Welcome to our monthly Email Hall of Fame / Hall of Shame, highlighting some the best and worst transactional and triggered emails.

This month’s selection features emails from IKEA, Postmates, Airbnb, and more. We hope you enjoy them — and learn from them — as much as we do.

Hall of Fame:

Who:

Postmates, the delivery-on-demand company

What’s Good:

Everything? It’s a gift card delivery confirmation that includes nothing extraneous and everything that matters: who it was sent to and at what email address, how much it was for, what the personalized message said, and how it was paid for.

What’s Exceptional:

The email copy is clear and concise, and the design reflects Postmates’ pared-down, easy-to-use website experience. And the call-to-action, to send another card, is perfect — it’s straightforward but unobtrusive, and completely relevant.

Who:

Airbnb, the accommodation marketplace

What’s Good:

This is a booking confirmation email that includes all the pertinent information, including who, what, where, when, and for how much. It also includes links to view the address and receipt, as well as a main CTA to view all trip information.

What’s Exceptional:

Airbnb does transactional email extremely well, including this one. Every email they send, without fail, accurately reflects the brand experience of their website, which is itself beautifully designed. From the logo to the images to the overall look and feel, their emails provide an exceptional and consistent brand experience.

Who:

Nokia/Withings Health Mate, the activity and health tracker app

What’s Good:

This is an opt-in ‘weekly report’ app notification, providing stats based on the previous week’s usage of the product. It provides basic activity and health stats for the week, including week-over-week changes, with a clear CTA to open the app to learn more.

What’s Exceptional:

That cross-sell offer at the bottom, for the brand’s smartwatch, is awesome. This is something too few brands take advantage of — the opportunity to leverage triggered and transactional emails to present relevant cross and upsell offers. These are emails that are sent to customers who are already engaged — they’ve either already signed up and are using your app, as in this example, or they’ve already made a purchase. As a result, transactional and triggered emails have exceptionally high open and click-through rates, making them fertile ground for furthering customer relationships and driving growth. And in this email, that’s exactly what Nokia/Withings is doing.

Hall of Shame:

Who:

Rogers Wireless, the Canadian cell phone company

What’s Bad:

What the heck, Rogers? There’s definitely something screwy with the layout of those bullet points, all scrunched up on the right like that. The footer appears to have a few problems as well. These are issues that never should have made it past QA.

But beyond all that, the reservation details are sort of helpful but they’re missing the one thing the customer probably cares most about — when to expect delivery. And some information about the actual product, including an image, would not be out of place here. The same is true for a relevant offer or two. This customer has just reserved an Apple Watch — what better time to offer accessories or a plan upgrade?

This is also an example of what we refer to as a dead end email — aside from two, obscure text links, one pointing to some FAQs and the to the site, there is no CTA. There’s nothing to keep the customer engaged, nothing to get them excited about the new gadget they’ve just reserved.

Who:

Shaw, the Canadian telecommunications company

What’s Bad:

This email was sent to a Shaw Business customer, notifying them that possible disruptions to the postal service could affect delivery of paper bills. On the surface, that sounds pretty reasonable. But not so reasonable when you realize the email was sent to a customer who was already signed up for eBilling, and had been for a long time. For this customer, and others like them, the email is completely irrelevant.

Whether the email was sent to all customers due to laziness or due to siloed data making it ‘too difficult’ to segment based on current eBill status doesn’t really matter. They boil down to the same thing: a poor customer experience for those customers already receiving electronic bills.

Not only that, the email is less than clear. It contains way too much information, much of it contradictory. To sign up, which of the three ‘My Shaw’ links do I click? Or do I ignore them all and go for clicking ‘here’ instead? Or maybe it’s none of them and I have to send an email to the address provided?

Some short and to-the-point copy, with a single, obvious [Sign up for eBill] CTA, would have been so much better. But the first step should definitely have been excluding current eBill customers from the recipient list.

Who:

IKEA, the furniture, appliance, and home accessories retailer

What’s Bad:

That broken logo. IKEA is a huge international brand. They’ve been the world’s largest furniture retailer since 2008. And they’re sending order confirmation emails with broken logo images. Sigh.

But there’s even more about this email that’s shameworthy. It also includes:

  • A link to ‘click here to subscribe to our email list’ that’s not actually a link at all. And even if it were hyperlinked, it’s not particularly relevant. Especially not relevant enough to warrant placement in the first paragraph.
  • Instructions to ‘contact us as soon as possible if any [order] details are incorrect’, but with no easy or obvious way to do that. The only option is a tiny telephone number in the footer, which is neither easy nor obvious.
  • No CTA at all. There isn’t even a link to ‘my account’ or to ‘view order online’ —  just very small hyperlinks to the IKEA terms, return policy, and to view some offers.

This email from IKEA is a prime example of the fact that it’s often some of the biggest, most established brands who struggle with transactional emails. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you have any transactional emails you’d like to suggest for either the Hall of Fame or the Hall of Shame, we’d love to see them. Simply forward them to team@dyspatch.io.