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Rahul Singh in Transactional Emails

Best Practices To handle Receipt And Invoice Email

Anyone who runs a business is bound to deal with receipts and invoices. Any highly functional business is required to process payments and send receipts for all the payments processed. While such emails are present everywhere, they are constantly over-looked. Considering the value they add and the experience they provide to the clients, they are kind of less prioritized. However, a well-designed receipt or invoice can make a perfect impression on the customers, and this may help increase the revenue.

Receipts vs. Invoices

Receipts and invoices have a factor that distinguishes them from each other. We usually send invoices before a company receives payment from its clients. It acts as a request for payments. The receipt is sent after the payments are done, and it serves as a proof of the payments. Some services will send numerous emails after every service. This can be confusing since everything is sent together. This causes the emails to be redundant. Some applications send the invoice, the payment notification, and the receipt one after the other and clutter the inbox.

Unless you have some unavoidable circumstances, I think sending a single receipt will be enough. In this blog, we will learn more about receipts. Also, in some places where invoices may be different is covered.

Receipt and Invoice Emails Goals

Sometimes it is essential for you to put yourself in the shoes of the recipient and think about the priorities relating to the email. It can help you know the information that needs much importance.

1. The recipient should know that you received the payment or they should pay

The primary role of a receipt email is to inform the recipient of their payment. The primary focus is to request for payments. The receipts are for confirmation of the payments. The subject or the pre-header should communicate this information. You can include the primary action’s link for convenience when using Gmail’s Inbox Actions.

2. Inform the recipient about the requirements for processing and filling the expense

For businesses, the department of accounting processes the receipts, and they require the receipts for creating an expense report. However, invoices need some paperwork as well as processing before making payments. Make sure to provide a useful and valid record of the expense for accounting. Having receipts and invoices with helpful information is very crucial.

3. Ensure the actions related to the process are convenient

The receipts and invoices can trigger other activities for the recipient. Something like:
• When handling receipts, they may have got a new credit card that they want to update the file.
• Maybe someone else on their team should be added to get the receipt notification.
• They want closure of the account or want an upgrade.
• It can also be simple questions that require answers.

For the invoices, they may require some additional information about the charges. Always provides links that they should follow so that they can take any action they want.

4. Include vital promotional information or any related purchases on the receipt

Receipts are mainly used to notify an individual about their purchase. However, they can also serve as reminders or means to strengthen the customer relationship. You can include promotions on the receipt, and thank them for making a purchase and promise to give them a discount when they purchase something else. If your business deals with specific items like swimwear, after a purchase, you can send them a link that reminds them to buy other related things like sunglasses. This is not to increase sales but to recommend relevant items.

When you keep these goals in your mind and create or evaluate your receipt emails, they will help you know your priorities. You will then understand what needs emphasizing and what requires downplaying.

Key Considerations and common Mistakes made with Receipt Emails

When you have a remarkable invoice and receipt email, life is easier for your clients. It helps to eliminate support requests that are avoidable. When your receipts are inadequate, you confuse your customers and support request levels will rise. Fortunately, a couple of things can be done to ensure that your clients are happy and avoid unnecessary support requests.

Forgetting vital information required by customers

People and businesses will rely on the receipts to create expense reports, for accounting, and taxation activities. Invoices will always be vital in the process of purchasing. For both processes, accurate information is required to make the document valid for the processes involved. Laws and requirements will be different depending on the country and the organization you are involved. Trying to include all the vital information on the receipt email may be impossible. So, including the names of the organization and the purchaser on the receipts, will eliminate most of the problem.

If where you and the customer reside requires that VAT or any similar information, ensure that you provide it in the receipt and also all the relevant information about taxes. The best course of action is to provide a means for the customers to add this information to their receipts and invoices to make it valid. If you are unaware of what the clients expect from you, you can include a single text area where they can include such information. Then you can add this information for them automatically.

Treating receipts as though they are an irrelevant afterthought rather than an opportunity

Of course, no one will choose to end his or her business associations with you over a receipt. However, receipts have a better chance of improving customer’s experience with your services. No one wants to deal with paperwork because it can be tiresome and annoying. Therefore, when you make their work more comfortable, you build their confidence in you and will be appreciated for the same. You can do this by designing a receipt that is easy to read, that can be easily printed for paperwork purposes, or can be customized to include additional information. By taking the extra step, you will build their good will, save them time, and decrease the cost related to special support requests.

Making it hard for clients to contact your support team and get answers

The confusion that arises when dealing with money will always be the quickest trigger for the support requests. If they have purchased a physical product, how easy is it to handle a return? What happens if they get the wrong product? They forgot to add the coupon code. What next? They ordered accidentally. What should they do? Usually, we expect things to run smoothly with receipts and invoices designed excellently. Somehow it does not work like that always.

Some of the most vital interaction between a business and the customers are through receipt and invoices. When the problem arises, and you are not clear with which course of action to take, it can actually turn into a sour experience. Ensure that every contact means is clear to all clients. Indicate whether they have to log in to make requests for an order, whether they should use Twitter or call a specific phone number. Create a smooth channel for getting answers and take good care of their needs.

Lack of clarity of the way the charges looks on their credit card statement

We are living in a world where there are many payment processors and online billing solutions. This results in credit card statements that do not offer clear descriptions of charges incurred. They tend to use abbreviations for the payment process and a few characters to identify the product. Sometimes, they use the name of the company instead of your DBA name. It is even worse when some use a different description of the charges that are pending.

Because of this, sooner or later, a client who is confused about the charge will lead to a chargeback. Although this is not 100% preventable by you, still you can set a small space apart on the receipt. In this space tell the clients what to expect. This will prevent any chargebacks that may arise thus saving you more time.

Using a format that is not printer-friendly

Receipt and invoice emails come along with a PDF or an attached document. From a technical standpoint, this is a less important thing to do, and you can always help by doing something. As emails are not printed, you do print the receipts and invoices for business and accounting processes. Therefore, when you include a printable version, you will help the client to be on top of the paperwork, and this is accredited to you. Also, mention to the client the availability of the printable version and where to download it.

Omitting line item information from the email

This is not very common. However, there are cases where providers attach an excellent PDF of the receipt in the email and forget to mention anything about the purchase in the body of the email. This makes it impossible to find out what they were charged for. Therefore, include this information directly in the body of the email. When the customers can quickly scan through the email and find the information, you save them from the anxiety of worrying about the transaction.

The Information You Should Include In The Receipt And Invoice Emails

Receipt and invoice emails are transactional emails that are designed to have much information. In this, you must communicate a lot of details and data which are relatively significant. Unlike other emails that recipients get, you need to print these emails so that it can be used offline for accounting and taxation. Since they have an extensive use, let us look at some of the information that you must never forget.

A Subject that is Unique and Human-readable

The subject of an email is always important because it is prominently displayed. Don’t use a lot of redundant and irrelevant information like the “from” address or the email’s date in the subject. For instance, if “{Product/Company} Billing” is the “from” address, it is a mistake to include the company or product name in the subject. Include other vital information here.

Also, when you include the order number on the subject, it becomes irrelevant because it is not human-readable. However, incorporating it into the body is reasonably good. Save this space and include information that is relevant and meaningful. If it is vital for it to be on the subject, let it be the last information.

Let us have a look at these examples of subjects. The bolded information is redundant and irrelevant thus not needed on the subject.

  • Receipt of purchase for Order {Order Number}
  • {Company} receipt for payment
  • Your receipt from {Company}
  • Payment receipt to {Company}
  • Invoice and software license for Order {Order Number}
  • {Company} Receipt for Payment – INVOICE # {Invoice Number}
  • {Company} Receipt for Order
  • Your {Company} Receipt [# {Order Number}]

Looking at the above subjects, you will realize that they are not so bad. They only need a little improvement. Let us assume that the “form” address is excellent and it communicates the name of the company! The question, however, is, “what vital information the subject should have?”

Price: It is the amount paid by the client, and is one of the unique information in the email. When a client makes several purchases, the price will still be the most vital information, and it will be human-readable. For example, “Your purchase worth $28.50”

Product: In an instance where the company name and the purchase differs, the product name will be the next best information to include. For instance, Amazon purchases are unique and hence are included in the subject. The subject can be as follows, “Your groceries purchase.”

Month and year: Every email sent will always have a time stamp. But when you include the month and the year of purchase, the email will be able to stand out from the rest. For example, “Your receipt for $28.67 from April 2018”.
When your subjects that differ from each other, are human-readable and have outstanding information that is not included in the “from” address, will give your client an easy time searching to find relevant emails.

Information about the download and license key

If a client purchases a digital download or a license key for previously downloaded software, the relevant information must be available. Since it is your client’s purchase, the access to information should be easy and fast. If they cannot find the information quickly or the links break whenever lines wrap, then I am afraid you should prepare yourself for the abundant support requests coming your way.

What you can do to improve the download link subtly is to ensure that you clearly communicate the action one can take if the link expires. Include information about whom to contact and the information you require. If there is an expiration date for the download link, you can include a link that one can use if they want to renew the expiration date.

The information about the shipping

For all the items sold that should ship, you should include much of the shipping information too. Shipping information like the link to the shipping service website, or the estimated dates for the shipping and arrival, the shipping provider’s name and the code for tracking. There are times while generating the receipts and invoices you may not have all this information. Therefore, you will handle this separately with the notification for shipping. Regardless of the case, it is the equivalent of the download link.

When a person knows when and where they should expect the shipment, they can efficiently plan for it. This will make the recipient’s experience the best.

Line items and links that relate to specific actions

The most vital information on a receipt or invoice is the line items and their cost. While providing this information ensure that you add all the essential links that one can use to get additional information or use it for order management or payment. While you won’t forget to add details of items on the receipt, you may overlook adding these links to the line items. For example, Apple is aware that most people face challenges with digital downloads. Therefore, they always ensure that they include a “Report a Problem” link for each line item mentioned on the receipt. This way, it will be easier for the customers to get help whenever needed.

In the Apple’s iTunes receipt, there is a provision for one to review all the item and report a problem by clicking on the link.
Also, while offering itemized details, always ensure a printable version is available as well. You can include this as a PDF or make provisions to generate it on the fly whenever one requests for it. When a printer-friendly format is available in the email, it will make the work of the recipient very easy when handling the paperwork. When the PDF is in the email, you can automate the generation process, and this will further make the process easy.

Including the invoice ID, account ID, and the Order ID

Other than the item line breakdown, at some point, people may require answers to more significant questions that they get by contacting support. For this to happen, they must communicate with the support agent. This is possible if they have the information that will help the agency identify the order in question. Typically, you can include a hyperlink that redirects to a page containing all the details and the additional actions that one can take. If this is impossible, include it in a spot where it will be noticeable.

An explanation and corporate information

When a receipt has line items, the recipient can easily understand the charges and the company involved. Even so, when there is a third-party billing system in play, the DBA name for the company and the business name indicated on the credit card statements do not always correlate as it is not always clear. When you include the company’s name, the reason for the charges, and the description of the product purchased, you will save the recipient a lot of stress.

This also forms a perfect place to add a bold statement concerning the charges appearing on the credit card. If the name of product and company differ, give your clients a report showing the connection between the product billed and the company.

Information about the payments and the billing

The itemized should have the total payment amount included. Even so, it can prove to be more convenient to have a simple statement added at the top of the email. The summary can also be a perfect pre-header.
Acme Inc billed $99.00 for Anvils’ purchase to your Visa that ends with 8321

Having a bold summary is an excellent move for the first step. However, ensure that you include detailed information about the card you billed, the date, and the expected name that should appear on the credit card statement. Never forget this tiny yet crucial information – the name of the purchaser. More often than not, these emails are forwarded, and other times the email address of a person in a different department may be added to “Cc.” Therefore, if one does not identify with the charge and they have no idea of whom to consult, they will, most likely, issue a chargeback. Ergo, include as much information as you can.

For taxing and accounting different governments has different requirements that validate a receipt or invoice; same as for companies. These requirements may include the purchaser’s address, the billing company’s address, and their VAT IDs. The requirements will tend to vary depending on where you are. Therefore, look into such requirements and rules based on the location of your business. The secret here is to ensure that you know all requirements and provide it to your clients on the receipt.

Sometimes adding this information can be difficult. But when you include a text area for users to add all the vital information they want you to include on the receipt, it will be much easier. As you make this provision, the link should be in close proximity for them to quickly access it and change any outdated information.

Follow-on requests

When writing a receipt, always know there are a lot of chances that you can grasp to help the customer and increase the sales. The first thing that you must do is provide a course of action that is clear should they need any help. Make it easy for them to contact you if there is some mistake. You can decide to use a specific email address or a contact form that is rich in information and include it in the email. Remember to remind customers that they can reply to the email when you are not using a ‘no-reply’ email address.

If there are no problems with the clients, you can ask for their feedback concerning the service. You can ask about their experience with the order process, whether or not they were able to find all they wanted, and what can be done to improve the services. Someone who chooses to purchase your services or products is interested in your success too. Therefore, asking for feedback is a great idea, but it always depends on the context. Do so judiciously.

Any related information and the products

Never limit helping your customers past their purchase. The easiest and fastest way is to offer information about any related products. For instance, if your business deals with camping equipment, you can provide them the links to sites that have content concerning the planning of camps and its safety. This helps the client get more than just the purchase. It will reflect well on your brand.

You can also offer coupons or discounts with the email receipts. You can choose to provide them with a coupon of certain percentage applicable for their next order. It can also be a reminder of sales or special events that are coming up. You can also maximize the coupon such that it can be shared with friends. These ways cause them to buy from you at all times. It is a perfect way to offer customers something that is valuable and tangible.

On the receipt, you can also suggest some other additional products that are related. For instance, if the client purchases a product like a mobile phone, you can suggest the purchase of mobile cases. Your goal is to ensure the recommended items are vitally relevant. You cannot suggest more mobiles to someone who has just bought a mobile. That is irrelevant.

Information to contact you

While this may be obvious for some people. But by the time one finishes going through all the information that should be included in the receipt, they may end up forgetting this crucial information. Include a URL that the customer can use to refresh their memory concerning their purchase.

Also, it would be great to include contact information for support needs such as an email address or a contact form. When you choose forms, use URLs that have query string values to fill the form with the details of an order made by the recipient. Even better, you can make it possible for the clients to reply to order emails and you can queue these replies.


Including a simple ‘thank you’ on the receipt email can always go a long way. Interaction with customers is direct at a physical point-of-sale. When you give a kind note with a simple thank you, it will make an impact. If you doubt this, remember that one time when the person at the cash register was grumpy.
While it can be difficult to use email to display emotions, there are various ways that you can make a transaction and interaction more meaningful, pleasant, and human. Different companies have different cultures. Even so, saying a thank you is always worth more.

Conclusion and Checklist

Below is a checklist for you, which is a perfect reminder of all the individual points that you should use while designing your template.

Information about the order

  • Download link that offers relevant information about the renewal of a download link when it expires.
  • The line items including the plan and name of the product, the prices, taxes, and the total amount.
  • The invoice/Order ID and a link that enables the recipient to view more information or to manage their order or purchase.
  • The accurate corporate information for example, ‘you are receiving this email because you use…’
  • A version of the receipt that is in text or PDF

Information about payment and billing

  • The name of the purchaser.
  • The amount paid.
  • The billed card or information about the payment method.
  • The billing addresses.
  • VAT ID.
  • A link to update the billing information.

Follow-on requests

  • Always provide a direct path for clients to report problems or concerns.
  • Ask clients to give their feedback and comments.

The related information and products

  • Always share with them the related content.
  • Offer coupons/discounts/promotions.
  • Ask the client to give referrals especially with coupons.
  • Cross-sell the products that are relevant to their purchase.

Contact information

  • Give the website’s URL.
  • Add your support contact.
  • A reply-to-address feature for support.
  • Company official phone number.


  • Thank the clients for their support.
  • Include minor team details.

1 Comment

Prateek Dash

Thanks for your commendable article! I believe that the proper procedure for receipts and invoices email involves special software, but luckily this new procedure can help save time and money.

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