The customer journey doesn’t end with a click of the Buy button. If your ecommerce goals include cultivating return buyers and encouraging customer loyalty, the post-purchase customer journey and experience is make-or-break.
Position your ecommerce business to create repeat customers with these post-purchase marketing strategies and post sales logistics.
Gold customers and the post-purchase experience
There’s an old song that encourages children to “Make new friends but keep the old—one is silver but the other’s gold.” Replace friends with customers and you have a fairly accurate description of why the post-purchase experience is so important.
Return customers really are ecommerce gold: encouraging them to buy again costs less than finding new customers, they tend to spend more than new customers and they are happy to spread the good word about brands that they love.
With those nuggets in mind, here are some post-purchase marketing strategies that can earn your business more post-purchase loyalty.
Think beyond the post-purchase thank you email
A branded post-purchase thank-you email is critical, but it’s just the first step in the post-purchase stage. Follow up with customers in ways that educate, engage and encourage them to purchase again.
Consider integrating newsletters into your post-purchase email campaigns. Newsletters can position your brand as a thought leader, trendsetter or even role model for specific consumer communities. Make sure your newsletters offer something of value, whether curating a select group of new products, opining on a current topic or offering users tips and tricks.
Turn post-purchase messages into post-purchase loyalty
Incentivizing post-purchase loyalty works because customers want proof that they’re recognized, appreciated and valued. Aim to integrate promos, discounts and product recommendations in every post-purchase message you send.
Examples of post-purchase experience opportunities:
Loyalty programs: Offer discounts or freebies for joining a mailing list or loyalty program. Customers are encouraged to sign up to keep the rewards coming.
Timed offers: Prolong the post purchase experience by sending out timed offers. Birthdays, purchase anniversaries or even “we miss you” reminders are all great reasons to reach out with promos or product recommendations.
Social media: Customers with small businesses appreciate a little exposure, too. Encourage them to post images on your Facebook or Instagram account wearing or using your products.
Product Recommendations: Use purchase data to suggest other items the customer might enjoy.
Branded tracking: It’s not an incentive, but it does offer a great experience. Use branded tracking that allows customers to choose their preference for notifications: via text message, email or social media.
Encourage post-purchase feedback
Reviews have an enormous impact on the buying decisions of prospective customers. So, how do you encourage glowing reviews? The quality of a product or service alone can inspire positive post-purchase feedback, especially with a little nudge from the marketing folks. Keep these post-purchase messages timely and simple and the five-star reviews should follow.
If you do offer something other than goodwill as a reward for leaving a review, avoid any appearance of quid pro quo. In other words, no pay for positive reviews. Instead, encourage honest feedback and offer customers feel-good incentives like shout-outs on social media. Learn more about Post Purchase Solutions.
Post sales logistics
So far, we’ve focused on post-purchase marketing strategies, but operations play a critical role in the post-purchase experience, too. Returns are a fact of ecommerce life, and your post-sales logistics can either forge customer bonds or destroy them. A Pitney Bowes survey revealed that 78% of consumers find returns inconvenient. That number represents a lot of opportunity for the brands that want to capitalize on it with a convenient returns program.
An optimized returns process includes a clearly outlined returns policy on your website and a frictionless returns method—all wrapped in a positive branded experience. Get your marketing and operations teams together to discuss post-purchase strategies like prepaid return labels and returns tracking. But first, check out our article on optimizing returns.