Improve customer communication with automated emails

Customer service should never stop at “order completed” in your store. Picture this scenario:

You have a great dinner out at a restaurant with good wine, food, and company. Your server keeps the meal appropriately paced without dropping all of your courses at once, and the service is responsive without intruding on your time with friends.

Sounds good so far, right? Now this happens (which, coincidentally, is one of my biggest pet peeves):

The tab is on you, so the server brings you the bill. You’re enjoying the conversation and a final glass of wine as you sign your check. As soon as you’re done, the server grabs the bill off of your table before you can finish your drink, wrap up the conversation, or stand up to leave.

Ugh. I hate this. It makes me feel like I’m being rushed out of the restaurant so they can turn over the table, or that service doesn’t matter anymore once I’ve paid.

While it may not be as obvious, a lot of eCommerce stores do the same thing. They market to customers, send discounts, helpfully guide the customer through checkout, and then after purchasing, the customer receives a confirmation email and that’s it. No “thanks for purchasing” a couple of weeks later, no additional communication once my order has been placed.

Going the extra mile for eCommerce stores means staying in contact with your customers and communicating with them, even after they’ve placed an order.

Improving customer communication

One way you can improve customer communication is to send automated emails for order updates or shop events to keep your customers in the loop about what’s happening with their orders. This also helps to make them feel like they’re getting attention from your store both before and after the shopping experience rather than being dismissed once they’ve bought something.

Most plugins will only send purchase confirmations out of the box, but Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce have extensions available that will let you set up your own automatic emails to improve customer communication.

Improving customer communication: Easy Digital Downloads

The Conditional Emails extension ($29) lets you set up customized emails based on payment status changes in your shop. You could, for example, create these new emails:

  • Dispatch when status changes from “pending” to “complete”: This could be used to thank a customer for paying for their order, which is helpful for manual payments to let the customer know that payment has been received.
  • Dispatch when status changes from “complete” to “refunded”: While hopefully you don’t have to process too many refunds, letting a customer know a refund is on the way, and (more importantly) how long it’s expected to take can keep them in the loop.

Each of these emails can have the appropriate status change selected, a custom subject, and a customized message:

Easy Digital Downloads Conditional Emails: Status change email
Status change email

You can even include merge tags to personalize the email or include relevant order details.

Easy Digital Downloads Conditional Emails: merge tags
Available merge tags

You can view all conditional emails you’ve added to Easy Digital Downloads from the Downloads > Settings > Emails menu:

Easy Digital Downloads conditional emails list
Conditional emails list

If you’ve added custom payment statuses to your site, these can also be used to dispatch your emails. For example, you may be using Easy Digital Downloads to sell services rather than downloadable products, so you might have statuses like “Invoice sent”. These can be used as email conditions to dispatch emails:

Easy Digital Downloads conditional emails: Custom status used
Custom Status used

This automatically keeps customers in the loop on project statuses, as I can automatically tell them when invoices are sent, when projects are completed, when payments are received, and more.

As a bonus perk, you can also use Conditional Emails to help recover abandoned carts, as an “Abandoned cart” condition is available:

Easy Digital Downloads conditional emails: abandoned cart email
Abandoned cart email

Improving customer communication: WooCommerce

The WooCommerce Order Status Manager ($49) extension lets you create customized order statuses, but it also lets you automatically dispatch emails based on order status changes, keeping your customers informed of order progress. As a side bonus, you can also create new admin emails to keep yourself or your staff informed of order changes.

You can set up any of your custom statuses:

WooCommerce Order Status Manager: custom statuses
Custom Statuses

But more importantly, these can be used to create your own automatic emails.

WooCommerce Order Status Manager: custom emails
Custom Emails

You can dispatch your custom email to yourself or the customer, and this email can be triggered by one or more status changes. For example, you can trigger a “refund” email from “Any status” to “refunded”, or set up conditions to only send this email from changes like “processing” to “refunded” and “completed” to “refunded”.

WooCommerce Order Status Manager: create email
Create Custom Email

Once you’ve created the email, you can edit its content and enable it to be sent automatically. The merge tags available with WooCommerce are limited (especially in comparison to EDD), but emails will include the order details table, and templates can be overridden and customized.

WooCommerce Order Status Manager: edit email
Edit Custom Email


Sending automatic emails to keep customers informed of order statuses is a great way to ensure that they’re always in the loop with regards to orders and don’t feel like you’ve abandoned them as soon as the order was placed. This gives customers a complete and attentive customer service experience with your store, and ensures that they don’t have to question what’s going on with an order.

Beka Rice
Beka Rice is the Head of Product at Jilt. She works on app improvements, integration plugins, helping merchants improve recovery campaigns, and shares tutorials on reducing abandonment or improving recovery on our blog.


  1. Hi Beka
    I am not sure, whether I can use this plugin/add on to deliver a series of downloadable products? Like you can do in fx Mailchimp

    Could you specify – give concrete examples?

    1. Hey there — which plugin are you looking at here? And are you referring to giving them just a downloadable file, or access to a product on the site?

  2. Hey – i am referring til easy digital downloads :-) not giving them a file. They pay for the product and then the email system sends them a series of downloadable files – hope that is more clear? Thanks :-)

    1. Hey Hesof, the conditional emails plugin for EDD won’t set up a drip series like this, so I recommend using something like MailChimp’s eCommerce automation instead.

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