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How To Craft A Perfect Order Confirmation Email

Many transactional emails follow the same rules, regardless if we’re talking about e-commerce or SaaS. In the case of order confirmation, however, it is quite simple – for it to appear you need the possibility of an order to be placed. So to all you e-commerce people I say: follow my lead! And everyone else, I say to you: stay and check out how it’s done, since even if you do not create such emails yourselves, you surely are their consumer from time to time.

What is an order confirmation email?

Order confirmation email is a message you send to your customer after they place an order on your website. In most cases it is an automated message, which is delivered immediately after order placement – time is of essence when it comes to making a purchase. Coresender treats order confirmation as a high-priority message, which makes it deliverable within seconds – and so should you.

So be ready with a perfect email, which builds your relationship with the customer and makes them trust you as an e-commerce entity. Such messages can make or break customer loyalty, so focus and check if you have all the essentials covered.

eero’s email opening

Order confirmations = super high open rates

Most people feel the need to double-check what they ordered, and if not, then to see what the possible delivery time is. The rates are even higher for online services, for obvious reasons.Therefore the open rates for order confirmation emails are among the highest. This makes such messages very important – it is your chance to shine, to create an email so good that they’ll wish they got two of those. In this article you will get a clear list of what you can and should do to ensure the high quality of your order confirmation email.

Upsells allowed (finally!)

How happy does that make you? Upsell is usually not recommended when it comes to transactional emails, if not strictly forbidden. When it comes to order confirmation it is not the case! It would, of course, be a mistake to treat an order confirmation message as a marketing email, and upsell is definitely not a necessity here but it is not frowned upon when it takes place. The easiest thing to do would be to mention a few related products to the ones which the customer already chose. It’s simple, you probably do it on your website anyway, so why not do it in the email as well!

Fleet Farm’s recommendation for their customer

Order confirmation emails keep users informed

When sending an order confirmation email, you need to keep in mind what your recipient wants to know, namely what they bought. The customer wants to know what they’re paying for – especially that some people simply don’t remember the purchases they made the night before… Binge-shopping is the best type of shopping! The information you need to put in the email includes:

  • Product name(s) and quantity

  • Photo of the item(s) purchased – it is optional but definitely preferable

  • Order ID or order number – in a visible place, preferably as well as in the email title

  • Billing summary and breakdown

Book of Kells makes the order confirmation email straightforward, while also making it visually attractive

What next?

Today’s customers are somewhat spoiled, since they’ve gotten used to email shopping. They will, therefore, expect your best service. They already saw the list of what they’ve ordered, so the next step has to do with money and shipping. Make sure you include:

  • Payment information – whether the payment was made and, if not, how they can pay

  • Shipping address – physical or online

  • Shipping method – what the customer chose

Once that’s out of the way, you can finally tell them what they really want to know, so how long they need to wait. Without it not only will your email be lacking in a crucial piece of information, your support team will also need to face a river of questions from your customers. All in all, unless you do want your customers to write and call you with questions for some genius marketing reason, always give them:

  • Estimated delivery date

Novatech’s email is very to the point and has all the necessary details but they are missing out when it comes to advertising potential and general visual attractiveness

Email confirmations show them the path

If your customer purchased an online service or product, you can skip some steps in this little guide of ours, such as the delivery time, as the product will probably be available straight away.

If not, however, and there is shipping involved, make sure your customers know exactly where their goods are at all times. After all, they already paid for it (or solemnly promised they will do it as soon as they get their hands on the package) and therefore it’s their property we’re talking about! So let them know they can check their purchase status on your website – they will be calmer, and since they’re already there, who knows – maybe they’ll buy something more!

Order → ready for delivery → in delivery

These are the three basic things your buyers are interested in: what they bought, whether you took care of their order, and when their goods are in the hands of the delivery service. They can either be three separate emails or just one email, in which you let them know where to look for this information. Whatever you choose to do, don’t leave the customer hanging or you will be receiving calls and emails in no time.

ProFlowers makes the path very clear

How many order confirmation emails to send

You can also send your customer an email every step of the way – when the order is completed, packed for delivery, and passed on to a transportation company. It is, however, debatable whether sending an email every time something changes is really necessary. Unless the customer decides to change something in their order, you just need one confirmation message; however, if there is shipment involved, have your shipment confirmation email and any necessary follow-ups ready to go.

Order confirmation – order cancellation?

Whether we like it or not, the customer can change their mind about their purchase before it’s completed, be it cancellation or order changes. It is in your best interest to make it clear to the recipient how they can reach you. This may be a good moment to remind you that no-reply emails are not the best way to go; if you let your customers answer your order confirmation email, you’re not only making contact easier for them, but you’re also making the job easier for yourself. If they reply to the email you’ve sent them, in which you included all the information about their order, it will make it easier for your support agents to handle the request they receive from the customer.

Postable making the cancellation process customer-friendly

Maintain the engagement

The very comforting thing about this particular email is that the customer already trusted you enough to place an order, so it would be safe to assume that there is something about your company that they like. It is possible that the whole store is attractive to them, in which case all you need to do is keep up the good work. It may be, however, that you happen to have just one product that they like, and now it’s your job to go the extra mile and make them your returning customer, even if they weren’t planning on doing that.

Invite them back to the website

Make sure your recipient feels invited back to your website. You can include as many links as you wish, as long as they are included in the content in a natural way. A good practice is to include a link leading directly to the order, another obvious thing is to have all the contact information in the footnote, together with the website address. You can also add a discreet link to the FAQ at the very end, maybe link the product pictures or names of the purchased products (and the upsell ones if you choose to include them). You decide how much of the email you want to link, just make sure that the path leading back to your shop is clear and inviting.

A simple “View order” link is tempting enough to get the customer back on your website

No account? Let them know it’s better to have one!

Without a doubt you should let your customer know that they are missing out if they still don’t have an account on your website. In case of order confirmation emails, you have quite a few possibilities – bonuses and discounts for registered users, detailed information about the order, and saving time on the next purchase, as the customer doesn’t need to fill in all the details. Whichever angle you choose, make sure an invitation to open an account is included in this email.

Eventim letting us know that registered users can log in and check their order status

Yes account? Great! Keep them coming back

A loyal customer is a real treasure. If your email recipient happens to be a registered website user, make sure they are happy with the decision to open an account with you. This is the email in which you should mention your bonuses, loyalty program benefits and/or other perks, which your registered users get. Whatever you decide to include in your email message, make sure it’s well-written and pleasant to read.

Be consistent

If you read any of my previous articles (check them out!), this will come as no surprise to you – you need to always remember about your brand identity. Whatever the email topic, its recipient needs to have no doubt about who it was sent by, so give your order confirmation email just as much love as you give all your other email messages. And one more reminder: test your emails! It would be quite a shame if you included your logo but it didn’t show for some reason.

Order confirmation email content – make it informative

One thing that was already stated is that you need to include all the necessary order information in the email (I will sum it up for you in the dos/don'ts section, no worries). When it comes to the products, it is always a good idea to have them in a visually clear form, for example a table or a well-organised list; also, make sure that the names of the products correspond to those you use on your website, as even the slightest change in the name may result in the customer feeling uneasy or at least uncertain of what they bought. When it comes to the email tone, remember that informative does not mean extra formal! You can still keep it light, if that’s how you like your emails to be.

Visuals – super important

Our customers buy with their eyes, and although I just said that you need to pay attention to the product names, let’s not kid ourselves – they will probably look at the picture anyway, if there is one. It is a very good idea to have small pictures of products on the list, both for the pleasant visual effect and to make sure that the customer bought the product they wanted. And, just in case their email blocks your pictures or they have very poor Internet connection, you also have the product names.

Silvex Tribal Design went with a no pictures policy – which is a shame, since not only could it make the order easier to track but it would also keep the customer excited

Mobile version (!)

Unless you’ve spent the last couple of years under a rock, you surely know that your customers use their mobile devices at least as often as their computers. In case of all purchase-related emails, this is even more important, as time is of essence. Make sure that the mobile version of your email works perfectly!

Mobile version advertised in Eventim’s email

Do's and don'ts

Include: name, quantity, and photo of the item(s) purchased, order no. or ID, billing breakdown, summary and payment information, shipping address, method and estimated delivery date Don’t leave out any information connected to the purchase
Let your customer know how they should contact you Don’t limit your ways of contact – remember, if they want to reach you, they will anyway
Provide an email that will look good both on the computer and on mobile devices Don’t forget about the mobile version or assume it is not necessary
Invite them back to the website and encourage opening an account Don’t treat this email as a conclusion of your business with the customer

Case study

Palma Aquarium

  • Company logo included and company name linked at the footnote

  • All information in the form of a table, making it very easy to read

  • The email is definitely missing some design, it could use graphics or a more welcoming text.

Website - a far more inviting graphic design


  • Logo and design consistent with brand identity

  • VIEW ORDER button activates the product, directing the customer back to the website, a link is added below in case the button does not work

  • Order number, price, quantity all in a visible place

  • Image of the product included

  • Contact information included–offer of help in game installation and additional FAQ/support

CD Baby

  • A simple, clear structure with all the necessary information

  • A clickable image of the ordered product

  • No branding visible

  • “Don't have an account? Guests can use the Find Orders/Downloads section of our store.” – important information but also a missed opportunity to encourage registration

  • A number of links directing the customer back to the website

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