Usability is often neglected in transaction email design. Complex listings of information in callous text emails are the result. This gives away potential, especially if the transaction email should also carry advertising.
Transaction emails offer a great potential for marketing. In order to use this to the maximum, you should bear in mind a few things regarding design and send frequency.

Transmit Incentives Via the Subject Line

Even a transaction email benefits from a clearly formulated subject. The subject line should tell customers that this is a transaction email and which action it refers to. However, it should not anticipate all transaction information. A dispatch note with the subject “Your order x has been dispatched on and delivery is due on yy.yy.yyyy” would identify the email clearly, but does not offer any incentive for the customer to open the email as all relevant information has already been transmitted. The customer would therefore not view any possible promotional contents.
You should not neglect the design of the transaction email, either. Similar guidelines as with newsletters and mailings apply here. Avoid large texts. HTML designs should be adapted to the email client’s requirements. The width of the email should not exceed 600 pixels. Important contents must not be placed in the form of an image. The email should also be offered in text form. When placing promotional contents, these should not appear intrusive. The transaction information must always be in the foreground.

Communicate Only Relevant Information

Regarding the send frequency, you should make sure that you concentrate on actions, which produce only relevant information. When placing an order, customers usually are interested in the acceptance of the order, information on payment, as well as a dispatch note.  Transaction emails on other intermediate steps may offer additional advertising opportunities, but can easily bug customers, if they provide no additional value.

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