When it's time to shut down your SaaS product or sunset a feature, there will be lots of things to take care of. Communicating this to your customers is among them.
Making this last announcement can be overwhelming.
It's the culmination of the journey you and your users have been on together, and handling this final communication is crucial. The right communication can help ease the transition, allowing your users to understand the reasons behind the decision and providing guidance on what comes next.
Best practices for crafting a product sunset email
Product sunset emails provide a chance to announce the changes or discontinuation of a product or service, keeping your customers informed. It's important to manage their expectations by giving them ample notice. The content of your sunset email will differ across individual products.
Here are some best practices based on what other SaaS brands are doing:
- Be transparent. Be straightforward and transparent about why the product is being discontinued. Whether it's due to low demand, a strategic shift, or technical issues, share the reasons with your customers.
- Express gratitude. Thank your customers for their loyalty and support throughout the product's/feature's life cycle.
- Explain the impact. Clearly explain how the product's discontinuation will affect your customers. Will they lose access to features, their data, or customer support? Will they be getting a refund?
- Be specific about the timeline. Avoid ambiguity by providing exact dates.
- Offer alternatives. Suggest alternative products or services that your customers can transition to if possible. You can offer them advice on migrating their data to another platform.
- Target the right people. If you're sunsetting a feature, you can segment your users based on how much they use the feature. Try targeting users who regularly use the feature with a message explaining the details of why you're implementing this change, and when it's going to happen.
- Keep the email concise. Too many details will muddle up your message and distract the customer. If you need to include a longer story, link to a blog post instead or add a TLDR version at the beginning of the email.
Product sunset email examples from SaaS companies
Subject: InVision design collaboration services shutdown
InVision is a famous design collaboration platform. They used to be an industry leader before other tools like Figma came along.
In this historic email, the InVision team is letting users know that they will be shutting down their main product at the end of 2024. The email then talks about how they arrived at this decision following the acquisition of their newer product, Freehand, in fall of 2023.
Knowing that this difficult decision affects their users, InVision also tells users what will happen to their subscriptions for the remainder of the year and offers their help in transitioning to alternative tools.
Revue was an editorial newsletter tool for writers and publishers.
This email is a remainder to customers that Revue will shut down soon and that they won't be able to access their account. It has details on what the user should do — download their data and adhere to rules. They provide a link to instructions users can follow to download their data from the platform.
We love that the email is short and crisp.
Thanks to John Davies of InsuredHQ for contributing this example.
Wahoo, a fitness company, is sunsetting one of their Apps, RGT.
This lengthy email starts with a headline mentioning the date of the app's closing and a parting gift for customers. The email goes on to mention Wahoo's company vision and the reason behind sunsetting RGT. Many companies like RGT choose to demonstrate transparency in their product sunset emails so that customers can understand long-term goals which fosters a stronger connection. It reduces confusion and maintains a positive relationship.
Interestingly, they offer a complementary 12-month membership for Zwift, acknowledging the inconvenience the closing has caused them.
The email then lists down important dates and terms regarding the sunset so that customers can have a smooth transition.
Thanks to Sukh from engyne.ai for contributing this example.
ThemeHunt was a platform that curates and showcases WordPress themes, making it easier for users to find themes that suit their needs.
This sunset email is a short, plain-text email with a link to the detailed blog post at the end. It informs the reader that ThemeHunt will cease operations and lists down the impacts on users.
This is a standard sunset email that gives the users just the right amount of information. You can follow this style to provide them with essential information without overwhelming them. Consider offering a clear path for users to seek further details or assistance, like directing them to the support team or with a link to the blog post, as done in this email.
Hammock was a platform that can be used to access and engage with content from different sources.
The email is in the form of a personal letter from the two co-founders. It explains the reasons for shutting down Hammock and expresses gratitude to those who have supported it.
We like how the author writes about the inspiration behind starting Hammock and what changed. This acknowledges the emotional investment of both the founders and the users.
If your brand is facing a similar situation and you want to bring a human touch to your sunset email, this is a good example to follow.
What could be improved:
Specifying the date when Hammock would shut down should have been added.
Thanks to Victoria Boano of Remotive for contributing this example.
Earn.com is a platform that helps people earn crypto and grow their crypto holdings.
This email begins by talking about the acquisition of Earn.com by Coinbase, highlighting its success in detail and explaining why it's being discontinued. It then provides information on how users can manage their balances within specific timelines. The email ends with a CTA to the Coinbase website.
If you have a new product substituting the product that's being discontinued, it's best to include the behind-the-scenes events to help users understand the decision, as done in this email. This will promote users' interest in your new product and strengthen their confidence in your brand's transparency.
What could be improved:
- The important aspect of the email — the sunsetting of Earn.com — is buried in the second half part of this long email. It would be better to mention this in the first paragraph and then go on to explain the acquisition.
- Since this is a long email, it could be broken down with bullet points and images.
Check out this blog where we compiled acquisition email examples from SaaS companies.
Based on the community's feedback, many of the features of Hackpad were carried into Dropbox Paper. Their farewell email talks about this and thanks the community for their enthusiasm and help. This transparent email reinforces their customer-centricity — it shows that customer voices were heard and acted upon.
The email also highlights Paper's features and offers options for migrating data. We like that it acknowledges the inconvenience caused by the transition and promises to provide support.
Overall this email follows all the best practices as a product sunset email. Great job team!
Thanks to Jamie Cohen of Accurate Append for contributing this example.
SERPWoo was an SEO rank-tracking software.
This is a long email that begins by explaining the reasons for shutting down the product. It's in the form of a letter from the team reflecting on the company's journey and contributions to SEO. They acknowledge the changing landscape of the internet and how this made the product a tool of the past generation.
For a tool that has existed for more than 10 years, this style of product sunset email is a great way to provide closure to customers. A long-form, reflective email serves as a fitting tribute to a product's legacy and is a thoughtful way to guide users through the transition.
We like how the email begins with a TLDR version so that readers can get a gist of what's happening before they're given the full picture. It also has important details users would want to know like when the product will be shut down, refund details, the innovative tools they've developed, and practical information on how to export data.
#9. Spotify Stations
Thanks to Jimmy Daly of Superpath for contributing this example.
This is a straightforward email from Spotify informing users about the discontinuation of the Spotify Stations beta app and web player.
Users are reassured that they can still listen to their favorite stations by transferring them to the main Spotify experience. The message emphasizes the reason behind the discontinuation as part of Spotify's ongoing experimentation to improve user experience. They provide a link where users can transfer their stations to the app.
We like how the email explains why they conduct experiments on the app and that this sunsetting has given them valuable lessons. Including this detail in sunset emails not only fosters understanding and trust, but also showcases a company's commitment to learning and evolving.
Balsamiq is a rapid and efficient wire-framing software.
This very long email provides a detailed account of the history and transition of Balsamiq. It recounts the founder's initial decision to focus on a web plugin for extensible platforms, their eventual shift to a downloadable version due to user demand, and the evolution of the software.
The email also reflects on industry trends, emphasizing the decline of the desktop version of the software. The email also hints at future enhancements for Balsamiq, such as the cloud version, as alternatives for the best features of desktop.
The email's detailed and transparent communication reflects a commitment to openness and ensuring that users are well-informed about the company's direction. Users can understand the reasons behind the transition and appreciate that it's a result of a continuously evolving product to meet their needs and adapt to industry shifts.
Although we don't recommend such a long email for product sunset announcements, we think it's a good idea to bring a human touch to it with details of the company history and how it evolved.
Rivet was an experimental reading app for kids from the Google Team, which was sunset in 2020.
In this email, Google informs users that Rivet will be integrated to Google Assistant and the app will be shutting down. The readers are given a brief background about the experimental product and thanks them for their support. They are asked to refer to the FAQ on their website for further information.
This is a standard sunset email which includes all the practical information users would need as well as a brief recap of the product's story.
Feature sunset email examples
#12. Google Analytics
Thanks to Jess Joyce for contributing this example.
Google Analytics is a free Web analytics service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for SEO and other marketing activities.
Almost everyone in the marketing space knew about the coming of Google Analytics 4, their next-generation analytics solution. Here's one email among many that they sent out to users to remind them about the transition.
This feature sunset email from Google Analytics informs users that Universal Analytics will cease processing new hits on a specified date. It encourages users to transition to GA4. The email stresses the importance of completing the setup for GA4 to preserve measurement capabilities. It highlights its advantages and advises users to make this transition soon.
Adobe is a software known for its suite of creative and multimedia tools.
This email announces the discontinuation of Creative Cloud Synced files. It lists down what the impacts would be and actions users should take. Users are encouraged to ensure they have proper local or third-party backups for their assets.
You can use the content of this email as a start if you're writing a feature sunset email. It has all the necessary details arranged in a proper way.
Slack is a messaging and collaboration platform for teams.
Slack has a "deprecations" section in its monthly admin newsletter. Here, they list down the upcoming feature sunsets and link to detailed blogs. They mention the date when the product will be retired and a short description about it.
Users can get an idea of the feature that is being sunset because a line describing the feature is included along with the link. This is a great way to include any kind of announcements in newsletters.
#15. Gather Cocreate
Gather is a virtual HQ for remote teams.
This email announces the sunset of a Gather feature — Cocreate whiteboards. Users are advised to download any valuable content from the whiteboards to prevent data loss. It also mentions that new whiteboards in spaces will be powered by Eraser. We like how they include a product screenshot within the email.
An email template to announce your product/feature sunset
This free full-text email template will make a good baseline for your next sunset email.
We're writing to tell you that we decided to [shut down product/discontinue feature] on [date].
[Brief explanation on the decision to sunset the product/feature].
We'd also like to take this opportunity to express gratitude for your support and we hope you've enjoyed using [product/feature].
Here's what you need to know:
- [Timeline for shutting down, including possible stages]
- [What happens to product access]
- [What happens to user projects and customer data]
- [Suggested alternative for switching]
- [Anything else they need to know]
Should you need assistance or have further questions, please feel free to reach out to our support team at [your support email address].
Navigate transitions with grace through sunset emails
How you handle product sunsets can significantly impact your brand's reputation. A well-executed sunset email shows that you care about your customers' experience till the end.
By applying these lessons, SaaS brands can navigate these transitions with grace, and preserve the trust of their valued customers.
Good luck crafting your own email!