I don’t know about you, but I get an average of four marketing emails from Amazon every single day.

There are the Kindle offers for $1, news about Kindle First, Daily or Monthly Deals, and Recommended for You offers. Some of these go into my main inbox, some end up in Gmail’s Promotions tab, and others in my spam folder.

When I place an actual order through Amazon, I often don’t spot the order confirmation email because it’s lost in my inbox or I’ve accidentally deleted it along with many others.

Imagine how your customers feel when it’s your brand bombarding them with emails. They may really like your B2C brand and don’t mind most of the emails you send, but the inbox is always crowded. It’s possible for crucial transactional emails confirming purchases or deliveries to be lost in all the noise.

So what’s the solution? It’s simple — stop using email so much!

Instead of sending out transactional emails, try using an AI-powered chatbot or mobile push notifications for far better results. By switching up the channel, you’ll be more likely to reach your buyers and you’ll free up space in the inbox at the same time.

Move beyond email

We’re not suggesting you stop confirming purchases and don’t let customers know when an item is out for delivery. That would be an obvious mistake. Just don’t use bulk email for these specific communications with your buyers. Instead, try sending transactional information in a different channel such as:

  • A text message
  • A message via Facebook Messenger
  • A push notification
  • An AI chatbot
  • …or another similar platform depending on your audience

When your buyer has completed an order, for example, send an automated message with the confirmation number and delivery tracking information. Then when the item has shipped, send them another push notification on the channel of their choice to let them know it’s out for delivery. You can follow that up with a message asking how they liked your product and if they’d like to write a review sharing what they thought.

Always get your buyer’s permission first

However, you can’t just go sending push notifications left and right. Just like with transactional email, the best practice is to get your buyers to opt-in first. Privacy is a major issue for consumers today and your customers are going to be hyper-aware of how you use their data and how you contact them. It’s crucial that your customers actually opt-in before you start sending them Facebook or text messages.

Ask them whether they want to opt in when they place their order and ask again when you send the first message. This will ensure that your customers actually want to use this channel and will read the messages when you send them. Not everyone actively uses Facebook, for example, so you want to make sure this channel is effective. This will also ensure your buyers won’t feel like you’re invading their privacy or misusing their data.

Even if a customer has opted in to receive messages via chatbot for transactional and shipping purchases, that doesn’t give you free rein to start sending any kind of messages in this channel. Don’t start bombarding buyers with promotional messages after they receive their product. Push notifications can be invasive, and using them poorly will lose you customers or even land you in legal hot water.

It’s also important that you back up and link the automated experience with an easily accessible, real-life customer service rep who can add a human touch when the customer has questions or problems during the process. This ensures the best possible experience for your customers.

Examples of transactional push notifications

If you’re not completely sure about moving from emails to push notifications and bots, we understand. It can be nerve-wracking to make such a big change to a vital part of your business. But there are companies already using push notification successfully and you can see exactly what it looks like when done well.

One example is food delivery service GrubHub. Instead of emailing confirmation information or leaving customers to guess when their takeout will arrive, the company monitors the delivery time of your order and sends push notifications with real-time status updates.

GrubHubMobilePush

Boston-based wine app Drync is another example of a company making good use of push notifications. Instead of emailing a customer when the wine they ordered is available, they send them a push notification to tell them it’s ready to pick up in store. They also send push notifications when a wine a customer requested becomes available.

DryncMobilePush

These are just a few examples, but it’s easy to see how many different B2C brands can make use of this same type of message to their buyers.

What are the benefits for my brand?

The benefits really all come back to decluttering the inbox. Even if I really love a brand, I still find myself getting annoyed when I get too many emails and may decide to unsubscribe. This is true even if I’m receiving super useful emails like coupons or news that the price has dropped on an item I’m interested in. You can have too much of a good thing! If I’m so overwhelmed that I miss an important transactional email like a shipping notification, it’s not a good customer experience and will negatively affect my opinion of that brand.

But if your customers expect to get delivery notifications via text message or Facebook Messenger, they’ll be sure to check that channel and they can separate these alerts from the other promotional emails they receive from you. It will make your brand stand out and create a more personal connection with the customer, as well as allowing them to store and access all transactional information in one place.

This also gives you another channel to interact with your buyers on that they may use more than email, which feeds right into your omnichannel marketing strategy. In fact, the open rates for push notifications are generally much higher than for emails. It’s key to make sure you’re sending the right message through the right channel at the right time, which will differ according to each customer. But overall, using push notifications for transactional messages makes sense because it’s more immediate, easy to see, and simpler for the buyer.

If you want to provide better customer service, improve the shopping experience, diversify your omnichannel strategy, and give your email marketing campaigns a boost all at the same time, then it’s worth investing in transactional push notifications and chatbots.

Karen McCandless

Karen McCandless is a content strategist, digital analyst, and researcher, specializing in business communications, and technology. Her work has appeared on The Next Web, Softonic, Business2Community, GetApp.com, Business.com, and Microsoft Europe.