Knowledge Center

Stock photo portraying the customer journey

How to Increase Post-Purchase Engagement

Before talking about increasing post-purchase engagement, you need to understand why post-purchase is so important in the first place: without it, you can’t give your online shoppers a great customer experience.

Giving your shoppers a great customer experience is vital to your success as an ecommerce business. The ones that commit to providing the best customer experience are more likely to earn the trust of their shoppers, which leads to deeper loyalty, improved retention, and greater lifetime value. 

Moreover, loyal customers are going to recommend your products to their family and friends, which leads to more sales, more customers, better brand awareness, and the kind of cost-free growth that fuels profitability.

What is post-purchase engagement?

As quoted in one of our other articles, post-purchase refers to every point of engagement after the customer clicks the buy button—everything from basic order tracking emails; to delivery delay notifications; to boxless or printerless returns; to refund issuance; to post-delivery promotions for additional products or services.

Other aspects of post-purchase engagement include:

  • Contextual, branded tracking pages
  • Post-purchase marketing
  • Shipping performance monitoring
  • Account, shipping, return, or order updates
  • Home pickup for returns
  • Instant store credit or gift card issuance
  • Convenient return drop-off locations
  • Estimated delivery dates
  • Configurable fulfillment rules

And much, much more.

Why post-purchase engagement matters

Think about the time and energy you pour into winning a new customer—it’s a lot, isn’t it? For most retailers, winning a new customer is actually a drain on their finances. Research shows acquisition costs are up more than 200%, with merchants losing an average of $29 for every new customer acquired. Positive cash flow doesn’t occur until that newly won customer makes their second or third purchase.

With that being said, it doesn’t make sense to commit so many resources towards turning prospects into paying customers unless you’ve got a strong post-purchase strategy in-place to reduce the risk of churn. 

How does post-purchase engagement help retailers?

People love being “in the know” and your shoppers are no different. Post-purchase engagement helps retailers by ensuring customers are never out of the loop when it comes to their orders. From initial order confirmation, to carrier pickup, to in-transit delays, to delivery, post-purchase engagement is how online merchants alleviate consumer concerns, build trust, and cultivate loyalty. 

If you want to get down to brass tacks, just look at all the things post-purchase engagement can help you with:

  • Purchase validation
  • Providing real-time order tracking
  • Branding and personalizing order tracking
  • Collecting product reviews and feedback to improve NPS and CSAT
  • Lowering customer service contacts related to “where is my order?” queries
  • Boosting loyalty and retention while also cultivating that all-important next sale

For ecommerce brands, post-purchase engagement is simply a no-brainer as it improves the customer experience. In doing so, it ensures your brand enjoys stronger revenue retention in both the near- and long-term. 

A snapshot of how some brands conduct their post-purchase engagement.

How do you increase post-purchase engagement?

When a customer completes a purchase online, it’s your opportunity to mitigate any customer dissatisfaction in a proactive manner, strengthen the bonds of loyalty, and introduce unexpected opportunities for upsell. To succeed in this endeavor, you should invest in some basic forms of post-purchase engagement:

  • Order confirmation emails
  • Branded tracking pages
  • Delivery notification emails
  • SMS order updates
  • Companion product recommendations (i.e. promotional cross selling)

Having said that, there are also some less conventional sources of post-purchase engagement that you should think about activating: 

  • Product reviews

Reaching out to customers to review your products doesn’t just show them that you value their input—it gives you an unobstructed view at how people perceive your products and the experience of shopping at your online store. 

This is feedback you can use to improve everything from your manufacturing process to how your call center handles customer inquiries. The upshot of all this inside information is that it enables you to run a stronger business that’s more capable of winning new customers and retaining existing customers. 

  • Satisfaction surveys

In a similar vein to asking for product reviews, customer satisfaction surveys are an excellent way to obtain unfiltered feedback about the quality of your products or services while showing customers you value their insights. You can use these surveys as a jumping off point for follow-up questions and further engagement. 

Don't overlook the power of post-purchase surveys.
  • Inventory alerts

From resupply notices for consumables such as Hims hair loss treatment to products that regularly run out-of-stock due to their popularity such as Russian River Brewing’s limited releases, post-purchase inventory alerts are a great way to spark repurchase conversations with shoppers. 

  • Bounceback promotions

Bounceback promotions are a great way to reconnect with shoppers who haven’t purchased anything in a while. Invite them back into the fold by sending them a special discount or promotion, enticing them to start buying again. 

These are especially effective if paired with peak season when people are in full gift-giving mode. They’re also effective when promoting season-specific merchandise, such as Weber’s promotions around Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.  

  • Anniversary alerts

Most effective when targeting first-time buyers, remind shoppers of their one-anniversary with your brand—the date they made that very first purchase. Send them a personalized email reminding them what they bought last year, what new products they might enjoy trying this year, and a special discount code to celebrate them for their patronage.

In closing…

The significance of post-purchase engagement can’t be overstated.

To ensure the engagement you offer is valuable, focus first on transparency in your communications (i.e., make sure the customer can easily access all the information they need regarding their order). When you’ve done that, think about how you can turn each touchpoint in the post-purchase journey into a reason to celebrate—how can you inject energy, joy, and excitement into your communications without coming across as kitschy?

One of the easiest ways to bring a little flair to post-purchase engagement that might otherwise be mundane is to lean into personalization. Adding in personalization doesn’t need to be a cumbersome process, just use information that’s easy to obtain during the checkout process (the date of their first purchase, their birthdate, the city they live in, etc.) to send less-generic communications that are supercharged with a little promotional offer. For example, a unique discount code to celebrate their customer anniversary or a free gift in honor of their birthday. 

The more personalized you can make your post-purchase engagement—and the more value you can layer into that engagement—the more effective you’ll be at turning one-time buyers into multi-year loyalists who recommend your products to friends and family. 

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