Even though transactional emails see 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email — and can generate 6x more revenue — it’s shocking to see how many companies fall short. In our unboxing blog series we take a look at the transactional emails of the biggest and most popular retailers. Join us to see what’s working, what’s not, and apply these learnings to your own transactional emails.


Kicking Things Off with adidas

Adidas was founded in Germany in 1949 by Adolf Dassler, whose nickname was “Adi.” He combined this with his last name to form the globally recognized household name “adidas.” Headquartered in Bavaria, adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest in the world, with an estimated 2016 revenue of 19 billion.

A closer look at adidas’ marketing collateral shows several running themes (pun intended). They focus on urban style, partnering with hip hop artists like Young Thug and using the #CRAZY hashtag. Then there is the obvious international sports tie-in, with promotions for events like the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

Adidas also does a great job with seasonality. Rolling into the winter season, a lot of their imagery depicts athletes running through snow and ice. The muted color schemes and simple black and white photography have a serious feel, which caters nicely to their audience, a segment of people who are serious about their fitness and performance.

Adidas marketing collateral

The adidas Purchase Experience

Adidas’ branding is clearly on point, but how do their transactional emails size up? The MailCharts data team found out by purchasing a pair of tennis wristbands for $8.00 with free shipping.

Today we’ll unbox not only the product, but the email purchase experience as well. From the time of purchase through the first 30 days, adidas sent us 16 emails, which equates to about one email every other day. This is much less aggressive than Zulily’s 37, but is still a nice cadence and gets their message across.

To see all the emails sent to a purchaser, as well as the timing and delay between emails, sign up for MailCharts.

Now we’ll take a deep dive into adidas’ Order Confirmation email, Shipping Notification, as well as a post-purchase discount email.  


Game On: The Order Confirmation

adidas order confirmation email

We love the header copy “Game On,” in this first email. It’s very on-brand for adidas and is much more stylish than the generic “Thank you for your order” messaging that many e-tailers use.

Another uncommon but helpful thing this Order Confirmation email does is include a “Track Order” CTA. This enables users to keep tabs on their order from the get-go — rather than having to hunt through their inbox for the shipping and tracking information.

We also like the way adidas includes a photo of the product we purchased as a user-friendly visual confirmation. The Order Summary is pretty on-point, one nitpick is that we would like to have seen the last four digits of the card we used rather than just “Visa.” Most customers are going to have multiple Visa cards in their wallet, so this could prevent confusion.

Under the “Talk to us” subhead, adidas includes a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. This is a great move: we feel that customers are more likely to leave feedback about their experience right after they’re done shopping.

We also like that the recommended products don’t include prices. This prevents the email from feeling overly salesy.

Overall, this email looks great but it’s a bit busy. One of the main contributors is the inclusion of the “Men, Women, Kids” and Store Finder callouts in both the header and footer. These links are no doubt beneficial from a discovery standpoint, but it makes us wonder: Are both necessary?

The Support section in the footer is absolutely vital. We would even suggest replacing the “Men, Women, Kids” banner above it with a larger and more detailed Support section to improve customer experience.

The next day we received the Shipping Notification email.


A High Performance Shipping Notification

adidas shipping email

As with the header copy in the Order Confirmation, adidas is on-brand again with “Are you ready?” and “Get warmed up.” The copy, links and CTA that follow are a brilliant, proactive execution of information. The parenthetical reminder that tracking info takes 24 hours to update, the manage order link, the “Track Order” CTA, and the FedEx Delivery Manager link all work together to answer common questions that customers will have.

The Delivery Summary also does a great job of presenting clear information. We love the large estimated delivery date, the truck icon to reinforce the shipping message, and the delivery address, so that we know when and where everything will be happening.

Our biggest bone to pick with this Shipping Notification email is that two of the four recommended products are repeats from the Order Confirmation email. This begs the question: If we weren’t interested in those products the first time, why would we be a second time? Offer us some different products, adidas!

Three days later we received a post-purchase promotional email.


The “Hurry Back” Email

adidas discount email


This next message from adidas feels a lot more salesy because of the large, blue “15% off” message, the coupon look, and multiple “SHOP NOW” CTAs.

Aside: Compare this email to Anthropologie’s birthday email. While both emails offer 15% off, Anthropologie’s creative direction feels much less salesy.

This email does, however, do its job. They’re acknowledging that we bought something and are encouraging us with a 15% off promotion to shop more. Not only does this email help nudge customers who may have been on the fence about a certain product to buy it, but it can also lead to a faster second purchase, which is a really important metric.

In the fine print of the footer, adidas explains exactly when the discount will expire, but we wish that they’d included that info as part of the body copy.

Then our product arrived.


The adidas Unboxing Experience

adidas shipping package

Adidas could be doing a lot better with their packaging design. Right now it’s very generic and unbranded. (It might be helpful for them to take a few tips from NET-A-PORTER).


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The package contents are pretty bare bones as well. Adidas included a packing slip and the wristbands, which look like they’ve just been pulled off the rack.


The Cool Down

Adidas is doing a lot of great things with their purchaser experience, from detail-packed emails to on-brand copy and images. Their emails tend to get a bit busy, so we would suggest paring them down a bit and beefing up the actual product packaging to balance out the experience.

To see all of the emails from this purchase experience and to find detailed email insights from 30,000+ other companies, join MailCharts today!

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