase confirmation email templates are quite boring.

We can do better than this. Let’s look at the eight tactics that you can use to drive further repeat sales as well as some cross-sell examples.

10 Tactics To Optimize Your Order Confirmation Emails

1. Product Recommendations

This tactic is great for turning first-time customers to repeat customers. You can divide this tactic into two categories:

  • Cross-sell
  • Upsell

To know the difference between the two, let me give you an example.

Imagine this.

You purchase a laptop.

The merchant asks you if you want to upgrade your laptop (bigger screen size, better processor, etc.) – Essentially, anything that will make you spend more on the original product is known as an upsell.

On the other hand, if the merchant offers you the opportunity to purchase products to go along with your laptop (a mouse, keyboard, laptop bag, etc.) – anything that makes you buy additional products is known as a cross-sell.

How to use product recommendations in order confirmation emails:

  1. It should not be the first thing the customer sees when they open your email – the best practice is to display it after the purchase receipt
  2. Only show relevant products. Try not to show the same products in all your emails. A rookie move would be showing the purchased product(s) in your “product recommendation” section – this is why personalization is so important
  3. Don’t overload the email with product recommendations. Customers don’t want to be bombarded with product offers – maximum of 5 products is a good number to go along with

Here’s one of the best order confirmation emails we’ve seen, by Dollar Shave Club, where they utilize the cross-sell approach. Notice how they show the most important content first (the purchased items), then the product recommendations in the email:

Order Confirmation Emails - Dollar Shave Club

Source: DollarShaveClub

Here’s West Elm’s product recommendation approach of showing a “best sellers” section. Again, they don’t overload the email with product recommendations and show it at the bottom of the email.

Order Confirmation Emails - West elm

Source: Clickz.com

2. Tracking Information

Customers want to know the status of their order: Has it left the store yet? Is it in transit? Where is it now?

Provide security and trust to your customers by letting them know the status of their purchase.

The best way to do this is by providing tracked shipping to your customers and a tracking code to go along with it. By providing tracked shipping, customers will feel a sense of trust, which will translate well for future sales and increase the likelihood of a repeat customer.

If you can, go the extra mile by providing free shipping!

Check out Parabo Press’ email example where they provide a tracking link to the purchased product. Also, note how the copy is crafted in a way that show’s off the brand’s personality:

  • “Hip Hip Hooray!”
  • “Xoxo, Parabo Press”
  • “P.s. it would mean so much to us…”

Order Confirmation Emails - Parabo Press

Source: emaildesign.beefree.io

Here’s another example by Zulily where they provide two links in the email to track the order – at the very top (the very first thing the customer will see) and at the bottom, after the “items shipped” section.

Note how Zulily used images to display the shipped products, unlike Parabo Press. Images are a great way to let customers scan and confirm the products they purchased

Order Confirmation Emails - zulily

Source: emaildesign.beefree.io

3. Discounts

Studies show that only 32% of customers will place the second order during their first year.

This is a massive drop after the first purchase, However, if we make a customer purchase for the second time, they will more likely come back to your store again – for the third, fourth, and even the fifth time.

Knowing these facts, a way we can encourage customers to make a second purchase is by offering them a discount.

For the best order confirmation emails, here are a few discounts you can offer:

  1. Free shipping on the next purchase
  2. Percentage discount code. Studies show that the discount “sweet spot” is:
    • 10% for products up to $100
    • 15% for products between $100 – $200
    • 5% for products above $200
  3. Limited time offer discounts. You can offer irresistible discounted offers that customers must take before time expires. Examples could include:
    • 60% discount – check out this case study
    • Free shipping within the next hour

Here’s GoDaddy’s 25% discount offer on the next purchase.

Order Confirmation Emails - GoDaddy

Source: friendbuy.com

Here’s Gilt’s order confirmation email utilizing the limited time offer approach.

Notice the free shipping offer on all orders within the next hour is the first thing customers will see. This irresistible free shipping offer is a great way of creating scarcity. It creates a sense of urgency that the customer must capitalize on before this offer expires.

This is also known as loss aversion where the pain of losing something is more painful than the pleasure of gaining something – It’s better not to lose $5 than to gain $5.

So in Gilt’s case, the customer will lose their free shipping offer if they don’t make another purchase.

Source: Verticleresponse.com

4. User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is becoming a more popular marketing technique than ever before since the rise of social media. This is how a watch company, Daniel Wellington, earned a revenue of $220M in four years by incorporating this into their marketing plan.

This is where a customer shares a form of content (blog post, video, image, etc.) that they created publicly, commonly through a social media channel. If you can get your product to be shared by a customer, then it will be free marketing as they are advertising it in their network – great social proof!

How to use this in your order confirmation emails:

  • Ask customers to share an image with your product on their social media
  • Get customers use to a specific hashtag when sharing on Twitter and Instagram
  • Repost customer’s UGC on your company’s social media channel and tag them in it – they will feel appreciated
  • Create a contest so there will be more of an incentive for them to share UGC

CineTech’s order confirmation email is a great example:

Order Confirmation Emails - CineTech

Source: blog.storeya.com

5. Referral Program

One of the best and most old school ways of marketing is through referrals (or word of mouth).

Here’s why it’s so effective:

  • 65% of new business comes from referrals
  • 92% of people trust referrals from people they know
  • Four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend

To use this in your order confirmation email, we recommend:

  • Make your referral program easy to share, via email or social media
  • Make it irresistible not to share. This will depend on the value and reward you are offering
  • The message should be personal and reflect your brand’s personality.
  • Show it at the end of your receipt

Check out Tradesy order confirmation email. They make sure to show the most important message first, which is that the order has been shipped, and only then do they show the referral program. With a $10 reward for every person you sign up, how could you not share it?

Order Confirmation Emails - Tradesy

Source: monk.webengage.com

Here’s Uber’s email receipt.

Notice at the bottom they have a referral program, “give $20, get $20.”

Other great features within this example:

  • Simple and clean design
  • Captivating Google Map’s image
  • Let’s the customer rate their experience

Referral programs are a powerful thing. Don’t believe me? I’ll let Uber, a $69 billion company, do the talking:

Uber spends virtually zero dollars on marketing, spreading almost exclusively via word of mouth.” – Uber Newsroom

Order Confirmation Emails - Uber

Source: reallygoodemails.com

6. Mobile Friendly

One of the biggest mistake sellers make is that they never check whether their email is mobile-friendly.

Conversio found that 39.2% of people read emails via mobile devices. Additionally, 30% of order confirmation emails were viewed on the Apple iPhone, the most common device out of any other device. This is why it’s essential our emails are mobile friendly.

So guys, make sure your emails are mobile friendly!

Here’s Madewell’s email on mobile (iPhone 6):

Order Confirmation Emails - Madewell desktopOrder Confirmation Emails - Madewell mobile

Source: emaildesign.beefree.io

They used a single column layout in their email which translates very well to the mobile version. A single column establishes a clear hierarchy as you read down the email, with the most important message at the top, “your order has shipped and is complete,” and least important details at the bottom.

7. Ask for Reviews

Fact: We’re likely to buy products that have customer testimonials on them – 12.5% higher conversion rate than those without.

Notice how Amazon, one of the largest e-commerce store in the world has product reviews on all their products. It shows social proof.

Amazon Reviews

What’s the best way to get reviews?

You ask.

Here’s how to get reviews within your order confirmation email:

  • Send as soon as possible – preferably on a separate follow-up email to your very first email as there is a time delay between placing the order and receiving the product.
  • Use images – a picture says a thousand words
  • Offer customers an incentive for completing the review:
    • Discount on next purchase
    • Free shipping
    • A gift on the next purchase
    • Entry to a competition

Here’s Snapdeal’s email asking for a review in exchange for a chance to win $2,000.

Order Confirmation Emails - Snapdeal

Source: juvlon.com

8. Connect Socially

Studies show that 46% of customers use social media to help them make their purchasing decision.

Let’s capitalize on this and get our customers to stay connected. By getting them to connect with you, you can build your social community of loyal customers and also increase the reach of your brand.

Here’s a very clean and simple order confirmation email. Notice how at the bottom they don’t just ask the typical “join us on social media” copy. They opt for a unique copy that reflects the company’s brand – “share the love with the design community.”

Order Confirmation Emails - company

Source: reallygoodemails.com

9. Customer Service

Savvy businesses, like Booking.com, take the opportunity to provide customer service in its confirmation email series. Immediately after receiving the initial payment confirmation, I was sent this email below:

Source: Author’s screenshot

Providing directions to the hotel ensures the customer has a smoother journey and an improved experience. It may only be a small touch, but this type of useful and relevant content can make all the difference. Studies have shown brands which provide a consistently high standard of customer experience are 20 times more valuable than those who don’t.

As you can see, order confirmation emails can be an integral part of this process.

10. Visual Order Confirmation Emails

For many shoppers, the most exciting moment of the purchasing process is when they complete the order. As an e-commerce store, this is the ideal opportunity to tap into this excitement with engaging, high impact visual emails.


Source: Bluestout.com

As well as asking for a review, Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) uses images to maximize the impact of its emails. The key is to use visuals together with written content.

Research has suggested images increase a subscriber’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. DSW fulfills this criteria with aplomb.


Your order confirmation emails don’t have to be boring. It shouldn’t just be an email to let them know that their purchase was a success.

The trick is to be proactive and to maximize the potential of generating further purchases and leads. Let your shoppers know you appreciate their custom and keep them engaged with your brand.

By maintaining a consistent, high-quality customer experience, these fresh shoppers can be your biggest advocates. After all, many e-commerce stores sell similar products to you, so take the opportunity to get your business ahead of your competitors.

Use order confirmation emails as the first step in the post-purchase journey. Be useful, helpful, and open. Ask for feedback, and reassure your subscribers their voice will be heard. Incentivize satisfied customers to refer your store to their friends and family. Utilize visual content to maximize the impact.

So, which tactics have you guys tried? What were your results? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Claus

    Hi Erik.

    This article was PERFECT for me, as I’m looking to re-do all the email order processes.
    Got TONS of good stuff here, thanks for sharing 🙂

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