About Transactional Email

There are two types of email service providers. Bulk email services deliver email to many people at once. Transactional email services send specific messages to one person. Most companies or organizations can benefit from using both transactional and bulk email.

In this article, you'll learn about transactional email and how you can use it.


Bulk Email
Email sent from one sender to multiple recipients, usually for marketing purposes.

Transactional Email
Email sent from one sender to one recipient, triggered by the recipient's action or inaction. Examples include password reminder emails, purchase confirmations, and personalized product notifications.

A delivery API to send transactional emails from websites and applications.

Mandrill is available as an add-on for any Monthly Plan.

How Transactional Email Works

Transactional email is any type of email that goes from one sender to one recipient based on an action. While the term “transactional” suggests a financial component, the email doesn't need to include e-commerce or marketing information.

Unlike bulk email, transactional email isn't required to include an unsubscribe link because permission to receive the email is implied by the user's action.

Transactional email generally uses an API or SMTP integration to send emails. This requires a developer to set up a system that will send coded templates to specific recipients based on a specific action.

What You Can Do with Transactional Email

Transactional email allows you to provide information that is uniquely relevant to the recipient. These emails can provide requested information or remind an individual of needed action, like if they placed items in their shopping cart but didn't complete the purchase.

If you use MailChimp and want to send transactional email, you can use our customizable Order Notifications automation or add our powerful delivery service, Mandrill, to your MailChimp account. Mandrill can be used for personalized, one-to-one e-commerce emails, as well as automated transactional emails like password resets, order confirmations, and welcome messages.

Example Uses

For many companies or organizations, it makes sense to use both bulk and transactional email. This chart provides examples for when you might use bulk or transactional email.

  Bulk Email Transactional Email
Password reminders  
Monthly newsletters  
Purchase receipts  
Promotional emails  
Educational series  
Abandoned cart  
Invitations and events  
Account creation  
Product or service feedback  

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