[5] Steps To Optimize Your Order Confirmation Email Template

Last updated January 30, 2020

Do you have a favourite type of email for ecommerce?

Welcome emails? Win-back emails? The humble newsletter?

It might seem like a geeky question (and it is), but if you’re an email marketer it’s a question worth considering: What type of email would you keep if you could only keep one?

The one you pick would have to be able to perform many different tasks. It would have to keep your email list engaged and happy, make you sales, and promote your store’s brand.

Seem like an impossible order to fill?

There is one email that satisfies this criteria: the order confirmation email.

An all-too-often overlooked and neglected email, order confirmation emails are the most opened and valued of all the different types. While the average email has an open rate of around 18%, order confirmation emails often achieve open rates of up to 70%!

The problem for most stores however is that they’re not even scratching the surface of the full potential of these emails. They have simply automated them to be as robotic as any other type of transactional email out there with a single purpose to serve as a digital receipt. If instead they imbued their order confirmation emails with more personality and frankly some colour, they would achieve so much more and have their customers excited to receive their order.

In that spirit, here are five things you should be including in your order confirmation email template.

1. Full Order Confirmation Email

To be fair, most order confirmation emails live up to their name and do a good job of this. But there’s more to confirming a customer’s order than simply acknowledging that they have made a purchase.

Your confirmation email template should contain all the details of the transaction that the customer should ever want to know. In that way, the email serves as a single place where all the important details are stored. This includes:

  • The order number or confirmation ID
  • Date and time of the purchase
  • Details of the purchased items
  • Billing summary

Take this example of a good order confirmation email from Chewy:

This email contains all the order details a customer could ever want: order number, date, total price as well as broken down by item, shipping and tax amount, and descriptions and images of what the customer ordered and their qualities.

These are all things that your customers will be looking for in the email to make sure that they didn’t make a mistake when they placed the order.

2. Shipping Details

The very next thing your customers will be searching for in their order confirmation email is the shipping details. After all, people want to know when they’ll receive their stuff.

Don’t leave your customers in the lurch. While these details ideally would’ve been made clear to customers during their checkout, the order confirmation email is the place they expect to find information on:

  • When their order is expected to arrive
  • The address where it is being delivered
  • How they can track their order

Including a clear call to action where your customers can easily track their package is also best practice in terms of user experience. Take the email below from Zulily as a good example of this.

order confirmation email that makes tracking easy

Granted, in some cases not all this information will be available at the moment of purchase. Sometimes shipping details are not known until later. In these cases you need to let your customers know that this information will be coming in a second shipping notification email.

3. Multiple Ways to Contact You

Customers will inevitably make the occasional mistake when their place their orders. Quite often they’ll realise these mistakes as they read through their order confirmation email.

If you’ve ever made a mistake when ordering something online, you’ll know how desperate you can get in your attempts to rectify the issue.

By including easy ways for them to reach you within your order confirmation email template, you’ll save your customers plenty of pain and provide a great customer experience. If you’re aware of the service recovery paradox, you’ll know how important this is.

The service recovery paradox is the phenomenon where customers become more loyal after experiencing a problem that was quickly and efficiently resolved. More so than if they had never encountered a problem at all. The chart below from CustomerThermometer explains this visually.

Don’t take this as an invitation to deliberately inconvenience your customers in the hope of making it up to them later to increase customer loyalty, but to highlight the importance of being reachable if something does go wrong.

This means going beyond merely including a customer service email address, but also offering a phone number, and preferably, a link to your live customer support chat service on your site.

4. Include Product Recommendations

Now that we’ve got the boring, yet essential, parts out of the way, now’s the time to get into the more interesting parts of a good confirmation email template.

With order confirmation emails achieving such impressive open rates, it would be a shame to let such a great opportunity to make more sales pass by untapped. Especially when you consider that it’s much easier to make a sale to an existing customer compared to someone who’s never purchased from your store before.

Now that you know that you’ve got such a primed audience to make more sales, why not combine your sales effort with the products they’re most likely to buy? In other words, this is a golden opportunity to include personalised product recommendations in your template.

Personalised product recommendations are determined by analysing buyers’ past purchase histories and what products they’ve been viewing on your site. By including curated suggestions, as opposed to generic ones you recommend to everyone, you’ll improve your click through rate and achieve more sales.

This email from Crate & Barrel does a great job of including these recommendations:

5. Include a Special Offer

Order confirmation emails give you an opportunity to be more creative in your attempts to cross-sell your products than just including recommended products though.

A great tactic to increase your sales if you don’t usually offer free shipping (which you absolutely should seeing as it’s the leading cause of cart abandonment) is to offer it for a limited time. You can word this offer by saying that any additional products your customer purchases will be shipped with their original purchase, that way it won’t add to their shipping cost. This is exactly what the Dollar Shave Club does in their order confirmation emails:

If you’re already offering free shipping on your products, you could instead mention your referral program if you’ve got one, or include another promotion.

Don’t Go Overboard With Your Confirmation Email

The list above represents the things that just about every store should be including in their order confirmation email template. You’ll often find others however recommending that you add a lot of other things to your confirmation emails.

This list usually includes promoting your social media, encouraging user generated content (UGC) to provide you with social proof, getting customers to share their experience for word of mouth marketing and so on. While there’s nothing wrong with any of these things, you don’t want to include them all in your template.

Good emails are composed with one purpose in mind. As soon as you try to cram too much into one email and have it achieve too much, it’ll lose its effectiveness.

The primary goal of your order confirmation email should always be to provide your customers with all the relevant information pertaining to their purchase. As this doesn’t require any further action on their part, it’s then fine, and recommendable, to include a call to action. This can be to track the customer’s shipment, or to incentivise further purchases.

Just don’t include half a dozen different call to actions or you’ll find that the conversion rates for all of them will drop dramatically.

Your Confirmation Email Template

Now that you’re aware of what goes into a great order confirmation email template, it’s time to abandon the default template that comes with Shopify, WooCommerce or whatever ecommerce platform you’re using.

By crafting a great order confirmation email, you’ll get your customers excited to receive their purchases and drive engagement with your store.

Author: Aaron Wiseman
He is a marketing assistant at SmartrMail, an email marketing app for Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Neto stores. You can read more of his blogs here.

giles thomas


Hi, I’m Giles Thomas. Founder of AcquireConvert, the place where ecommerce entrepreneurs & businesses go to learn how to increase conversions & profits. I’m also the founder of ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios. I’m a head marketing mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator & Google Marketing Expert. Ps. Check out my new blog RisePro.co


2 Responses or Pingbacks

  1. Amara Cyrus says:

    Thank you so much for sharing and to keep your point in post.

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