If you sell cosmetics and beauty products, you already know that customers tend to try out a lot of products before they find the ones they love. 

And that means great news for cosmetics brands, whether online or brick-and-mortar: The cosmetics market is expected to grow from $90 billion in revenue in 2019 to $118 billion by 2025. There’s no shortage of customers eager to try out the latest lip gloss, brow pencil, or contouring product, and if you build a strong online brand with great products, you’re likely to see your sales numbers boom.

Building a strong customer experience for customers who are buying your beauty products is crucial – but it’s just as essential to deliver a great post-purchase experience. 

What is the post-purchase experience?

“Post-purchase” refers to everything that happens after a customer checks out their shopping cart. An order confirmation is the bare minimum you can offer – great brands will follow up on that with a post-purchase journey that keeps the customer engaged throughout the entire process.

For instance, your brand should make sure to provide multi-channel messaging that lets them know when their order is en route, and when to expect it. Customers might receive an email, SMS, and/or in-app notification, depending on their notification preferences. You should also ensure that you provide a real-time notification when the item has been delivered.

Once the item has arrived, you can follow up and ask them to provide feedback and a review of the item, which can give you insights into what they thought of the item so that you can provide additional relevant product recommendations. 

Hopefully, they loved the product – but if it didn’t work for them, another important part of the post-purchase experience is providing a streamlined, no-hassle returns experience. 

Streamlining customer returns

In the ecommerce world, customer returns are a common part of the process, and every online brand needs to set expectations accordingly, and ensure that they’ve set up a returns policy that’s fair for both customers and your brand. 

When it comes to cosmetics, customers are often unsure whether they’ll like a product until they have a chance to try it out. 

As a brand, do you want to limit returns only to products that have been unopened, or will you allow leniency with returning any product that the customer doesn’t like? 

There are pros and cons to both approaches: If you offer a limited policy, you can protect your bottom line and ensure that you’re only accepting returns that you’ll be able to resell. But if you offer a more generous policy, you’ll be encouraging customers to buy more products from your brand more frequently, with the knowledge that they can return the products they don’t like. A happy medium may be allowing customers to return used products for store credit, which ensures that they will continue shopping with your brand. 

In any case, it’s important to set up a streamlined returns experience for your customers. By using a returns automation platform like Loop, customers can initiate their returns through a self-service returns portal, which can use conditional logic to determine whether their item is eligible for a return for cash or store credit, and even determine whether they should send the product back or simply recycle it, helping your brand improve its sustainability initiatives. 

Your platform will be able to collect data insights on why the customer is returning the item, which will give you access to trends you can leverage to optimize your inventory and your product pages. For example, if you’re receiving refund requests frequently on a certain type of lipstick with the comment, “looks different than in images,” you might create new product photos that are taken under better lighting to provide a more accurate sense of how the product will appear. Or, if certain products are seeing a high volume of returns, you might decide to eliminate them from your inventory altogether.

When your customers request returns and provide details for why they’re returning a product, this provides you with an ideal opportunity to provide personalized recommendations to help them find the products they’ll love.

If the customer decided that a lip gloss was too dark, your platform can automatically suggest the same product in a few lighter hues – and they’ll be able to make the swap directly from your returns portal, without the need to return to their shopping cart and get out their credit card to complete the transaction.

You can even incentivize the customer to purchase additional products by offering them “bonus credit” that they can use towards other items in your store. Often, the customer will buy in excess of the bonus credit amount, increasing your revenue over what they spent on the initial transaction.

Loop has found that by incentivizing product exchanges, our merchants have been able to retain an average of 40% of revenue from product returns that would otherwise be lost as refunds. 

The value of a great post-purchase experience

You already know that loyal customers are your greatest asset – so that’s why it’s so important to make sure that they feel valued at every stage of the transaction, even in cases where they might want to return a product.

If you’ve built a strong post-purchase experience, a customer return doesn’t have to mean the end of the customer’s relationship with your brand. In fact, a recent survey found that 84% of customers who had a positive returns experience with a brand were likely to purchase from that brand again. 

By ensuring that you provide customers with a clear refund and exchange policy; hassle-free returns on qualifying products; and personalized recommendations for exchanges, your customers will build trust in your brand, driving continued loyalty and revenue. 

Becoming your customers’ go-to cosmetics shop doesn’t mean you stop caring about your customer when they hit the “buy now” button – it means you pay attention to their needs at every stage of the purchase cycle, including the post-purchase phase. By delivering a best-in-class returns experience, you’ll be able to build an experience that keeps your customers coming back again and again.

Want to see how Loop can help you improve the post-purchase experience for your customers? Try out a demo.