Transactional messages are not only business-critical but can also play an important role in your overall marketing strategy, helping to build brand awareness, attract new and existing customers, improve engagement and increase sales.
As the name suggests, transactional messages relate directly to a transaction between a business and its customer or client. Transactions can be the exchange of money for goods, services or information, or the exchange of information in relation to future monetary transactions. Either way, transactional messages are necessary communications, without which it would be difficult to do business.
Examples of transactional communications include PIN codes for user logins, order confirmations, appointment reminders, welcome messages and shipping confirmation notifications. We're focusing on the latter in this article – you'll learn precisely what shipping confirmations are, what's typically included and why you need them. You'll also find eight shipping confirmation templates to help you get started.
What is a shipping confirmation notification?
A shipping confirmation is an informational message that tells the customer about their order status. Its purpose is to inform the customer that their package has been fulfilled and dispatched, and it contains valuable details to help them understand the whereabouts of their order.
Shipping notifications can be delivered via various communication channels, such as SMS, email, push notifications or customer portals. They can be sent as an automated text at the moment of dispatch to ensure the customer is updated in real-time.
To send automatic text notifications, you'll need to partner with an SMS API provider. A good platform will enable you to send a wide range of transactional, promotional and conversational communications to your customers and integrate with many types of business software (automation tools, eCommerce platforms, CRM systems, etc.).
By integrating an SMS messaging solution into whichever software you use for order management, you can trigger a shipping confirmation text to be sent whenever a customer's order status changes to 'dispatched' or 'ready to ship'. The message is delivered virtually instantly.
Things to include in a shipping confirmation email or text message
So what information is essential for a useful shipping confirmation email or text? Below, we've provided a checklist of the main details customers want to know. Only some of these details can be included in SMS shipping confirmations due to the text message character limit, but you can choose the elements you think are most valuable. Or let your texts run a little longer than your SMS marketing messages if need be.
The customer's name – greeting the customer by name helps with connection and reassures them that they're important to you.
Order number or ID – customers appreciate having their order number to hand in case they have a query, so remind them of this in the shipping details.
Estimated delivery date – this helps manage expectations and reduces the likelihood of customers chasing their orders.
Shipping address – to offer reassurance that the order is being delivered to the correct location.
Payment status – if the customer has already paid online like most people do these days, you can confirm their payment method, e.g. paid by credit card and that the payment due is zero. If the customer wants to pay by cash or card at their doorstep, you can confirm the amount payable and state that the payment method is 'card' or 'COD' for cash on delivery.
Tracking number and link – this is important so customers can track their order online (also helps reduce incoming phone calls). Customers can click on the tracking link and enter their ID number to see where their order is in the delivery journey, for example, at the depot, out for delivery with a driver, etc. Many 3PL providers now offer this service as standard. If using a text-based shipping confirmation, you can shorten the link to reduce the number of characters needed.
- Online store name – a good way to reinforce your brand in this type of communication.
Emails can include a complete order summary with a breakdown of the individual items ordered and their quantities and prices. You can also embed product images if you wish. However, with SMS notifications, you should only include the most critical order details, e.g. the names of the products and the expected delivery date, as you'll need to keep the message concise.
A shipping confirmation email gives you greater flexibility in terms of content so that you can include other nice-to-know details like:
Any applied discount or coupon code
Subtotal and the grand total
Shipping method/courier service used
Personalised product recommendations
Customer support link and contact number
A future promotion or discount for the customer's next purchase (helpful for encouraging repeat custom)
A link to your returns/exchanges/shipping process information
A link to FAQs, relevant blogs or other interesting resources on your website
Details of your referral programme or loyalty scheme
As you can see, there's much you can include in shipping confirmation emails! But don't get too carried away, as customers may not want to read a particularly lengthy email. It's best only to include information that the customer will find interesting and valuable. Be sure to use a catchy email subject line to entice the customer to open their message.
Why send a shipping confirmation message?
There are several benefits to sending shipping confirmation messages, the main one being that they help provide a great customer experience. Customers like being updated about their order without having to chase up on where it is. In a recent study, 90% of respondents say they actively track their orders, with 20% tracking multiple times daily. (And 38% say they'd rather receive package updates by text than email).
So shipping confirmations can enhance customer satisfaction. In addition, they:
Provide real-time tracking – which is important because customers don't like waiting in all day for their parcels to arrive. They want an exact delivery window, so they can do whatever they need to do around that timeframe.
Build customer loyalty – having a good purchasing experience means that customers are more likely to buy from your business in the future. And this can help generate recommendations too.
Reduces post-purchase support requests – as customers have all the details they need in their shipping confirmation, they're less likely to contact your support team with questions. This frees up agents' time to concentrate on more complex enquiries.
Using SMS offers its own collection of benefits too. Firstly, it enables you to reach customers anywhere, anytime. Texts rely on a cellular signal, not WiFi, which is helpful for customers in remote areas where the internet signal is patchy.
Texts are usually delivered within a couple of minutes at the most. They also have a much higher open rate than email (98% compared to 45%). Customers are sure to notice text messages, whereas emails sometimes get missed entirely or opened too late (especially if the recipient doesn't regularly monitor their inbox). Some customers won't provide their primary email when shopping for fear of being inundated by marketing emails – and alternative emails aren't always checked often.
SMS messages also offer a higher engagement rate because they're easy and quick to read and respond to should the customer have a follow-up question. And finally, texts are cost-effective and provide a good ROI.
How do you write a delivery confirmation?
To help you understand how to structure delivery notifications, check out a range of shipping confirmation templates for SMS and email below. Even though you don't have a lot of room in text messages, you can still draw attention to vital information and even use your content to cross-sell other products or ask for a review.
SMS shipping confirmation templates
Great news, Adam! Your item no. 12345 has now been dispatched. The expected delivery date is 26/04/23. Track your delivery here: [URL]
Hoorah! Your order 0011223 has been shipped. View the estimated delivery date, or update your delivery preferences in our customer portal. [URL]
Hey Amy, your order 25685 is out for delivery. Do you need shoes to go with your outfit? Browse our range online: [URL]
Hi Simon, we've delivered your order 56985. We hope you're happy with your item. Please leave us a review here: [URL]
We're sorry, but delivery is delayed. New expected delivery date: 03/05/23. Get 5% off your next order with code FIVE as a thank you for your patience.
Hi Kate, we tried to deliver your White Retro Cake Mixer today, but no one was home. To rearrange delivery, click here: [URL]
Important! Unfortunately, your order 58874 is suspected lost in transit. We're very sorry for the inconvenience and have dispatched a new item.
Shipping confirmation email template
Subject line: Just shipped!
Good news! Your recent order 89746 has been shipped to the following address:
962 Esta Roads
Track your package here: [URL]
Credit card (paid in full)
Baseball cap - red - one size
Sports water bottle - clear - 500ml
Discount - 5% applied
Got questions about your order? Contact our customer service team 24/7 on 005628 4134545.
Improve customer service with shipping confirmation emails or texts
Shipping confirmations help reassure customers that their order is on its way. They keep customers updated, even when there's a delay in transit or delivery has been attempted but failed. And this can help increase customer satisfaction and improve loyalty.
You can include lots of information in a shipping confirmation, including recommendations to encourage future purchases. Space is limited in text messages, but it's easy to have a link to a landing page where customers can track their delivery online or read further information about their order (and your other product ranges).
To get started with transactional messages such as shipping confirmations, sign up to Messente. Create an account for free.