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.


Trying on Chico’s

Chico’s began in 1983 as a small boutique in Sanibel Island, Florida selling Mexican folk art and cotton sweaters. They’ve since expanded to 700 boutiques nationwide selling all manner of contemporary women’s apparel, jewelry and accessories. They also run an ecommerce site, Chicos.com.  

Chico’s marketing has a different task than other e-tailers we’ve examined like Sephora, who solely market products. Chico’s ads, emails and social posts are charged with selling a lifestyle. Note in the image below, their models always look incredibly happy and carefree, like they’re having a lot of fun. Their marketing material features tons of lifestyle photography that works hard to sell the idea, “This is what life is like in our clothes.”

Chico’s is also very seasonally focused. Many of their ads feature not only vibrant holiday reds and golds, but they even take it one step further with gift boxes and Thanksgiving scenes. This tactic makes sense for a company trying to push holiday party clothes.

chico's ads, chico's marketing


The Chico’s Purchase Experience

Chico’s marketing efforts effuse a vibrant, fun-loving feeling, but do their transactional emails project the same? The MailCharts data team tested this question by purchasing a pair of lace pants for $9.98 plus 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, Chico’s sent us 24 emails, which is the same as Dillards, but slightly more aggressive than other retailers in our unboxing series.

To see more of the Chico’s 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 three of Chico’s transactional emails.


A Seasonal Welcome Email

chico's welcome email

One quick thing to note before jumping in: Chico’s sent four emails the first day. Although each email served a different purpose, this is a bit of an overkill.

After receiving several account-related emails, Chico’s sends us this Welcome email with a 20% discount. Since we joined their mailing list by purchasing, it’d be great to see Chico’s suppress the welcome discount email for purchasers — or at least tweak the copy to mention “save 20% on your next purchase”.

This Chico’s Welcome email does a nice job of mirroring the happy, carefree feeling and seasonal color palette of their other promotional materials. We also like the tie-ins to relevant site sections in their footer as well as easy-to-find customer service link.

Eight minutes later we received our next email.


An All-Business Order Confirmation

chico's order confirmation email

One of the first pieces of information we get from Chico’s Order Confirmation email is that we won’t be charged until our order ships. We love that they included this because not many retailers provide transparency into this process in their emails.

We also like that Chico’s includes a picture of our purchased product as well as the size, but wish they’d also included the last four digits of our card number.

The “More pieces we think you’ll love” copy on the recommended products is pretty strong. We like this much better than the generic, “You might also like . . .” that many companies use.

Kudos again for the very clear customer service information and survey below that.

The next day we receive our Shipping Notification email.


A Prompt Shipping Notification

chico's shipping email

Chico’s Shipping Notification email provides a lot of important information but feels a bit heavy on the left hand side. Moving the “Estimated delivery” info over to the right may have helped this.

It also would have been nice in this email to see our full order total information rather than just the product price. This could be misleading for people that are simply scanning (which, as savvy email marketers, we know people are).

One thing we want to call out that Chico’s is doing really well is featuring different products in each “Pieces we think you’ll love” section. This may seem obvious, but it’s not something that every company masters (take a look at Adidas, for an example that leaves a bit to be desired.)


The Chico’s Unboxing Experience

chico's packaging

Chico’s needs to improve their packaging design. Right now it’s very generic and unbranded. (It might be helpful for them to take a few tips from Anthropologie or NET-A-PORTER).

chico's unboxing

The package contents include a packing slip and the pants, pretty bare bones as well.

Chico’s is doing great things with their purchase emails. From timing to design elements and copy, they have all their bases covered. We just had a few minor critiques.

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