Email optimization and marketing isn’t all about newsletters or abandoned cart campaigns – the most effective email can often be a simple order confirmation notification. If your business’s transactional emails aren’t delivering on time to everyone, you’re missing out on marketing opportunities and may end up frustrating many of your customers. That’s why you need an effective transactional email provider for your online business; without it, your customers will feel left in the dark and may abandon your store altogether. Let’s go through the best transactional email providers that you should consider integrating into your online store.
What are Transactional Emails?
If you’ve ever made an account on a website or bought something online, you’ve probably received and email about it; these are transactional emails. Transactional emails can be defined as emails sent to customers in response to specific actions taken, usually after a purchase or account creation. These emails are personalized and a form of email automation, triggered by any “transaction” that may take place. While transactional emails can, hypothetically, be triggered by any action, they’re typically used for:
- Order & shipping confirmations
- Tracking number notifications
- Invoices and receipts
- Password resets
- Account creation welcome emails
While transactional emails are not purely marketing emails, since they serve a more practical purpose for the customer, they can be used as an opportunity for marketing when done right. When your starting an online store, or any business that deals with customer relationships via email, it’s important that you optimize the customer experience at every angle.
Benefits of Effective Transactional Emails
Builds Trust in Your Customers
By sending your customers transactional emails that give them all the information they need about their account or purchase in a timely manner, you’re building an unbreakable trust in them. Customers always want to feel as included as possible in the process of their order, so it’s important to include them every step of the way by sending transactional emails that are detailed and frequent enough. You’ll also be alleviating customer questions and concerns – they won’t need to be constantly asking where their order is, because you’ve already sent them an email with tracking information.
Boosts Customer Engagement
Your transactional emails should be custom, personalized messages to your customers. Other than making them feel special, you’re also encouraging continued engagement with your brand – even after they’ve received their product.
Increases Additional Sales
Speaking of post-purchase emails, an effective transactional email sent at the right time can encourage customers to buy more while informing them of their current purchase. Include “People also bought” products in your order confirmation email – customers may see something else that they like, or they may remember something that they forgot to purchase. As a bonus, offer bundled shipping if they purchase a complimentary product within a certain time limit of receiving the email.
Fosters Brand Recognition
Transactional emails are a powerful opportunity to make a lasting branding impression on your customers. With an unbranded transactional email, customers won’t think twice about your brand – all that’s on their mind is the product they bought. But, with thorough and cohesive branding displayed on your emails, you’ll remind customers who they bought that product from and implant a visual memory. This technique is vital for encouraging repeat sales and ensures that your customer’s buyer journey is a fully branded experience.
Best eCommerce Transactional Email Providers
Transactional email providers offer more than a typical email provider, like Gmail or Outlook. Typically, good transactional email providers give webmasters access to an API and SMTP that’s easy to integrate into any website. They also should offer beneficial features, such as email personalization and deliverability statistics. Let’s go through the top 10 best eCommerce transactional email providers so you can find the perfect solution for your business.
Founded in 2012, Sendinblue is an all-in-one marketing SaaS solution that specializes in email marketing and relationship management. The cloud-based solution provides services for transactional emails, email marketing, CRM, marketing automation, and much more.
- Free Plan: $0/month; 300 emails per day (9k/month)
- Lite Plan: $25/month; 40k emails/month
- Essential Plan: $39/month; 60k emails/month
- Premium Plan: $66/month to $173/month; 120k emails to 350k emails/month
While Sendinblue does much more than transactional emails, it’s feature set for them isn’t weak by any standard. You’ll have access to their API, SMTP relay, and SMS so you can send your transactional emails any way that you want. Emails are easy to design with their drag-and-drop editor and selection of design templates. Emails are personalized with dynamic content utilizing their advanced templating language.
Deliverability is a priority for Sendinblue; they ensure that your emails will be delivered fast and reliably with access to real-time engagement and deliverability statistics. If your plan covers more than 350,000 emails, you’ll also have access to a dedicated IP, which is important for managing your sending reputation.
Since Sendinblue includes more than just transactional emails in their service, you’re able to utilize their A/B testing, retargeting ads, Facebook ads, marketing automation, SMS marketing and more. However, these features are only available on the more expensive plans.
Sendinblue’s free plan offers a decent amount of free emails, giving you the ability to send about 9,000 emails per month for free. Compared to several other services, this is a generous number.
With Sendinblue’s service, you’ll have access to built-in features that go beyond transactional emails, such as email marketing campaign tools. This makes Sendinblue an effective and affordable option for those looking for an all-in-one email solution.
2. Amazon SES
A subsidiary of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon SES is a cloud-based email sending service that allows you to send notification, marketing and transactional emails. Amazon SES is used by businesses such as Siemens, HBO, and Vodafone, and is known as one of the best cost-effective solutions for transactional emails.
- $0 for the first 62,000 emails each month
- $0.10 for every 1,000 emails after
Since Amazon SES is an Amazon service, it’s sure to be feature-packed and reliable. Amazon SES guarantees high deliverability and gives users access to email content personalization, email activity monitoring, flexible email receiving, multiple email sending interfaces, ISP authentication, and a dedicated IP address. If you’re already using AWS, then Amazon SES is a perfect solution to you as it integrates seamlessly with services like Amazon EC2, Amazon SNS and more.
Amazon SES is, by fair, the least expensive option on this list, making it a cost-effective option for small companies that need a Pay-As-You-Go pricing model. The Amazon SES service is also built on Amazon’s reliable and scalable infrastructure.
However, keep in mind that customer support is extremely limited. Also, users have reported that their email blasts take an extended period of time to fully deliver to ever user, so you may want to send your emails in chunks if you have a large contact list.
Straight-forward and affordable, Postmark is a transactional email service built by WildBit, a software development company also responsible for Conveyor and Beanstalk. Postmark is used by companies such as Ikea, Minecraft, UNICEF, and Moz.
- Free Developer Plan: $0/month, 100 test emails/month
- 10,000 Emails: $10/month + $1.25 for every 1,000 extra emails
- 50,000 Emails: $50/month + $1 for every 1,000 extra emails
- 125,000 Emails: $100/month + $0.85 for every 1,000 extra emails
- 300,000 Emails: $200/month + $0.60 for every 1,000 extra emails
- 700,000 Emails: $400/month + $0.45 for every 1,000 extra emails
- 1,500,000 Emails: $700/month + $0.35 for every 1,000 extra emails
- 3,000,000 Emails: $900/month + $0.30 for every 1,000 extra emails
- 5,000,000 Emails: $1,200/month + $0.25 for every 1,000 extra emails
Postmark comes with a long list of important transactional email features that’ll ensure the deliverability and effectiveness of your messaging. With their API and SMTP available, users can send emails with high deliverability rates supported by redundant data centers, geographic load balancing and IP reputation management.
Emails are easy to customize using their built-in email templates, which are simple to edit with freely available code. You’ll have access to high level reporting and analytics as well, being able to look through 45 days of full content message history. No bounce or click will go unnoticed with Postmark via their webhooks and email tagging system.
Postmark’s prices are relatively low and affordable for the amount of emails that you get every month. However, their free plan is one of the most limited on this list, only allowing for 100 emails per month – it’s clearly meant for testing purposes only in that regard.
With so many varied pricing tiers, it’s easy to pay for what you need and nothing more. However, it isn’t passed on a Pay-As-You-Go model or sliding scale.
Founded in 2010, Mailgun is an all-in-one intelligent email delivery platform. Mailgun is used for email by companies such as GitHub, Lyft, and Reddit.
- Flex Plan: $0 for 3 months & 5,000 emails; $0.80 for every 1,000 extra emails and $1.20 for every 100 validations (Pay-As-You-Go model)
- Foundation Plan: $35/month for 50,000 emails to $75/month for 100,000 emails
- Growth Plan: $80/month for 100,000 emails to $650/month for 1 million emails
- Scale Plan: $90/month for 100,000 emails to $1,250/month for 2.5 million emails
- Enterprise Services: Custom pricing for over 2.5 million emails
Mailgun gives users access to their powerful API and SMTP to send transactional and marketing emails. With advanced features like suppression management, email address validations, inbox placement tests, and send time optimization, you’ll always be sending emails to the right people at the right time. Keep track of your deliverability with their email tracking and analytics, email receiving reports, up to 30 days of log retention and 7-day message retention.
Mailgun’s pricing is highly customizable, utilizing a sliding scale based on the features you want and how many emails you need to send. Their Flex Plan also operates on a Pay-As-You-Go model, which gives merchants flexibility in choosing what best serves their unique business needs.
However, it’s important to note that Mailgun doesn’t offer a true free plan; their Flex Plan is only free for 3 months and offers almost half of what most other services offer for free regarding email limits.
Created in 2010 and based in Paris, Mailjet is a cloud-based all-in-one email platform, offering transactional and marketing email solutions to businesses. Mailjet is the preferred email service for companies like Microsoft, Honeywell, and Product Hunt.
- Free Plan: $0/month; 6,000 emails/month (200 emails per day)
- Basic Plan: $9.25/month to $333.95/month; 30,000 emails to 900,000 emails/month
- Premium Plan: $20.95/month to $398.95/month; 30,000 emails to 900,000 emails/month
- Enterprise Plan: Customized offer; over 900,000 emails/month
Using SMTP relay and their Send API, you can use Mailjet to send customizable and reliable transactional emails. Emails can be personalized with their drag-and-drop email editor and templating language, which can be viewed through their expert email preview. Monitor your email’s performance with real-time sending statistics, monitoring alerts, and bounce block tracking.
With a deliverability support team at the ready, and dedicated IPs available, your emails will reach inboxes in seconds. Mailjet also offers email marketing services and transactional SMS messaging as part of their service.
Mailjet’s free plan is quite generous compared to most other services on this list, offering about 6,000 free emails per month (at 200 per day). Their feature-set is also robust, including a variety of marketing features alongside their transactional email service.
Designed by cloud communications platform Twilio, SendGrid is customer communication for marketing and transactional emails based in Colorado. The SendGrid service is used by companies like Uber, Spotify, Glassdoor, Airbnb and Yelp.
- Free Plan: $0/month; 40,000 emails for 30 days, then 100/day forever
- Essentials Plan: $14.95/month to $29.95/month; 50,000 emails to 100,000 emails/month
- Pro 100k: $89.95/month; 100,000 emails/month
- Pro 300k: $249/month; 300,000 emails/month
- Pro 700k: $449/month; 700,000 emails/month
- Premier Plan: Custom pricing; 1.5 million or more emails; 5,000 email validations
Using their API and SMTP, users can use SendGrid to send high-deliverability transactional emails to customers. Everything is customizable in SendGrid, from transactional email templates to domains and links. You’ll be able to constantly monitor your sent emails using recipient engagement data or viewing email activity history for up to 30 days.
Email deliverability is reliable with SendGrid’s deliverability expert team monitoring while your service stays secure through two-factor authentication, teammate permissions, API key permissions, IP access management and more.
Pricing for SendGrid operates on a sliding scale depending on how many emails you need to send every month, making it a highly customizable option that should fit most business’s needs. Their free plan starts out with a generous 40,000 emails in the first month but drops to 3,000 per month after that – clearly, it’s intended as a trial to entice you into paying for a subscription to keep the high number they give you originally.
7. Elastic Email
Elastic Email is both an email marketing platform and email API, packaged as separate services. While both are quality, we’ll only be taking a look at their email API service for the purposes of this blog. The Elastic Email platform is trusted by companies like Brightmettrics, ScheduleOnce, and Adclick.
- Free Plan: $0/month; 100 emails/day
- Email API Plan: $0.09 per 1,000 emails (Pay-As-You-Go model)
- Email API Pro Plan: $1/day + $0.09 per 1,000 emails (Pay-As-You-Go model)
Elastic Email has an extensive feature set that’s split between it’s two paid plans. With the Email API plan, you have access to SMTP and HTTP API, as well as SMS API. You can track emails with open/clicked tracking, unsubscribe management, 7-day email logs, detailed activity tracking and geolocation tracking.
With Email API Pro, you’ll also be able to utilize unlimited custom fields, extended email logs, webhook notifications, custom domain branding, sub-accounts, unlimited API keys and more.
Both plans allow you access to their full suite of email design, which comes with a template gallery, drag and drop design tools, social media widgets, dynamic content and a raw HTML editor.
The Pay-As-You-Go model that Elastic Email offers makes it one of the most affordable options on this list – 100,000 emails would only cost you $9! For more advanced features, the Email API Pro Plan adds about $30 per month, which is still extremely affordable relative to most other services.
Started in 2015 as a Netcore Solutions product, Pepipost is an email delivery service that specializes in transaction, notification and newsletter emails. Pepipost is used by more than 20,000 businesses, including Tokopedia, Seek Asia, and Traveloka.
- Free Trial: $0 for 30 days & 30,000 emails; 100 emails/day for free forever afterwards
- 150,000 Emails: $25/month + $0.60 per 1,000 extra emails
- 400,000 Emails: $85/month + $0.55 per 1,000 extra emails
- 600,000 Emails: $145/month + $0.55 per 1,000 extra emails
- 1,000,000 Emails: $245/month + $0.45 per 1,000 extra emails
- 2,000,000 Emails: $445/month + $0.40 per 1,000 extra emails
- Over 2,000,000: Custom pricing
Pepipost gives developers access to their email API and SMTP, which enables them to set up integrated email delivery. Monitor your emails with real-time reports, bounce notifications, 7 days of message event history, 90 days of searchable history, webhooks and more.
Using artificial intelligence and dynamic email delivery, Pepipost works to get all of your emails delivered correctly and on time. With strong data security and 24/7 live chat support, Pepipost is a reliable option for your business’s transactional emails.
Like SendGrid, Pepipost’s free plan is clearly meant to be more of a trial – you have 30,000 free emails for the first 30 days, and then are limited to 100 emails per day afterwards forever. However, unlike SendGrid, Pepipost offers pricing tiers that are much more inexpensive for high email volumes.
Founded in 1997, SparkPost is a predictive email intelligence platform that provides users a reliable way to send emails through API integration. SparkPost is the email service of choice for companies like Zillow and ZipRecruiter.
- Free Test Account
- Starter Plan: $20/month to $30/month; 50,000 emails to 100,000 emails/month; $1 to $0.85 for every 1,000 extra emails
- Premier Plan: $75/month to $535/month; 100,000 emails to 1 million emails/month; $0.85 to $0.55 for every 1,000 extra emails
- Enterprise Plan: Custom pricing, over 5 million emails/month
SparkPost mainly focuses on its delivery and analytics features through it’s email API and integration. Users will get email performance signals, real-time analytics and performance data, real-time alerts and more to keep track of their emails. SparkPost boats bout their reliable email deliverability and 99.9% uptime reliability, also using their Adaptive Delivery technology to aggregate real-time data to optimize delivery.
SparkPost works on a semi-sliding scale for payment structure with affordable prices relative to the rest of the entries on this list. The plan you choose with ultimately come down to the features you want, which are split between the Starter and Premium plan.
One downside of SparkPost’s service is its limited support; only documentation and ticket submission are available.
10. Mandrill by Mailchimp
Offered as a paid add-on for Mailchimp, Mandrill is an email infrastructure service for use in sending personalized and automated transactional emails.
Paying for Mandrill is more complicated than most other services because it requires you to have a paid Mailchimp subscription, which can range anywhere from $9.99/month to $299/month. Mandrill is a paid add-on for Mailchimp, so in addition to your MailChimp subscription, you’ll need to pay for Mandrill by purchasing “blocks” of 25,000 emails for $25 each. The more blocks you buy at once, the less you’ll pay for each block; for example, 1 million emails would cost $720/month. Emails from purchased blocks expire at the end of each month, so only buy the amount that you think you need.
Offering an impressive list of email features, Mandrill is designed for effective transactional emails. Users have access to advanced data via a searchable activity log, automatic & custom tagging, split testing, comparative reports, webhooks and more.
Emails are customizable in every way, with custom metadata, templates and dynamic HTML content, custom tracking domains, automatic text and HTML conversion, a built-in rules engine and more.
Mandrill works as a seamless add-on for Mailchimp, so if you’re already using them for your business, Mandrill would be a good choice for you. The integration allows for easy sharing of your contact data from your email campaigns to your transactional emails.
Pricing is customizable based on their unique block structure; however, there is no free option available, and it’s a bit of a downside that you’re forced to pay for Mailchimp in order to use the Mandrill service. This makes Mandrill one of the most expensive options on this list. Support is also relatively limited, so you may run into problems that you’ll have to troubleshoot yourself.
There’s a lot of things that go into what makes a transactional email provider good: high rates of deliverability, advanced statistics and monitoring, email personalization and customization, easy integration into your website, etc. But, other factors like pricing and email volume should also be taken into consideration – you don’t want to end up paying for more emails than you need, or find that you’re hitting your email limit too early.
Think about how many emails you expect to be sending out every day, based on your current (or predicted) customer base. Use this information to make the right decision when it comes to the transactional email provider you choose for your online store. At the end of the day, the provider you choose will help you create effective emails that boost conversions, increase sales and make customers happy.