Spently PushOwl - How merchants can increase repeat sales with transactional emails

How Merchants Can Increase Repeat Sales With Transactional Emails

Transactional emails are sent during consumer transactions.

They come in the form of shipping confirmation emails, order confirmation emails, and thank you emails. Sometimes they may also include lost password requests or abandoned cart checkouts.

Not surprisingly, these types of emails have very high open rates. Sleeknote reports that transactional emails have  8 times as many opens compared to regular marketing emails.

transactional emails statistics

Why is this important? Transactional emails can do a lot for your email marketing strategy. When done right, it can help you win sales and gain  repeat purchases for your Shopify store.

Having said that, how can you increase repeat purchases with transactional emails? What are the ideal elements of a transactional email? Here’s what you need to know:

1. Product recommendations

How do you find good products?

We often turn to product recommendations based on past purchases, referrals and interests to find cool products that we would like to buy.

In fact, a study found that product recommendations account for  31% of eCommerce revenues. Another study by VentureBeat found that 75% of “digital natives” expect e-commerce stores to have personalized experiences.

Not at all surprising.

Customers love to receive product recommendations, especially when it’s relevant to them. They want to find ebooks, clothes and food that are based on their interests and past purchases. After all, no one wants to scroll on their feed and find content that they aren’t interested in.

Brands like Adidas gain revenue by upselling products based on their customers’ interests and past purchases. In the email below, a shoes is out of stock, but they encourage customers to check out similar items so that they return to the online store to make a purchase.



2. Provide Coupons and Discounts

Consumers love to get more for less.

They want to receive coupons or discounts before they buy a product or check out the website. This may seem like an unsustainable strategy for  entrepreneurs, but it could be beneficial to boost customer loyalty.

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Once a first-time customer buys a product, you want them to keep returning until buying from your store becomes a habit.

transactional emails - coupons

In fact, studies found that emails with coupons and discounts are a great incentive.

They have a 14% higher open rate, a 34% higher unique click rate, and a 27% higher transaction completion rate compared to those without coupons or promo codes. Another study found that emails with coupons offer a 48% increase in revenue per email.

For example, businesses like Airbnb provide customers with credits after they successfully check-in. This encourages them to keep patronizing the brand and make a future reservation.



Harrys provides customers with a $5 offer for their holiday sets. It might not seem like much, but it could encourage some shoppers to browse the online store or make a purchase.

harrys transactional emails


3. Referral Codes

Customers talk about products they love to friends and family.

ReferralCandy found that 80% of B2B and B2c purchases involved word of mouth recommendations during the purchase cycle. Additionally, 49% of U.S. consumers say friends and family are their top sources of brand awareness.

This is no surprise.

When people choose a retail store or a restaurant, their choice is based on the feedback they receive from their network. They ask friends and family where they’ve had good experiences. They also check out their posts on social media and remember stores with raving reviews.

Of course, we like to receive feedback from those we trust, instead of paid or sponsored content.

Nielsen even confirmed that people were 4x more likely to make purchases  recommended by their friends. Meanwhile, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends, while only 33% trust online ads.

This is where referral codes step in. Since your current customers know about the quality of your products and services, encourage them to refer your business to their friends in exchange for a discount.

Massdrop rewards referrers by providing $10 in exchange for a successful referral. This is a small investment for a first-time customer.



4. Navigation bars

How do you create an email that drives users back to your ecommerce store? Besides the CTA, users can reach your online store by clicking at navigation bars contained within the email.

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It’s important to note that email navigation bars shouldn’t have categories as the ones found on your website. Instead, it should have links to the main categories of the site.

Jet.com – an American e-commerce company – has a detailed overview of their store’s different categories on their website.

navigation bar to promote offer

In their email, the navigation bar is composed of only four main categories such as grocery, health and beauty, household and electronics.

jet transactional email


For emails, the ideal navigation bar should be large and clickable for mobile users. It’s important to note that emails are opened more frequently by mobile users than desktop users.

Campaign Monitor reports that mobile is responsible for at least 50% of all opens. Additionally, mobile email open rates are significantly higher among younger audiences than older people.

Don’t forget to integrate a navigation bar that aesthetically matches with your branding and content. This way, there’s no design-related confusion or misunderstandings.

Nike has always been known for their black and white minimalist style. As a result, their navigation bar has a black and white colour scheme that mimics their logo.

nike email


How do you boost sales with transactional emails?

Integrate elements such as personalized product recommendations and navigation bars to make it easy for readers to return to the store and make a purchase. Offer referral codes and coupons to entice consumers to buy.

It’s not rocket science and it’s easy to create these types of emails too. With Spently – a Shopify app – users can customize emails with their drag and drop email template builder. There’s no need to learn coding, when you can easily design emails that match your brand’s aesthetic.

How do you plan to generate repeat purchases? What’s your email strategy? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sal manages Product & Growth at Spently. Their application allows Shopify merchants to leverage their store emails as an additional sales channel by embedding marketing components to cultivate engagement, and queue follow up sequences to foster customer retention.