How To Make Transactional Emails A Sales Opportunity In WooCommerce
Transactional emails, like order receipts, shipping confirmations, and “you’ve updated your password” notifications, don’t necessarily feel like marketing emails on the surface. After all, they aren’t like your big, product-packed sales announcements or content-rich newsletters; transactional emails are focused on the nuts-and-bolts of, well, a transaction.
increase brand loyalty, and increase your sales in both the short and long term.
Turn transactional emails into opportunities
1. Cross-selling related products
As we said in the introduction, different jurisdictions have different regulations when it comes to explicit advertising in transactional emails. Under the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, transactional emails can contain promotional content like cross-sells, recommended products, and coupons—as long as the “primary purpose” of the email is focused on the transaction.
And cross-sells in transactional emails are effective. A study found return confirmation emails with cross-sells brought in 82 percent more revenue than those without, order confirmations with cross-sells brought in 49 percent more, and shipping confirmations with cross-sells brought in nine percent more. (PDF)
It’s important, however, to remember the main purpose of the email: Deliver the crucial information about the transaction first, sell second. That’s the best way to serve your customers and to avoid turning them off by being too aggressive with your sales push.
Here’s an example of an order receipt from Etsy that does a little bit of cross-selling—but only after all of key info about the transaction is covered. The email starts with the order number, payment method, and shipping address. Then it shows the product ordered and the total. From there, it moves to customer service info (notes from the owner, ways to contact the owner, and info about their shop). And after all that… then the email cross-sells three other related products. The primary purpose of this email is the transaction, however, it still does a little bit of smart selling.
Transactional emails can also be a good opportunity to encourage a customer to register for a loyalty or VIP program. You can even show the customer a progress bar, demonstrating that if they registered, they’d already be on their way toward a reward based on this transaction. VIP programs are win-win: Customers feel incentivized and rewarded for their loyalty, and you reap the benefits of them coming back to your store to spend money on a more frequent basis.
You can also go into each individual email that WooCommerce can send and customize the subject and heading text individually.
However, if you want to get fancier and replace the entire template with something more on-brand for your store, you’ll have to write custom code. Each email has its own template where you can customize message contents, and you can override the global “email-styles.php” template to change the design of all emails.
But even if you’re comfortable playing around with PHP files and writing your own CSS, customizing templates in this way will never give you as many options as using a hosted email marketing platform that integrates with WooCommerce, like the one I cofounded, Jilt.
Max Rice is the co-founder and CEO of eCommerce email marketing platform Jilt. He started his career in eCommerce over a decade ago and writes regularly about running an online store on the Jilt blog.