Once a customer makes a purchase, this should be just the beginning of the relationship for retailers.
In this post, we’ll look at how post-purchase email can be used to keep buyers engaged and increase customer lifetime value.
During the busiest retail months online such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in November you may experience higher volumes of online sales so getting your post purchase email flow created before popular market patterns is a good idea. It’s important to leave a positive lasting impression, because with more customers comes more opportunities to retain them down the line with new products or similar products.
What Are Post Purchase Emails?
Post purchase emails are email campaigns or flows that you send after the customer has made a purchase. Your post purchase email campaigns can be sent at different times such as directly after, through delivery and a few days later for a review.
As a gold standard they are automated emails with a variety of different marketing messages. Some examples of post purchase emails include things like order confirmations or requests for product reviews, but we will explore more post purchase emails with examples below. When you put these messages together with the right marketing content, send times and types, you create a post purchase email flow.
The main aim of sending emails after the customer has made a purchase is to provide information, value and piece of mind. For example, this is a great way to stay engaged with your customers and provide excellent customer service to increase retention.
Aim of Post Purchase Email Flows
Creating a great post purchase email campaign will allow you to tempt customers back to your site. For example, you are able to tell them about their product, why they made the right choice and offer upselling and cross-selling techniques.
It’s important to keep your brand and product at the front of the shopper’s mind. A post purchase email flow provides the platform and provides a road back to your product pages and website for a possible second purchase.
One of the best ways to improve your online conversion rate is to harness user-generated content and reviews. As part of this after purchase email sequence you can include an email that asks for customer reviews, this is great marketing material for your social media channels and website.
We’ve explained the importance of customer service for retaining your buyers and post purchase emails can help you deliver the best customer service and promote customer loyalty.
According to research by Klaviyo, post purchase emails enjoy a 217% higher open rate than traditional emails. This provides a great opportunity to get the right messages and marketing material in front of your customers.
Post Purchase Email Subject Lines
When you send your after purchase emails your subject lines don’t need to be clever, witty or imaginative. They need to be clear and concise and grab the user’s attention. Ultimately they need to be short and snappy with key information.
9 Post Purchase Email Examples
Order Confirmation Emails
Emails sent after a purchase are necessary, to confirm the contents and cost of the order, and provide useful details like shipping times and contact information.
It’s important to ensure that customers have all the information they need, but conformation emails can also go beyond the basics and offer extra value to customers.
For example, this email from trainline provides useful information on the weather at the destination, and maps of the train stations to help travellers.
These emails can also be used to cross-sell, as Crate & Barrel does here (HT: realllygoodemails).
Shipping Confirmation Emails
These emails allow you to update the customer on the progress of their order, provide useful tracking information, and continue to build trust with them.
This example from Tradesy (from realllygoodemails) provides the key information, but also highlights a refer a friend offer.
Ask for Reviews
It’s a good idea to proactively gather feedback from customers about their purchase.
It’s a great way to get useful insights about your product and service, and also sends a message that your brand actually takes an interest in customers. And, of course, the customer reviews you collect can be used on-site to help other customers to decide on a purchase.
Replenishment emails can be used to remind customers when the items they previously bought are about to run out, so they can buy again.
This applies to a range of products, from razors and toothpaste to pet food. When timed well, they provide convenience for customers and can help to drive repeat business.
Product Recommendations / Cross-Selling Emails
If a customer has bought once from your site, then the right prompt with relevant products can be enough to tempt them back for more.
Cross-sell emails with smart recommendations can be sent to customers after they’ve made a purchase.
These emails could include products related to the ones they’ve purchase, as in the Ralph Lauren example below.
The key to successful cross-sell emails is timing and relevance.
By using data on the shopper’s previous on-site browsing behaviour and purchase history, intelligent recommendations can be dynamically pulled into an email.
If you have a loyalty then it can be communicated to customers through emails after purchase.
By explaining the rewards on offer, you can persuade customer to join, and boost repeat purchases.
Here’s an example from Virgin Atlantic, which showcases its Flying Club program.
Sales and Other Event Notifications
If you have a sale on, or some other event (such as the launch of a new product range) then it’s a useful prompt to bring customers back to your site.
A note of caution. If you have a sale almost every day then people might begin to ignore your emails.
However, if customers are interested in your products, then a well timed and well designed sales email can tempt them to check out the offers.
Birthday and Milestone Emails
According to Experian, birthday emails have a 481% higher transaction rate than promotional emails.
Emailing customers on birthdays and other milestones is a great way to get their attention, and reward their loyalty. It can act as a reminder about your brand, and also reinforce any good feeling they may have about you.
Being a birthday, it’s appropriate to offer a gift, so a freebie, free shipping, or a handy discount should be enough to make the customer open and act upon the email.
These are emails sent to customers who are becoming less active, or have become inactive. They may be opening fewer emails, or perhaps they haven’t made a purchase for a certain amount of time.
Indeed, research estimates that 60% of subscribers to the average email list are inactive, meaning they haven’t responded to emails in six months or more.
For retailers, it makes sense to identify and understand your most loyal customers so their behavior can be understood.
For example, an RFM model (as shown below) can be used to monitor recency, frequency and value of purchases.
Using such a model, customers that are beginning to show signs of wavering – perhaps they’re buying less often, or haven’t made a purchase for some time.
In these cases, customers can often be tempted back with a reward, or simply a timely reminder.
Here’s an example from Just Eat, sent after I hadn’t ordered takeaway for a few months. Offering customers a 15% discount can be enough to tempt them back to the site.
Why Post Purchase Emails Are Important
Creating a quality post purchase email campaign is an essential part of your complete email marketing strategy toolkit. For example, if you’re not thanking your customers for their purchase one could argue that the very basic marketing narrative is not being met.
The majority of people will check their emails for a ‘thank you’ or ‘confirmation’ right after making a purchase to make sure the digital transaction has gone through and to double check the delivery details they imputed are correct.
Post purchase emails offer a multifunctional alternative to traditional email marketing and can be highly effective for increasing retention rates, which is also important as retaining your customers is easier and more profitable than attracting new customers. In fact, it costs 5x less to keep your existing customers according to research by invespcro.
When a customer has completed their purchase the marketing journey with them has only just begun. Now you can start to build up the data you have on each customer and offer deliberate and valuable marketing messages such as recommended products.
Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.