Every day each one of us places orders online. It’s so normal, we probably do it from our phone, have subscriptions for deliveries, and even order groceries without judgment. In 2015, Pew Research found that 80% of people in America over the age of 14 (1) shop online, and 15% of those do it weekly. In their 2020 report, they found that 21% of Americans ordered groceries online (2). The pandemic has normalized eCommerce.
“Revenue from e-commerce in the United States amounted to 431.6 billion U.S dollars in 2020. The Statista Digital Market Outlook estimates that by 2025, revenue will increase to 563.4 billion dollars.” Statista.com (3)
Clothes, shoes, custom art, furniture, beef jerky, concert tickets, coffee mugs, and just about anything your heart desires can be ordered online. And yet, the order confirmation email is often the most neglected part of the online transaction. With eCommerce being normalized and a $431.6 billion industry, consumers have quite a few choices. Your order confirmation emails signal trust, engage customers and keep them coming back.
“If your confirmation emails are simply receipts, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.” Neil Patel (4)
Order Confirmation Emails Signal Trust
Your cart is full, you’ve confirmed your shipping address, billing address, payment method, shipping preference, and whatever other questions were necessary for your online experience. You press checkout. YAY! But nothing happens. Or did it? Wait. Did your browser refresh or did it not go through? All of these questions come to your mind and you’re full of something no online retailer wants — doubt.
Doubt causes confusion and confusion erodes trust. So you check your email to see if there was a confirmation. Sadly, it’s completely generic. Worse? Maybe it landed in your junk or spam folder. Yikes!
A good order confirmation email signals trust. It has a subject line with your order number — which is super important now that email clients thread messages with the same subject line. (So frustrating!) An order confirmation email should include your brand’s logo, phone number, and email address, and phone number for order updates or changes.
Even better, a good order confirmation email has branded text and something fun — not just a boring “we hope to see you soon” (looking at you, Amazon.). What Amazon does well is splitting the confirmation email from the shipping confirmation email as well as adding the order number to the subject line.
Order Confirmation Emails Engage Customers
A good order confirmation email should engage your customers. How, you may ask, since they already purchased from your store? Well, you want to make them smile and feel reassured. Show your brand’s personality through the tone of your confirmation email copy. Just because the checkout process is complete — or perfect as we like to say — doesn’t mean you should stop showing up.
Imagine if you went out on a date and the guy dressed up, brought you flowers, picked you up, opened the door, paid for dinner, and walked you home with a sweet goodnight kiss. That’s a perfect situation (kind of like our checkout). Well, the next date shouldn’t be for a sandwich at a gas station that you have to pay for and meet him there. Keep the romance alive with your online store.
Add personalization to the order confirmation copy. The simple act of adding the first name field is powerful. There is nothing more compelling to a person than their name. DoorDash does this very well.
Add a bit of copy to your order confirmation email that is human and relatable. In marketing, brands want to build affinity — the emotions we attach to a company. Why? Affinity leads to loyalty and loyalty leads to sales. Victoria’s Secret does this very well with a few words: “We love what you love!” Five words. It’s using the word love — instead of sex but is on-brand for a lingerie company. It’s also a subtle confirmation that we chose the right items. By saying those five words “we love what you love,” the customer feels affirmed. Genius!
Add your tagline to your order confirmation emails. You might even suggest other items they might like — it shows you care. It’s sad that Stash, who is so great with their Stash Party and text alerts, doesn’t add their “investing made easy” tagline to their confirmation emails or play off of it at the end of “You can find all your confirmations in Account on the Stash app. So easy!”
Order Confirmation Emails Keep Customers
When we feel good about our shopping experience — online or off — we’re likely to return. These small tips on how to optimize your order confirmation emails help with customer retention. We all know it is more difficult to gain a new customer than to keep one.
“A confirmation email, particularly post-purchase, is the perfect opportunity to deepen the customer relationship and earn their loyalty.” Ami Williamson (5)
Churn is only good when it is for making butter or ice cream. (Yum!) Customer churn is frustrating at best and irresponsible at worst. So, let’s avoid the churn by using your order confirmation emails to show that your brand is thankful. Include all of the information your customer needs to contact you while they wait. Include a breakdown of the price, tax, and shipping charges. Those confirmation emails are another opportunity for customer experience success. When customers feel good, they return.
And, the perfect confirmation email deserves the perfect checkout experience. Don’t complicate your checkout with plugins and features users don’t actually want. Offer rock-solid functionality using the most proven selling tools instead. It just works — perfectly.