Every e-commerce brand starts with an idea—a seed from which a new product is born. At this point, you likely haven’t even started to think about your customers’ post-purchase experience. That’s expected—for now. After all, it takes time, money, and dedication to grow your idea into a fully realized product. You’ll need to design, develop, manufacture, test, and market your new creation. If you’ve played your cards right, sales will follow.
For startup e-commerce brands, the focus often ends there. Now that your product’s out in the world, it’s time to exhale, relax, and reap the rewards of your hard work. Right?
Wrong! Your journey with the customer can’t stop after the sale. If you abandon your customers post-purchase, they’re likely to return the favor. You won’t get their repeat business, and you’ll lose any sales that might have come from their recommendations. You need to guide them through the post-purchase experience. But how?
Keeping in Touch: Good Old Fashioned Email
It might seem outdated, but email remains an effective marketing tool for e-commerce brands. The most effective time to reach your customers by email is soon after they make a purchase. In fact, post-purchase email open rates are double that of other email promotions.
Customers who have recently made a purchase are anxious to hear from you. They want to know you have received their order. They want to know when it ships. Sending them a personalized, branded email with tracking information is a great way to keep them in the loop. You could also include suggestions for other products they might enjoy, invite them to join a loyalty program, or ask them to follow you on social media.
With email automation apps or plug-ins, sending out these emails is quick and easy. Design several post-purchase emails and schedule them to be sent at intervals, letting customers know you’re still thinking of them. Offer advice, request a review, and remind them you are there to support them by including customer service contact information and providing a link to your knowledge base.
Keeping them Informed: Did Someone Say Knowledge Base?
Yes, we did. In fact, we discussed the importance of maintaining a great knowledge base in our Customer Service Tips article, but it bears repeating here. Superior customer service is a huge part of the post-purchase experience, and often the first place a customer will go to seek answers is your website. Keep the information fresh and up-to-date. Present it in a visually pleasing format with answers that are easy to find and understand.
Having a website with useful resources like a knowledge base, FAQs, informational articles, and support contact information will help set a customer with questions or concerns at ease, encouraging positive feelings toward your brand.
Keeping Them Close: The Branded Tracking Experience
Another way to delight your customers post-purchase is to give them an easy way to track their order without sending them off to the carrier’s site. Customers want visibility when it comes to tracking information. They want to be able to follow their package every step of the way, from the moment you receive their order until it finally arrives at their doorstep.
There are numerous platforms that can help you offer this service. They allow your customers to track their package from your website or by clicking a link in an email you send them. Your customers will see a tracking bar indicating when their order is processed, shipped, in transit, and delivered. You can even customize the tracking page with your brand’s look and logo, and possibly include other items such as advertising, product recommendations, and messages.
Using these tools keeps your customers close, meaning they won’t have to go to third-party site to track their package. Every time they check on their package, they’ll have your brand—and your message—right in front of them.
Keeping Them Happy: Being There After The Sale
Great customer service might just be the biggest factor in delighting your customers post-purchase. Be there for them. They might have questions not answered in your knowledge base. They may have to return a defective product or have concerns about a delivery. Whether they contact you through email, webportal, live chat, or phone, make sure your customer service team is available, knowledgeable, and sympathetic. Turning around a poor experience and making it great can earn you a loyal lifetime customer.
Today’s ecommerce customers expect more than a great product. After all, there are plenty of excellent products out there for them to choose from. All things being equal, they are going to buy from the company that gives them the best experience. Once you understand this and master your post-purchase techniques, you’ll be well on your way to building a loyal customer base for your brand.