← Back to Blog

How to Optimize Order Confirmation Emails for Higher Engagement

  • Email Marketing

We all know the importance of email marketing. It’s why we see so many articles and resources centered around welcome series and offers designed to convert prospects into customers.

There’s one type of automated email, however, that is often overlooked, but is just as important: the order confirmation email.

Order confirmation emails are often triggered immediately after purchase, letting customers know that their order has been received. This email also shares important information with the customer, including order information and estimated shipping dates.

While that’s all essential information, the importance of order confirmation emails goes far beyond just the basic transaction. In this post, we’ll discuss why they’re so important, how to create a killer order confirmation email, and more.

Free Downloadable Bonus

Want to Learn How to Write Good Order Confirmation Emails?

We’ve put together a bonus resource sharing 9 of the best order confirmation emails we’ve ever seen. In it, you will learn how top e-commerce brands optimize their order confirmation emails (and how you can, too).

Why Order Confirmation Emails Are Important

There are several reasons order confirmation emails are crucial for the success of your marketing campaigns.

The first and most practical reason is clear. Order confirmation emails let users know that their order has been received and/or processed. It gives customers an order number, which they can use to find shipping information or contact you with if they have any questions or concerns. They also get a visible receipt that they can save, which gives them all the necessary information about expected shipment or delivery dates.

The emotional reason isn’t always as obvious, but it matters just as much. Purchasing can generate a lot of emotion in customers. Sometimes that’s excitement, in others it’s unease. It all depends on their relationship with you and how they feel about spending money (especially online). The right order confirmation email should extend the excitement of a purchase and ease any potential apprehension.

There are also a few other considerations to keep in mind. These include:

  • Order confirmation emails have the highest average open rates of all email types, with about a 70% open rate.
  • People read order confirmation emails for an average of 14 seconds. This is impressive when compared to the fact that most other emails if opened, are read for a maximum of 8 seconds.
  • Sixty-four percent of customers find confirmation emails to be the most valuable to them. This explains the open rate, but also shows the importance placed on them.

What is an Order Confirmation Email Series?

In many cases, a single order confirmation email isn’t enough. If that’s the case, a confirmation email series is the way to go. These are often triggered by autoresponder emails that are distributed at the appropriate time.

Order confirmation email series may include:

  • An email that confirms the initial purchase and provides order information.
  • A second email that shares tracking and shipping information with the customer.
  • A third email containing information about how to use the product (though this is skipped by many businesses).
  • A fourth email that follows up with the customer and asks for a review, or checks in about their experience; this is typically between one and three weeks after the customer receives their item.

The benefit of the order confirmation series is that they’re able to give customers the information as it becomes most relevant (and available) to them.

In many cases, breaking one campaign down into several different individual emails is preferred by customers. It allows them to get information the second it becomes available, and it also keeps the emails digestible so that they aren’t overwhelming.

Imagine purchasing a new leather jacket and in the same email seeing 500 words about how to care for it; you may have some buyer’s remorse since you haven’t even had a chance to see how great it looks on you. The timing is important, so keep that in mind.

The Specific Features Each Order Confirmation Email Should Give You

While there’s a lot of room for creativity when it comes to an order confirmation series, there is some information that’s non-negotiable. This is the information that users expect to see, and not having it can cause frustration and an onslaught of messages to your customer support team.

Note that all of this information does not need to appear in every email in the series, but it should make an appearance in the appropriate message.

The Purchase Confirmation

The initial order confirmation should thank users for their purchase and let them know that you’re currently processing it. The email below from Sam’s Club is a great example of this, filling in users with all the necessary information quickly.

Ideally, it should also include:

  • A list of the products they ordered, preferably with images and product titles.
  • The order number, clearly labeled and easily identifiable.
  • An estimated date for shipment if possible, letting users know that they’ll receive a tracking number as soon as the item ships.
  • Easy-to-see contact information in case they have any questions or concerns; this can be a direct link to your customer support page on your site.

The Shipment Information

Once the customer’s items ship, it’s time to send them the shipment information. This should include:

  • The shipment information, including carrier and date shipped.
  • The tracking number, which should be clickable.
  • A list of which items have been shipped, and (if applicable) which will ship at a later date.
  • The expected delivery date or an estimated time frame for delivery.

Here’s an example from Williams Sonoma.

The Follow-Up

The follow-up email should be automatically sent at the time best determined to maximize responses. This will vary from business to business, but typically between one and three weeks is a good time to reach out. At this point, users will have had time to use the product or service thoroughly.

Your follow-up email should:

  • Ask users what they think.
  • Include review plugins that encourage users to share feedback that you can publish on your site. Yotpo has great software for this.
  • List contact information for your customer support team so that unhappy customers can speak up; this gives them the opportunity to speak up and resolve any complaints so you can avoid losing them as customers.

Thirdlove are a good example of a company asking for feedback in their email.

When you’re writing follow-up emails, make it as simple as possible for your customers to submit feedback. This, after all, is immensely valuable because it can be used to convince other users to become customers in the future, too.

Best Practices to Write Killer Order Confirmation Emails

We’ve gone over what your order confirmation emails need to have in order to be considered functional. Think “meets expectations” level of service.

Now we’re going to take a look at some best practices you can use to write killer order confirmation emails that will keep customers excited and checking that tracking number to see when it will come to them. You can take your series from “meets expectations” to “exceeds expectations” with a few simple tricks, so let’s take a look at how to do that.

Try to Capture the Excitement

There’s a reason some people become addicted to online shopping. That just-purchased rush is a golden feeling.

Take advantage of that excitement. It will help users feel good about their purchase, reduce the likelihood they’ll settle on returning it before it gets to them and build a positive association that comes with buying from you.

To do increase excitement through text, you can use several techniques (all used in the example above) like:

  • Use exclamation points.
  • Keep the overall tone upbeat.
  • Use phrases like “coming to you soon” and “we can’t wait for you to get it.”

You know how smiling can actually make you happier, even if you weren’t in the greatest mood before? You can set the stage here, generating excitement even if the customer was on the fence about their purchase.

Use Simple, Descriptive Subject Lines

Sometimes, simple and straightforward really is best.

When it comes to order confirmation subject lines, you don’t really want or need to get too creative here. If you do, people may otherwise skim right past it and then be swamping your customer service lines to try to find the tracking number they deleted by accident.

Great, effective subject lines for different emails in the series could include:

  • Thank you for your purchase!
  • We’re processing your order now
  • Your shipment is headed your way
  • There’s a package on the way!
  • What do you think about (insert product here)?
  • We want to know what you think

Show Your Personality

While you want to keep the subject lines simple, the way you write the content within the order confirmation emails can make a big impact. It’s a chance to show users that they want to open your emails moving forward, and not just the order confirmation ones.

The example below from Lululemon is unconventional but effective.

“Good things are coming your way” is already a little different than “your order has been shipped.” Their message is also unique, letting users know they can check their order status to plan all the ways you can work out and “get sweaty” in the new gear. This is generic, so it doesn’t have to be tailored to each individual product, but feels personalized at the same time.

Use Imagery

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Imagery in any form can help make your order confirmation emails look that much better.

You can show customers pictures of the items they just bought if appropriate. These can include links back to the actual product pages so users can check them out if they’re excited or easily send the links to their friends.

Product images don’t work well for all businesses, those. These may include service-based businesses or subscription-based businesses that don’t detail the items customers will be receiving in an email. You can still include images in the confirmation email with generic but iconic images like Stitch Fix does below.

Show Users Additional Content

You’ve got several options here in terms of what exactly you want to show users. You can show them complementary products in an “other products you may be interested in” tab at the bottom of these emails.

These customers have already purchased from you, after all, so they’re definitely interested. You can use software like MailChimp to place “personalized” recommendations based on their current purchases, creating distinct autoresponders for your major purchase items and segmenting with automation rules. If they just purchased an iPhone, for example, show them the case and the screen protector and the car charger, too.

Alternatively, you can show them additional content that may be relevant to them. The email below does this by showing users links to product care, email sign-ups, and store finders in case they need help with their products.

Build Relationships by Getting Them on Social

Getting customers to follow you to your social media profiles is a huge win. This provides you with another direct method of communication moving forward, which can establish more long-term relationships and present opportunities for you to cultivate user-generated content (UGC).

This can be as simple as putting a “Follow us on social” with different linked social icons at the bottom of your email. If you want to focus on the UGC, you can include CTAs to reveal the “unboxing,” sharing a feed of other users doing so. By alerting customers that this is what you want ahead of time, it generates excitement and makes them more likely to do it, too.

Free Downloadable Bonus

Want to Learn How to Write Good Order Confirmation Emails?

We’ve put together a bonus resource sharing 9 of the best order confirmation emails we’ve ever seen. In it, you will learn how top e-commerce brands optimize their order confirmation emails (and how you can, too).


The order confirmation email series has several jobs that it must accomplish—like confirming purchases and sharing shipment information—and several other jobs that it should accomplish (think encouraging future sales and gaining new social followers).

By thinking outside the box, your customers will be happier, and you’ll be able to build a better relationship with them. This can lay the foundation for long-term customer loyalty and give them a better understanding of your brand.  Even better, it can set the stage for omnichannel selling, which is a huge advantage and becoming a must-use strategy in 2018.

The right order confirmation emails will not only keep customers excited about past purchases, but future ones, too.

What do you think? Which tactics do you use to get the most out of your order confirmation emails? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

Like what you read? Leave a comment