Transactional Emails: What They Are, How They Work, Why Required, and How to Configure Them

Date: 2023-06-02 | Time of reading: 6 minutes (1086 words)

Payment confirmations, electronic receipts, and registrations all fall under transactional emails.

These messages inform users about the start or completion of a process, and it is crucial to automate the sending to ensure timely delivery.

Personalized transactional emails build trust with customers, fostering a sense of personal connection with the company. They are also an integral part of providing quality service. For example, a delivery notification email informs the customer that their order is ready for pickup, providing clear information on when and where to retrieve it.

Transactional email campaigns can be set up using email service providers that offer reliable SMTP servers and ensure high message delivery speed.

An example of a transactional email from AmazonAn example of a transactional email from Amazon

How transactional emails work

To set up transactional emails, first, a trigger condition is selected in the email service provider. The trigger activates the automatic sending of the message. Users initiate the trigger through actions such as making a purchase.

Here is the algorithm for transactional email operation:

  1. The customer makes a payment for their order on the e-commerce website.

  2. The website tracks this action and sends the relevant information to the email service provider.

  3. As a result of the customer's action, a pre-configured trigger is activated.

  4. The email service provider sends the email to the customer.

Multiple triggers can be set up to ensure effective communication with customers.

Why transactional emails are required

Transactional emails serve several purposes:

Cost savings: Transactional emails automate user interactions, eliminating the need for manual intervention. Once set up, they work without the involvement of specialists, reducing service costs. There is no need to call customers regarding payment or delivery.

Improved customer service: When customers receive timely updates on their order status and can track their delivery, it instills trust and confidence in the company. Transactional emails enhance the overall customer experience by providing relevant and useful information.

Increased repeat sales: Transactional messages often include offers for additional products, coupons, or ongoing promotions. By strategically placing these within the emails, companies can encourage repeat purchases and cross-selling opportunities. It's important to ensure that the advertising content doesn't overshadow the primary information.

Brand visibility: Transactional emails bring the brand back into the user's awareness. Incorporating branding elements such as the company name, logo, and other visual identifiers helps the recipient remember the brand and reinforces its identity.

The difference between transactional emails and other types of email campaigns

  1. Quick delivery: Transactional emails are sent immediately after a user performs a specific action.

  2. Personalization: Transactional emails are targeted at individual recipients rather than a group of people. To enhance personalization, address the recipient by their name.

  3. User expectation: Users anticipate transactional emails after taking certain actions on a website. For example, when a user makes a purchase, they expect to receive an order confirmation email.

  4. Automated sending: Transactional emails are set up once and operate automatically. Edits are made as needed based on changes to the website or system.

    Types of transactional emails

Types of transactional emails include:

  • Purchase confirmation

  • Backorder notification (purchase of an out-of-stock item)

  • Product restock alert

  • Order shipment notification

  • Survey invitation

  • Product review request

  • Return confirmation, etc.

Let's take a closer look at some types of transactional emails:

  • Order confirmation

This email is sent when a customer has placed an order. It includes the link where information about the order can be viewed.

Order confirmation transactional email

  • Delivery

The purpose of this email is to inform the customer about the status of their order, whether it has been shipped, in transit, or ready for pickup.

Order delivery transactional email from Chewy

  • Password Reset

When a customer forgets their password, they have the option to recover it through a special form. After filling out the form, they will receive an email with further instructions for password recovery or change.

Password reset transactional email from Adidas

  • Service Upgrade

In these emails, customers are usually offered to upgrade to a more expensive subscription plan. The message is sent when their current subscription is about to expire. To motivate the subscriber to switch to a different plan, specialists list various benefits, such as a limited-time discount.

Subscription cancellation transactional email from Vocal

How to set up transactional emails on Altcraft Platform

By defining specific actions that trigger the sending of transactional emails, such as order confirmation or password reset, businesses can automate the process. This ensures timely delivery of relevant information to customers, enhancing their experience and streamlining communication.

Setting up transactional emails involves a step-by-step process of configuring triggers on an automation platform.

Errors in formatting transactional emails

  • Excessive information: Avoid overloading transactional emails with unnecessary text. A single message should not contain information about the order, payment methods, contacts, etc. Customers may lose track of the main message and miss important details. Make the text and its meaning easy for users to perceive.

  • Overly complex or missing design: Avoid using intricate designs for transactional emails. Focus on a clear structure, as reading a solid block of text can be difficult.

  • Advertising in transactional emails: Do not present promotional emails as transactional ones. This can lead to negative reactions from the audience.

  • Delayed delivery: Ensure that transactional emails are sent promptly after the customer's action, especially after payment for an order. If the customer does not receive the email in a timely manner, they may assume an error occurred and reach out to customer support or sales. Wasting time is detrimental to both the consumer and the organization.


Transactional emails are emails sent to customers in response to their actions, informing them about registration, purchases, product availability, delivery, return confirmations, and more. The sending condition is triggered by specific events.

A key characteristic of such emails is that customers anticipate and expect them.

When creating transactional emails, it is important to minimize or avoid excessive advertising.

Pay attention to the design, text structure, and timing of sending. Subscribers should receive transactional emails promptly as they contain essential information about delivery, payment, passwords, and more.







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