Who Uses Transactional Messages and Why?
Post-purchase transactional emails, push notifications, Viber messages and SMS are all valuable ways to keep your customers informed throughout the order process, but did you know they are also an opportunity to promote brand loyalty, cross-sell and upsell? Transactional messages are becoming increasingly popular with businesses that want to improve their overall customer experience (CX). This is mainly because the high open rates associated with this type of communication help increase revenue and customer retention. Indeed, in 2022, Viber reported 506% year-on-year growth in transactional messages for order and account status updates, while in 2019 Statista found that 80% of consumers prefer to track their order’s delivery journey via text.
The Highest Open Rate
Transactional messages are sent predominantly by businesses in the Retail and eCommerce, SaaS/DaaS/PaaS, FinTech and Education sectors. They are most commonly in the form of automated notifications triggered by a customer action and delivered to customers via their preferred channels. They inform customers of the order and delivery status of their physical goods, downloadable software, or online transactions, services or courses. Transactional emails have the highest open rate of all types of business email, averaging around an impressive 85%, while also generating 6x more revenue.
Types of Transactional Messages in Retail and eCommerce
The types of transactional messages used can vary from sector to sector. For the online purchase of physical items in the Retail & eCommerce sector these messages usually include the following:
- Cart abandonment — a reminder to purchase
- One Time Password (OTP) for payment
- Order confirmation
- Dispatch from the warehouse
- Tracking the purchase in transit
- Real-time “last mile” delivery — when a physical item is being transported to the customer’s doorstep
- Delivery confirmation
- Return information
- Feedback request
Vendors can add additional steps and notifications, say if an item requires a user or installation guide, or a student is required to read downloadable course preparation material. All of these transactional messages provide opportunities for you to increase revenue by promoting add-on items or upgrades and encourage customers to join VIP loyalty schemes, give feedback and leave reviews. In the event of a delayed delivery, or another fulfilment issue, you can turn a negative CX into a positive by using the notification to offer an apology voucher of, for example, £5 when the customer makes a future purchase over £25.
Maximising the Value of Transactional Messages
Opt-in & Opt-out
Before we look at how you can use Transactional Messages to boost revenue and customer loyalty, it’s important to note that you should check the laws and regulations in the country in which your business operates and ensure you take whatever action is required to be compliant. For example, it may be that in your country transactional messages do not require an opt-in or opt-out, but promotional marketing messages do. If you are planning to add some marketing elements to your transactional messages, you may need to add a special opt-out letting customers select to still get the transactional messages, but minus the promotional content.
Cart Abandonment & Upselling
Customers browsing online stores frequently leave items in their virtual shopping baskets and don’t complete the purchase. In 2022 the average cart abandonment rate was 79.8%. Given that these customers seem to be on the fence about your product, this is an ideal opportunity to try to upsell a similar but better quality and higher value product to them, perhaps with a small discount incentive. For example, if you sell blenders and your customer has left a middle-of-the-range blender in their cart, you may decide to promote a top-of-the-range blender with a £10 off voucher in your reminder message. Viber is a great channel for this kind of upselling as it has multimedia capabilities including images and video, so you can properly showcase higher-quality products. You can also send a backup email containing similar content.
Purchase Confirmation & Cross-selling
Imagine a customer has just purchased a game console from your eCommerce store, which comes with one free game pre-loaded. It’s a great time to catch them while they’re in a shopping frame of mind and personalise their order confirmation email to cross-sell three different genres of the game to appeal to different interests such as an action adventure, simulation and racing game. To help boost conversions you could also include a seasonal voucher code or a personalised one thanking them for their previous order. Utilise multimedia-like images of the games to make the offer more visually stimulating and therefore more likely to convert.
Delivery Notice & Positive Social Media Reviews
86% of customers rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews to inform their purchase decisions. This type of customer-generated content is also found to drive around 13% of all sales. When your customers receive their product from your store, they are likely to be feeling very positive about your brand. This is the ideal occasion to request positive feedback from them in the form of a social media review. If you have a great Facebook or Twitter following, for example, add social share buttons and a free-text box to the delivery confirmation email, or Viber message, to make it an easy one-click process for them to leave you a positive social review.
Purchase Confirmation & Subscription Upselling
According to Shopify, the global e-commerce subscription market will be worth $246.6 billion by 2025. Imagine your business is a supermarket offering online orders and home delivery. When a customer makes their first online purchase with you, they’re a potential candidate for an ongoing delivery subscription, incentivised by a reduced rate from the one-off charge. In addition to banners and pop-ups on the website advertising the service, you can add a call to action (CTA) to upgrade to a monthly VIP subscription or “smart pass”, when you send them their email order confirmation. Later on in the order process, when you send out the transactional delivery confirmation, you may want to send a succinct push notification, as well as an email, reminding them of the subscription offer. These delivery passes provide an excellent CX as the customer has a regular priority delivery slot. They are also great for your business because they promote regular sales and loyalty to your brand, extending the customer’s lifetime value and increasing profits.
Pro Tips for Transactional Messaging Success
As you can see, transactional messages can have a lot more value than simply informing the customer at each step of the fulfilment process. That said, it is important to remember that these are first and foremost important status updates, so here are some final pro tips for pitching them correctly:
- Any selling or loyalty push should be a subtle soft sell and secondary to imparting the essential purchase and delivery information.
- Ensure a high degree of personalisation based on that particular customers’ behaviour so that any upselling or cross-selling is highly relevant and likely to convert.
- Invest in a Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) to securely and efficiently manage your multiple channel messaging strategy.
Ensure that you devise a metrics strategy that is specific to each channel. Although open rates are an important metric for email, push notifications are much shorter and can be read even on a locked phone screen without being opened. This means that the open rate is not a good indicator of success for push notifications, but the click-through rate and any resultant purchase data will give you the critical information you need to measure campaign success on this channel.
For a deeper dive into the importance of omnichannel messaging and how to get it right, you can check out our eBook, “5 Top Customer Engagement Trends for 2023 & Beyond: Get up close and personal with Customer Intimacy.”
Discover more about cross-selling and upselling with our quick-read Flipbook full of expert advice.