You may think that once a customer clicks “Submit Order” you’re done, right? You’ve got the customer to your site, you got them to buy from you, and now you can move on to getting the next customer. Well, not quite – the customer journey doesn’t end at checkout.
There is just as much work to do post-purchase as there is before the purchase, because the experience that customers have after purchasing determines if they’ll become lifetime customers.
What is the Post-Purchase Customer Experience?
The customer journey is made up of two parts – pre-purchase and post-purchase. The post-purchase customer experience is the part of the customer journey that begins after a customer has purchased a product or service from your eCommerce store, and it encompasses all the interactions your customers have with your team and your products after the sale.
Providing a positive post-purchase customer experience is just as important, if not even more so, than the experience your customers leading up to a purchase.
Whether your customers become repeat customers or disappear after one purchase depends on their experience after they submit their order.
Why is the Post-Purchase Experience Important for eCommerce Stores?
Focusing on the post-purchase customer experience is essential for keeping your customers coming back to buy from you again. Taking action to retain existing customers is way more cost-effective than looking for new ones.
After buying from your Shopify store, your customers have two options – buy from you again or switch to one of your competitors. Your customers’ decision depends largely on how you treat them and meet their needs.
The ideal post-purchase experience creates a loyalty loop, keeping customers coming back to your store over and over again instead of looking for new stores to buy from. The Pareto principle says that 20% of repeat customers generate up to 80% of your profits.
5 Ways to Improve Your Post-Purchase Experience
The most effective post-purchase strategies focus on being helpful and offering value, not pushing for that next conversion.
Here are 5 steps to creating a post-purchase experience that will improve your customer satisfaction and encourage repeat sales.
1. Communicate With Your Customers
The primary purpose of post-purchase emails is to provide information about the order, but they can be so much more than that.
You can use emails to tell your customers more about your brand and products, and affirm that they made the right decision to buy from you, which can help increase customer loyalty and lifetime value.
People have come to expect to receive emails with shipping details. They have not yet come to expect personal and educational emails.
Here are just a few types of post-purchase emails you can send that add extra value:
- Thank-You Emails
Rather than simply saying thank you in your transactional emails, send a separate thank-you email to show customers how much you appreciate their business.
Sending a separate thank-you email also gives you an opportunity to talk more about your brand, go into more detail about how your product is special, and assure your customers they made the right choice buying from your store.
A simple thank you can go a long way in creating a long-term customer relationship.
- Educational Emails
Educational or how-to post-purchase emails can cover anything from how to best care for a product, to how to use it, to how to assemble it. Once your customers receive the products they ordered, you want to make sure they are able to use and enjoy them.
Product care and how-to content can be recorded as a video, embedded as a downloadable file, or written directly in the email.
Including educational emails can make customers less likely to return their new items as well as encourage them to buy from you again.
- Review Request Emails
One way to improve the post-purchase experience is to find out what your customers actually think about your products. Send out an email after your customers have received their order, asking for a review or feedback.
The more personalized this email is, the better. For example, ask them about the specific products they ordered.
User-generated content like reviews can help other customers with their decision to purchase when browsing your site, and asking for customer feedback is a great way to gather insights directly from your customers to see how you can improve your products or services.
- Marketing Emails
Send out timed and personalized marketing emails according to the types of incentives you offer.
After customers complete their purchase is the perfect time to promote your loyalty program, incentivize them to refer friends and family, and offer personalized product recommendations based on what they bought.
2. Provide the Best Customer Support
Post-purchase customer support is something many eCommerce stores have, but don’t advertise enough. When done right, good customer support can make customers feel that they are valued and encourages them to continue buying from you.
There’s nothing worse than receiving a brand new product and not knowing how to use it. Sure, you could work your way through the dry, boring manual included with the product, but who reads those anymore?
Customers need your support before, during, and after they buy from your store. Providing real-time customer support ensures that all of your customers’ questions are answered, leaving them to enjoy their new items.
3. Offer a Branded Loyalty Program
Part of building post-purchase customer loyalty involves creating a loyalty program that plays into these factors:
- Brand Image
Let your customers get to know your brand. Give your loyalty program a name and a style that fits your brand. That could mean turning it into a game, focusing on sustainability, or coming up with a name that portrays that you’re a fun and approachable brand. Let your loyalty program reflect your brand values.
People like to feel that they’re part of a community. Create a brand community that goes beyond the purchasing experience. Bring customers together by rewarding them for things they enjoy doing in their daily life – working out, volunteering for a charity, or posting on social media.
Strengthen your customers’ commitment to your brand by giving them a sense of belonging, making them feel connected to like-minded people, and keeping them engaged.
If you are all about increasing brand engagement, you can reward customers who watch your product videos, keep up a certain amount of logins per month, make frequent purchases, or follow and share social media content.
When customers are hyped up about your products, engaged in your community, and in tune with your brand, communication becomes easy.
When done right, loyalty programs can be the deciding factor to keep your customers loyal to your brand. So much so that over 70% of customers are more likely to recommend a brand if it has a good loyalty program.
4. Improve Your Returns Process
An incredibly important part of the post-purchase experience is how returns are handled. One of the best ways to improve the post-purchase experience is by automating your returns. Use an automated returns management system to simplify your returns handling process and provide a self-service return portal for your customers to easily issue return requests.
If the returns process is too long and complicated, customers are likely to give up and keep the unwanted items, and simply not buy from the same place again. Gain your customers’ trust by letting them know that if they need to return or exchange their order, they can do so easily and seamlessly.
5. Go Above and Beyond to Show You Care
Real post-purchase satisfaction depends on customers seeing that you care about them.
You can go above and beyond to show how much you value your customers by including some swag or a coupon in their package, creating unique packaging that can be reused, or checking in with your customers to ask if everything’s going well and if they have any questions.
The more you show you care, the more your customers will appreciate you for the steps you take, be confident about their purchasing choice, and recommend your Shopify store to their friends and family.
Make Your Post-Purchase Experience a Priority
Remember that clicking “Submit Order” isn’t the end of the customer journey. By continuing the conversation after the sale, providing amazing customer support, adding value through loyalty programs, improving your returns process, and showing how much you care, you can keep your customers happy and coming back again and again.
Use the post-purchase customer experience to create loyal brand advocates instead of one-time customers.