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Thoughtful shopper evaluating her post-purchase experience

What Does Post-Purchase Evaluation Mean?

When people hear the phrase post-purchase evaluation, they assume the topic in question is about what type of post-purchase platform a retailer or brand should purchase. But that’s not actually the case—evaluating post-purchase solutions and post-purchase evaluation are not the same thing. In fact, they couldn’t be more different.

Evaluating a post-purchase solution is exactly what it sounds like—the review of different technology platforms and how they can be applied to enhance or improve a retailer’s post-purchase experience.

Post-purchase evaluation is what happens after a purchase is made, as told through the lens of the consumer. In other words, it’s the shopper’s experience—how they feel about everything from an order confirmation email; to the product itself; to the return process. 

In this article, you’ll discover the various steps within the post-purchase evaluation process. You’ll also learn what you can do to improve your post-purchase experience so shoppers are always smiling when they interact with your brand. 

What is the post-purchase evaluation process?

The post-purchase evaluation process is where retailers and brands turn to their customers and effectively ask the catch-all question: “So, what did you think?”

  • What did you think about the product?
  • What did you think about the shopping experience?
  • What did you think about the delivery experience and, if need be, the return experience?

It is the stage of the buying process where customers share their feedback—be it directly or indirectly—with brands. This feedback can be positive (yay!), negative (sad!), or neutral (meh…).

But what’s most important to note about the post-purchase evaluation process is that it can significantly influence future buying decisions for your shoppers. For that reason, fine-tuning your post-purchase evaluation experience is critical. 

What are the main steps of post-purchase evaluation?

Consumers journey through five steps when they conduct their post-purchase evaluation.

  • Post-order communications

How are details about the order conveyed? 

Are emails and other notifications sent in a timely fashion and inclusive of all pertinent details related to the purchase? 

Do customers know the moment their order is delivered, or when there’s going to be a delay in  the fulfillment process? 

  • Unboxing

When the order arrives, what’s the unboxing experience like? Does the product meet the customer’s expectations? Does the shopper feel excited or disappointed when they start using their purchase?

  • Feedback

While not all shoppers will take the time to leave feedback, many will. In this, the fourth stage of post-purchase evaluation, your consumer may do anything from leaving a public review about the product or the customer experience, to reaching out to your customer service center with questions or complaints. In short, this is where the shopper shares their feelings, be they good or bad.

  • Final outcome

What happens to the purchase based on the customer’s unboxing experience and feedback? Do they plan on keeping the product because they’re happy, or do they plan on submitting a return because they’re underwhelmed?

This is where the customer gets to play the role of judge, jury, and executioner as it relates to their post-purchase evaluation. 

How do you help customers have a positive post-purchase experience? 

Unless your brand completely owns the fulfillment experience from first-mile to last-mile, some elements of the post-purchase process are simply out of your hands. To that end, your shoppers’ perception of your post-purchase experience isn’t yours to control. That being said, there are many ways you can positively influence a consumer’s post-purchase evaluation. 

For example, investing in exceptional packaging is an easy way to improve your odds of delivering an undamaged product in conjunction with a memorable unboxing experience. Great packaging is an easy way to make a great first-impression with shoppers—here are some of our favorite examples:

Corrugated Mailer Boxes / Glass Jars / Plastic Caps / Glass Vials / Mycelium Foam Inserts
Corrugated Mailer Boxes
Slotted Corrugated Boxes
Cotton Tote Bags

Don’t oversell what you or your products can do

Underpromise and overdeliver will always trump overpromise and underdeliver. To that end, do not oversell your products because the odds are better than good that you’ll be lying in the eyes of some shoppers. 

That being said, do everything you can to convey the quality of what you’re selling with high-resolution imagery and accurate product detail pages. Shopify seller Tropicfeel does an exceptional job with this part of their post-purchase experience, offering shoppers some of the most detailed, in-depth product detail pages in ecommerce.


In addition to the fantastic imagery, just look at all the information they share with shoppers:

Get ready to wear Sunset every day, with this special summer edition. The first 24hr wearable sneaker made to journey from home - to urban - to outdoor. All-terrain, Water Friendly, wear them as sneakers or fold the heel to wear as slip-ons and pack them anywhere. Redesigned with warm colors on the sole to style your outfits this summer. Made with 20% Recycled EVA and 6 plastic bottles.

Pay attention to what people are saying

Of course, you can’t improve post-purchase evaluation if you don’t go to great lengths to collect data and insights related to how shoppers are experiencing your brand. For that reason, pay close attention to your brand’s performance in the way of Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores. (Fun fact—you can actually use your Net Promoter Score to improve your revenue growth in a short amount of time.)

Basically, what you’re trying to do here is better understand your customers’ experience—what are you doing right and what are you doing wrong? By paying attention to these experiential details you can do everything from improving the quality of your products and packaging, to elevating the effectiveness of your post-purchase technology. In doing so, you can do a better job of retaining existing customers and winning new business. 

How does post-purchase evaluation increase customer loyalty?

Honestly, it’s pretty simple—when you keep an eye on what shoppers are saying in terms of post-purchase evaluation, you can be more effective at delivering an experience they enjoy. When you give people something they like—be it a product, service, or both—their affinity and loyalty toward you grows. 

In sum, if you want to be successful as an online merchant, then you need to take the necessary steps to monitor how shoppers are evaluating their customer experience post-purchase. Remember, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase your profits by 25% or more. Instead of viewing your customer’s purchase as the end of the transaction, think of it as the start of a relationship—the better your first date goes, the more likely you are to get a second. 

(Looking for ways to improve your post-purchase experience?—Explore Narvar’s full content library.)

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