5 Ways Brands Can Personalize Transactional Messages

When marketers think of transactional messages, it’s not always exciting or inspiring. They can be pretty structured and straightforward. Someone made a purchase, and you send them an email to confirm it was received. You probably include the price of the item and maybe a picture of it, then go on about your day. That’s more or less what people expect.

But transactional messages don’t have to feel … well, transactional. They can be personalized just like your other marketing campaigns. In fact, we’d go so far as saying they should be. You have the data available to you. All it takes is a little time and creativity to set it up. Here are five ways we’ve seen brands give transactional messages a personalized touch.

Make related recommendations

There are few better indications of future buying behavior than past buying behavior. So if a customer just made a purchase from your brand, there’s a solid chance they’re willing to do so again if the experience was a positive one. Knowing that, why not try to strike while the iron’s hot and convert them to being a repeat buyer directly from the transactional email?

This email from Audible does a good job of that by making recommendations that are relevant to what the customer just purchased. This is a nice way to catch them while they’re in a buying mood, and you have a terrific targeting opportunity too since you have immediate data on what kind of product they’re interested in.

Connect with their journey

With any transactional email, the simplest thing is to give a quick, text-based summary of their purchase. But, especially for travel marketers, you can take it a step further by connecting visually with the journey they took with you.

Uber takes this next step in their emails by pulling in an image of your trip on a map, allowing you to quickly reference which ride they’re emailing you about. For some, there’s a safety aspect to this as well. If you’re concerned at all about riding with strangers, you might take solace in knowing that someone’s paying attention. Regardless, Uber is able to connect with you a bit deeper when you ride with them.

Confirm their address

It may seem like a small thing, but adding the shipping address to an order confirmation email can save everyone a lot of trouble during the process of getting the item to the customer. It gives the customer one last chance to notice if they had the wrong address on the order and to make the change before anything ships.

For Allbirds, everything’s arranged nicely, with the shipping address centered just below the order information itself, along with a picture of the item that was ordered. You don’t have to do anything super dramatic to make a transactional message personalized; sometimes, these little touches, pulling the customer’s correct information into the message, can work wonders.

Give valuable, specific information

So much of tailoring transactional messages can come back to taking the next step to include information that you’d probably want included in your own confirmation email. It should feel like this is an email that only this customer would get, and help them take whatever next step you’d like them to take.

In this email from Chipotle, they start up top with the important information they know you really want: when you can pick up the order. Then, they continue with exactly where you should pick it up — map with pin included — and the information of who will be picking it up. In a compact format, everything you need to get in and get your order quickly.

Show them the forecast

This is especially useful for travel brands, though it could also apply to events and some others. Using an API to pull in the forecast for a particular area isn’t too terribly difficult, and a lot of brands would do well to incorporate it into transactional messages when appropriate.

Trainline did this well, first confirming the trip that was booked with the cities and times clearly labeled. Then, at the bottom, they added in not just a forecast for the day of arrival, but a personalized touch of saying they’ll need an umbrella due to the rain. Such a simple inclusion, but a welcome piece of information for the traveler.


Transactional emails serve a very important purpose, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be fun and highly tailored to your customers’ needs. Every touchpoint with a customer is another chance to build on the experience you want them to have with your brand, and these are good examples of how something as simple as a transactional email can further the goal of making that experience memorable.

About the Author

Jeff Haws

As MessageGears’ Senior Marketing Manager, Jeff is focused on producing engaging and thoughtful content that resonates with enterprise marketers, helping them to better understand how MessageGears makes their jobs easier. He’s passionate about understanding the way data impacts messaging, and he’s also hopelessly obsessed with baseball.