The Stitch Blog

Improving the Customer Experience: Post-Purchase Strategies

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Customer loyalty is a key driver for retail and eCommerce success. And while many brands focus on customer acquisition, customer retention often has greater opportunity. Plus, loyal customers turn into brand advocates, which drives acquisition on its own.

We took a deeper dive into the value of customer retention:

  • Return customers make up nearly 23 percent of retailers’ revenue while representing less than 12 percent of total customer base.
  • Return customers spend 15 percent more than new customers in a single order. Over the course of a year, they spend 120 percent more.

We recently discussed how to improve the customer experience before the purchase and during the purchase. Now, let’s examine how to do so post-purchase and, in turn, drive customer loyalty.

Post-Purchase Customer Experience Strategies to Implement Online

Email is one of the biggest ways to reach customers after their purchase. Digital receipts can help you engage with customers via email, while also providing utility (and perhaps saving a tree in the process). In fact, a study of UK consumers by Bronto found that 45 percent of consumers want to receive e-receipts.

But those e-receipts don’t have to be purely informational. When paired with relevant content and promotions, they can improve the customer experience. Plus, that same study found that 64 percent of consumers are open to additional marketing messages in their e-receipts. Promote related products and share advice on how to maximize their purchases.

Apparel brands can share styling advice that incorporate other products, for example. Cosmetics brands, on the other hand, may share video tutorials on how to use the recently purchased product — combined with others — to create a specific look.

Outside of email, digital advertising can be an effective post-purchase tactic. Target customers with ads that have personalized promotions or offer repeat customers access to exclusive coupon codes and promos.

Shipping updates are another important post-purchase channel to improve the customer experience. Whether this is email, text message, or app notifications, customers want to know where their package is and when it will arrive. Amazon, Wayfair and Overstock are three eCommerce brands that offer shipping updates on various channels. And if you order a pizza online from Papa John’s, you’ll be able to see virtual, real-time updates on the status of your order.

Remember that online communication goes both ways. When your customers engage with your brand, be it for customer support or brand advocacy, engage back. This includes customer reviews.

Solicit more customer reviews to improve your site’s local SEO >

Improving the In-Person Experience Post-Purchase

Whether it’s fulfillment or post-purchase communications, the in-person customer experience after the purchase is crucial. This is your chance to show your appreciate, nurture relationships, and drive future purchases.

Subscription eCommerce brand Shaker & Spoon sells boxes containing ingredients to make creative cocktails. As such, the boxes often contain perishable ingredients. To ensure a positive customer experience post-purchase, the ingredients have to be in good condition. Therefore, it’s important for the brand to let customers know that the box and its contents should be refrigerated in a timely manner.

Staying true to the brand and to the customer experience, the box says, “Boy, I sure wish I were in a fridge right now!” It’s a subtle way of ensuring a positive in-person experience, while providing utility and brand authenticity.

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In-store fulfillment is a growing trend, with more consumers buying online and picking up in-store than ever before. Make the process seamless and convenient for customers. One reason they opt for this fulfillment method is for convenience — make sure you’re not adding a hassle to the experience.

Brands can also take a surprise-and-delight approach to the in-person, post-purchase customer experience. Free gifts are one surefire way to provide value, memory, connection, and cross-promotion to customers.

We discussed skincare and cosmetics brand LUSH as a prime example of a brand that provides positive customer experiences in the first article in the customer experience series. There, we discussed how their immersive and interactive store experience helps strengthen the brand and create a memorable shopping experience. In this article, LUSH is again a great example of demonstrating good customer experience post-purchase. After certain purchases at their store location, they give out free samples of a related product on your way out. Not only does this help promote a different product that you may secure an additional future sale of, it also delights the customer after they’ve purchased your product, helping to create and strengthen a positive memory of the experience they had at your store.

To take the in-person experience up a notch, incorporate personalization and reinforce to your associates about how important it is to recognize repeat customers. Ask how their last purchase is holding up, and offer related products to deepen that relationship.

An Omnichannel Approach to Improving the Post-Purchase Experience

As we’ve noted in the past, a synonymous approach to your omnichannel presence is essential to creating a positive customer experience, even after the purchase. Continuing the personalization, through related product recommendations and helpful content, will continue to nurture your customer relationships and help you learn more about their behavior.

Beyond that, a customer loyalty program can be an effective way to keep the conversation and experience going after every purchase. Smart rewards, insider perks, and access to communication channels deepen customer engagement with your brand, online and offline.

Post-purchase issues that arise should be easy for customers to get solutions to. Make returns and refunds easy: Offer in-store returns for online purchases, include return labels with all shipped packages, and institute a return policy that creates an overall positive customer experience. Allow customers to reach out to support via multiple channels, be it in-store, on the phone, on social media, via email, or through live chat.

At the end of the day, treat your customers like humans. A positive customer experience should happen before, during, and after the purchase if you want to drive loyalty and consistent sales.

Find out how customer experience is driving the fastest-growing brands >

Ellie Kulick

Ellie is an experienced Marketing Communications and Content Specialist based out of San Francisco, CA. Passionate about technology and health, she is constantly looking for new challenges in effective communication and creative content development to help businesses grow and engage with current and prospective customers.

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