Is My Email Transactional?

The following table explains what types of emails are considered to be transactional.

Email Message Type/Content Is It Transactional? Additional Info
Abandoned cart Yes If a contact has a status of Active, you can send them abandoned cart emails and an abandoned cart email series. If the contact has a status of Transactional, you can only send them a one time abandoned cart email. That email should identify the sender and contain an unsubscribe link. You cannot send them an abandoned cart email series as marketing messages. You should not send Abandoned cart emails to individuals who are from jurisdictions that require Opt-In consent.
Account creation Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person that their account has been activated.
Account status Yes This type of transactional email is used notify a person of a change in the recipient standing or status (subscription, membership, account balance, etc.)
Bid Yes The type of transactional email is used to notify a person when they initially bid on something (i.e. - eBay). A transactional email should not be used to notify the person of subsequent bids. It's also OK to send a transactional email notifying the person that they did or did not win the bid.
Billing Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of a rejected transaction, payment notification, or overdue payment.
Change in terms Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of a change in the terms of service/usage for a product they have purchased.
Shipping Confirmation Yes This type of transactional email is used to confirm that a product was received. The email must include a reference or order number and indicate the product that was purchased. It is acceptable to ask the customer if they were satisfied with the purchase process.
Contest winner Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person that they won a contest. This email should only be sent to the winner.
Employer to employee Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify employees of pertinent company information, such as benefit changes and updates. Newsletters are not considered transactional emails.
Gift card notifications Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a gift card recipient that they have a gift card coming.
Gift card balance Yes This type of transactional email is used to remind someone of their balance on their gift card. This is considered an account balance notification.
Legal notifications Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of any legal actions directly pertaining to a product they have purchased.
Out of stock/delay in order Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person that an item is back in stock, back on order, delayed, or out of stock.
Password reset Yes Responses to password reset requests are considered transactional messages.
Policy update Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of changes to terms or a policy expiration notice.
Product features Yes This type of transactional email is used to show a person how to use a product they have purchased. This should be a one time email.
Product recall Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of a product recall. It should be specific to a product the person purchased.
Rebate Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of a rebate. It should be specific to a product the person purchased.
Refund Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of a refund. It should be specific to a product the person purchased.
Rewards program Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of a rewards program. It should not be used in a series of emails.
Safety or security Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of any safety or security issues regarding a product they purchased.
Warranty information Yes This type of transactional email is used to notify a person of warranty information regarding a product they purchased.
Welcome emails Yes Welcome emails should be sent as transactional emails. They should identify the sender, contain an unsubscribe link and only be sent once.
Birthday/anniversary notification No Birthday activities such as special birthday discounts are considered marketing messages.
Enhancements to product, web page, service, etc. No Enhancements should be sent via marketing emails or announced on a web page.
Feedback No Comments on postings or feedback on products are not considered transactional.
Forward to a friend Maybe It is acceptable to send a person a one time transactional email encouraging them to share an article. The email must show a link to the article. The person who receives this transactional email cannot be added to any marketing stream or marketing lists. This type of transactional email should not be used to entice the person to join or participate in something.
Invitations No Invitations are considered marketing messages since they are not solicited by the contact.
Product reviews No Product reviews fall under the same category as surveys. It is acceptable to send a person a one time transactional email encouraging them to write a review. If there are complaints, then this privilege may be revoked.
Reminders No Appointment reminders, offer expirations, and time-running-out emails are not considered transactional emails.
Re-orders No Reminders to re-order are marketing messages.
Surveys No Surveys fall under the same category as product reviews. It is acceptable to send a person a one time transactional email encouraging them to take a survey. If there are complaints, then this privilege may be revoked.
Tell a friend No This type of email is not considered transactional because it is a marketing message and is not related to a specific transaction between the company and that friend/person.
Thank you No Thank you messages are considered marketing messages as long as the message is not related to a specific transaction.
Wish-list Maybe This type of email is considered transactional if you are sending the person who created the wish list a reminder that they have a wish list pending. It is not considered a transactional email if the person forwards their wish list to a friend.