Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Transactional vs. Promotional Emails by Dolce Gusto

This week I came across this presentation by the Silverpop, experts in Email Marketing. They argue that transactional emails, like confirmation emails of orders or registrations, are pretty badly used by companies. They don't seem to get a lot of the attention, even though they are highly read and appreciated by clients.

This is especially surprising since companies invest so much resources and money into promotional campaign emails. These are the emails that announces offers or new products or try make you buy your mom flowers for Mother's Day.

Have a look at Silverpop's presentation, before I show you a case-study below.
Transactional Email Best Practices
(View more presentations from Silverpop here)

Case Study: Dolce Gusto

I found this example of the above discussed when I was buying coffee on the e-commerce of Dolce Gusto by Nescafé. We have this coffee machine at home and I wanted to order some capsules.

Here's an example of a campaign email by Dolce Gusto. Click on it to enlarge.
As you can see, the email has a nice design. You can see they have put some thought and resources in it:
  • The branding is clear and recognizable.
  • The message is personalized ('Hola Stefaan').
  • It comes with a nice promotion.
  • It's got a strong call-to-action button.
  • The message expresses urgency ('Only today' / 'Sólo hoy').
  • 3 advantages of on-line buying are highlighted.

It's not the best promotional email, though: I don't tend to spend much attention to promotional emails, and since the promotion is only in the text, I confess I missed out of it until I retrieved it for this post.

Now here's the transactional email I received when placing my order. Click on it to enlarge.

As you can see, there is a big difference with the campaign email. Dolce Gusto's transactional email has a couple of flaws.
  • The email is text only. That shouldn't be an issue but becasue of this, the email doesn't have a recognizable branding or logo.
  • The title is not correct: it says 'Order of confirmation' instead of 'Confirmation of order'.
  • The email askes me to revise the order and in case of any error it invites me to enter to my profile and change it or give Dolce Gusto a call. However, it doesn't have a link to my profile, it doesn't tell me until when I can update my order or what telephone I have to call to.
  • It doesn't tell me when my order will arrive, which would be nice for a confirmation email.
  • The promotional email tells us about a Return Policy, but the transaction email doesn't say anything about it. 

¿Missed chance? 

Apart from the flaws mentioned above, Doce Gusto doesn't seem to take advantage of the opportunity this confirmation email gives them. As an active client, I can tell that I looked with more attention to this email than to all the promotional ones combined, so Nescafé could make a lot more out of it.

Here are some ideas for Dolce Gusto's Transactional Email:

Voice of Customer
  • Ask your client to rate his experience.
  • Ask what would help your client to spend more on your site.
  • Ask what new flavours or other products he'd like to try out.

Anticipate on questions by clients
  • Link to his profile where he can amend his order.
  • Tell the client if and how he can track his order.

Tell a friend

  • Ask your client to tell his friends on facebook, or to share his experience on twitter.

Keep in touch
  • Ask your client to follow on facebook or twitter.
  • Aks your client to update his profile, so you know where to find him for other occasions.

Sell more
There are all sorts of possibilities for selling more in these transaction emails. In this case, I ordered about 70 coffees just so i didn't have to pay shipping costs. This means I probably won't be buying again for a while. Unless, of course, you give me some sort of incentive to buy earlier. For instance: free shipping if I order in the next 3 weeks.

The funny thing is: it doesn't stop here. Dolce Gusto sent me a third email, and a second transactional email, the confirmation of the shipping. Click on it to enlarge the image.

It's a pretty good transactional email for the following reasons:

  • It has a good design, nicely readable.
  • It includes relevant information about the delivery of my order
  • It includes the indications for a tracking system of my order.
  • It gives a phone number and a link to a web-form for questions.

The email doesn't do anything outside the ordinary transaction email, but still: it's a nice email.

Why so diffent?

It's a mystery to me why I receive these 3 emails from different accounts (emailing@dolce-gusto.es, info@dolce-gusto.es and info@dolce-gusto.com) and why they are so different in approach. Just like Silverpop point out in their presentation, I guess the problem is that different departments are in charge of these emails: the promotional email looks very Marketing & Sales, the order-confirmation email is probably from the IT department and the shipping-confirmation will be responsibility of Delivery & Support.

There is another reason that makes me think that different departments are in charge. On the same day I received my order, I got a promotional email telling me that only for ordering that day I would receive 3 free samples. I ordered just 3 days too early, and didn't get this promotion! What an epic fail: for this promotion, Dolce Gusto could have filtered out the clients who recently ordered. Or they could have send me the samples anyway, knowing that I would probably be not very pleased.

Anyhow, time for a coffee now.

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