Email delivery is an important part of any eCommerce store, especially digital eCommerce where the email receipts contain download links to the purchased files. Email delivery is also, unfortunately, one of the most common aspects of eCommerce to be unreliable.
This is due to many factors, including low-end hosting accounts, spam filters, and outdated email servers. Thankfully, there are a number of solutions to making email delivery nearly 100% reliable so that you can be assured email receipts, sale notifications, product submissions, and all other emails are delivered reliably.
Most hosting companies provide basic services for email delivery, meaning much of the time email is expected to just work. Unfortunately that’s often not the case, especially with lower-end and cheaper hosting accounts. There are several problems that frequently occur with hosting-included email delivery:
- Low sending limits, sometimes less than 250-500 emails per month
- Slow email processing, resulting in delayed delivery
- Poor support for modern HTML emails, resulting in frequent delivery failures
- Overly aggressive spam filters, resulting in emails getting improperly flagged as spam
- Shared email servers, meaning other accounts with the same company can negatively impact your service
If you discover that email delivery is not working reliably on your store, it could be due to one of these common factors. Even when email delivery is working reliably, it is still a good idea to consider using a service that is separate from your hosting company to manage email delivery.
The easiest way to resolve email delivery problems is to use a hosted service designed specifically around reliably sending emails.
These services create a connection between your eCommerce store and then all emails are routed through their servers.
Along with provided reliable and consistent email delivery, these services also offer a number of other benefits, including:
- Open rate reporting
- Delivery rate reporting
- Re-send capabilities
- Better spam protection
- Reputation monitoring
- Email authentication
- 24/7 technical support
When emails, whether they be purchase receipts, sale notifications, or other notifications for your store, are an integral part of your eCommerce site, it’s really important to ensure your emails work.
There are a number of services to choose from, so we’ve put together some of our favorites:
All five of these services include simple WordPress plugins available from the WordPress.org plugins repository that make it exceptionally simple and quick to connect your site to the service.
Email delivery is a common problem, especially in eCommerce. One of the best things you can do for your store’s reputation, day-to-day operations, and your own peace-of-mind is upgrade your site to use a dedicated email delivery service, removing the problem altogether!
What incredibly freaky timing 🙂 I was in the middle of looking at a solution for this, as email delivery issues to anything other than Gmail accounts seems to have plagued us for ever. Thanks for this article. I am going to set this up through Amazon now.
Thanks Pippin, this was very useful and very well timed 🙂 (to the point of it being a little freaky…. hey, you’re not watching me are you?) 🙂
Thanks for the roundup. I am depending on my store emails to be sent reliably, but also from my newsletters. I recently wanted to check if that really works, after some clients complained about not receiving emails. In order to check how likely it is that emails are marked as spam, I found https://www.mail-tester.com/ (not affiliated :). It is easy to set up a test and the information for fixes are better than on most forums.
Help me understand what Mandrill does with MailChimp? I am currently using the EDD MailChimp plugin and it works great for me.
Mandrill is a product owned by MailChimp. It used to be a stand alone product (so you could have a Mandrill account without a MailChimp account) but now it is integrated as part of MailChimp itself. It’s now available as an “Add-on” to your MailChimp account.
I use Amazon SES with a SMTP email plugin for WP and it works great.
I also extended SES with Sendy to use Amazon SES as my newsletter solution.
This resulted in getting rid of monthly subscriptions to email newsletter services as I could use Sendy as a one time purchase, and Amazon SES just charges for usage (and being able to send 10,000 messages for $1 is pretty inexpensive.)
I find Sendy and Amazon SES great additions to a site with EDD.
I am currently experiencing email delivery issues with my plugin. For the past 5+ years, it’s like every 4-6 months, something changes somewhere and transnational emails are either not delivered or end up in spam. This is usually caused by what email address is used in the From header. For some hosts, it doesn’t matter. Others require an email with the domain (like email@example.com). Some mail providers block/filter emails sent to yourself from the same email address. A constant pain…
I have used Amazon SES and Mailgun very successfully for many of my clients, with an SMTP plugin. I like Mailgun’s detailed logs. I have suggested them to many of my users but the DNS verification process is cumbersome for most. We usually resort to using SMTP with gmail as most don’t reach the daily gmail send limit (I think it was 150 the last time I checked.)
We use SendGrid which has been great. Unfortunately we still find that purchase receipt emails going to any microsoft domains (MSN, Hotmail) often go to the user’s spam. This leads to a lot of customer service time etc.
If anyone has solutions for this – I would like to know.
If you haven’t, make sure you have added full domain verification to your SendGrid account. That can dramatically lower the number of emails that end up in spam.
You mean domain whitelabeling? I’ve just set this up so lets see what happens. Thanks so much for replying to this.
Wanted to add in a short story. I worked with Mandrill for a moment before they were absorbed into MailChimp and they were an awesome email provider when I could afford them. When they turned inward towards their parent company they recommended I go to SparkPost and I’ve been very pleased with them. They offer 100K free emails a month and that’s enough to get most people started. Happy to throw a recommendation their way.
I’d also chuck Postmark into the list of recommended services. They’ve got a WP plugin, a great reporting dashboard, affordable prices, and 25,000 free emails up-front. Service has been reliable for the last year or so since I switched to them.
I would not recommend Mandrill today: they changed their business model and since have become very expensive. Were good in the past, but not so today.
It can certainly be a bit more expense than other options, but it’s still an excellent option for site already using MailChimp, especially as it’s not fully integrated with the main MailChimp platform. We use it for our email sending and couldn’t be happier with it.
I’ve been using gmail with the WP plugin Postman SMTP. It’s worked good, and I only occasionally have things go to spam, but I think it is time to upgrade. The open rate and delivery rate reporting would be very nice to have.
Thanks for making this list!
Purchase receipts are not sending through at all. This contains the link for people to download and is causing a lot of issues.
The EDD website really contains no information on how to fix this other than “do a test”. The test confirms that they are not going through. Any advice please?
Hey there Dave, we’d be happy to help you resolve this – could you please open a support ticket? https://easydigitaldownloads.com/support/