How to Customize WooCommerce Emails

Written by Mariah Liszewski on November 5, 2019 Blog.

Transactional emails are a key piece of your order fulfillment process. They update your customers on their order status, provide valuable information about policies and returns, and are opportunities to encourage repeat sales.

In fact, transactional emails receive four to eight times more opens and clicks than other types of emails but only 70% of companies personalize them.

It’s clear that customers value transactional emails. But if they’re generic, it’s likely that your shoppers will simply glance at the information they need and move on. This is a big missed opportunity!

Customizing the content of your emails helps build customer trust by providing helpful information that will enable them to make the most of your products. Using your own colors, fonts, and language reinforces your brand, provides consistency, and helps you be remembered. And including related products and coupon codes can even lead to additional purchases.

WooCommerce provides built-in functionality that automatically sends customer emails based on their order status. How can you adapt these to best fit your business and brand? 

How to Edit Your Transactional Emails

To view and update email settings, log into your website dashboard. In the left-hand menu, click on WooCommerceSettings. 

There, you’ll find several options tabs at the top. Click Emails to view the following templates:

  • New Order – Sent to the store admin to notify them of a new order placed on their site.
  • Cancelled Order – Sent to the store admin to notify them of a cancelled order.
  • Failed Order – Sent to the store admin to notify them of a failed order.
  • Order On-Hold – Contains order details after it’s placed on hold.
  • Order Processing – Sent after a completed payment; contains order details.
  • Order Completed – Sent to customers when their orders are marked completed; indicates that the order has been shipped.
  • Order Refunded – Sent to customers when an order is refunded.
  • Customer Invoice – Sent to customers; contains order information and payment links.
  • Customer Note – Sent when a customer note is added in the dashboard.
  • Password Reset – Sent to a customer after they request to reset their password.
  • New Account – Sent to the customer when they create a customer account.
full list of transactional email templates in the WooCommerce dashboard

Click the Manage button to the far right of the email template that you’d like to edit. There, you can customize the email subject, heading, content, and type.

example of Completed Order email template

The Additional Content field can be especially helpful for emails that are sent to your customers, such as the Completed Order email. Adding a special thank you note helps your buyers feel appreciated and adds a touch of brand personality.

Also consider including links to warranty information, return policies, and other documentation that applies to all of your products. Customers should be able to easily access everything they need to know after they make a purchase.

Common Design Customizations

If you scroll below the list of email templates in WooCommerce Settings → Emails, you’ll see global customization options for all of your emails. Note that changing these options will update all of your email templates at once.

You can make changes to your:

  • Header Image – An image that you’d like to display at the top of all emails. You might want to use your logo or other brand imagery here.
  • Footer Text – Information found at the bottom of each email. Include a link to your website and contact information to make it easy for your customers to get in touch.
  • Base Color – The color used for headings, links, and the background of your email title.
  • Background Color – The color used for the background of the email.
  • Body Background Color – The color of your email content background.
  • Body Text Color – The color for all written email content.
preview of the default WooCommerce email template

Click the link that says, “click here to preview your email template” to preview your emails with the new changes.

Updating elements like color and font to match your website and branding provide a more seamless experience for your customers. After all, if your website uses a blue and yellow color scheme, and the email that your customer receives is orange, they might be confused. If a shopper knows what to expect and feels comfortable with a brand, they’re more likely to become a long-term, loyal customer.

Adding Product-Specific Information

If you sell different types of products, you might want to include specific information that applies to each one in your customer emails. To do this, go to Products and click Edit under the product you want to change. Scroll down to the Product Data section and click Advanced. There, you’ll see a blank box where you can add a Purchase Note.

screenshot of Product Data area for a single product

Purchase Notes can be used in a variety of ways. You could link to a PDF instruction manual or page your customer has special access to. Or, you could include a coupon code for a discount off of their next purchase. The goal is to provide as much valuable information as possible to your customers so that they’ll love your products and keep coming back. 

Editing Emails with the WooCommerce Email Customizer

The WooCommerce Email Customizer allows you to have more control over your emails. Using the customizer, you can change the image and colors used in your email headers, body, and footer. 

You can preview your changes in the live editor, but do keep in mind that this extension customizes the design of your emails, not text or content.

example of how to customize emails in WooCommerce with Mailchimp

Customizing Emails with Mailchimp

There may be times that you’d like to make more extensive changes to your transactional emails. The Mailchimp for WooCommerce extension is one way to do this without touching a line of code. Plus, you can manage all of your email marketing efforts and transactional emails in one place!

After purchasing the extension:

  1. On the left side of your WordPress dashboard, click Plugins –> Add New.
  2. Select Upload Plugin → Choose File and add the ZIP file that you downloaded.
  3. Click Activate Plugin.

Then, you’ll be redirected the Settings page, where you can sync your store with Mailchimp and set options. Mailchimp provides a full tutorial that will help you get started.

Once Mailchimp for WooCommerce is set up, you’ll be able to:

  • Customize order notifications to fit your brand colors, fonts, and more.
  • Add recommended products to transactional emails.
  • Set up abandoned cart emails.
  • Track and segment customers based on purchase history and frequency.

Mailchimp audience segmentation is one of the most valuable methods for sending customized emails. This is a great way to encourage additional purchases based on the exact products your customers already bought. In fact, you can segment your audience based on order total, lifetime amount spent, purchase date, and more.

You can also add a promo code block to your emails. This encourages repeat purchases by providing an incentive in the form of a coupon code. The best place to include this is in a transactional email that is sent after the order is delivered to your customer and they’ve had a chance to try your product out. If you send it too soon, they may just be annoyed that they couldn’t use it on their original purchase.

Why is this so effective? Let’s say that your customer receives their order, opens it, and is thrilled. They use it for a couple of days and it works just like they want it to. Then, they open their email, and get a message with a discount or free shipping off their next purchase. Since your product is already top-of-mind, they’re more likely to order another one for themselves or purchase one as a gift.

There are countless ways that you can use Mailchimp to customize your emails and make them as effective as possible. Learn more about the options.

example of how to customize emails in WooCommerce with Jilt

Customizing Emails with Jilt

Jilt provide another code-free alternative to customizing your WooCommerce emails. Their drag-and-drop editor simplifies the design process and allows you to add everything from standard order information to images, related products, coupon codes, and buttons.

Once you set up your free Jilt account and install the WooCommerce extension, you can use Jilt to create audience segments. Those segments allow you to:

  • Send shipment notifications that are customized based on your buyer’s location. For example, if your customer is international, you might want to send them information about the customs process.
  • Customize your order receipt emails so that only first-time customers receive instructions for getting started.
  • Include special coupon codes or thank you messages for customers who spend above a certain amount or who are “VIP”, longtime purchasers.

The customization options are virtually limitless and were designed to encourage repeat purchases and provide the most seamless order process possible for your loyal customers.

Creating Custom Templates with Code

If you’re a developer or are comfortable editing PHP files, WooCommerce provides everything you need to edit transactional email templates.

In the left-hand menu of your WordPress dashboard, select WooCommerceSettings. Then, click the Emails tab at the top. Find the email that you’d like to customize and click the Manage button to the far right. At the bottom of that page, there is a note that tells you which PHP template is associated with that email. 

Every transactional email consists of a combination of templates. This allows you more control over customization so that you can edit exactly what you need without dealing with anything else.

For example, if you only want to edit your email header, you’ll only need to make edits to the email-header.php file. For changes in the footer, you’ll work with email-footer.php. To edit a specific email template, like the customer invoice, you’ll change customer-invoice.php.

Let’s say that you want to change the color of any links included in your emails:

  1. Copy the file found at wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/templates/emails/email-styles.php into your store’s child theme. Note that if you customize the parent theme rather than the child theme, any changes will be overwritten with theme updates.
  2. Find the “link” class in the copied file. 
  3. Edit the code to change the link color.
.link {
	color: #a4bf9a;
}

There are endless customizations you can make. To find out more information on the template structure for WooCommerce emails, check out the Template Structure documentation.

WooCommerce Hooks

WooCommerce hooks are a great way to add additional content to the layout of your emails. Keep in mind that hooks will allow you to add content but not modify existing text. To modify text, see the section above on customizing templates.

Add the snippets below to your child theme’s functions.php file. The hooks that you use depend on what you want to add and where you want to place the content.

Below the Header:

To add additional content below the header, use the woocommerce_email_header( $email_heading, $email ) hook:

<?php
add_action( 'woocommerce_email_header', 'mm_email_header', 10, 2 );
function mm_email_header( $email_heading, $email ) { 
	echo "<p> Thanks for shopping with us. We appreciate you and your business!</p>";
}

After the Table:

To add additional content below the order table, use the woocommerce_email_after_order_table ($order, $sent_to_admin, $plain_text, $email) hook:

<?php
add_action( 'woocommerce_email_after_order_table', 'mm_email_after_order_table', 10, 4 );
function mm_email_after_order_table( $order, $sent_to_admin, $plain_text, $email ) { 
       echo "<p> Hey! Thanks for shopping with us. As a way of saying thanks, here’s a coupon code for your next purchase: FRESH15</p>";
}

Above the Footer:

To add additional content above the footer, use the woocommerce_email_footer($email) hook:

<?php
add_action( 'woocommerce_email_footer', 'mm_email_footer', 10, 1 );
function mm_email_footer( $email ) { ?>
	<p><?php printf( __( 'Thank you for shopping! Shop for more items using this link: %2$s', 'woocommerce' ), get_bloginfo( 'name', 'display' ), '<a href="' . get_permalink( wc_get_page_id( 'shop' ) ) . '">' . __( 'Shop', 'woocommerce' ) . '</a>' ); ?></p>

<?php
}

Note: These hooks and customization options are tightly linked to the theme you’re using because of the functions.php file location within your theme files. If you change your theme, you will have to move your modified template files or hooks to your new theme.

For more information about hooks, read our WooCommerce Hooks documentation..

Start Customizing Your Emails

Customizing the design and content of your emails helps you more successfully update your customers on order progress, promote brand awareness, and encourage repeat sales. No matter what level of coding experience you have, WooCommerce provides a variety of ways to make the changes that you need.

How have you customized your transactional emails to increase sales? Let us know in the comments.

Automatically sync your customers and their purchase data, and set up marketing automations with Mailchimp for WooCommerce

2 Responses

  1. Mitchell Callahan
    November 14, 2019 at 4:16 pm #

    This is a great resource. I will share this with our customers! Thank you Mariah.

    • Mariah Liszewski
      November 16, 2019 at 1:44 am #

      Glad you found it useful, Mitchell!

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