Why Receipt Emails are Your Secret Weapon for Growth (and How to Use Them)

CM Commerce Team

Imagine yourself sitting around the house during the quarantine. 

You decide to do some window shopping via Google and discover an awesome ecommerce site for chic and unique home décor. 

Since you’re spending so much time at home, why not make your patio the coziest place on earth then share the results on Reddit’s r/CozyPlaces?

You place some orders and anxiously check your email inbox:

  • You read the “thank you for registering” email.
  • You excitedly click the “order confirmation” email.
  • You frantically open the “your product has shipped” email. 

Then, for the next week, you open that shipping email about a dozen times to track your order.

Ten bucks says each of those automated transactional emails contained the bare minimum inside. No upsell suggestions, no reviews, no links to download apps, no opportunity to join a rewards program—just the order details. 

See why receipt emails are your secret weapon? Everyone opens their receipts because they contain valuable information.

Read on to discover a handful of ways to unlock hidden sales by optimizing your receipt emails for growth.

What are receipt emails and how can you use them for growth?

Back in 2014, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had some revolutionary thoughts about receipt emails for growth. While at the National Retail Federation’s annual expo, he asked attendees to rethink what a receipt really was. Instead of thinking of it as a piece of garbage, he suggested thinking of it as something that “people actually want to take home” and engage with. 

He then encouraged folks to think of receipts in a new light: as a valuable form of communication or marketing tool.

Triggered emails—like receipts, confirmations, and shipping notifications—generate open rates 66% higher than other types of campaigns. Click rates fare even better, delivering more than double the clicks of business-as-usual emails.

Keep in mind that the definition of “triggered email” used in this report includes any email based on a subscriber’s activity, including registering an account or downloading a lead magnet. In other words, the open and click rates for receipt emails alone are likely even higher. Receipt emails themselves tend to deliver over 70% open rates, on average.

Despite these awesome stats, triggered emails only account for 2% of all emails sent

Ideally, shoot for a goal of 50% triggered (and optimized) emails. In other words, half of all the emails you send should be “triggered” by a specific action. 

Why and how receipt emails are your secret weapon for growth

Receipts alone aren’t enough to win sales. You already won the sale—that’s why you’re sending the receipt. The goal is to optimize your receipt emails for growth. 

Use the following tips, strategies, and examples of transactional emails used for conversions to inspire a unique strategy for your brand.

1. Cross-sell and upsell related items in your receipt emails for growth.

Hit customers with the classic upsell in an innovative format.

When you send a confirmation email, embed related products or items that other customers also purchased into the bottom of the campaign. 

Include prices and reviews with the products too, to show shoppers how much other folks just like them loved the other items too.

Wayfair gets it right here. They include a handful of related products that other customers purchased to go with the couch in the order:

Cross-sell products in your receipt emails for growth
Source: Wayfair

2. Promote your VIP or loyalty program in your receipt emails for growth.

Your receipt emails are the perfect place to encourage folks to register for your loyalty programs—they’ve already bought something and can immediately earn the points. 

Let the shopper know right away how the points or reward system works and how many they’ve earned so far. VIP programs are great because everyone likes to feel as though they’re part of an exclusive club.

Makeup brand e.l.f. sent a follow-up email letting the subscriber know their new status after completing a recent purchase. With CM Commerce, you can embed these details into your receipts.

 Promote referral programs in your receipt emails for growth
Source: e.l.f.

3. Ask for feedback in your receipt emails for growth.

Did you know that 96% of all feedback sent through receipt emails is positive? That makes receipts an easy way to collect not only more reviews, but better reviews.

Plus, the product is fresh on the customer’s mind. At the same time, consider how long it takes an average customer to familiarize themselves with the product. After all, some items you can’t accurately review until you have them in your hands.

Zenni didn’t embed this inside a receipt, but they did time it to go out the day the customer received the product in the mail:

Ask for reviews in your receipt emails for growth
Source: Zenni

4. Include tutorials, infographics, or guides in your receipt emails for growth.

People spend more time online than ever—especially in the aftermath of coronavirus lockdowns. Something as simple as a product tutorial, care instructions, or infographic on how to use it can go a long way towards building long-term relationships with loyal customers.

AWAY sends out a little infographic explainer providing some key details about the product a customer just purchased. Feel free to embed stuff like this inside your receipt emails.

Include a tutorial in receipt emails for growth
Source: Really Good Emails

5. Ask customers to refer a friend for a bonus in your receipt emails for growth.

Again, with coronavirus lockdowns forcing us to spend more time online, referral programs fit in perfectly as people seek new ways to connect with their friends. 

Go ahead and place the details of your referral program right into the receipt email for growth when your brand is fresh on the customer’s mind. Give them a little insight into how it works, along with a link they can share with their pals.

This Maude referral email would fit perfectly into a receipt:

Promote referral programs in receipt emails for growth
Source: Maude

6. Promote your social media accounts in receipt emails for growth.

Although embedding links to your social profiles won’t boost revenue right away, it will encourage current customers to engage with your brand on social media—and those customers could potentially share your content with friends. 

You could embed content from your social profile directly into your email like Paravel did here with a summer theme:

Include social posts in receipt emails for growth
Source: Really Good Emails

7. Add some sharable content in your receipt emails for growth.

Give your customers something to talk about. The social media posts in the section above work, but you could also include relevant content from your blog or resource center. 

Consider what the customer just purchased. Do you have an instructional blog you can include? A guide? A podcast?

You could even include a feature that lets customers share the contents of their order so they can show their friends what’s on the way.

8. Offer a personalized discount on the customer’s next order.

You’re 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer than to a cold prospect. Use your receipt emails to start building loyalty from the get-go. 

Consumers have more choices than ever—especially when they’re shopping online. Take advantage of your receipt emails for growth by embedding personalized coupons. 

Consider the item they just bought. Did they buy a couch? Offer 20% off bedroom or living room furniture. Did they buy a coffee maker? They might like a free bag of coffee with their next order of coffee mugs. 

When a new customer converts and signs up for World Market’s rewards program, they get a 15% discount, free shipping coupon, and relevant suggestions based on what they just bought.

World Market receipt emails for growth
Source: World Market

9. Encourage customers to download your brand’s app.

Finally, take advantage of valuable real estate in your receipts by promoting your brand’s app. Although most brands include a “download on Apple and Android” button in all their emails, you can do better.

In your receipt emails for growth, let customers know why they should download your app. Can they unlock products? Enjoy free shipping? Get a discount for downloading? Offer an incentive and let them know why your app deserves to take up space on their phone.

Wrap up

Receipts are your secret weapon for unlocking potential sales, building trust, and boosting loyalty in your customers. To make the most of your transactional emails for conversions, consider these strategies (provided that they fit with your brand, audience, and products):

  • Cross-sell and upsell related products before the order ships.
  • Ask for reviews and feedback right away.
  • Promote your apps and social media accounts.
  • Include details about your referrals and loyalty programs.
  • Give your shoppers a personalized discount, freebie, or coupon towards their next order.

CM Commerce offers a wide range of tools to supercharge your receipts. Check out our full range of automation features specifically designed for ecommerce.