I would like to know how I can implement a transactional email, or if it is possible to do so, like Mailchimp, using Amazon SES. I want to have the flexibility of creating emails like MailChimp, with a bulk email sending capability. Is it as simple with AWS SES as it is with MailChimp? If so, then how can I implement that for my own product? Thanks!
I'd look at SendGrid for bulk and transactional emails. They have a template system where you upload/save templates on their end that you refer to when you use their API. You then pass an object with key/value pairs for replacements in the template. I believe they are handlebars templates. Anyway, you can send in bulk this way.
It will be far cheaper to DIY with AWS SES, but you have to code quite a bit yourself. You may want to look if there's any open source project that helps here. I'm not aware of any, I'd have to Google it.
One downside of SendGrid is that testing things is difficult. They have a "sandbox" that will tell you if the API request is correct, but it's a bit useless. It doesn't let you see if your email looks correct and that the data was replaced correctly. So if as you code and test you're going to be sending real emails. Less than ideal for a QA team. I wish SendGrid had a Mailtrap type feature. Then you can send to any email address you like and just have it land in a fake email bin that you can share with your team. To me, this is a critical feature SendGrid is missing. Other than that, I've been happy with SendGrid. A little pricey I think, but they do a great job retrying to send email, adding emails to a suppression list, etc. Again, all nice features you'd be on the hook for building if you went with something custom with SES. So factor in time savings and SendGrid has great value. Long term and depending on your volume, that may be a different story.
Mailchimp is more user-oriented while Amazon SES is a cheaper solution more suitable for being an SMTP server. If you need to send occasional emails manually, go with Mailchimp or another provider. If you want to send transactional emails from your app, Amazon SES is the best choice.