Before you get started with transactional journeys, it might be helpful to start with the basics: What are journeys?

Transactional journeys let you send subscribers messages about the status of their order or subscription. For example, you can send a message when a subscriber completes an order or their order has shipped, or to let them know that their subscription started.

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You should know

  • When you create a transactional journey, it automatically includes Attentive's template message copy. You can customize the copy to better suit your business needs, but any edited copy must be submitted to and reviewed by Attentive before you can send it to your subscribers.
  • If you have access to developer resources, then you can also build custom journey triggers, greatly expanding the types of transactional journeys you can build and the messages you can send.
  • If you're looking for guidance on how to write transactional message copy, be sure to check out Transactional message copy best practices.
  • Best practice is to have separate opt-ins for marketing messages and transactional messages. However, you can collect marketing opt-ins with Attentive creatives, or with a separate checkbox during checkout (Shopify Plus only).
  • Transactional messages will still send during both Quiet Hours and Smart Sending.
  • If a subscriber is subscribed to both marketing and transactional messages opts out of transactional messages, they are automatically opted-out of both types of messages. Note that the opt-out rate for transactional messages is very low (~4%).
  • Transactional messages are sent through your normal dedicated shortcode.
  • You can send multiple transactional messages in a single journey, so long as each message meets transactional messaging requirements. For example, you can send an initial order shipping estimate as one transactional message, and another for when the product ships out.

Transactional vs. marketing text message

There are different legal and carrier requirements for marketing messages and transactional/informational messages. Transactional messages, unlike marketing messages, have less stringent opt-in requirements and do not require double opt-in like marketing messages sent through Attentive.

However, transactional messages have strict requirements for what they can and cannot include. Transactional messages:

  • Must include content about the customer’s specific order, like their order number or a confirmation that a product shipped.
  • Must not include marketing content of any kind. This includes discount codes, upselling, references to other products you offer, or any other kind of marketing content.


You can send transactional messages with two integrations:

You can send transactional messages with the Shopify and Shopify Plus integrations.

Shopify and Shopify Plus transactional messages

Shopify triggers let you message subscribers when they interact with your Shopify store. Use the order shipped trigger to message subscribers when their order ships, use the out for delivery to message when their order is about to be delivered, and so on. By default, Shopify journey triggers are transactional, which means you can’t use them for promotional messages.

Currently available Shopify triggers:

  • Order Confirmed: Sent when a subscriber completes a purchase.
  • Order Shipped: Sent when a subscriber’s order has shipped.

Early access Shopify triggers:

  • Checkout Abandonment: Sent when a subscriber adds an item to their cart on your Shopify store, but does not complete the purchase.
  • Order Canceled: Sent when either you or a subscriber cancels their order.
  • Order Delivered: Sent when an order is delivered to a subscriber.
  • Order Out for Delivery: Sent when an order is out for delivery to a subscriber.
  • Order Refunded: Sent when a subscriber is refunded for an order.
  • Refund Failed: Sent when a refund fails.
  • Shipment Cancelled: Sent when either you or a subscriber cancels a shipment.

Before you can get started with Shopify and Shopify Plus transactional messages, first check out Set up transactional messages for Shopify and Shopify Plus integration.

ReCharge transactional messages

If you’re using ReCharge to handle subscriptions, you can build journeys that let your subscribers know when:

  • Subscription Started: Their subscription has started.
  • Upcoming Charge: They have an upcoming charge, either for a subscription or a reply-to-buy journey.
  • Subscription Skipped: Sent when a subscriber skips a subscription period.
  • Payment Failed: Sent when a payment fails.

Before you can get started with ReCharge transactional and reply-to-buy messages, first check out the ReCharge integration guide.

How to send marketing content in a transactional journey

While transactional text messages have strict rules for what can and cannot be included, you can add marketing messages to a transactional journey using a Subscription Type branch step.


The subscription type branch lets you send marketing messages to subscribers who opted-in to marketing content, and transactional messages to subscribers who did not opt in to marketing content. The subscription type branch step works similarly to the other branch steps.

This Order shipped journey has four steps:

  1. The journey is triggered when an order is shipped to the customer.]
  2. An order shipped text message is sent to the customer.
  3. The journey branches:
    1. Customers who have opted in to both marketing and transactional texts are sent the “Be sure to check out our new …” text message.
    2. Customers who have opted in to only transactional messages do not receive any further messages in this journey.
  4. The journey ends.

You can use the subscription type journey step to build:

  • Reply-to-buy journeys using the Upcoming Charge transactional journey
  • Journeys that send different types of messages to different types of subscribers