Awareness - Search - Consideration - Purchase
That’s how most marketers define online shopping user journeys. And this might have been a hundred percent accurate a few years ago, but not anymore. Today, the post purchase experience you deliver says far more about your brand than the purchase journey itself. Therefore, to stage an overall delightful shopping experience, optimizing your post purchase checkout becomes indispensable - no matter what stage your Shopify store is at.
Now, it isn’t possible to manually follow up and keep in touch with each and every customer to ensure they aren’t facing any issues after buying from your store. And that’s where email automation comes to the rescue.
Leveraging email automation to streamline your post purchase customer experience is an inexpensive and efficient way to stay connected with your buyers even after they’ve made a purchase on your store.
In this post, we shall break down some important types of email automation that you absolutely must deploy in order to ace your post purchase game.
Oh, and have your customers coming back for more!
Don’t get overwhelmed with this list of email automations because if you’re on Shopify, you can tackle it all with Shopify Email.
Must have post purchase email automations for your Shopify store
1. Transactional emails
Transactional emails are emails that share details such as order summary, payment information, shipping and delivery confirmation, and all other updates related to communication that customers expect to receive after placing an order on any online store. These aren’t meant to be long, descriptive, or flashy. Instead, transactional emails must be as short and crisp as possible, highlighting the important details that should catch the attention of the reader.
Make sure these are triggered as soon as the order is placed or as and when the update needs to be shared as transactional emails are time sensitive and should reach shoppers’ inboxes before they have to ask for updates.
Here’s an example of an automated transactional email from Heads Up For Tails, a pet supplies store on Shopify:
2. Order status/ shipping notification emails
Much like transactional emails, these are meant to be sent out periodically to customers to keep them updated with the progress status of their order. Such emails help keep shoppers’ post purchase anxiety at bay and ensure that they are regularly notified of where their order has reached and how long it will take to be delivered. Try to automate emails for every little movement in the delivery process.
For example, trigger an email once the order has been shipped, another one once the order has reached the arrival city, and a final email once the order is out for delivery. You can even send out the delivery agent’s contact information for buyers to connect with them for hassle-free delivery.
With each email, a good practice is to also include the products in the shipment like a reminder.
Here’s an example of an automated order notification email from iHerb:
Similarly, order delays are inevitable. However, keeping your customers in the dark is not.
Under any unforeseen circumstances that the order is delayed and cannot be delivered on the promised delivery date, make it a point to trigger automated emails that apologize for the same, share the reasoning for the delay, mention the new estimated delivery date, and also offer a provision for shoppers to cancel their orders and avail refunds. Never leave any room for confusion or ambiguity.
Here’s a simple example of the same:
3. Feedback request emails
The post purchase journey is entirely incomplete without a feedback email that invites your customers to share their honest opinion on what their shopping experience with your online store was like.
Such emails work remarkably well in giving you unmatchable insights on how you can improve your store’s shopping experience. Since they have just completed the process, their feedback is going to be utterly fresh and useful - something you can rely on to create an improvement plan for your store.
Make sure such feedback emails are triggered within one week of order delivery so that shoppers still have high intent and interest in sharing their views. You can also incentivize them to do so by offering free store credits or a discount on their next purchase if they share their feedback.
Take a look at a simple, clear, and to the point feedback email below:
4. Product education emails
Some products require very specific instructions on how to set them up or get them working, especially in the case of electronics, furniture, or home decor items.
If you operate in any of those categories, make sure you create and automate a series of emails that feature how-to product videos or articles on getting things in motion. This will ensure shoppers don’t have to go looking for an instruction manual or video that takes them through the entire process.
You can even send a follow up email wherein you ask if any additional help is needed and how customers can reach out to your support team if need be. Your customers will highly appreciate you going the extra mile to ensure their product experience is a delightful one.
Let’s take a look at an example of the same by Fitbit:
5. Product recommendation emails
Now that you already have extremely valuable information about your shoppers such as their purchase history, their search history on your store, products wishlisted, and so on, make sure you utilize this information to send them personalized product recommendations. This segment of your audience is ideal for cross selling and upselling as they have already placed their trust in your brand and are likely to do so again.
Moreover, by presenting them with customized products as per their interests and preferences, you can increase your chances of conversion. Such emails can be triggered periodically after the purchase so that if a customer is not interested in making another purchase right away, they are reminded to do so later.
Here’s an example of a classic product recommendation email:
6. Thank you emails
Thank you emails are completely different from transactional ones. These are not intended to be formal or to the point, instead can be descriptive and conversational. You can talk about how you, as a brand, are grateful that the customer chose you and how you hope their experience is a delightful one.
Such emails add an element of human touch to your otherwise templatized and straightforward post purchase email drips. It also makes your customers realize that you value them and care about them.
Here’s an example of a thank you email from Abercrombie & Fitch:
7. Product review/ rating request emails
Social proof is one of the most effective drivers of purchase decision making, and as an eCommerce marketer, you must leave no stone unturned to collect social proof for all your products.
You can run automated email drips to collect reviews and ratings for products that customers have recently bought. Since these are coming directly from first hand users of the product, they are likely to be genuinely trusted by your other potential shoppers.
Such product or rating request emails work remarkably well if they are sent out within a certain time frame of product delivery so buyers can share their first impressions.
Let’s take a look at an automated product review/ rating request email from Dr Sheth’s, a beauty and wellness brand:
8. Follow-up emails on negative reviews
Whenever you get a negative review - be it on one of your products or the entire shopping experience in general, make it a point to run an automated email drip targeted towards following up on what went wrong.
You can send a heartfelt message about how your team is sorry that the customer didn’t enjoy the product or if it is regarding the shopping experience, you can highlight the fact that you have taken their feedback into consideration and promise to implement the same going forward.
Such emails make your customers feel important, valued, and appreciated - all of which are extremely important to build long term and lasting relationships with your shoppers.
9. Nurture emails
Automated nurture email drips are sent out not with an intention to directly convert customers, but slowly build their interest in your products by keeping them updated about what’s new, what’s trending, what’s likely to be sold out soon, and so on. Such email drips can be personalized for each of your critical target audience segments so that they feature products that are likely to grab and retain their attention.
Nurture emails help build hype around your store, products, and offerings, while keeping your regular shoppers up to date and connected with you so you don’t lose touch with them.
Here’s a classic example of the same by Ajio:
10. Nudge them to join loyalty programs
Not all your buyers will turn into repeat buyers by themselves, you will need to highlight the unparalleled benefits your store has to offer if they purchase from you repeatedly. Therefore, as and when you gain a new customer, run automated email drips that nudge them to consider signing up for your loyalty program.
Make sure you clearly highlight what the benefits are and what they might be missing out on. Package the same as an irresistible deal and trigger these emails after the customer has successfully received their order delivery.
Take a look at such an automated email:
Why is the post-purchase experience important?
While we’ve gone through various automated emails to run that can enhance your post purchase experience, you might question - why is it even important? What’s so crucial about the post purchase experience that you need to constantly strive to improve it to outdo your key business metrics? Let’s deep dive into some of those reasons:
To retain customers
Today, customers aren’t just impressed by their buying journey on your online store. They demand much more - they expect to receive a satisfactory post purchase experience if they are even going to consider returning to your store.
Therefore, the post purchase experience becomes an important determinant in ensuring you are able to retain your customers for the long haul. If buyers are delighted even long after they have purchased from you, they are going to appreciate your efforts and continue to buy from you.
On the other hand, if you fail to ensure customer happiness after the purchase is complete, buyers are probably not going to return - they will easily find alternatives that promise to offer a much better holistically delightful shopping experience.
To boost customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is a direct function of customer experience and nothing else. If the post purchase experience doesn’t live up to your customers’ expectations or the promises you made, you will never be able to turn your first time buyers into loyalists.
People only want to pledge their loyalty to brands that go above and beyond ensuring a best in class experience that they can boast about.
To increase referral purchases
If your customers are impressed with your post purchase experience, they will most definitely refer your store to their friends and family. You wouldn’t need to explicitly incentivize them to do so as they would genuinely want to introduce your online store to their loved ones.
An unparalleled post purchase experience can be that one factor that sets you apart from your competitors and motivates your buyers to spread the word.
Helps you leave a lasting impression in the minds of your shoppers
There are only so many things you can optimize in your shopping journey that leave a lasting impression in the minds of your shoppers. A memorable post purchase experience is one of them.
By caring about what the experience of your shoppers is like after they have made a purchase, you can win their hearts. The next time a buyer is thinking about making a purchase, their consideration parameters will go much beyond discounts or deals. They will choose your store just for how convenient and enjoyable their post purchase journey is.
To improve your brand’s top of mind awareness
A whole lot of your marketing efforts probably go into improving your brand’s top of mind awareness among your customers and potential customers. The post purchase experience you deliver determines how your audience perceives and positions you as a brand.
If it exceeds their expectations and impresses them, they will remember and recall your brand at all times without you having to forcibly do so. It thus not only makes your marketing efforts more effective but also comprehensive.
The journey to growth for your eCommerce business - a delightful post purchase experience!
Now that you have gone over why you need to pay attention to your post purchase experience and also how email automation can help you ace it, it’s finally time to put your learnings into action. The only thing to remember is that no two stores are the same and no sets of target audiences are the same.
You will need to test and figure out what works best in delighting your unique group of target audience and then double down on it.
Don’t hesitate to A/B test your email automation campaigns so you can rely on concrete data to dictate your next steps and decide how to deliver a post purchase experience that truly sets your brand apart.
And if you have an online store on Shopify, sending emails is even easier. The Shopify Email app enables you to create, send and track campaigns from within Shopify.
So you can focus on connecting with your customers and building relationships, while Shopify’s own email marketing tool does the hard work for you. Learn more about Shopify Email and how it can help your business grow with proactive communication and setup that takes just a few minutes to get started!