1. Overview of eCommerce Post-Purchase Experience
Though not all, quite a few eCommerce businesses primarily focus on gaining new customers, often disregarding existing buyers once a product has been checked out. In several instances, even a general follow-up isn’t conducted to enquire if the customer is happy with the items ordered and the delivery experience.
What such businesses don’t realize is that this is a faulty strategy since the current customer base can be their most valuable asset. After all, “out of sight, out of mind” works both ways! One ignored customer is all it takes for numerous lost prospects who you could have achieved through a simple recommendation.
Loyal customers can give a company much more than revenue. In addition to brand popularity through word of mouth and social media, they can offer constructive feedback and useful insights to improve future products as well the entire buying journey. This is why industry experts recommend staying in touch with all consumers, irrespective of their buying volume.
But this also doesn’t mean that you should constantly pester them for feedback. The key is to get what you need without being too intrusive, annoying, or pushy. To achieve the right balance, it’s imperative to create an effective post-purchase strategy.
2. Post-purchase experience must be a priority - Here’s why
In the arena of eCommerce, post-purchase activity is one of the ending phases of the entire customer journey, but it’s as important as the initial few steps of getting customers to land on your websites and browse through your products.
Post-purchase customer experience covers how customers are treated after they’ve purchased your product or service. It includes activities such as product assistance, customer service, shipping, repairs, returns, and more. To be considered a thriving business, you must realize that your customers are your biggest strength. Regardless of how much capital is invested in your business, if your customers aren’t convinced to buy your product/services or if they aren’t satisfied with their purchases in the long run, your business will sooner or later land up in trouble.
While you may devise strategies to attract new prospects, your existing customers are the treasure trove of your business. Studies have found that 68% of sales come from existing customers, and when offered proper attention and stellar service, people are most likely to come back for your products without any qualms.
In fact, they may even promote your business among their friends and family. This is so much better than spending nearly five times the money to acquire new customers, don’t you think?
Though, of course, capturing new leads is the only way a business can grow, in an attempt to chase gold, you shouldn’t lose your existing diamonds, or you’ll end up spending more than you make in the long term.
Now if you’re just starting out as an eCommerce business, you might be slightly apprehensive about competition from behemoths like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay. But probably the best thing you can do to put your worries aside is learned from their strategies. These big names have successfully conditioned customers with their brilliant post-purchase services. No wonder they have customer bases ranging in millions globally!
While it may seem too difficult to begin improving your own post-purchase experience, once you get going, you’re sure to discover mantras that’ll help you build your empire. To help you along, here are six tried-and-tested strategies that we’ve put together after much consideration.
3. Strategies to create a seamless post-purchase experience
3.1) Design the ‘My Account’ page
We can’t emphasize how important creating this page is. Studies reveal that a diligently designed ‘My Account’ page is responsible for returning nearly 64% of the consumers to your eCommerce platform. If there’s half information on one page and the remaining half on another, there’s a high chance that customers will be irked enough to move away from your business.
Now that’s something you surely don’t want! Thus, designing an easily accessible and navigable ‘My Account’ page, which is the nucleus of all information pertaining to that customer’s journey with your brand, is highly needed. Elements that form the crux of this page should be:
3.1.1) Order Details Page
This page should provide the customers with information like their name, their shipping address, email, and mode of payment. Moreover, it should have these three critical sub-pages:-
a) Shipping Information
When customers order something from your website, they should be able to see the estimated time of arrival (ETA) and the delivery partner’s name on this page. You should also go beyond the norm and provide them a direct package tracking number with which they can find out exactly where their product is at what time. Another detail that you can provide here is a list of FAQs and a seamless step-by-step guide they can use to self-answer most of their queries. This will also lessen the number of WISMO calls at your contact centers.
b) Product details
The logic of giving customers all the information they need at one place applies in this case as well. Consolidate all the data related to your products, like their specifications, price, quantity, how-to-use guide, etc., into individual pages called ‘product details,’ and create one such page for each product. Explain the items shipped in separate packages in lucid language so that there’s no scope of confusion for the customer.
c) Returns or replacement management
Due to miscellaneous reasons, your customer may want to return or exchange the product they ordered. This could be due to an issue with the product or a change in the customer’s needs. Regardless of why they would want to do it, as a responsible business owner, you should provide your customers with a returns management page through which they can file for a return/exchange and easily track everything. This shows that you take ownership of your processes and give due regard to the customer’s expectations.
3.1.2) Tracking Details Page
Once a customer is done ordering an item, they will surely want to keep a track of where it has reached and when they will receive it. Though, of course, your delivery cycle should have room for no delays, sometimes due to unforeseen situations, like bad weather, there could be an unexpected delay in the delivery. In such situations, to make sure your customers don’t get too anxious, you should have a proper ‘tracking details’ page up and running. This page should provide a step-by-step record of the time and place where your product is at any point in time, and it should be sufficient to give the customer complete information about the arrival of the items at their doorstep.
3.2) Set up omnichannel customer support
It’s rightly said that effective customer support can help even a failing business sustain itself. On the flip-side, poor customer support is one of the primary reasons leading businesses to receive negative reviews online. To ensure you don’t face the brunt of your customers, you should create an omnichannel customer support operation to guide them and solve their queries at every step of their journey.
One of the crucial steps in offering top-notch customer service is fully understanding the customers and the technology/platform/device they’ve used to reach out to you. Make a note of these platforms and devices and come up with a follow-up strategy for each one.
Thereafter, you could work in parallel with the customer while focusing on delivering a harmonious and personalized experience for them across all channels and devices. This will also make the task of picking, packing, and shipping much easier. By fusing the different channels comprehensively, you’ll not only be able to establish a better connection with your customer base, but also extract benefits like:
- High engagement rates
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Continuous feedback
- Returning customers
3.3) Create an online community for the customers
It’s no secret that online communities of like-minds work in perfect harmony for the benefit of every member of the community. On the same lines, create an online community for the customers that have ordered from your brand. This could be done on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Whatsapp, or you could use dedicated platforms like Patreon, which are specifically meant for creating communities online.
Congregating all your customers into one such space can achieve several purposes. For one, through such an online community, you can easily keep them notified about your upcoming deals and ongoing contests which will work to boost their excitement and pump up your sales.
Further, it can also help you understand the taste and preferences of the consumers as you can conduct polls and customer feedback surveys within the community easily. Such a space can also be used to enrol customers into loyalty programs, thereby enhancing your chances to strengthen your customer loyalty.
Studies have shown that 49% of businesses with online communities have reported cost savings of 10% to 25% annually.
3.4) Use automation to engage customers without losing the personal touch
In today’s fast-paced world, everything needs to be super-fast. Be it reaching the office by the fastest mode of transport or receiving information about something. So why should your customer journey be as slow as a snail?
After buying from your brand, your customers may have some common questions like “how do I return/replace an item?” or “how can I change the account password?’ and so on. They might also have some specific questions for which a generalized answer doesn’t work. Regardless of what the case is, providing customers with the answer they seek should be your priority.
But of course, with thousands of queries dropping in every second, things can quickly get messy. This is where automation can help you! By automating your query resolving processes, you can monitor all inbound questions, answer them at a lightning pace, and keep your customers abreast of everything. This in turn can help you better manage your contacts, drip-feed educational emails, schedule promotional campaigns and text messages, and handle event notifications.
However, it’s important to note that although automation makes things progress at a much faster rate, it comes with the risk of eliminating the ‘personal’ touch. Hence, mold your automation routines such that your messages and answers don’t sound robotic. You can set up personalized auto-replies which can be framed such that it seems a human is responding to a customer query.
3.5) Develop a communication calendar
Just as calendars keep us on track with our daily and yearly schedules, a communication calendar for your eCommerce business would help you keep in touch with your customers at regular intervals. It will automatically send out cards, special offers, or a simple “We miss you” message to your existing customers so that they don’t abandon you for another brand. Such kind of “gentle coaxing” works best to establish customer trust and make them come back to your product catalog.
3.6) Honesty is the best policy
This golden thumb rule from childhood applies to the eCommerce business as well. Staying true to your words and delivering your best sincerely never goes without rewards. Your customers know that, and you should try to live up to that expectation.
Think about it, as a customer, would you buy from a company that delays every shipment, provides you with damaged goods, or dupes you for your money? Of course not! Therefore, no matter what, it’s important to stay truthful throughout.
Here’s how you can ensure you’re being honest with your customers:
- Make sure to have an option of live chat so that you can solve customer doubts instantly.
- Be candid about your return or replacement policy.
- Try to add as many pictures of the real product as possible, from various angles.
- Add a review section that helps customers leave their feedback. The more the number of positive reviews, the more other customers will be convinced to buy.
Given these six strategies, if you want your customers to trust your brand, go beyond the normal range of services that you offer. Leave no stone unturned to ‘wow’ your customers; be it by offering them gifts and coupons when they are least expecting it or by sending an appreciation message.
Moving on to the last aspects of the post-purchase experience, let us explore the significance of order confirmations and look at some successful templates.
4. The best order confirmation templates
A word of assurance goes a long way. It can remove confusion and establish trust.
When a customer orders from your website or app, make sure you send out an order confirmation email that carries all relevant details, such as items purchased, the amount paid, the date of the order, the tracking details, the ETA, and the customer’s delivery address. Experts say once customers receive an order confirmation email, they’re more likely to let go of the thought of making repeated WISMO calls until the specified delivery date.
To give you a peek into the kind of order confirmation emails that work best, here’s a list of a few steal-worthy templates that you can use:
4.1) The Plain Email
This template is pretty basic and simply informs the customer about the purchase status along with the details of the order.
4.2) The Warm Welcome Email
This template works fine for new customers. It compliments their shopping taste and extends a warm welcome to become a part of your community.
4.3) The Assuring Email
For the ones who tend to panic at the drop of a hat, this template is the saviour. It assures the order-fulfilment status along with a link to track the order and thus keeps customer anxiety at bay.
4.4) The Enticing Email
Who on earth doesn’t love discount coupons? So, to capture one’s heart and make their day with a discount coupon, make use of this template to send out offers and referral codes.
4.5) The Look-for-these-similar-items Email
This template includes a list of similar items that the customer has bought or items that would complement the purchased item. This template has proven to show great results as it makes customers head back to the site again to shop some more!
5. To Conclude
We admit; furnishing the best post-purchase experience doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to carve out a place in the customers’ hearts and persuade them to put their faith in your brand. But we can surely vouch for one thing: if you keep aside your business-centric thinking and focus on the customers, you can become their favorite brand in no time. These customer retention strategies have generated the best results for numerous companies. So, give them a shot and we promise you won’t regret it.