For many brands, it's all about driving new sales. After customers push the buy button, that's mission accomplished! Time to celebrate, right? Not so fast.
Your work has only just begun. The truth is that post-purchase touchpoints are where lifetime customers are won and lost. And by the way, that fact holds whether you are looking at it from the objective lens of LTV or the subjective lens of customer experience.
But you know what, that might even be underselling it. If you've been following customer experience savants like Joey Coleman, you might have heard him say this:
If brands can keep a customer for 100 days, and customers are happy, the typical customer will stay for 5 years.
Maybe that's why companies are now investing more in customer experience (46%) compared to pricing (21%) and product (34%). As competition increases, customers will get wiser. That means they'll stick with brands that take care of them.
How much time has your brand spent optimizing the post-purchase experience for customers?
It may not seem like it but are a ton of customer touchpoints where you can build customer loyalty, execute marketing plans, and secure repeat purchases. In this post, we'll give you some killer examples to help rocket your brand into the post-purchase era.
By now it's become a cliche, but it bears repeating: acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining existing customers. As competition increases, acquisition prices are going to rise. Simple supply & demand.
With that reality, you'd think customer retention would be a flourishing industry. And while it is starting to take flight, many brands are still missing out. One easy example: only 50% of online stores are offering free return shipping to their customers.
At Loop, we've built an entire business around post-purchase customer experience. Our post-purchase software helps brands turn first-time customers into life-long loyal customers every day. That's not a humblebrag. It's proof of concept.
If your brand sells products or services online, it's time to get serious about the post-purchase experience. Luckily, there is no shortage of post-purchase experience examples to show you how it's done.Read More: Ecommerce returns best practices: Shipping Fees + More
Our top 5 post-purchase experience examples
Newsflash: there's a post-purchase customer journey and it's really important.
It's normal for brands to focus on their marketing funnel to increase sales, but what about after a purchase has been made? The customer decision journey doesn't end there.
Take a look at this - the McKinsey customer loyalty loop:
Without getting too deep into theory, the goal is to keep customers in this loop as long as possible. When they are there, they'll be more likely to make repeat purchases - they'll be happy, and so will your brand!
All the post-purchase examples we highlight in this post are designed to keep people in the customer loyalty loop. Here's what we're covering:
Post-purchase customer support
Post-purchase customer service
1. Post-purchase communication
Here's something missing from most email marketing strategies: post-purchase emails. I'm not talking about shipping & transactional emails. I'm talking about something designed to enhance the post-purchase experience directly.
People have really come to expect an email telling them about shipping details. But they have not yet come to expect
Here's a quote I love from Val Geisler, Customer Evangelist at Klaviyo:
"At post-purchase, pre-delivery, a lot of companies rely on transactional emails to get the job done. But you are not bothering [customers] if you are educating them and getting them ready for your product to arrive."
If you're totally new to the idea of post-purchase email, check out our podcast with Val here.
Here's a great example of something called a replenishment emailer. These emails can help move customers into repeat purchase territory - an awesome place to be.
In this case, soap company Method has gone one step further: they've designed their products around the idea of "refilling". Good for customers, good for the environment, good for brands.
P.S. We have an awesome Klaviyo integration - worth checking out if you are looking to optimize returns & post-purchase email @ your Shopify store.
2. Post-purchase customer support
Post-purchase customer support is something many brands have, but fail to publicize. Done right, customer support can make customers feel like they are valued.
There are obvious things brands can do when it comes to customer support: offering more methods of contact like live chat for example. But in my opinion, the grander the gesture, the greater the rewards (customer loyalty, anyone?).
Here's an example of something grand: a customized product demo AFTER purchase! When I joined the team at Loop, I recommended using SEMrush for all our SEO needs. I was familiar with the platform, so it seemed like the right choice.
As I was getting the platform configured, a little chat bubble popped up in the corner offering me a demo to get started. I probably didn't need it as much as a newcomer, but I decided to check it out. Then it dawned on me: this was a genius example of post-purchase support.
During the demo, my agent answered all my questions and pointed me to all the support resources to check if I get stuck along the way. SEMrush has an extremely well-developed knowledge base, but the demo clearly helps put the icing on the cake.
3. Post-purchase loyalty
If you want to build post-purchase loyalty, there are a ton of factors to consider:
What I'm getting at here is that it's not enough to merely have a loyalty program. It needs to play into the above factors to really pop.
Nobody connects the dots with customer loyalty quite like our friends at Chubbies. Their fun-loving brand image has helped them build a community of engaged customers who evangelize their products and openly seek out communication via email & social media.
When customers are hyped up about your product, engaged around a community, and in tune with your brand, communication becomes easy. This is where a loyalty program can come in to seal the deal when it comes to post-purchase engagement.
As you can see, the Chubbies loyalty program is dialing it in even further. By rewarded customers for taking actions that reinforce the above factors, it supports both new & repeat orders. #powerful young Chubbies.Learn More: How Chubbies increased customer lifetime value by 100% with Loop
4. Post-purchase customer service
First thing's first: post-purchase customer service is not the same thing as customer support.
Support is mostly centered around solving technical problems for the customer, while service is more like the 'always-on' & 'here when you need it' kind of thing. Both are important, just not the same thing.
If we're talking about post-purchase service, it makes sense to focus on areas where customers are feeling pain. In the world of ecommerce, returns are an obvious choice. Sometimes customers get the wrong stuff, a solid approach to returns can make a world of difference.
I think we can all agree that 'humans' provide the best service in most cases. But with product returns, emailing back & forth, and calling a customer service line... feels antiquated and time-consuming.
The post-purchase services example then? It's us! At Loop, we've built a business around returns automation, data collection, and more. We help brands retain revenue with frictionless features like instant exchanges - an option we've found customers choose 48% of the time.
Good humans are often in short supply. By streamlining returns, you'll free up those valuable people to handle all the many things that can't be automated. That's bound to make all the humans involved just a bit happier.Learn More: 6 tips to reduce post-purchase dissonance in ecommerce
5. Post-purchase satisfaction
The key to Post-purchase satisfaction? Actually give a dam.
Sounds simple, but think about all the surveys you've taken. How many of them felt like they were created just for the sake of having one? For me, it's most of them.
And while I'm a marketing guy with a skeptical eye, it's fair to say that data is often collected wrongly. One of the worst offenses: surveying customers before they've received your product. I don't know about you, but extra admin work really kills my buzz.
So really, if our goal for customers is post-purchase satisfaction, there are really two things:
So really, if you are measuring satisfaction without doing your absolute best to ensure it... what are you doing? You're just going to annoy your customers.
Here's an analogy that might work: wedding proposals. When most guys pop the question, you get the feeling that they've done their best to make sure the answer is yes. In other words, don't ask until you really expect a positive result.
Think of it this way: what's better - asking a customer if they are satisfied with a product - OR - telling them that they can exchange anything they are not satisfied with.
It's all about a customer-focused way of getting the data. Try sending an email to say, "Do you love it? Write us a review. If not, let's exchange it."Read More: Post-purchase evaluation: 3 Ways to win customers for life
Although it may feel counter-intuitive, it's really looking like post-purchase is the most important space to watch in ecommerce today. In part, that's thanks to a huge advantage that online shopping has over traditional retail - the direct connection to the customer.
When you go to Walmart, a good post-purchase experience means your eggs didn't get crushed. But with ecommerce, brands have the chance to leave a lasting impression. While we may go to big box stores out of necessity, we go back to online brands we love... well, because we love them.
The post-purchase experience is where life-long customers are earned. And if you want some serious tools to help you level up, book a demo with Loop today. We've built a platform to help you take control of product returns & much more. Ready when you are!