Transactional emails are actional emails (and great marketing tools too)

March 6, 2023
9 min read
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You’re not hearing this for the first time: Email is a crucial aspect of any business, including, of course, eCommerce. From promotional emails to newsletters, email allows companies to keep their customers engaged and informed, and no rational marketer would dream of ignoring it (or actually be able to), which is why Email Marketing has been a vital part of any decent marketing strategy for the past couple of decades.

Broadly speaking, marketing emails are set up to reach users to promote a service or product and prompt them to act. In a way, it’s like slipping notes with your number to a bunch of people you’ve met at a bar, then going back home and waiting for some of them to make that call (to action).

In this article, we’ll focus on a different type of email often neglected in marketing strategies, and one that you’re probably using all the time without caring much about its content or conversion potential. That might change after you read this post. 

Read on and find out how you can lever transactional emails to increase engagement, build customer loyalty, and ultimately, grow your business.

What are transactional emails exactly?

Transactional emails are automated messages triggered by a user's activity or a transaction. They go out to only one recipient at a time without manual input, whenever a user signs up, downloads content, or makes a purchase on your site, among other actions.

Remember when you slipped your number to all those people you met at the bar, our email marketing analogy? With transactional emails, it’s the other way round: it’s your customer who initiates the conversation and then stares at the screen hitting refresh until they hear back from you. Another difference is that it’s a 1:1 interaction, because the email doesn’t go out to your entire list at a time, like a newsletter, but to a single recipient who is expecting it.

Because they carry information a recipient specifically requested, transactional emails are extremely timely and relevant. And they have outstanding open and click-through rates, too, (99.30% average accepted rate, 58.13% average open rate and 32.08% average click to open rate) which is an amazing opportunity to get more sales, if used properly.

Here are some of the most common types of transactional emails:

Order confirmation emails

Whenever a customer buys something online, they receive an email from the company confirming the order. This is one of the most important transactional emails you can send, and one your customers are most definitely expecting to receive to rest assured everything is fine.  Order confirmation emails should include all relevant information, including the order number and date, a description of the product or service ordered, payment information, and delivery date.

Shipping notification emails

Similar to order confirmation emails, shipping notification emails with tracking updates are vital to assure your customers that everything is going well.

Password reset emails

Not being able to log in to an account is a very frustrating experience, and annoyed customers don’t buy that much. To get your customer back on track, and back in the right mood, make sure you send password reset emails immediately, with clear and quick instructions, such as a link or button to simplify the process, as well as mechanisms for users to report any unauthorized password requests.

Sign-up confirmation or welcome emails 

This is the first email you send when someone creates a new account on your site or signs up for your newsletter, and the most engaging one you can send, with open rates over 80% . Welcome emails set the tone for your relationship with the customer and can help motivate visitors to make their first purchase.

Feedback request emails

A feedback request email is a follow-up message. You can send one to customers after they receive a product, asking for their opinion on the item and the service. Asking customers about their satisfaction is a great way to keep the line of communication open, and also to collect (hopefully positive) reviews to include in other marketing communications.

Although this makes them a good marketing tool, you don’t want your feedback request emails to come across as marketing emails. To keep them relevant to your recipient, embed the feedback request email into the delivery notification email and make sure you include the order number and product description in the subject line, as well as pictures of the product in the body.

Abandoned cart emails

Abandoned cart emails are a unique type of transactional email (actually, walking on the edge between marketing and transactional) in that they are not triggered by a user’s action, but rather by their inaction. In other words, customers are not necessarily expecting to receive this particular type of email, but if you include specific information about their account and what they left in the cart, they are likely to open it. It’s also an opportunity to give them a friendly nudge to resume their purchase or help undecided customers take the plunge, by addressing their doubts or reminding them of available promotions or discounts.

What makes a successful transactional email?

Like all other brand communications, your transactional emails should include relevant and clear information, with the most important information at the beginning, such as order number and product information in an order confirmation email, and product recommendations or promotional information at the end. Including all transactional information at the beginning also helps you avoid trouble with anti-spam laws, as does explicitly stating the purpose of the email in the subject line.

OK, so it may be a cliché, but an important one to consider nevertheless: with transactional emails, time is of the essence. Unlike marketing campaign emails, for which you can choose the best dates or times to send, it is very important that customers receive your transactional emails ASAP. Replying to a password reset request a few hours later, will most certainly mean losing a sale. Making a customer wait too long to receive an order confirmation will probably result in them trying to cancel the purchase, buying the product again, or contacting support, all of which is not fantastic for customer satisfaction.

Most customers use desktops for transactions, but they will likely open your transactional emails on their mobiles. Building mobile-responsive emails that look good on all devices is another thing you can do to make sure your customer’s experience is satisfying.

How to make the super mostest of your transactional emails

We’ve just shared some best practices to make transactional emails do what transactional emails should. Now, check out some things you can do to make them work as the amazing marketing opportunities they are.

Take the opportunity to connect with your customers on a personal level

You won’t be able to connect with your customer if they don’t open your email. The first thing is to check the sender is something your customer will recognize and trust.

Adding a personal touch, like including your customer’s name in the body of the mail, can go a long way. Personalized emails get six times more unique clicks than those without a name. Engaging, compelling copy can’t hurt either. In fact, it can make your transactional email stand out from (most) others that just deliver the information.

Take the opportunity to cross-sell relevant products

Your customer is reading your email already. You’ve just shared the information they were waiting for and they are assured everything is fine. Your customer is relaxed, things look good. This is a great time to include personalized recommendations for other products or services you offer. Order confirmation or password reset emails are great opportunities for some subtle marketing.

Use your data to find products they are likely to find interesting, such as products they added to their cart at some point, a product category they browsed recently, upgrades or good matches for products purchased or something they added to their wishlist if it’s back in stock. Add a recommendation at the end of your transactional email, ask them to review their experiences, join a loyalty program, or something to keep them with you a little longer. No, you hang up. No, you.

Take the opportunity to integrate your branding

As we said earlier, everyone uses emails and everyone uses marketing emails, but transactional emails usually look and feel like Cinderella before the makeover. To capture attention, it's important to create a visually appealing layout and make sure they match your company’s corporate design. Including your logo, brand colors, and font styles in the email design can help reinforce brand recognition and trust.

OK. Now faster: Quick transactional emails with GetResponse

Manually responding to each email request is extremely time-consuming and will most certainly lead to errors. If only there was a professional solution to streamline the management of transactional emails to make sure they are delivered promptly and efficiently, right? Enter GetResponse’s Quick Transactional Emails feature.

GetResponse is an all-in-one marketing platform particularly suited to eCommerce businesses. Their Quick Transactional Emails feature is included in their Ecommerce Marketing plan and MAX plans. It’s extremely user-friendly and works seamlessly with BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento and PrestaShop stores. 

With GetResponse, you get total flexibility and control and save time and resources, with no additional designer fees or dev costs. You can send timely transactional emails without any coding, SMTP, or API setup. Just connect your store and use their drag-and-drop email creator to wow any customer of your shop, not just those on your contact list.

  • You can easily create beautiful emails aligned with your brand’s visual style with their super intuitive visual editor and its 2 million stock photos available.
  • You can rise above dry, boring lines and replace them with your own content, consistent with your brand’s tone of voice.
  • You can automatically create a fully responsive mobile version to make sure your quick transactional emails look beautiful regardless of the device your (soon to be returning) customer may be using.
  •  You can add promo codes to thank clients to your transactional emails, and increase engagement.
  • You can help save abandoned carts by sending discount codes in your abandoned cart emails.
  • You can include information about relevant products in your order confirmation emails and abandoned cart emails as both types are automatically populated with products from your store.


Transactional emails are a hidden email marketing gem, usually overlooked in marketing strategies. It's a shame because they are timely, relevant, and have outstanding open and click-through rates. By leveraging transactional emails such as order confirmation, shipping notifications, password reset, sign-up confirmation or welcome, feedback request, and abandoned cart emails, you can increase engagement, build customer loyalty, and grow your business.

With GetResponse's quick transactional emails, you can turn those seemingly ordinary messages into conversion rockets. Plus, with automation, personalization, and easy-to-use templates, giving your customers a friendly nudge towards another website visit or purchase couldn’t be easier. Unless you contact us to help with your email marketing strategy and implementation, including GetResponse transactional emails. That would be even easier. (Let us know).


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