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Order confirmation emails: best practices and examples

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The order confirmation email is easy to take for granted. After all, unlike other emails, this one is expected after making a purchase. Yet it’s an incredibly powerful sales tool, generating the biggest open and click-through rates in the ecommerce industry and bringing in four times more orders than a promotional newsletter.

Omnisend customer Amundsen found that order confirmation emails generate a revenue-per-email (RPE) 9.5 times higher than that of promotional emails! They also have a conversion rate of 32%—meaning that nearly one in three people who click a link within the email makes another purchase, despite having only just bought something.

When reflecting on why order confirmation emails worked so well for Amundsen, Frithjof Solheim told Omnisend: 

“I think it performs well [because it’s] the same company that they just purchased from. [The order confirmation emails]…don’t feel so pushy, making them want to browse more.” With each interaction with the brand, the customer gets closer to another purchase. 

So how can you implement this powerful email into your marketing strategy? This article will share everything you need to know, including what information you need to display in your confirmation emails to get repeat sales.

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What is an order confirmation email?

An order confirmation email is a transactional email sent to a customer once they’ve completed a transaction in an online store. As the name suggests, this email contains a buyer’s order confirmation details, including what they bought, the purchase total, and the estimated delivery date.

Like most transactional emails, order confirmation emails are essential for keeping your customers in the loop: every customer will expect to receive one after they make a purchase.

The order confirmation email template

Here’s an example of an order confirmation email template, and the specific details that customers are informed of:

It’s got a simple layout and all the information is prominently displayed. It includes:

  1. Order confirmation message and a thank you note
  2. The date of the order
  3. Product details including title, price and quantity
  4. Total price
  5. Billing and shipping addresses
  6. Payment method
  7. Shipping method
  8. A ‘view order’ button that takes them back to the store

This template has the necessary information that a customer wants to see, and the ‘view order’ button is what helps the order confirmation email have such a high conversion rate, by taking active buyers back to the store to check the items they bought.

Of course, you’re also free to include other information, such as relevant products, a limited-time offer for their next purchase, or a request for a review.

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Order confirmation email best practices and examples

Although you can change the specifics to your own preferences, there are some best practices to consider that we’ll look at in this section along with some order confirmation email examples.

Subject lines

As with any email, the success of the order confirmation email relies heavily on the subject line. If it doesn’t compel people to open it, the details and offers inside can’t perform.

Despite this, people often overlook the subject line for order confirmations, largely because this email is expected by buyers. Don’t let that stop you from getting creative.

Take some inspiration from these 5 top-performing confirmation subject lines:

  1. Thank you for your order
  2. Your [Brand Name] order confirmation [#12345]
  3. Order received – [Brand Name] order #12345
  4. Great news! We’ve got your order #12345
  5. Your [Brand Name] order has been received [#12345]

The best time to send

An order confirmation email should be sent immediately—especially if you want it to drive additional sales. 

Customers want the initial peace of mind that the order has been processed properly, and delays can cause concerns. You’re likely to receive messages from buyers asking for confirmation, adding to your customer service workload. There’s also the risk that the customer feels let down if they don’t get instant confirmation, making them unlikely to shop with you again in the future.

To make the process more efficient, the confirmation email should be automated. This way, the email will always be sent immediately for every purchase, even if you’re asleep at the time. Here’s how the order confirmation workflow looks in Omnisend:

An Order Confirmation email workflow. Click to enlarge

Feature your best sellers

Order confirmation emails have an open rate of around 60%, making them an ideal place to showcase more of your products—especially ones that are related to what your customer has just purchased.

Many ecommerce stores choose to promote their recommended items and top sellers just before their customers’ purchase. This is by no means bad, but not all of the visitors are ready to commit at this stage.

By adding them to the confirmation email, you’re ensuring that willing buyers see them too. Just be sure not to include too many, or you risk overwhelming the customer.

Dollar Shave Club’s order confirmation email is a good example of this. It not only shows related products, but it even has an icon for adding those products to the order before it ships. This makes the process simple and smooth for the customer:

The Dollar Shave Club email example of upselling/cross-selling in its order confirmation email
The Dollar Shave Club has a great example of upselling/cross-selling in its order confirmation email

Reward program

By purchasing from your store, the customer has put a level of trust in you and now you have an opportunity to develop loyalty. 

An effective way to do this is with a reward program, and iHerb makes excellent use of its order confirmation email to promote its benefits (you can also see it recommends additional products in its “You may also like” section):

iherb order confirmation email

Order timeline

The order confirmation email is also a great opportunity to let your customers know what happens next. One way to do this is with an order timeline, such as in SportsDirect’s example below. 

This sets clear expectations for the buyer, and they know what subsequent stages will occur:

sportsdirect order confirmation email example

The order confirmation page

In addition to the email, you’ll want to ensure you have an order confirmation page on your website too. Your customers would be automatically directed to this page after payment, giving you the assurance that up to 100% of buyers will see this message.

That percentage gives it an advantage over the order confirmation email’s open rate of 60%, so this is an ideal place to showcase your most popular products, loyalty programs, and the order timeline—exactly like the email examples above. 

It can also include additional details such as FAQs and your returns policy. Here’s an example of what this page may look like:

Asos order confirmation page with order details

Next steps

Once your order confirmation email and page are implemented, you should consider adding an automated thank you email and shipping confirmation email to your workflow. These are both excellent at providing a positive experience for your customers, which in turn helps to build long-lasting relationships. After all, research shows that increasing your customer retention rates by just 5% can increase your profits by up to 95%.

You can also send different messages depending on the buyer’s status. For example, first-time customers can receive emails with information relevant to them. In addition, because most of your sales probably come from repeat buyers, it’s worth looking at ways to encourage customers back to your store with post-purchase emails that renew the customer journey.

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