Howdy! You're about to indulge in a guest post by David Hoos, the Director of Marketing at The Good. The Good is all in when it comes to converting more site visitors into buyers, and this post is all a part of the strategy. Enjoy!
Let’s be honest: Post-purchase emails are often an afterthought for ecommerce retailers. After all, you’ve already made the sale. You’ve acquired the customer. You’ve secured the revenue. Do you really need to give that much thought and time to your post-purchase emails? Isn’t a simple, “Thanks, here’s your info,” email sufficient?
In short, no.
Post-purchase email campaigns are one of the most effective ways to retain customers. If you can ensure a smooth, hassle-free, quality customer experience throughout the entire purchase process, including the post-purchase, you’ll have a much better chance of retaining your customers.
And as you probably know, retaining customers is just as important as acquiring new ones. In fact, acquiring a new customer is 6 to 7 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
Additionally, returning customers are 2 times more likely to convert than new customers. And, customers who have the best overall shopping experience (including after the purchase) are 140% more likely to convert compared with those who have the poorest experience.
Bottom line? Post-purchase emails are a highly effective method for improving retention and should be an integral part of your email marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll provide you with five post-purchase emails that you can start sending to your customers.
What Are Post-Purchase Emails?
Before we dive into the specific types of emails you should send, we’ll start by defining post-purchase emails and how effective they really are.
A post-purchase email is any type of marketing email that you send to the customer following a purchase. They’re used to establish trust with customers, confirm important details, ensure the customer had an outstanding experience, and improve retention rates.
Post-purchase emails are effective, to say the least. They have an average open rate of 42.51%, a click-through rate of 18.27%, and a conversion rate of 10.34%. Additionally, for customers using Gmail, these emails typically end up in the primary inbox as opposed to the promotional inbox. This also increases the overall performance of the emails.
Clearly, post-purchase emails are effective.
So what types of post-purchase emails should you be using? Here are the five that we recommend.
Post-Purchase Email #1: The Order Confirmation
The first and most obvious email, and the one sent by most companies, is the order confirmation email. This email assures the customer that their order was received and will be processed ASAP.
When people click “Buy,” they want to be assured that everything worked properly. They certainly don’t want any surprises or problems.
Customer service expert Alexa Lemzy says:
"Keeping customers up to date with the status of their purchase, especially if there is a delay or another issue, is important. In fact, consumers decide not to do business again with a brand because of a lack of transparency about the status of their purchase delivery."
The order confirmation email should be sent as soon as the payment is confirmed.
What should you include in the order confirmation email?
Confirmation that their order went through
The total amount of their purchase
An image of the product they purchased
When it will ship and how to track their shipment
How they can access their receipt
Who to contact if they have a problem
What they should expect next
Additionally, because the first post-purchase email receives a high amount of engagement compared with other emails, you may want to consider adding supplemental marketing elements to your emails.
Customer support options
Recommendations for other products the customer may like
Incentives for your referral program
Social sharing buttons
Notice how Chewy includes customer support information in the footer of their order confirmation email. Offering 24/7 customer service and free shipping on orders over $49 is big value-add for customers. The post-purchase email is a great place to call attention to this information.
Post-Purchase Email #2: Shipping Confirmation
The second post-purchase email you should send is the shipping confirmation email. One of your primary goals with the shipping confirmation email (aside from providing the customer with details about their shipment) is to provide any additional information about the product that may be valuable to the customer. Another goal is to keep them engaged with your brand.
Notice how Laird Superfood uses their shipping confirmation email to promote a free recipe book. Clicking on the recipe book will take the customer back to the site, and this may motivate them to purchase additional products that they see throughout the recipe book.
Post-Purchase Email #3: The Shipment Check-In
Approximately one week after the shipment has arrived, you want to check in with the customer to ensure that everything arrived when and how it should. Consider asking questions like:
Did it arrive on time?
Did it arrive in good shape?
Were there any problems after it got there?
We’ve all had the experience of having a shipment arrive late or banged up, and nothing is more frustrating than trying to get an unresponsive company to fix the problem. It almost guarantees that we’ll never do business with that company again.
This email doesn’t need to be particularly complicated. It should simply say, “We really value you and wanted to make sure everything was OK.”
Notice how Need Supply Co. even invites their customers to engage with them on social media after their product arrives. If the customer is happy with their order, the social media team can share that across their various social media feeds. If the customer has a problem, the customer support team is quickly made aware of it and can make it right.
Post-Purchase Email #4: The Review Request
Product reviews allow you to accomplish several things at once. First, they allow you to get feedback from and better serve your customers. If a customer leaves a poor review, it’s an opportunity to fix the problem and keep the customer from becoming upset.
Additionally, product reviews serve as social proof. There’s a reason we quickly look at the reviews when we’re purchasing on Amazon. We want to be sure we can trust the seller and that we’re getting a high-quality product. The more positive product reviews you have, the more you can show them off and create trust with new and prospective customers.
The product review should:
Remind customers of the great experience that they had
Be honest and upfront about how long the survey will take (it shouldn’t take long)
Describe how the review or results of the survey will benefit the customer
Product reviews are another opportunity to ask the customer for referrals and social shares. This is exactly what Casper does in their review request email.
If the customer has had a good experience with your company, they’re much more inclined to share that experience with friends and family, which will generate referrals for you. The same goes for social media sharing. A good experience increases the likelihood that it will be shared on social media.
When asking for a review, be sure to link to the exact page where the customer will leave a review. Minimize the number of clicks it takes for the customer to leave a review. Don’t make them hunt to find the review location. Make it as easy as possible for them.
Post-Purchase Email #5: Discount to Re-Order
The final email you send should be a discount offer on a re-order or additional offer. Assuming the customer has had a positive experience with their first order, this is the perfect opportunity to get repeat purchases and increase customer loyalty.
The conversion opportunities are big at this point. Getting repeat customers can increase profitability by 75%, and repeat customers spend on average 67% more than new customers. Now you know why Amazon works so hard to get people into their Prime program. Creating loyal customers is the ticket to greater revenue gains.
The final email is critical for customer retention. When a customer re-orders, they become the gold mine that is the repeat customer.
Additionally, effective re-order emails can help increase the overall Lifetime Value (LTV) of your customers. The more they re-order, the higher the overall LTV.
A tip we picked up on from Revolution Tea’s post-purchase emails is to include a discount code the customer can apply toward their next purchase. This tactic does cut into your margins, but it can also be a great way to improve customer retention.
Ecommerce expert Jimmy Daly says this about the reorder email:
"A replenishment email is one that simply reminds people to re-order items when they run out. Replenishment emails are designed to drive recurring revenue. They’re a perfect example of behavioral email marketing.
This strategy works because you know the customer has a need. You even know when they need it. It’s a pain point that’s easy to relieve. If you sell products that can be re-ordered, you are crazy not to send this email."
Give Post-Purchase Emails a Try
Post-purchase email sequences should not be an afterthought of your email marketing strategy. They are absolutely essential for customer retention and they allow you to develop a more meaningful and engaged relationship with your customers.
At The Good, we work with some of the largest online brands (including Adobe, The Economist, Autodesk, and more) to create better experiences for their customers. If you’re interested in optimizing your site to improve your customer retention and conversion rate, schedule a free landing page assessment where we’ll take a close look at your site and identify specific areas that need adjusting.
About the Author
David Hoos is the Director of Marketing at The Good, conversion rate experts who turn more visitors into customers through detailed data analysis and testing. David and the team at The Good have advised brands like Nike, Adobe, Xerox, and more on how to see online revenue double through a range of conversion rate optimization services. Follow him on Twitter.