How you take care of your customers post-purchase is the key to retention after Black Friday. Their complete experience—from shopping to delivery—weighs heavily on how they feel about your brand. And that can mean the difference between an abandoned cart or a long-term relationship.
Shoppers expect personalization and convenience at each step of their shopping experience. The key to driving customer loyalty, and driving repeat purchases that increase your holiday (and year-round) revenue is to create positive brand impressions across multiple touchpoints.
The post-purchase experience helps drive retention
While many brands focus on trying to get more customers, they fall short of meeting expectations when it comes to fulfilling their first order. The outcome is a negative first impression of the brand, which greatly decreases the chances of another purchase. In fact, 33% of customers say that they wouldn’t buy from a brand again after just one negative experience.
With up to ⅓ of these new customers churning after their first purchase, you’re not only burning your budget, you’re losing potential revenue that would have come from future sales!
This is why shifting your growth strategy from acquisition towards increasing customer lifetime value offers brands greater growth. Most businesses understand that they can’t expect repeat sales if their product or service doesn’t satisfy the customer. But what many businesses don’t remember is customers evaluate their purchase experience from discovery to delivery—and beyond.
Tactics to improve the post-purchase journey
Your customers continue to interact with your brand between checkout and delivery as they wait for their order to arrive. Ultimately you want this experience to be one of anticipation and transparency, not one of confusion or regret. How you communicate with them post-purchase can be the deciding factor. The post-purchase period is especially impactful for new customers and the perfect time to establish a positive first impression.
To better help you help your customers, we’ll walk you through each step of the customer journey from checkout to delivery. Follow along for our best practices on building a better post-purchase experience to ensure you’re ready to go just in time for the holidays.
Personalize your checkout experience
Ensure your checkout experience is fast, simple, rewarding, and excites customers about their decision to buy from your brand.
1. Recommend complementary products to enhance your customers’ purchase
Thoughtful suggestions enhance your customers’ experience and increase their loyalty to your brand. Tailor product recommendations to their current or past purchase behavior. If they’ve purchased a pot, recommending a utensil set could help them enjoy their original item even more. A generic recommendation, like “other household items,” doesn't show customers that you understand their needs.
If you don’t have an algorithm in place to create these recommendations, consider adding them to your order confirmation email.
2. Offer an accelerated checkout option
If you want customers to buy more often, you have to make their checkout experience as seamless as possible. Accelerated checkout methods—like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Shop Pay—can be used across your Shopify store, and within social channels like Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to enable accelerated checkouts that your customers already trust on your store. The more users who already have their information saved, the more rapidly they can adopt this payment method.
3. Customize your checkout page to build your brand
Did you know that you can customize your Shopify order status page? Options like custom opt-ins, translating your page into other languages or using additional scripts let you create a checkout experience specific to your store. These also provide your customers more opportunities to keep re-engaging long after their first purchase.
Communicate effectively with your customers post-purchase
The triggered email is a staple in an e-commerce experience, but they don’t need to feel robotic, boring, or forgettable. When used correctly, transactional touchpoints are one of your most powerful tools for building brand affinity and trust.
4. Send a clear receipt with their purchase details
Customers expect a receipt after every purchase, and online stores are no exception! Be sure your order confirmation email includes essential information like an itemized list of what they’ve ordered, tracking details, and your return policy—easy returns create a positive brand experience that can lead to additional sales, too. This is also a great place to offer additional product information, like a how-to tutorial or recommend an item that compliments their purchase.
5. Consider implementing SMS updates
Digging through an inbox is not a delightful experience for your customer—especially during the holiday shopping season. As more customers spend more time on their devices, SMS offers a popular way to keep them up to date on their order status at their convenience.
6. Invite your customers to download the Shop app
Use these templates from the Shop team, to easily customize your post-checkout communications and help customers track their orders with on-demand updates. The Shop app connects with your Shopify admin to offer the most accurate, real-time order tracking updates to your customers. Not only does Shop’s order tracking provide a better post-purchase experience, it gives your support team a break by helping you reduce your customers’ “where’s my order?” inquiries.
Build your channels and your relationships
Like any relationship, trust is vital. You want to create an experience that leaves your customers feeling valued and gives them more than one reason to continue engaging with your brand.
7. Build your following on organic channels
It’s important to keep building your brand awareness on every channel where you connect with your customers. Inviting them to follow your social accounts gives you another way to engage and keep your brand top-of-mind. Shopify built the Shop app for this very reason, to provide you with a free channel that keeps your brand visible with a highly engaged audience. When you add the Shop channel in your admin, your customers on Shop automatically become your brand followers on the app after they purchase from your store.
8. Personalize your marketing touchpoints
Generic marketing emails aren’t likely to result in more sales, or make your customers think very highly of your brand. Instead, tailor these communications so they add value to your customer. For example, send them a how-to video for a product they purchased or invite them to engage with the community. The more personalized the engagement, the more comfortable your customers will feel making repeat purchases with your brand.
9. Re-engage your customers with post-purchase offers
Bring your customers back with special offers to reward them for choosing your brand. It’s best to customize these by choosing products that make the most sense for the individual shopper, such as a discount on an item that compliments the purchase they just completed. Adding the Shop channel in your Shopify admin and enabling shopping settings lets you create automated post-purchase offers that your customers can use in the Shop app.
10. Encourage your customers to share their experience
After creating a positive brand experience for your customers, encourage them to share it with their networks! Hearing recommendations from friends and family is how many people make decisions about which products to buy and brands to buy from. By turning your customers into an organic marketing channel, you immediately extend your brand to a new like-minded audience. Consider customizing your “thank you” page to prompt your customers to share their experience on social media. You can also send them an email after their order has been fulfilled to gather more feedback on their shopping experience.
Your customers want to get the products they love without feeling pressured or neglected during or after the sale. And when you craft your post-purchase journey with their needs in mind, you not only control how they engage with your brand, you prove you're invested in building a relationship with them. And by keeping your best customers happy and coming back time and again, you'll see your customer lifetime value grow.
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