Only one in five retailers harness the marketing power of transactional emails.

Transactional emails - messages that confirm an order, provide shipping details or perform other post-order functions – are underutilised as marketing vehicles by online retailers, concludes a study of 84 top online retailers conducted by global e-mail service provider Silverpop.

The research showed that transactional emails are only used to promote additional products by 20% of the companies surveyed.

“The power of transactional emails should not be underestimated” says Mike Weston, SIlverpop UK MD. “Ultimately, transactional emails can be an excellent communication channel for marketers. By taking advantage of the high open rates of transactional emails and establishing brand loyalty at the time customers are most likely thinking about the company, top online retailers strengthen relationships with customers and drive revenue growth.

“Far too many companies allow their companies’ IT departments to send static, text-only messages. When control over transactional messaging resides outside of the marketing function, the emails often lack cross-sell and up sell promotional content that can boost revenue.”

He cautioned that there are certain legal complexities to take into account when adding promotional content to transactional messages, so it’s best to consult with legal counsel before incorporating such messages.

Deliverability issues also caused problems for some retailers: 6% of the transactional emails in the test landed in recipients’ junk folders. “Perhaps more retailers would take the time to ask recipients to white list their addresses if they realised how many of their messages, including critical transactional e-mails, were landing in junk folders,” Weston says.

Further, more companies asked customers to sign up for their email programs than offered additional merchandise. 68% of companies that offer emails as part of their marketing programs included a link in the transactional email to opt-in to their programs.

Another issue uncovered was that only 60% of transactional e-mails were in HTML format. “Utilizing HTML formatting that includes essential branding elements is a strong way to enhance customer loyalty and even increase revenue,” Weston says. “Not only do HTML emails look better, they are measurable.”

To receive a free copy of the study findings, “How Top Retailers Use Transactional Email,” register at

About Silverpop

Silverpop is a leading provider of permission-based email marketing solutions, strategy and services, with offices throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom.

Silverpop is the only company that has consistently appeared as one of the top five enterprise-oriented ESPs each of the last four years in JupiterResearch’s annual analysis of ESPs.

Best practices and white papers are available at


Ross Furlong

Furlong PR E: T: 07803 900961

Published on: 12:00AM on 24th January 2007