Did you know science backs retail therapy? It says when customers buy a product, a chemical (dopamine) is released in their brains, giving them pleasure. However, this pleasure is momentary. Because of this, your customers might regret it once they successfully check out.
So, you’re wrong if you think your job to provide a good customer experience is done after the purchase. There’s a lot more you need to do. Because if your customers feel bad after purchasing a product from your store, they’re not going to come back.
So how do you ensure that your customers are as interested in you as they were while browsing the products? Improving your eCommerce post-purchase experience is the only solution.
An optimized post-purchase experience ensures that the dopamine hit goes away gradually rather than abruptly. Moreover, it also ensures that a customer stays with you for a long time. And according to research by Bain, the longer your customers stay with you, the higher their average order value goes with subsequent purchases.
That said, we have listed some of the best post-purchase eCommerce strategies that’ll help you remain relevant to your customers after they’ve purchased from you. Hop on!
The simplest definition of post-purchase experience is how you treat someone who has finished the journey from being a prospect to a customer. It’s the post-purchased experience that determines whether a customer will visit you again or not.
Here are some strategies to follow:
As we mentioned, in many cases, a successful purchase is followed by regret because our wallets don’t like shopping as much as we do. When customers have purchased the product, you can offer them store credits on the thank you page to counter any regrets that might come later.
Store credits mitigate the feeling of money loss and give instant satisfaction to customers who have to wait to get their hands on the product. When you offer store credits, you tie customers to your brand. You’re giving them free money that they can use to get something from you, which increases the chances of repeat purchases.
Moreover, you can even give an option to your customers to receive their return refund in the form of store credits. And since customers feel less apprehensive while spending the credits, they’ll be more likely to buy something at a higher value by adding some cash to cover the remaining amount.
As an eCommerce store owner, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming that whoever buys from you wants to hear from you. Not all of them do. There might be some customers who bought your product to give to someone, and your notifications might not be relevant to them.
If you keep reaching out to customers who don’t want to receive updates, you’ll hurt the chances of a repurchase. The best thing to do in such cases is to ask the customers if they would like to be notified of offers, sales, discounts, etc. If they don’t want it, steer clear from their inboxes.
However, if they’d like to be notified, you can give them options of multiple channels — SMS, Email, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc. This will not only make things convenient for them but will also increase the opening rate of your messages. It’s a win-win.
Sending proactive notifications is an integral part of the post-purchase experience. Because we are long past the days when you could just share the “tracking number” and let customers do the rest.
You need to ensure that customers are informed as soon as the product reaches a new milestone. For example, an order confirmation mail when you receive the order, an alert when the item is shipped, an alert when the item is out for delivery, etc.
Doing it manually is impossible if you have good traffic on your eCommerce store. You should automate these messages using the right tools. Ideally, you should send these notifications on the channel of customers’ choice to ensure a high open rate.
The truest friend of a marketer and an eCommerce store owner is data. You can rely on it to segment your customers and send them content that is curated specially for them — order updates, product recommendations, sales, offers, etc.
When you personalize other content like alerts and updates, personalizing them helps you build a personal relationship with the customers. And the more customers feel connected with your brand, the more they’ll be inclined to buy from you.
Moreover, sharing personalized product recommendations has also been a sure-shot way to increase sales. While not every customer is going to buy from product recommendations right after they’ve purchased a product from you. There’s no harm in trying.
Amazon’s product recommendation strategy has made a huge contribution to growing its marketplace and average order value. Their recommendation strategy is the gold standard for online retail businesses. They show not only the recommended products based on browsing history but also pair products that are often bought together. You can also share these recommendations after the purchase to increase the chances of a repurchase.
How do you know if a customer had a good shopping experience? Or whether they’ll shop from you again or not? Well, there are two ways — one, you wait indefinitely for them, or two, you ask them via an online survey.
By using a survey, you can collect feedback from your customer regarding the shopping experience and measure how satisfactory it was for them. This data will help you improve the buying experience.
Instead of offering store credits up front on the “thank you” page, you can ask your customers to fill out the survey and give their feedback in return for store credits. It will create a win-win situation where your customers get store credits, and you get the right data to improve the experience and more sales due to store credits.
Nothing can convince your target audience more than positive reviews. It helps establish a credible brand image and drive more sales. But how does it improve the post-purchase experience for your customers?
Firstly, when you reach out to your customers to ask for reviews, you stay connected to them. Moreover, it also paints a picture in customers’ minds that your brand values and cares about their opinion.
In the last step, you’ve collected feedback and have a decent idea of people who like your product/customer experience and those who weren’t very impressed. You can selectively reach out to people who shared positive responses in the feedback survey.
Furthermore, you can ensure a high participation rate by, again, offering store credits or some discount coupon for the next order.
J.Crew, a popular clothing brand, asks for reviews of all the recently purchased items in just one email. The automated email has a list of all the recently bought items with a clear CTA that says “share your thoughts.” They add product images and keep the email short and simple, which makes it easy for the customers to relate to it.
When you follow an omnichannel approach to provide customer support, you put your customers at the center of your communication strategy. This means all your support channels work in sync with your customers to give them a seamless shopping and post-shopping experience.
Customers want brands to remember their previous interactions and conversations. If a customer has some query or complaint regarding their order, they can reach out to you on any platform. The conversation should be updated in the backend. When the same customer contacts you again on a different platform, you can track the previous conversation to provide better support.
Increased customer satisfaction, high engagement rate, consistent feedback, and returning customers are some of the benefits you can reap from an omnichannel support strategy. And because it is almost necessary these days to use a CRM (where all the customer data is kept in one place), providing omnichannel support has become easier.
It is well-known how loyalty programs boost customer loyalty. But there’s a fact many marketers have camouflaged — loyalty programs can help improve the post-shopping experience. After all, the best way to improve the purchase experience (pre or post) is by connecting with the customers on an emotional level.
By introducing loyalty programs, you can show your customers that you value their existence. Barnes & Noble, an online book store, is one of many established eCommerce stores that run loyalty programs to improve pre and post-purchase experience.
In Barnes & Noble’s loyalty program, customers pay an annual fee for VIP access to deals, discounts, freebies, free shipping, etc. Moreover, their value proposition is “pay $25 a year and receive $60 in bonus coupons.” This makes it a loyalty program worth joining.
Return and refund policies are equally relevant for both pre and post-purchase experience. When customers buy online, they don’t know what the actual product will look like. Because of this, they need some feeling of security from your side.
If you don’t have a defined return policy, the customer might become suspicious and will probably not buy the product from you. Moreover, if they still order, most of the time, till delivery, they’ll be worried if the actual product will be worth it. And in some cases, they might even cancel the order before shipment.
However, when you have an easy return and refund policy, they’ll not be worried. Because even if they don’t like the actual product, they know that they have an option to return it. With an easy return policy, you can significantly decrease the number of pre-delivery cancellations.
Furthermore, using a tool like Flits, you can even process the return in the form of store credits. This will ensure that these customers visit your store again to purchase something.
Let’s call a spade a spade. Yes, you have to give your best to provide a good post-purchase experience to all your customers. But there will still be some cases when your business is not able to meet customer expectations. And it’s totally fine as long as you’re accountable for it.
When we talk about post-purchase experience, specifically, there are a ton of things that are not under your control and can go wrong. The product might get damaged in shipping, or there might be some defect in the product you deliver, etc.
But just because you got something messed up doesn’t mean you’ve lost the customer. Firstly, you should take a close look at what went wrong and why so that it doesn’t happen again. Then, you should also share the best possible solution with the customers. Moreover, if the problem can’t be fixed instantly, you should clearly communicate how you’re going to deal with it.
In the year 2021, Tesla recalled more than five hundred thousand cars in the US to fix the rearview camera and trunk defect. Tesla prioritized post-purchase experience (customers’ safety), took ownership of the issue and fixed it as soon as they could. This sent a message that Tesla values and cares about its customers, which led to an increase in sales.
Did you know it’s five times cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones? And only this, the retained customers tend to have a higher average order value, making them more valuable to the company.
One of the things that you can implement instantly to improve the post-purchase experience is offering store credits. It will ensure that their wallets don’t regret shopping, and the customers return to shop from you again.