7 Post-Purchase Tips for the Savvy E-Tailer

 In Ecommerce

E-tailers may think the sale is the end-all be-all goal for every shopper that visits their site, but they’re sorely mistaken. Yes, that first sale is crucial, but it’s only the start of the customer journey. The next steps, also referred to as the post-purchase experience, determine whether that shopper will go on to become a loyal customer or never return again. Therefore, savvy e-tailers should focus on their customers’ post-purchase experiences to supercharge customer loyalty—and their bottom line.

Try these post-purchase tips to make online shoppers absolutely fall in love with your brand.

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Make a Splash with Premium Packaging

Your packaging is the first thing customers see when their orders arrive, which means it’s their first impression of your brand. Why use plain, forgettable boxes and envelopes when you could add some pizzazz? It’s a chance to show off your brand’s designs, and it’s an element consistent shoppers notice. Studies show that shoppers who spend over $200 monthly highly value package design, whereas only 11% of consumers are happy with the packaging they receive.

Especially with the rising popularity of unboxing videos and influencer marketing, memorable packaging can attract new customers who wouldn’t have found your brand otherwise. It adds the “wow” factor that shoppers are looking for while also improving loyalty and retention. Everybody wins.

Include Strategic Extras

If you send your products and only your products when fulfilling orders, you’re missing out on more ways to make a good impression. Two things in particular are small but impactful value adds: “how to” guides and thank you notes.

Thank you notes are a low-cost, low-effort way to express appreciation for the people who are keeping your ecommerce store in business. As for a “how to” guide, it shows your customers that you care about their adventures beyond the sale. Whether it shows assembly instructions, maintenance recommendations or creative use cases, your customers will know you want them to have the best possible experiences with your products.

Revamp Your Returns Policy

Shopping online comes with some minor risks. Consumers don’t get to try before they buy, and sometimes orders arrive damaged or with incorrect items. That’s why 63% of shoppers read your returns policy before buying anything. They want the reassurance that they can easily return products that don’t work out, and that gives them the confidence they need to complete their purchases.

Returns are an unavoidable part of running an online store, but there’s a way to turn them into gold. By offering hassle-free returns, you improve the post-purchase experience for any customers who need to send items back. You also bring those same customers right back to your site where they’ll be able to buy something else, also known as a second-chance sale.

Optimize Your Customer Support

Today’s consumers are often plagued by substandard post-purchase customer support. In a recent study, 56% of respondents reported feeling unsatisfied after purchasing from an ecommerce store. That’s a huge opportunity for you to wow your customers with attentiveness and responsiveness while also staying ahead of the competition.

We’re going to let you in on a little secret to optimize your support: Your online store really needs to offer live chat if it doesn’t already. Though some shoppers may want to pick up the phone and call, most of them prefer digital communication. Live chat is fast and convenient, so you can address incoming requests more quickly. And here’s a bonus: It’s one of our tried and true tips for boosting ecommerce conversions.

Invite Customers to Your Loyalty Program

You don’t have to have years of experience in ecommerce to understand the value of loyal customers. Research shows it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, and current customers make larger and more frequent purchases because they’re already familiar with your brand. Clearly, it’s worthwhile to invest in the people who already shop with you, which is why loyalty programs are popular among e-tailers.

The post-purchase “Thank You” landing page and/or confirmation email is the perfect opportunity to invite customers to your loyalty program, where they can earn points on purchases and get access to other exclusive perks. Strike while the iron is hot, and they’ll give in to FOMO: fear of missing out.

Ask for Feedback

If you’re selling online, you know that feedback from verified customers is an invaluable resource. A whopping 92% of shoppers read product reviews before making a purchase, and 87% trust them as much as personal recommendations from peers. This means you need reviews if you don’t already have them, and you need them fast—customer input can make or break the sale.

Give your customers some time to use your products after they’ve been delivered and then ask them for their thoughts. It doesn’t have to be a plain old email, either. You can incentivize reviews with discount codes for a future purchase or simply implore customers to share on social media and tag your brand.

For more on the power of product reviews, don’t miss our guide: 21 Statistics About Product Reviews & Why Your Store Needs Them.

Follow-Up When the Time Is Right

One of the best ways to grow your ecommerce empire and lengthen your customer lifetime value is to develop a recurring business. What does this mean? At its core, a recurring business has customers return on a regular basis to make more purchases. One way to do this is to sell products that have to be replaced, such as skincare items or household cleaners. Another is to sell multiple tiers of products, like how Apple sells several iPhone models. Both systems ensure customers come back, whether to replenish or upgrade.

E-tailers can accomplish this and improve the post-purchase experience by following up with customers when the time is right. For example, if your product typically takes a month to use, send an email after three weeks as a reminder to reorder. Your customers will appreciate you looking out for them, and they’ll return the favor with another purchase.

Need even more post-purchase strategies? These ones really work.