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In business, there are two major types of email: commercial emails, which include marketing and company communications, and transactional emails. Transactional emails are based on specific actions (or inaction) taken by the customer, and more of an official notice than a “bulk” email.
One of the most common transactional emails customers will experience with a subscription business is the shipping notice, also known as a tracking email. This is an automatic email generated when the shipment for their box is initiated. (Think of any time you’ve ordered a product online. You likely received an email with a link to track your shipment.)
When organizing shipping for your subscription, you’ll need to think about the notice you send. Consider the following when writing yours:
Include the Right Information
At the heart of a shipping notice (or transactional email) is the correct information for that specific customer. It’s crucial to provide accurate information in the shipping notice, and by doing so, you can catch errors earlier and prevent questions from customers. This includes the following:
- Customer Name
- Complete Ship-to Address (including name)
- Link to Shipping or Tracking Number
- Accurate Delivery Time (for example, “Your box will arrive in 2-3 business days!”)
Make it Clear and Concise, but Personable
When drafting your email, remember to keep the above information clear and easy to find. A shipping notice shouldn’t provide distractions with an overuse of color or graphics. It could even be a plaintext email, meaning only the text and hyperlinks are used.
At the same time, remember to stay personable. Say hello and show your personality; just do it in a concise way. For example, if you’re operating an art subscription, and this month you’re looking at art from France, you could write your tracking email like this:
Your Shipment is on its way!
Bonjour, [First Name]!
Your Awesome Art Box has Shipped! Monet, Van Gough, Renoir – here we come!
Your shipment began 1/16/2015 via USPS Priority Mail (takes 2-3 business days) to:
[Shipping Address Name]
[City, State, Zip]
Track Your Shipment: tracking number or link
If you have any questions, just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Awesome Art Box
The email above is simple, captures key information, and still remains playful to the brand. It provides the customer with enough accurate information to review their shipment and directs them to contact you in case there is something wrong. Try to emulate this style in your own work.
Include a Simple Call to Action
Lastly, if you’re including a call to action in the email, keep it straightforward.
While this isn’t meant to be a marketing email, you can try to inspire something in your customer – perhaps encouraging sharing, leaving a comment on a social network, or posting a picture. A quick way to direct them to your social networks can be to include graphics as links in the footer of the email.
The Perfect Shipping Notice
While we recommend keeping the above in mind as you draft your shipping notice, don’t be afraid to adjust your style as needed. You might find unique ways to deliver this information without compromising clarity. As always, test, track, and confer with your business team about how the changes have affected the customer experience.
For more information on transactional emails, Mailchimp does a great job covering the topic and listing examples.