Like most e-commerce store owners, you work hard to get customers to buy from your store. But once they've made a purchase, do you put the same amount of effort into providing them with an excellent post-purchase experience? If not, you're missing out on an opportunity to wow your customers and keep them coming back for more.
Once the order is placed or the product is delivered, your customer will most likely have questions or concerns about their purchase. It's also when they're forming their final opinion of your brand - and possibly sharing it on social media. So you need to ensure that their post-purchase experience is smooth and hassle-free. After all, acquiring a new customer costs five times more than keeping an existing one.
Many store owners struggle with providing a great post-purchase experience because they're not sure what to do. They may not have the budget to hire someone specifically for this task, or they may not know where to start. But there are a few simple steps to ensure your customers have a great experience from start to finish.
Sometimes customers are not quite sure if their order went through. Sending a confirmation e-mail is a quick and easy way to confirm the transaction and ease your customer's mind.
Ok, every store does that, so you need to stand out. The key to a great confirmation e-mail is making it as personal as possible. Address the customer by name and thank them for their purchase, including information on the available channels to contact customer service in case they need it.
Typically, these e-mails will include information such as the purchased item, date, shipping address, total cost, and expected delivery date. A good add-on is to include a link to track the order's shipping status. And that's precisely when your second part of the post-purchase experience enters the game.
When your customers place an order with your company, they trust you to keep them informed about the status of their purchase. No one wants to be left wondering when their new dress will arrive or if it's even been dispatched yet! Here are a few tips on how to update your customer about their order:
1. Make sure you have a clear and up-to-date order tracking system in place. This way, you can easily see the status of each order, and customers can track their purchase themselves if they want to.
2. Give your customers a realistically expected delivery date when they place their order.
3. Keep your customers informed if there are any delays with their order. Send a push notification or e-mail to let them know what's happening: It is much better than leaving them in the dark.
4. Once an item has been dispatched, inform your customer via e-mail or push notification that their parcel it's on its way, including a link where they can easily track the delivery. And they can start getting excited about receiving their products!
Don't forget to do the same when a customer returns an item. Inform them once you receive the parcel back, including the details of when and how they should expect the refund or exchange to happen. This is what NEXT does in the UK:
When it comes to creating a great post-purchase experience, one of the most important things you can do is ask for feedback. Receiving your customer's opinion will help you understand what they liked about their experience - and what they didn't.
Take this as a learning opportunity: it will give insight into what you can do to improve for future customers. Once you have this feedback, be sure to implement it. A recent survey by PwC found out that more than half (55%) of customers said they would stop buying from a company they otherwise liked after several poor experiences. The main reasons? Bad experience with products and services (37%) and inefficient customer service (32%).
Besides showing your customers that you're listening to their concerns, asking for their input demonstrates that you're committed to providing them with the best possible experience. Requesting feedback is a simple way to show your customers that you care about their opinion and that you're always working to improve your business.
A good example for a great post-purchase e-mail comes from apparel brand Adidas. It is informative (saying the order was delivered), friendly, with a direct link to start a return process, instead of making shoppers look for it on their website:
What if the feedback is not exactly what you were expecting?
There's no easy answer to this question. It is undoubtedly a painful situation, but overcoming it is possible. The most important thing you can do is listen to what your customers say and try to understand where they're coming from. It's also important to be open to making changes based on their feedback. After all, they are the ones who have experienced your post-purchase process first-hand.
In some cases, you may need to apologise for a poor experience and offer a solution, such as a discount on their next purchase. A change in processes should be contemplated. For instance, if the criticism is about shipping delays, you will need to understand if it was problem that happened internally. If the mistake was made by the company you use for delivery (and, if that is the case, check other service suppliers that can fulfil the business needs appropriately).
If the issue happens with a return, policy change can prevent the same problem from happening again. No matter what, always remember that your customers are the lifeblood of your business - without them, you wouldn't be where you are today.
There's no room for error when it comes to providing a great post-purchase experience. Your customers expect nothing less than perfection, and any hiccups will reflect poorly on your brand. But if you take the time to create a positive post-purchase experience, you'll be rewarded with loyal customers who are more likely to buy from you again and again. So don't wait - start creating a post-purchase experience that will wow your customers today!