How to Use Email Receipts to Your Advantage

The customer inbox is cramped, busy and messy. You’re not going to find a prominent spot in the clutter unless you send an email that they actively want, look for and reach out for if it doesn’t arrive.

The emails your customers are clamoring for are the digital receipts from their most recent purchases, and you want your emails to be long, fruitful, and ripe with compelling offers or benefits that will keep them scrolling.

It’s easy to make fun of those mile-long receipts you get at a convenience store or pharmacy, but you and I are going to keep getting those because they work. People like to see how much they saved from the company’s rewards program or to snag all those coupons based on what they bought.

Today, we are talking about the email equivalent that is common for ecommerce businesses as well as anyone who sells at a fair or pop-up shop with a Stripe-like payment tool. Anytime you deliver a receipt electronically, you’ve got a hungry, captive audience.

Why Receipt Emails?

People want a receipt for their purchase, and now we are starting to ask for more to come to our email instead of just being displayed on a checkout page. Not sure if you believe us? Well, a Conversio study found that receipts have a 70.9% average open rate compared to the standard ecommerce average of 17.9%.

That’s an open rate any store or any company at all would love to have. The email receipt is prime real estate to encourage your audience to take action. Plus, they work on computers and smartphones too. We’re going to look at four actions for you to consider and make the most of this opportunity.

One of our favorite things about the email receipt is that most ecommerce store platforms now can automate the delivery of these natively or by integrating with top software. Rules can allow you to adjust the message sent out based on the purchase and much more. You’ve got a lot of control, and that can be turned into a major series of wins.

Free Discounts for All

An open email is an easy invitation to keeping the customer around. The standard option, following what grocery and convenience stores taught us, is to offer a discount code specific to that individual - people love coupons.

Roughly 91% of customers say they prefer to revisit a retail site if they get a coupon, and the people who use coupons at checkout spend an average of 46% more than those who don’t use a coupon. The coupon is the perfect item to put below the order summary to have people see it and get them excited to use it.

Coupons are also easy to A/B test to achieve different results or test different options. Based on the amount you provide or the code you send out, you can track the success of different marketing messages.

coupons in emails

Image via Conversio.com
If you want to really test how soon your customers are ready to buy, consider making the expiration date soon. We like this example from Conversio because it even includes a time. The change that might need to happen for your messaging is to make the expiration text larger and easier to see to incentivize a speedy purchase.

Securing Testimonials

Your store wants testimonials even if you don’t know it. The reason is because up to 84% of shoppers who read online reviews trust them as much as personal recommendations. It’s worth noting that about 91% of your audience looks at online reviews regularly.

The email receipt provides the perfect place to ask for those testimonials. You can give customers an uncomplicated way to click on a star or number to record a review of the shopping process. That click can take them to your site to leave a full review if they like with a chance to rate you and your products.

If you’re trying to figure out how to offer people the coupons from the previous section, this might be your “in.” Ask for a product or company review and let them know that a coupon or discount will follow. You’re creating more interactions and more incentives for a sale which establishes trust and strengthens the relationship you have with the customer.

An important thing to remember is that you don’t have to be stuffy or bland. There are several types of testimonials, so embrace your creativity.

Beyond the familiar ones where you drive people to your website or Amazon page to select some stars, you can also go for direct word-of-mouth marketing. Not normally called a testimonial, getting people to share coupons and talk about your products operates in much the same way.

Check out this one from Dollar Shave Club that’s specifically designed to get a new subscriber to share content on social media.

email receipt example

Image via Dollar Shave Club
This type of marketing is providing a reward for the customer each time a new person signs up - in other words, each time their referral leads to a sale. Every action the customer takes around this coupon will be seen as a positive review. Such testimonials might not live on your website, but they can make an enormous difference if you have a customer who has a large following online.

The Upsell Opportunity

The coupons you get on a retail store receipt are designed to get you back into the store - they are a long-term repeat buy push. In the digital world, you don’t have to wait for them to circle back - you can drive a deal right to them and not have to wait for their return. That’s why major brands love it.

Back in 2006, Jeff Bezos on an Amazon call said that 35% of the company’s sales were a direct result of cross-selling and upsell efforts, much of which happened via email receipts.

Underneath your confirmation of the order, you can use selections such as:
- Shop what’s in stock
- People also liked
- View our best sellers
- Here’s what is also in your size
One of our favorites comes from REI where they discuss the benefits the shopper could get from joining its membership. Why? A lifetime membership is only $20, so the ask is extremely small. The copy they use doesn’t even discuss price, just benefits. So when someone clicks through, they’re met with a big promise and a low cost. It’s a terrific way to get people back to their site and encourage an immediate sale.

email receipts templates

Image via REI
Those rapid-fire sales with a customer establish trust and keep them interested in your brand which can lead to long-term relationships and higher customer lifetime values.
A final thought on these is not to limit yourself to a specific or streamlined offer. You can provide them with options relevant to their content, the overall account, the specific purchase or your store. So, if someone selects a gift option, you can press the person to buy one for themselves.

Upselling performs differently based on different content and product categories. They respond well to personalization, especially given that most people want to open these emails to double-check the original purchase.

Find Your ‘Thank You And’

The email receipt gives you a perfect place to interact with your customers.

First and foremost, we recommend that you thank them for the purchase. You want to show that you appreciate them and will do your best to get the order to them. It’s the perfect place to remind them of your order fulfillment and shipping guarantees too.

thank you email example

Image via CraftyCode
What you do with the rest of the space is up to you. The best advice we’ve gotten and can share is to align the content with your overall goal - ask yourself: what does my store need most?

In many cases, it’s sales or a stronger relationship with a customer, but you might have a much more tangible need. Let’s say you’ve got some new products that are starting to sell, but you haven’t done a professional photo shoot for them. Or, you might have new colors but no new images beyond your standard shots.

The email receipt is a compelling place to ask your consumers to share their photos - especially if you ask them to share on social media and provide a branded hashtag so you can quickly find them. Requests like this usually come with some discount, but not always. You can also ask for feedback about the shopping or shipping experiences. Toss in a survey to see what customers want next.

The big picture here is to use the real estate. Don’t let it go to waste. Look for company goals and find a quick request or offer that can help accomplish them. Your revenue statement and your customers will thank you.

Jake RheudeAbout the author: Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce. He has years of experience in e-commerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others on RSF e-commerce blog.

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