The post is Authored by Prashant Telang Founder Director of TransPacific Software . Transpacific Software is Mumbai India based firm specializing in eCommerce. Transpacific has worldwide leadership in establishing premium website for Diamond and jewelry industry For more info contact [email protected]
Auto generated e-mails are the most important feature of your eCommerce store. Unfortunately, it's also the most neglected one.This post gives you a checklist of Managing and testing auto-mails
Let's play a situation; Say a buyer orders an engagement ring from your online jewelry store. The order is complete; payment is through.then the customer waits for an order confirmation mail. But nothing comes through in her e-mail box. The customer is frustrated; she calls your help lines to check her order status. The operator in your office asks her for order number but the customer has nothing……. The story goes not.
The situations can be played in many permutations … the buyer gets a confirmation mail but its straight goes to her spam folder. Or the auto e-mail is so terribly formatted that it cannot be read on a mobile device.
Or in another situation a customer buys a merchandise and then for days he has no clue as to what is happening because you don’t have an auto-mail system to keep the buyer informed on order status.
If your auto-mail system is not in pink of its health the result may be disastrous: bad reviews frustrated customers loss of sales.
Here is a checklist for essential auto-mails.
Account registration: E-mail to a user on account registration with helpline toll-free number and your e-mail and physical address.
On order submission: Thanking him for the order with order details , payment details , order reference number , Helpline numbers and physical store address
On merchandise dispatch: e-mail client when merchandise is dispatched providing tracking number of the parcel and expected arrival date . Also provide link to your return policy
Inquiry/contact thank you mail: when a user submits an enquiry ; autoresponder should be fired to acknowledge receiving the same and expected date time when she will hear back.
Abandoned cart: auto e-mail should fire after 12-24 hours on user abandoning the cart offering help in case of any technical glitch
Payment failure: If the user’s payment is not through than an e-mail should be fired informing the user about it. Generally, such autoresponder is available with all established payment gateways. Check with your developer on how to activate it
Buyers complain that auto emails sent from my eCommerce store go to their spam mail.Why is it happening ? What can be done?
When an e-mail is received the receiving host eg. Gmail.com aol.com checks the mail through a matrix to authenticate its credibility. Some of these include checking SPF records , SMTP authentication , DKIM domain signature, text content within mail etc.
Your developer should ensure as many credibility checks are embedded within your mailing system as possible. The most important ones are
DKIM: Domain key
DKIM allows your server to verify incoming email and prevent incoming spam messages. This feature ensures that incoming messages are unmodified and are genuinely from the indicated sender.
DKIM records need to be added in Domain’s Zone file . An excellent documentation is available on https://support.google.com/a/answer/174124?hl=en on how to add DKIM (domain key) to Google Apps based mailing system. You can check with your hosting provider who will guide you in adding DKIM to you domain.
SPF: Sender Policy Framework
Adding a SPF record is good practice and if you are using third party mail servers like Google Apps , Zoho, etc to relay mail; SPF record adding is a must. SPF records are added in your DNS Zone files
The SPF system allows you to authorize servers and IP addresses to send mail from your domain(s). This feature prevents outgoing spam messages.
Relay from SMTP
Always use SMTP mailing server to send mail. Many programmers use php mailing function to relay emails which is without any authentication.
Checking If your mail /host in blacklisted
If you have resorted to indiscriminately sending bulk mail in the past your host ip/domain may be black listed . Or if you are on shared server someone else may have done spamming from your host ip before the ip was allotted to you. So always check if your ip/email/domain name is blacklisted.There are third part free services available to do a check like http://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx
How to cross verify my DKIM and SPF records?
How to test your auto emails
Testing e-mail account
First and the foremost avoid testing your auto mail on the same e-mail account where your domain is . For example, if your website is abc.com then don’t fire test order with test e-mail on [email protected]
For testing, purpose use an email from another domain eg. Gmail.com , yahoo.com etc.
Use at least 3-4 popular free email accounts as customer e-mails . Eg. Aol.com , gmail.com , yahoo.com hotmail.com
Check if any of these are marking your auto-mail it as spam. This is an important test to identify if your auto mail is getting identifies as spam. If it's getting marked as spam you need to check with your developer to deep dive and find out the reason.
Is your auto email responsive?
Check the received auto e-mail on multiple devices:
The auto mail may get opened on any device . Mostly on a mobile device like iPhone. Test the auto mail on as many devices as you can
Anatomy of a perfect auto mail
1) Is your auto mail subject line reading correctly? Should always carry the order number in the subject line eg. Your order 1234
2) Is your auto mail correctly formatted and conveys your branding with your logo and website theme colors. shabbily designed auto emails will convey a wrong message to your prospect.
3) Does you auto mail has Helpline numbers prominently displayed?
4) Your auto mail can also up-sale with You may also like feature