It’s not for nothing that 57% admit they’ll willingly pay a premium for better support and experience.
And that means, as an eCommerce brand, you still have work to do after you’ve converted those shoppers into paying customers.
If you ask us, how you craft the post purchase eCommerce experience decides whether or not shoppers continue to swear by your brand name.
In our sustained work with 500+ brands over the last 5 years, we’ve seen certain practices trump to keep the post purchase customer experience going strong—and we’ll share those shortly.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this piece:
17 ideas to nail the eCommerce post purchase experience
1. Remove all possible doubts post purchase
In eCommerce post purchase experience, buyer’s remorse is a real thing.
A shopper can experience it because they suddenly feel they’ve parted with money for no good reason, bought something on an impulse or could’ve got a better deal somewhere else.
So, the ball falls in your court to clear out their doubts on “your order is confirmed” page—here are a few suggestions:
- Reveal more about your brand (why say just “thank you” when you can say something more about your brand values or how you create your products and how many lives you’ve touched?)
Notice how Fitbit aligns with the customer’s excitement with their brand messaging to optimize the purchasing experience:
- Inform them about a cause you support (many eCommerce shoppers feel better when they know their purchase contributes to something bigger—so messaging that says “Congratulations! $X from your last purchase is now going to help the YY fund support more refugees!” goes a long way)
- Remind them of long term benefits (because they need to get over feeling like they’ll get better deals somewhere else—talk about subscription benefits, benefits they can use when they become a member etc.)
2. Don’t send the same post purchase email to everyone!
It’s not just the channel that’s important, but also what you communicate post purchase.
Hence it’s good to segment customers not just based on how much they’ve bought from you but also what their engagement has been over a period of time—here’s a quick checklist of questions to answer:
- What micro conversions did they move through before they converted on a purchase?
- If they’re one-time purchasers, what context did they buy under? (for example, it could have been a flash deal you announced on social media or it may have been an annual sale you do at a specific time of the year)
- If they’re repeat purchasers, how often have they bought? (it becomes crucial for you to assess the interval between purchases—for someone who buys from you every six months would need very different post purchase communication versus someone who buys twice a month)
- Have they been idle for a long time and then suddenly returned to buy?
- Have they already referred your brand to family & friends?
- Are they a part of your loyalty program?
- Have they bought only when you’ve sent them discounts?
The above questions will give you answers on how to tailor your post purchase emails, the offers you send out, whether or not you send recommendations and how you speak about your loyalty/rewards programs, etc.
3. Use individual preferences—to upsell—on the thank you page
There’s a way to elevate your shoppers’ post purchase experience while impacting your bottom line positively:
Create relevant upsell recommendations for your thank you page.
Research has shown that an average of 10% to 30% of an eCommerce store’s sales can be attributed to product recommendations.
Here are a few quick suggestions to make your post purchase upsells work:
- Offer a special discount for an upsell bundle
- Showcase educational content around the upsells you’re suggesting
- Offer a spectrum of prices (this way you open up more choices for the shopper who may not want to add an expensive item to the cart, but would not mind picking up a less expensive one)
4. Answer ALL their questions (tell them there’s an FAQ page)
Research by Zendesk makes it clear that most eCommerce shoppers would rather go through self-service options first before getting on a customer support call.
This makes it important for you to enrich your FAQ section or page—here are some practices we’ve suggested to clients and seen them work:
- Place the most commonly asked questions at the top (if you’re introducing the FAQ within the live chat feature, follow the same principle)
- Offer a search functionality (this can help customers use keywords that explain their problem and find the answers to those questions)
- Cover questions in as much depth as possible (a good practice is to anticipate secondary and tertiary questions that can follow the primary one, and include those answers within the larger answer as conditions)
One eCommerce brand known for their detailed FAQ page is ASOS—the brand makes sure to call out “popular questions” and also highlight FAQ topics.
5. Make returns, exchanges and refunds easy as pie
While it’s not ideal for your business that customers initiate returns (the average return rate in eCommerce stands at between 30%to 40%), you’ll still have to factor it in.
Comfortable returns and exchanges make the post purchase experience stand out—here are a few things to consistently take care of:
- Create a jargon-free return/refund policy (finetune your language to match your brandspeak as well as how your target audience uses words)
- Link to your return/refund policy in all crucial communication (feature this as microcopy and give directions to click & open)
- Offer directions on how to pack for returns (to de-risk the chances of damage in transit or to hold the customer responsible)
- Provide status updates until the return is successful (this is no different from you keeping the customer in the know through delivery updates)
- Set up immediate refunds (on the day that you get the return or the very next day is in line with customer expectations—ensure to thank your customer for sending the product back in great condition)
- Offer wider exchange options (don’t just limit it to color options, for example—this is a time you can recommend other products within the same range or even upsell and have the customer pay the price difference)
6. Provide REAL help with your content
Considering the pandemic increased the use of content by 207%, it’s clear that more customers are looking to enrich their lives through valuable content post purchase.
The trick is then to create use case content that helps customers solve real problems—here are a few suggestions based on what we’ve seen work for clients:
- Send a how-to guide on the product
- Recommend the use of other products with the one that’s been bought (in this case, be very clear about why you’re suggesting other products and how it’ll help the customer see benefits)
- Offer content that explores several applications of the same product (for example, you could do a compilation of UGC content where existing customers share multiple ideas)
- Create content that’s shareable (let’s say you’re an outdoor travel gear company—so shareable content would include campsites one could go to or even ideas for camping with friends—content that customers would willingly share and for all you know, you might convert some more people as well!)
GoPro is an eCommerce brand that takes its content marketing to such levels that the post purchase experience is a delight—from video tutorials to product manuals to product updates, the brand ensures shoppers who convert are happy.
7. Post purchase UGC is gold (use it smartly)
Most customers need to depend heavily on social proof to decide on purchases in the long run.
So, if you have to keep your brand at the top of your customer’s mind post purchase, you’ll have to be smart about the UGC you showcase:
- Incentivize UGC (offer discounts, gift cards and even a free trial of loyalty membership prices to get larger volumes of UGC which you can then segment and showcase to the right audiences)
- Tag the right customers when you showcase their reviews on platforms like Instagram & Facebook (this also increases the quality of their engagement with your brand post purchase)
- Highlight benefits through UGC when you send post purchase product recommendations (“Customers like you have bought and loved” can drive more purchases especially when you call out certain key elements in user generated reviews & testimonials)
8. Cut out all the manual drama to reduce errors
For your customers to rest at ease after they’ve placed an order, automation of the order tracking process is key.
Here are a few things to look into to do this efficiently:
- The customer & related data (you could use this to create deeper segmentation and personalization around future emails/SMSs, figure what kind of recommendations to show on your site etc.)
- The channels on which the customer is most active (some brands use this data to ask customers where they would like to be updated on the progress of their order)
- The integration between your order tracking system & the customer support software (the better integrated these are, the faster it becomes for your support members to respond)
Pro Tip 💡
Use a tracking link that sends shoppers back to your in-store order tracking page.
This approach has been seen to increase website traffic by 85%.
Ensure your tracking page has the live chat feature.
For improved experience, enable this feature with more self-help resources including FAQ on shipping, returns and exchanges.
9. Make customer support real-time on every active channel
A study revealed that 72% of shoppers (from the 502 surveyed) said that if they’re able to communicate in real-time with a brand, they’re more likely to buy from them.
While most eCommerce brands set up customer support across all well-known channels & mediums, we suggest you:
- Round up the channels they’ve used to buy from you (and assess their behavior here, which includes browsing, engagement, accessing live chat etc.)
- Round up the channels they’ve used to communicate with you (this may not be identical with the first because that’s where they may have seen paid ads and bought off the cuff—unless it’s a regular customer who returns to your site to shop)
- Respond quicker in otherwise slow-moving channels (for example, email is known to be slower, but see if you can respond quicker at least to customers within the same time zone—if you serve international customers, set an expectation about how long support will take)
- Automate certain general responses on mediums such as WhatsApp (also offer active options through links to get on a call with a support professional)
10. Have them look forward to the delivery
Ensuring your shoppers have a great experience up to delivery increases the likelihood of them coming back.
This is why you’ll need to plan on creating notifications for every imaginable event between order and delivery:
- An update on the scheduled arrival (and in case there are delays—a “your order is on the way” message & email will create reassurance )
- An update right before the package is delivered (a day before the delivery is good because it leaves some reaction time for your customer—mentioning the likely window of time also improves satisfaction)
- An update after the delivery has happened (ensure this communication carries your customer support number and links to refunds/exchanges as well as the FAQ link
- An update if there is a failed delivery attempt (offer delivery agent details so that the customer can negotiate personally and experiences more control)
J. Crew Factory is an eCommerce brand known to send out detailed notifications that instantly put the customer’s mind to rest.
Pro Tip 💡
In your last notification related to the purchase and delivery, throw in a review the customer can fill.
You might want to read: 15 EASY ways to get customer reviews and boost sales
11. Time your review requests smartly post purchase
Ensure this is a week or 10 days after the delivery has happened—a window of time where the customer is likely to use the product and then be more willing to talk about it.
One eCommerce brand that other brands can take a cue from is Chewy.
12. Make feedback surveys effortless
Research shows that 76% of shoppers would willingly stop buying from a business after just ONE bad experience.
This proves how invaluable feedback surveys are—these surveys tell customers that you care enough to ask and help you gather crucial data to improve post purchase experiences.
Here are a few steps that’ll help you create effortless surveys:
- Ask no more than 5 targeted questions (divide the survey between product experience & delivery experience)
- Offer “Yes” and “No” options to more specific questions (for example, “Did you enjoy the product you ordered?” or “Would you like us to recommend similar products?”)
- Ensure the questions you ask generate answers that are easily measurable (this is why brands often ask questions that require customers to answer based on a scale of 1 to 10)
Pro Tip 💡
Send a rating request for the purchased products (this can be effective if you don’t want your post purchase feedback to be too complex)
13. Don’t bore them with surveys (offer incentives instead)
Research says whenever there is an incentive involved, the chances of people filling in surveys go up by 30%.
So, to create a post purchase experience that’s fuss-free for the customer, you have to offer rewards in exchange for opinions.
The more customer data you’re able to collect, the better you can plan out your retention and acquisition strategies.
Here are a few ideas you may want to explore for incentivizing post purchase surveys:
- Offer rewards based on the customer segment (for example, while your younger customers might prefer exclusive access to a product launch, an older segment might prefer being offered a bulk discount)
- Make the incentives super contextual (let’s say the survey is about your newly launched subscription service—in this case, an incentive like a free subscription trial extension makes sense)
- Ensure the incentive adds to the lifetime value (the more wholesome the experience, the more likely a customer continues to buy from you—so while a preferred category discount is a good idea, a gift card enabling a customer to buy exactly what they want improves the CLV)
- Use exclusivity to make the incentive more attractive (let’s say, if you announce a certain incentive to the first 100 people who take the survey, offer a bigger incentive for a lucky draw of the 10 best responses)
14. Give them reasons to stick around post purchase
While the lifetime value of a customer is certainly important to you, it’s never the customer’s agenda.
Quite simply, if a customer loves the way your brand creates products and offers support, they’ll stick around post purchase.
Many eCommerce brands make the mistake of trying to woo customers only with long term rewards.
Instead a mix like the following helps:
- Promote loyalty program benefits when the context is right (for example, at the end of the year when it’s peak holiday season, and customers are likely to buy more, talk about the price benefits of your loyalty program)
- Announce flash deals on high-value products (promote these to customers who generally buy lower priced products post purchase, and see them coming back for more)
- Offer “choice” when a referral is successful (instead of sending them random products, give them a discount code and a list of products that code will be applicable to)
- Send early updates on “now in stock again” products (this is especially effective if they’ve bought these products before)
ULTA offers short term rewards in the form of points and discounts and long term benefits like tiered pricing advantages based on customer spends & early access to events.
15. Inspire loyalty in new customers
A satisfaction guarantee takes care of niggling doubts a new customer may face if they haven’t heard about the brand and don’t know anyone who has bought from it.
Let’s face it—sometimes new customers aren’t swayed by the reviews they read online.
This is when a satisfaction guarantee comes to good use—here are some ideas:
- Offer a money back guarantee (provided your customer raises concerns within a certain window of time—make the window of time very clear)
- Create a free trial opportunity with the next purchase (if it’s too much, you can de-risk by pitching a free trial threshold and putting limits on what the trial applies to—for example, you can say that if they spend $100, they can opt for a free trial of any product worth up to $60)
- Declare a free return or refund in case of dissatisfaction (an email right after the purchase can really drive home customer confidence)
Check this out: 14 eCommerce Loyalty Programs Backed By Science (Examples)
16. Pay special attention to user-friendly packaging
While research claims that 69% of shoppers expect eCommerce brands to commit to sustainable packaging practices, post purchase customers fret about several other aspects.
Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your packaging engenders post purchase satisfaction:
- Needs to be easy to open/unbox (make use of perforations, pull tabs and tear strips wherever necessary—the idea is to enable opening without too much force or too many tools)
- Ensure the packaging aligns with the nature of the product (for example, if you sell indoor plants, you want to make sure you offer more spacing and cushioning than if you sell women’s wear)
- Make the packaging size-appropriate
- Offer distinctly readable tracking labels (include tracking number for easy reference in case of returns and exchanges, return shipping address and return instructions)
- Include special instructions for use & care (and ensure to offer your customer support details for immediate reference)
17. Create an online community to drive support & social proof
Research made way back said that 81% of shoppers prefer to research online before buying—and this number would’ve only grown, bringing us to the need for brand communities.
As an eCommerce brand, when you nurture a community, customers of all kinds thank you for the ongoing purchasing experience you create.
Here are a few suggestions to running an online community that will lend itself to the post purchase experience:
- Cater to the ongoing interests of the community (this way they’ll continue to converse and look up products that are aligned with those conversations)
- Offer up exclusive information (from industry insights to customer cases, take them through real information that can make post purchase a good place to be)
- Bring in rewards within the community context (keep this separate from loyalty memberships because people active here in guiding the community forward can also eventually become micro influencers)
3 eCommerce brands known to take their post purchase experience seriously
1. Warby Parker
This is an eCommerce brand that uses the Net Promoter Score to assess if they’re in line with the purpose of treating customers “with warmth, helpfulness, empathy, and incredible service.” The NPS is considered one of the most established ways of knowing how likely a customer would recommend a brand on a scale of 0 to 10.
What the brand does right:
- Interacts regularly with customer service representatives to ensure the right messaging goes through
- Engages with frontline teams to understand challenges in offering support
- Personalizes communication with customers around objections & problems
Warby Parker creates a clearly differentiated eCommerce post purchase experience by supporting not just customers but also those who’re responsible for supporting customers.
What began as a beauty blog by Emily Weiss has sprung to be a multi-billion dollar eCommerce DTC outfit in a little over a decade. Glossier’s consistent rise proves how important post purchase customer experience and otherwise can have an impact on retention.
What the brand does right:
- Runs a fully integrated customer support function (that allows the brand to use inputs from the team and put them into action)
- Looks at patterns derived from customer feedback (both at a personal level, where they ask for specific feedback as well as the comments the brand receives on social media)
- Encourages real customers to become spokespersons for the brand (within the circle, they’re referred to as “the Glossier girls”)
- Interacts with customers on channels the latter prefer to hang out on
To enable a sturdy post purchase experience for their eCommerce customers, Glossier keeps refining the “human element” in customer interactions—notice the tone in the following piece of communication:
Everlane has long been known as a pioneer for creating ready inspiration in its target audience through up-to-date personalization methods as well as customer support that takes on the most complex queries—from offering sizing advice to handling damaged product objections.
What the brand does right:
- Looks at conversions as a part of a larger process (so don’t stop delivering excellence after a purchase is made)
- Nurtures a customer community that brings a sense of belonging (and goes beyond purchases and memberships)
- Offers content that educates customers on an ongoing basis (this helps in creating continued trust)
What is the future of the eCommerce post purchase experience?
Research says only 17% of customers are convinced that retailers care about their experience after they’ve purchased a product.
On the other hand, research states that 78% of customers think it’s essential for a brand to create a positive post purchase experience. But on the contrary, only 1% admit feeling like brands met their expectations.
While this is the current scheme of things, an elevated eCommerce post purchase experience in the future will look like:
- An increase in the use of video chat
- More immediate AI powered exchange recommendations to avoid returns
- More fine tuned customer data will enable predictive maintenance
- AI-powered chatbots will become more “human” and have a handle over both simple & complex problem-solving
People also ask:
1. What is eCommerce post purchase experience?
The post purchase experience in eCommerce relates to what shoppers experience between placing an order and getting that order delivered.
Whether a brand sends order status notifications at key junctures, offers more information on ordered products and creates ease around refunds/exchanges or not, decides how shoppers perceive that brand.
2. Why is the post purchase experience so important?
The post purchase experience in eCommerce counts as one of the most crucial because if it’s positive, shoppers consider buying from the business again and better, even refer it to family and friends.
Put simply, a great post purchase experience ensures the lifetime value of customers improves, and shoppers feel inclined to buy more per purchase (basically increased AOV).
3. What is an example of post purchase satisfaction?
When a customer displays post purchase satisfaction in eCommerce, it could look like:
- Opening and reading through emails sent by the brand
- Using a discount code to make another purchase
- Sharing a product or recommendation on social media
- Referring the brand to family and friends
- Reordering the once-purchased product multiple times
4. What influences post purchase customer behavior?
A number of factors influence how a customer behaves post purchase, and they include:
- Order visibility: Customers now expect that eCommerce brands will notify them about an order’s packaging, transit and delivery day in real-time—if it happens, it leaves customers feeling positive about the brand
- Support & responsiveness: Customers are also keen to receive support post purchase if they have queries about delivery or are facing issues with it—if a brand is slack in responsiveness, it’ll show up as negative customer behavior
- Level of personalization: Research says 66% of customers expect brands to be well-versed with their individual needs—so if a brand isn’t able to send personalized order updates or offer personalized recommendations, this can have a poor impact on customer behavior
Great UX sets the stage for an amazing post purchase experience
98% of visitors who visit an eCommerce site—drop off without buying anything.
Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors.
And this is the problem Convertcart solves.
We've helped 500+ eCommerce stores (in the US) improve user experience—and 2X their conversions.
How we can help you:
Our conversion experts can audit your site—identify UX issues, and suggest changes to improve conversions.