Engaging and reactivating your existing customers is one of the most lucrative strategies for growing your e-commerce business and boosting your profit margin. That’s why so many e-commerce retailers are now implementing effective, automated post-purchase email campaigns to strengthen the customer relationship, keep in touch with their customers, remain top-of-mind – and ultimately to promote repeat business.
Afterall, e-commerce retailers are used to focusing on tasks that have the greatest – and most lasting – impact on their bottom line. That’s why building customer loyalty has become the top priority across the e-commerce industry in 2023, according to a recent expert survey. After all, you have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer, compared to just a 5-20% chance of converting a new customer.
Are you interested in generating more customer loyalty and boosting sales with post-purchase emails? In this article, we’ll cover:
- The ins and outs of post-purchase email strategy
- Why post-purchase emails are such a beneficial tool for boosting sales
- The basics of an impactful post-purchase communication
- How you can get started, with 8 types of post-purchase emails that help you achieve your goals
What are post-purchase emails?
Post-purchase emails are a tailored series of messages that you send to your customers after they’ve placed an order on your online store.
These emails are strategically designed to cultivate stronger, longer-lasting relationships with your customers. They inform your customers of important milestones (like order confirmation and shipping). They provide useful instructions (like product information and news). And they make your customers feel welcome in your brand’s community, through special offers, customer review requests and other relationship-building messaging.
Since people are inundated with useless emails (over 56% of all email sent worldwide in 2022 was spam), it’s important to take the right approach to ensure your post-purchase emails stand out.
Key characteristics of any successful post-purchase email strategy include:
- Timing: Emails are sent at logical moments and at a comfortable yet consistent pace.
- Added value: Your post-purchase messages address specific concerns on your customer’s mind (for example, “where is my order?”/WISMO).
- Personalization: Your messages are addressed personally to your customers and tailored to their needs and interests.
- Automation: To maintain consistency and achieve the best results with marketing automation, you must never forget to send an email. This is why automated post-purchase emails are a must.
Why are post-purchase emails so important for customer retention?
Lack of communication is one of the most common causes of customer complaints in online reviews. This can significantly harm your business, as 77% of one-star reviews on Trustpilot are the direct result of a poor post-purchase experience. On the flipside, offering excellent post-purchase communication is a proven method for improving customer satisfaction and building customer retention.
An effective post-purchase email strategy boosts customer satisfaction by fulfilling many modern customer expectations, such as:
- Clear communication about their order: Neglecting to inform your customers about the status of their order, for example, failing to send an automatic order confirmation, causes mistrust and makes customers less likely to buy from you again. Nor will they recommend you to others.
- Proactive service: Your customers don’t want to have to ask for information. They expect you to be automatically forthcoming about important topics concerning their order, like shipping.
- Sense of community: The best-loved brands make people feel like they’re part of something bigger. Sharing engaging content with your customers by email helps to promote a sense of community that strengthens their bond with your brand.
- A personalized experience: According to Forbes, consumers spend up to 500% more with businesses that offer them a personalized experience. With the right data-driven tools, you can tailor your post-purchase emails to create the personalized experience your customers expect.
Key benefits of driving customer loyalty through post-purchase emails
By implementing an effective post-purchase email strategy, your e-commerce business profits from:
- Increased Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Loyal customers will return to your shop again and again, generating more sales throughout your relationship with them.
- Positive reviews that build trust: Satisfied customers leave positive reviews which attract new customers to your shop.
- Referrals that bring in new business: By impressing your customers with an excellent post-purchase experience, you increase the chances of them spreading the word about how great your service is.
Failing to engage with customers via post-purchase emails means you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to foster loyalty. A post-purchase email flow is a reliable, efficient, cost-effective solution to keeping the connection alive, ensuring customers remember your brand long after their initial interaction.
The basics of post-purchase communication
Before we delve into specific examples of impactful post-purchase email, let’s set up the basics. With every message you send to your customer, remember to include the following important details:
- Always address the customer by name. Set a polite, personal tone that makes your messages immediately feel welcoming and friendly.
- Use a branded template, including your company logo and colors: To look more professional and create a coherent brand experience, your customer connects with your brand each time they open one of your messages.
- Include your contact information. Make your customers feel welcome to contact you in case of any questions. Display your company’s contact information, opening hours and/or a link to your customer support page.
- Add links to your social media channels. Encourage your customers to follow you on social media, so they don’t miss out on news about the brand that they (hopefully) love..
- Insert an unsubscribe (opt-out) option when legally required. While you never want to see a customer unsubscribe from your marketing messages, you are required by law in the EU, United States and many other countries to offer a clear opt-out. So make sure to make it easy for them toopt out of receiving future marketing emails from you.
- Localise the message for your international customers. If your customer base extends across different regions or countries, tailor your post-purchase communication to accommodate their language and cultural preferences. Localising the customer experience demonstrates a higher level of customer understanding and respect, enhancing the overall post-purchase experience.
8 examples of impactful post-purchase emails
Now that you know the benefits, you may be wondering how to set up an effective post-purchase email strategy for your e-commerce business. Below, we’ll walk you through 8 powerful types of post-purchase emails to help get you started:
1. Order confirmation e-mail
The post-purchase journey begins with the order confirmation email. This is more than simply acknowledging that your customer has placed an order. It’s a chance to set the tone for all your future interactions with them.
By reiterating the details of the purchase, providing order tracking information and reinforcing your brand’s personality, you reassure customers that they’ve made the right choice.
Here’s what to include in an order confirmation message:
- Thank them for their order. A polite thank you is a great way to show your appreciation.
- Recap important information about the order (for example, the products they bought, the address details they entered and the order amount). Since your customers are more familiar with their email inbox than they are with your online shop’s account section, they will find it helpful to have key information like this at their disposal, simply by checking their email.
- Include links back to your product pages for the products your customer ordered. This will help the customer quickly locate your product pages in case they want to double-check any details about the product(s) they bought. The easier you can make it for your customers to return to your shop, the better.
- Include links to other helpful resources. For example, add an FAQ related to the product the customer purchased.
- Include an indication about expected shipping dates. This sets the customer’s expectations. It’s important for this information to be consistent with the shipping times you display on your website, to avoid confusion and maintain trust.
2. Order shipment confirmation e-mail
Next, it’s time to keep the excitement alive with your order shipment confirmation email. Customers love hearing that their order is on the way, so the order shipment confirmation is a great way to share the joy.
Here’s what to do:
- Use an upbeat, excited tone. You can start by saying, “Great news! Your order is on the way.”
- Include tracking information: Provide all the relevant tracking details, such as a link to your own branded tracking portal, where customers can check the status of their shipment in real time.
- Build anticipation. Include links to content related to the product the customer ordered, such as FAQs or blog posts on your website. This helps reinforce the feeling that the customer has made the right choice, while also giving them more to look forward to.
3. Review request e-mail
Shortly after your customer receives their order, it’s the perfect time to ask them to leave a review. Posting customer reviews on your website or platforms like Google Places or TrustPilot helps build trust in your brand and attract new customers.
To master the art of writing an effective review request, be sure to read our complete guide on how to ask customers for reviews.
Here are some key details to remember:
- Personalize. In addition to addressing the customer by name (as always), mention one or two details about their recent order. For example, say, “Thanks again for your recent order of [PRODUCT NAME]”.
- Time it well. Only send the review request after you are sure your customer has received their order. The best time to send it is between 7 and 30 days after the date of receipt.
- Keep it short and simple. You’re asking your customers to do you a favor, so make sure your message is quick and easy to read..
- Include a clear call to action. Add a clearly labelled button with a call to action like “Leave a review” which directs the customer to your preferred review platform.
4. Product usage instructions e-mail
Bring your post-purchase experience to the next level by proactively sending your customers helpful instructions and information about the product they purchased. This adds even more value to the relationship and reinforces the customer’s positive view of your brand as a helpful, attentive and supportive partner. At the same time, it builds engagement and encourages your customer to visit your site to learn more about your brand and other products.
Here’s what to include:
- Set the context. Thank the customer again for their recent order and mention the product(s) by name. Explain that you are sending this email to help them get the most out of their product. For example, say, “To help you get off to a great start with your new [PRODUCT NAME], we’re sending you some useful information.”
- Include relevant links. Instead of sending information (such as user guides) as an attachment, include links to important resources on your website. This will encourage the customer to visit your shop again, where they may discover new products that interest them.
- Keep the conversation going. Remind your customer that they can always contact your support team or send a direct message via your social media channels in case of any questions.
5. Share discount codes for future purchases
Discounts and special offers are a great way to show appreciation and make your customers feel like a true insider. By cultivating a sense of belonging, you make your customers feel welcome and increase the likelihood of a repeat order.
Here’s how to do it:
- Be specific. How much is the discount? Until what date is it valid? Ideally include a link that will already apply the discount to their cart.
- Play into the customer’s FOMO: “Fear of missing out” (FOMO) is a powerful motivator for driving purchase decisions, especially if you have already earned the customer’s trust. Gently trigger the customer’s FOMO with language like “for a limited time only” or “now’s the perfect opportunity.”
- Be transparent. Include links to all the legal details, such as terms and conditions. Even if the customer doesn’t read this information, it still makes your brand look more professional and trustworthy.
6. Re-engagement e-mails to promote repeat business
To keep your customers engaged in the long-term, you can reach out to inform them of new product or collection launches that are likely to interest them. This creates another opportunity for attracting your customer back to your website.
Here’s what to do:
- Time your messages carefully. Wait at least one month before notifying your customer of new products. This gives them time to enjoy the product they’ve already bought.
- Personalize the offer. Announce new products, accessories or complementary productss that are related to the customers’ previous purchases. Remember that customers are nearly 7 times more likely to click on a personalized offer than a randomly selected one.
- Make it social. Link to social media campaigns or user-generated content (UGC) that showcase your new products in a surprising or entertaining way. This helps create a buzz around your latest offering.
7. Sign-up e-mail for a newsletter/loyalty program
Another way of keeping your customers engaged with your brand is to encourage them to sign up for your newsletter or loyalty program. Sending a separate email to invite your customer to sign up is a great way to draw more attention to these services.
Here’s how to do it:
- Summarize the benefits. Include a useful piece of content, that is a sneak preview to what they can expect in terms of benefits from signing up (for example “Never miss an update” or “Receive special subscriber-only discounts.”)
- Make signup easy. Include a clearly marked “Sign up” button that directs the customer to your signup page. Only require the minimum amount of information (usually email address) to avoid making the signup process too complicated.
8. Customer satisfaction survey e-mail
Lastly, asking your customers to take part in a quick satisfaction survey is the perfect way to close the feedback loop and gain valuable insights to help improve your products and services. It also builds trust by showing your customers that you care about their opinion.
Here are some pointers:
- KISS: Keep it short and simple. You’re asking customers to donate their precious time. Keep your message polite but short and to the point.
- Make it about them. Remind your customers that their feedback is important because it enables you to improve their service to them
- Manage expectations. Give your customer a transparent, realistic indication of how long the survey takes. Instead of saying “our brief survey”, say “our 2-minute survey”, for example.
- Include a clear CTA. Include a clearly labelled button that directs the customer to the survey.
Unlock the potential of customer retention with post-purchase emails
By nurturing long-lasting customer relationships, you put your e-commerce business on the path to building a loyal customer base, generating repeat business and earning valuable customer reviews and referrals.
Ready to set up your post-purchase email strategy? By signing up for a free 14-day trial of Sendcloud’s shipping platform, you can try out our post-purchase email feature and learn how this smart, automated tool can streamline your communications and fit seamlessly into your customer relations.
For a step-by-step guide to setting up post-purchase email flows, check out the video tutorial from the Sendcloud Academy below.
With the right approach – and the right tools – you’ll be ready to start leveraging the power of post-purchase emails and seeing your brand reach new heights!