Order Confirmation Email: Understanding order confirmations and tips to get more email engagement
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 9, 2016. Aubrey Harper updated it to reflect the latest data and insights as of May 2022.
Want to keep your customers from placing backup orders from other merchants and then returning the purchase they made from your store? Give customers confidence in their purchase by immediately sending an order confirmation email.
Doing so gives new customers peace of mind about their purchase, and helps you build trust and begin developing a new and hopefully long-lasting relationship. The confirmation email provides you with the perfect opportunity to cultivate that new relationship since it’s the first message your customer receives from you after they place their order.
Keep reading to discover:
- What is an order confirmation email?
- Why is it one of the most important transactional emails you send to customers?
- Tips on how to write a purchase confirmation email (with examples of real emails)
So, what is an order confirmation email?
The order confirmation is a transactional email that’s automatically triggered when someone makes a purchase from your ecommerce site.
It often comes directly from a brand’s ecommerce platform, such as Prestashop or Shopify. Unlike post-purchase email flows that typically contain several emails, an order confirmation is a standalone, similar to a shipping confirmation email.
At a bare minimum, a purchase confirmation email provides necessary details about a customer’s recent order, acting as a digital receipt. But there are also a few ways that brands can go above and beyond to make their confirmation emails more effective and even drive more revenue.
Why are order confirmations one of the most important transactional emails you send to customers?
First impressions are hard to shake, and an order confirmation is your new (or repeat) customer’s first impression about how you’re handling their order. That’s why it’s critical to send effective purchase confirmations.
After a customer makes a purchase, they’re highly likely to read their confirmation email, which usually leads to higher open rates than a typical promotional email.
But that’s not all.
This email also provides your customer with a validation for putting their faith in your brand. They’ve paid for a product they haven’t received yet, so sending them an email to set their mind at ease can help you build trust.
How to write a purchase confirmation email
When it comes to writing your own confirmation email, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. These tips and real email examples can be a starting point to determine what works best for your brand and audience.
1 | Lead the email content with the most important details first
Your customers will expect to get an order confirmation email with their purchase details immediately after they hit the “Place Order” button, and they’ll probably be watching their inbox for it to double-check that everything is correct.
Wondering what to include in your order confirmation email? Here are a few key details:
- Name, quantity, and photo of the item(s) purchased
- Order number or ID
- Billing summary and breakdown
- Payment information
- Shipping address
- Shipping method
- Estimated delivery date
Essentially, this email serves as a digital receipt, but it’s best to keep it focused and to the point. Some brands choose to display this information in a grid format to avoid making their order confirmation emails too lengthy or tedious.
One way you can use your order confirmation email to foster a sense of anticipation and excitement? Make the item itself the central focus of your message.
Since your customers should get their order confirmation email immediately after they make their purchase, strike while the iron is hot and leverage their excitement with images of their soon-to-be-delivered item(s). And ensure your product visuals are crisp, like Ilia Beauty does.
Ilia Beauty confirmation email that immediately informs customers the order was received
2 | Stay on-brand with the email messaging in the order confirmation
Often, the level of formality in a company’s order confirmation email won’t match that of their other marketing emails.
For example, many brands send newsletters that lead off with “Hi [First Name],” but send order confirmation that start with “Dear [First Name],” or even “Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name].”
In this respect, consistency is key. If your other emails are formal, it’s fine for your order confirmation emails to be, too. But if you take a more conversational tone in your other emails, make choices that match your brand voice—as long as you don’t sacrifice the important details that the order confirmation email should contain.
Pasta Evangelists include an Italian greeting in their order confirmation and make bold, quirky image choices that immediately show customers their brand personality.
3 | Be clear and informative as confirmation emails can include promotional aspects
While a confirmation email can have promotional components, it’s still transactional. Keep all the important information easy to understand.
This starts at the inbox preview. Use a subject line that’s clear and easy to search for in case the customer wants to find the email later. Here are some top-performing examples:
- Your order #1234 is confirmed
- Order received | [Brand] Order #1234
- Yay! We got your order #1234
Your tone can vary based on your brand, but notice that these subject lines are straight to the point.
Haus has a compelling example of a clear and concise order confirmation that answers the customer’s important questions.
By simply including order details, Haus makes it easy for the customer to understand at-a-glance what they need to know. Haus also has a post-purchase email flow built out to continue the relationship, but the brand’s choice to streamline their order confirmation email fits with their bold brand. It’s up to you to decide if this streamlined approach would be more effective for your product and brand.
4 | Answer FAQs proactively in the confirmation email
Be proactive and anticipate questions your customers may have. A link to FAQs and shipping guides, for example, can help your customers find answers to their questions on their own.
One common question brands often get from customers has to do with how to update the order. If you or the customer made a mistake — like inputting the wrong shipping address, quantity, or size, for instance — your customer will need to reach out to you before their item ships.
If your customer can’t edit their order directly, include a prominent link to customer support to facilitate this process and quell any anxiety a customer might be feeling.
Cotswold Co provides information about how to check if furniture will fit, plus gives an incentive to add more products to the order.
5 | Optimize the confirmation email for mobile screens
With ever-increasing use of mobile devices to read email, many of your customers are probably reading your order confirmation emails on the go.
That’s why it’s important to optimize your emails for mobile viewing — if a customer needs to contact you, they’re going to want to do so sooner rather than later.
A pro tip? Avoid featuring too many links close together in your email since it increases the possibility that the recipient might tap the wrong link. Using buttons that stack on mobile can help avoid this problem.
6 | Give customers a reason to stick around when you send the confirmation email
Including social links at the bottom of your order confirmation emails encourages your customers to share their excitement about their recent purchase. If they purchased from a particular category that’s new or that you’re hoping to promote, create a relevant hashtag for Twitter or Instagram and include it in the order confirmation email.
Offer at least one way for the customer to keep engaging with you so you can continue deepening the relationship you’re building with them.
This is key in creating a loyal customer base. Giving customers a reason to stick with you is as simple as continuing to provide them high-quality, relevant content that drives product interest. Customers have already told you they’re interested in your product, so capitalize on it.
Social media links aren’t the only option, either. You could also consider referral or repeat buyer incentives.
Sous Chef uses a newsletter subscription banner to drive more interest and engagement with their brand.
Creating a highly-targeted newsletter shows customers you’re committed to delivering value and sharing information about products that are important to them.
Create your own confirmation emails
Just because order confirmations are transactional emails doesn’t mean they have to feel that way. Show your customers that you appreciate their business and skip the typical impersonal, robotic messaging, and use these tips to write your own order confirmation emails.
Want to create a more personalized order confirmation email to delight your customers? Check out these free email templates.