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 Brighton

Brighton Collectibles, simply known as Brighton, was founded in 1991 by high school sweethearts Terri and Jerry Kohl. What began as a single collection of belts has since expanded into an entire line of accessories including jewelry, handbags, shoes, luggage and more. One of their most popular product lines are their charm bracelets. Brighton operates nearly 200 retail stores in the United States and their products are sold in more than 7,000 boutiques nationwide. The company also runs an e-commerce site, Brighton.com.

Like many clothing and accessory retailers, Brighton’s marketing strategy is all about promoting their products along with the lifestyle of those wearing them. The models in Brighton photographs always have big smiles and look very carefree (we saw similar creative from Chico’s, which targets roughly the same market).

Brighton’s marketing emails tend to promote their full line of products, using “Get the look, head to heels” messaging, while most of their social profiles zero in on their most popular products, jewelry. Their Twitter page is filled with jewelry photos and there’s even a “free 2018 charm” promotion for New Year’s. It’s all about sparkle and coordinated glam with Brighton Collectibles and their marketing collateral reflects that.

Brighton marketing

The Brighton Purchase Experience

Brighton’s marketing efforts are all about the sparkly, carefree lifestyle, but do their transactional emails project the same feeling? The MailCharts data team tested this question by purchasing a cube of sticky notes for $6.00 plus shipping and tax.

In the first 30 days after our purchase, Brighton sent us 37 emails, which is very aggressive. We saw the same number of emails from Zulily in 30 days, but that’s because they mistakenly sent us onboarding emails in addition to purchase emails. Thirty-seven is a lot!

To see more of Brighton’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 Brighton’s transactional emails.  


A Thoughtfully Crafted Order Confirmation

brighton order confirmation email

There are a lot of things that Brighton is doing right in this order confirmation email.

First off, we love the copy. It’s warm, welcoming, and very on-brand. Brighton acknowledges that the customer is probably excited about their order and they speak in a tone that aligns with their audience.

It’s also great that Brighton lists their support info right at the top, along with the hours, which is something not many retailers do in their transactional emails. It would have been smart to include some FAQs here though, like we see often in our unboxing series. Answering questions like, “When will I get my shipping information?” could help Brighton cut down on their number of support requests.

We like that Brighton included the image of our product as an additional visual confirmation. One thing missing from our order summary, however, is the payment information.

Next, we have some nice cross-promotion for their text message shipping notification program. We’re not sure if signing up means only receiving SMS messages about this specific order, or if it opens customers up to Brighton’s entire mobile alert system, but it’s a great way to get customers to engage with the brand through additional channels.

From there, we can see Brighton promoting a nearby store. REI did this, too, and we think it’s a great feature for retailers with brick-and-mortar locations.

We also love the way Brighton added visual elements to their “shop more” category links in the footer. Nearly all of the e-tailers we’ve studied so far only use text.

The same day (seven hours later), we received our next email.


An On-Brand Shipping Notification  

brighton shipping email

In this next email, Brighton continues the theme of order excitement with their “Anticipation” header. Again, they nail the intro copy with specific details about what’s happening with your order and, as we’ll see in the unboxing section below, they really do take special care with the packaging. The wording is on-brand and very lovely.

Our shipping info section has a very clear “Track shipping” CTA, which is great. It would have been nice for Brighton to take the extra step and estimate an arrival date, but they do state five to seven business days, which works too.

While Brighton doesn’t include specific recommended products like some retailers do, we love the way they are executing their “shop more” links. Notice how they use product images in the footer of this email that differ from those in the order confirmation email. This may seem like a small detail, but it’s important because if the original product photos didn’t entice users to click and shop, these new images may have a better shot. At the end of the day, it all comes down to more conversions.

Fifteen days and many emails later, we receive an email asking us to leave a review. (To see which emails Brighton sent in the interim, along with the delay between each, sign up for MailCharts.)


A Review Email That Buries the Lead

brighton collectibles email

This review email is interesting because Brighton buries the lead a little bit. Instead of asking “How do you like your sticky notes? Please leave a review!” they begin the email with a bunch of general copy about reviews and how they help. Then they include three separate forms of “Review Now” CTAs.

From there we have some cross-promotion for Brighton’s annual “Power of Pink” campaign. And below that, a callout for their storefinder. This seems a bit off since our order confirmation and shipping notification emails both included our specific store. What changed that they no longer know what store to promote?


Brighton Collectibles’ Unboxing Experience

brighton shipping package

Brighton’s outer packaging is unbranded and fairly unassuming. Looking at this, you probably wouldn’t guess what’s inside.

brighton unboxing

Off to a good start with a delicate, branded rose illustration.

brighton unboxing

Inside we have our product carefully wrapped in colorful tissue paper, topped with a gauzy ribbon and a personalized note from Customer Care.

brighton collectibles packaging

brighton sticky notes

And here’s our sticky note cube, thoughtfully color-coordinated with the tissue wrapping. Intentional or a happy accident? We think the former.

brighton collectibles

brighton collectibles


Wrapping Up Brighton

Brighton does a lot of things right in the three purchase emails we studied. They clearly know their audience and how to speak to them, and they take the time for thoughtful and helpful cross-promotion and CTAs. The volume of emails in the 30-day period was very high, so it might help their team to pare down and focus on nailing a select few emails, rather than sending 37.

We love Brighton’s extremely thoughtful product and unboxing experience. They include fabulous custom details that we tend to see from boutique retailers (like NET-A-PORTER), and that many larger companies do not seem to have the bandwidth for, or perhaps don’t think about.

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