In the retail world, a shopping cart purchase is equivalent to the holy grail. Every eCommerce company’s primary metric is, quite understandably, purchases—and why not: purchase = $$.
Marketing and sales effort and dollars are always focused on differentiating products and creating a great customer eCommerce experience across multiple touch points, all leading to that “complete purchase” button push. But what happens after the purchase?
If you’ve ever been ghosted after a great first date, you know this feeling—there was great communication before, we had a great time during, everything seemed to be going well, so why haven’t I heard from them afterward?
Customers feel the same way about their online buys: they don’t want to be in the dark once they’ve made their purchase. In fact, 83% of shoppers say they expect regular communication about their purchases.
When the eCommerce cart converts, communication should just get started.
Why the Post-Purchase eCommerce Experience Matters
It all boils down to the fact that when customers are happy, you win. That being said, customer expectations are rising, and a seamless eCommerce experience before and after purchase is becoming more of a norm. Here are a few reasons how your business will benefit from a great post-purchase eCommerce experience.
With free two-day shipping becoming the standard from retail giants like Amazon, Costco, Apple, and others, it can make it tough for companies to keep up with the expectations of fast delivery at a low cost. What many smaller or mid-sized companies are finding is that a great end-to-end customer experience can make up for the lack of speed. Stores that can’t match the free-and-fast options the giants offer can offer alternative options like in-store pickup, an expedited shipping upsell, or free shipping at the standard time frame. The UPS study “Pulse of the Online Shopper” found that 31% of online shoppers expect expedited shipping options to get orders faster when checking out online. They also found that more than half of shoppers are interested in alternate pick up location options for their goods. The key? Options that suit every customer and, of course, keep them updated on their items' status.
Abandoning customers right after they make a purchase is one of the fastest ways to lose loyalty. It’s even more critical for eCommerce businesses: for an average eCommerce store, 43% of profits come from retained customers.
When a customer makes a purchase online—it shouldn’t be the end of their journey, it should be the beginning of a relationship. This is an opportunity to create a meaningful relationship with shoppers by giving them a memorable experience after order confirmation.
Customers want to have transparent communication to know that their purchase is on the way. Of course, most eCommerce businesses know the importance of a purchase acknowledgment and a tracking number, but customers are looking for more than that. In fact, 82% of consumers said it was important that retailers proactively community at every fulfillment and delivery stage. Accurate, timely information about each step of the delivery process is a huge opportunity for eCommerce businesses to deepen their relationship with customers and build loyalty.
Business Tip: Keep customers informed through every step of the process, and consider adding some additional emails with tips for their product to increase anticipation and excitement.
Of course, retailers know that a great post-purchase eCommerce experience is more than just about that one shopper. 74% of consumers look for word of mouth recommendations in their purchasing decisions, and that could make a big difference: a 10% increase in word-of-mouth translates into a sales lift between 0.2 - 1.5%. It can go the other way as well—if customers aren’t happy with their experience, they’ll share that with their family and friends as well.
Business Tip: A well thought out post-purchase eCommerce experience can include a referral process to encourage happy customers to share their experiences with friends and family.
How to Create a Customer Friendly Post-Purchase Ecommerce
It’s clear: there’s significant value for eCommerce businesses to keep that customer euphoria and momentum going well past the purchase, but what’s the best way to achieve that.
Your post-purchase communication should go well beyond the typical “Thanks for your purchase” email. Here are some tips for making the experience unforgettable:
Personalize the experience
Your engagement should be personalized, clear, and transparent at every step and on every platform you communicate with the customer. Keep things consistent for the customer and communicate across multiple channels—if they ordered their product in-app, make sure to notify them in-app of every step while also sending them emails. Whatever platform they used to make the purchase is probably their preference, so it’s essential to keep them engaged on that channel. Be flexible with your options and allow them to opt in or out of communications on channels so you can be wherever they want you to be.
Give them the details
Don’t miss a detail when communicating with customers—they’re eager to receive their purchases, and every update can build excitement for their product, putting your brand in a favorable position. Make sure customers get delivery dates and times, shipping updates, real-time tracking, and any updates in between. If a product needs to be made, let the customers know that you’re crafting their purchase just for them and let them know how long it will take. This keeps them informed, but also makes them feel excited about what’s to come.
Customer communication should never end—you want to build a relationship with them in the long term. That means reaching out even when there isn’t a sale involved. Once the product is delivered, follow up with them to see how they feel about it. This makes customers feel special because they feel valued, but you can also get some valuable feedback for your business.
Digging Deep: Optimize Your Post-Purchase Communications
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, here are some real-world examples of what communications you should consider for your customers and what they should include.
Order Confirmation Email
It’s a simple email that everyone has, but your order confirmation email is one of the most powerful messages you send: it has the most significant open and click-through rates in the eCommerce industry. The main components of an order confirmation email includes:
- Confirmation of purchase
- A receipt for how much was spent
- The estimated delivery time
- A clear communication of the customer’s information
- Your business’ contact information
These are necessities: it keeps the customer informed and allows them to reach out to you if necessary. That’s just the basics though—you can take things strides further with these additional components:
- Strong branding
- A powerful thank you message
- A limited-time offer for the customer’s next purchase
- Invitations to connect on social media
- An ask for a referral or a review
These additional pieces keep the customer engaged with your brand and gets them thinking about you outside of their previous purchase.
When notifying your customers about the shipment status of their products, the more communication, the better. It’s especially important the longer the package takes. Here are the critical communications you need to send:
1. Your Order Has Shipped
Often when you partner with a shipping company, this email will send as soon as a shipping label has been created. If that’s the case with your business, make sure to get the package to the shipping company ASAP.
2. Your Package Is Arriving
This message helps build anticipation and gives customers a more accurate heads-up of when their product will be in hand. This email should come 1-2 days before the package arrives to let people plan.
3. Your Package Has Been Delivered
This email should be full of excitement and should arrive as soon as the package is delivered so customers know they should get it from their designated delivery area. People don’t like to leave their packages for a long time on their porches, so this is a vital message to send. You can send this by email, SMS, or in-app, depending on your customer’s preferences.
Product Tips/Anticipation Email
While customers are waiting for their products, this is a perfect time to keep them engaged and excited about receiving the product. This email is especially useful if your product takes time to create, or if there is a delay in shipping.
Once the item is delivered, give your customers a few days to enjoy it, and then follow up with them to see how they feel. A week to 10 days after the purchase, you can send a message to find out what the customer experience was. Ask questions like:
- How did we do?
- How would you rate this product?
- Will you purchase from us again?
This is also an excellent opportunity to ask for a referral and to give a follow-up discount code to encourage the customer to purchase again.
Going Beyond the Shopping Cart
While many merchants still believe their job ends with the push of the purchase button, forward-thinking retailers know that once that purchase is made, that’s when the real work begins. Creating meaningful and thoughtful conversations with customers builds strong relationships in which customers will repay in loyalty to your brand. This makes it imperative to make memorable experiences past the order confirmation.
At Sparkfive, we understand the eCommerce journey and are here to help your team stay nimble while increasing productivity and efficiency. Find out more about how we can help your business pre-purchase through post-purchase to create the ultimate eCommerce experience for your customers. Click here to see our plans or Request a complementary demo and let us show you how Sparkfive can help your grow more efficiently.