Smart eCommerce business owners know that a completed purchase isn’t the end but the beginning of a long-term relationship with your customer.
Post-purchase emails are one of the most effective ways to keep your customers engaged and boost brand loyalty.
It’s an opportunity that you shouldn’t lose since the lifetime value of your loyal customers can be 10x their initial order.
Poor post-purchase messages fail to engage customers—and they don’t return.
Effective post-purchase follow-up emails restart the customer’s buying journey. They improve customer service, reduce purchase cycles, and improve the customer lifetime value.
In this post, you’ll find 10 unexplored tips for improving your post-purchase email campaigns and driving higher customer retention.
10 post-purchase email ideas you need to try out today
1. Gather valuable feedback without being intrusive
Post-purchase email copy shouldn’t make customers feel like they need to buy something always.
Hounding them for purchases can be counterintuitive.
A great way to create a sense of belonging is by requesting constructive feedback—something that lets them know their opinion is valuable.
There are quite a few ways you can ensure your customers walk away with a satisfying eCommerce follow up email experience:
Using an experience rating scale is one of the quickest ways to find out what the customer liked about their last purchase from your brand.
Using an experience rating scale can engage the customer without making them view it as a high-effort task.
Here’s an example of a simple color-coded rating scale.
Some brands can use different terms or more fields that better suit the feedback they want to collect.
Here’s an example from NiceReply.
Another idea to try: one-question surveys.
Your customers are time-strapped and impatient. If you try to hook them with a long-winding survey, it may not work.
An alternative: ask them a relevant, personalized question that specifically ties to their purchase.
Here’s a look at how Expedia does it.
Or you can take the incentive route. Customers love incentives—you may want to offer them along with your survey.
It’s a great way to receive relevant responses and will also make it worthwhile for the customers to spend the time and effort.
However, you may choose to use incentives with discretion so that your customers don’t always expect incentives for all their actions.
Check out how deftly Cinnabon does it.
2. Channelize user-generated content
Customers give a lot of importance to other customers’ opinions on the products they want to purchase.
User-generated content deepens customers’ awareness of your brand. If they like their last purchase, it inspires them to buy more as well.
Let’s see how you can integrate your existing user content with your post-purchase email campaigns.
The first idea: think social proof.
Adding elements around what people such as your users will appreciate is a great way to hook your users.
For example, a childhood friend stating it’s a personal care product I love is more encouraging than all the marketing you may do.
That’s the power of social proof.
Check out this example from Ban.do and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
It builds curiosity through social proof for the product even before it’s launched. Plus, an enticing incentive makes it even more appealing for the customers.
The actual reviews finally help resolves the customers’ doubts about the product and seals the deal.
User-generated content is also a great way to boost customers’ product awareness.
You can use it to educate your customers about the features and benefits of your product.
This kind of educational content can generate curiosity, increase brand belief and finally lead to more purchases.
This doesn’t need to include just product reviews but can also incorporate customer feedback on how to use, usage issues and solutions, etc.
3. Spice up your delivery confirmation emails
They’re not just any email communication, but one that builds on the customer’s trust and anticipation.
Done well, delivery confirmation emails can also work towards establishing the brand more firmly in the customer’s mind.
Timing is a crucial thing in the case of these automated emails. A quick response creates a credible impression of your brand in the customer’s mind.
Since the customer is already excited about the order, a delivery confirmation has ample scope to build on their anticipation and engage them.
Here’s an example from Chewy, a pet brand.
Its subtle use of a GIF to communicate a sense of movement helps create anticipation and excitement for the arriving product.
Moreover, they help the customer visualize their order by adding all the product, billing, and shipping details. Further, they also set expectations by adding their USPs at the bottom.
The primary focus of this kind of a transactional email is of course to provide information since this is what is of priority to the customers.
This is how Ipsy does it.
It adds a tracking link since most customers want to track their products. It also takes care to avoid customer disappointment with the note that it may take 48 hours for the link to be active.
It also does a tremendous job at personalization with the copy and structure of the See What’s Inside section.
It doesn’t fail to make a bland email interactive by throwing in a quiz.
4. Craft subject lines that evoke curiosity
33% of users open emails simply based on catchy post-purchase email subject lines.
Grabbing their attention is the best way to increase the open rates of your post-purchase emails.
The best way to do this: invoke their curiosity.
Make your subject line direct—add a peek into what your respondents can expect when they open the email.
Check out how Just Eat, an online takeaway brand, keeps the anticipation of an order alive for the customer with their subject line: Smiles Davis, lick your lips 😋 – your food's coming
The customer’s efforts don’t go to waste. They get complete details of their order along with all the important details.
Just Eat also stay in touch throughout the process. By offering contact options in case of any problems with the order and a feedback request, they keep the customer engaged.
It’s also an example of warm and friendly customer service that’s surely going to bring them back again.
Here’s one more example from Rifle Paper Co.
They lead this email with the subject line: Don’t Open ‘Til After Dessert
Well, if we were a customer, we’d be sold on the subject line long before the discount arrives.
5. Create exclusivity with discount codes
It’s common for eCommerce businesses to offer discount codes and coupons enclosed within post-purchase emails.
But how do you stand a chance to be unique when customers are used to seeing offers and coupons everywhere?
Here, communication and personalization play a huge role in convincing the customer that there’s actually something of value to them.
Check out the below example from Spirithoods and you’ll know what we mean.
The post-purchase email copy keeps the tone warm and personal. The focus is on connecting with the customer on an emotional level.
The copy shows how much the brand values the customer. It’s a great way to bring dormant customers back into the purchase cycle.
This post-purchase email campaign elevates a simple discount coupon into a brand experience. The photos of new arrivals also add to the anticipation.
6. Upsell using urgency
As a natural principle, human beings fear scarcity. However, as an eCommerce business, if you can use scarcity the right way, you’ll have customers wanting more of the same thing.
Flash sales, countdown timers, limited period offers—is that what you’re thinking?
There’s something better—upselling.
There are several ways you can use upselling for your post-purchase email communications.
You can create urgency by using strategic language.
While limited offer and till stocks last are still in use, the truth is most customers are mostly saturated with them.
The idea is to grab the customer’s attention without being too pushy.
Check out this example from Moo.
It uses subtle messaging to communicate the real-time benefits of upgrading, while also keeping the tone non-salesy and fun!
Another way to invoke urgency is through using replenishment emails.
Replenishment emails are a type of behavioral marketing tactic meant to remind customers to stock up on something they have bought already.
A well-crafted replenishment email can go a long way in building trust and a customer long-term relationship.
Here’s a great example of a replenishment email from Graze.
It makes the upselling pitch personalized without being intrusive. It also shares irresistible updates of new arrivals to keep the customer in the purchase cycle.
It completes the loop by sharing social handles for brand awareness—a subtle but effective trick to increase the customer lifetime value.
7. Reward customers through non-gimmicky interactions
Genuine and creative interactions rank much better than marketing gimmicks in post-purchase email communication.
There are several ways you can creatively engage your customers.
One intelligent way of doing this is through gamification. Quizzes, surveys, and tests are great ways to improve your post-purchase email open rates.
Check out this example from Gwynnie Bee.
Instead of sharing direct offers, it creates gamified rewards for the customers. This keeps them engaged and also encourages them participate for the reward.
Gamified emails are also a great way to boost loyalty.
Loyalty rewards are a really convincing hook you can use to gather the interest of existing customers.
Like Starbucks does.
8. Share informative content with a subtle sales angle
Nothing annoys customers more than receiving pushy sales emails right after purchasing.
Instead, informative content that educates them on how to better solve their problem will be more relevant to them.
Adding a subtle pitch to upgrade to a better version of the product or a new model can help take them to the next level.
This is what REI does in its email.
It keeps the tone non-salesy and positions itself as a brand with quality products as well as one who’s an expert in their niche.
This instills confidence in the customers to buy more from a brand that is a thought leader.
The social options help in community building and the store locator encourages more physical footfalls.
9. Engage AND Sell with Freebies
Everyone loves the word “FREE”, especially when it appears around a potential purchase.
Whether it’s a relatively new customer or someone who has consistently bought from you, freebies on a post-purchase email can be attractive.
However, it has been done to death by most brands. You can give it a twist by making space for a referral. This goes on to boost social proof while also building a sense of community.
You can send the referral email right after an order confirmation or order fulfillment. You can also add them alongside the feedback emails.
Check the example below to see how Casper does it with communication that’s catchy and yet instantly relatable.
Here’s another example we love from Riff Raff and Co.
Their tone is extremely warm and friendly. They start the email by keeping the focus on the delivery and offer much assurance to the customer.
They make the referral sound like an exciting project and offer enough incentive —that’s super-personalized—to the customer.
10. Send wishes on special days (with a dash of strategy)
Your post-purchase follow-up emails offer plenty of scope for personalization.
Yes, we’re talking about the birthday and anniversary wishes. Everyone does it. So much so that from a customer’s perspective, they’re supposed to drown under a deluge of wishes.
You don’t want your message to be lost in the crowd.
There’s a smarter way to do this. See how Need Supply does it.
Sending an apology for missing the birthday builds on the customer’s emotions and makes them feel they matter. The discount makes them want to offer something in return—a purchase.
5 basics to double-check in your post-purchase email
1. Be sure to cover all the transactional basics
Here’s a checklist that you can always come back to when necessary:
- Product ordered
- Amount breakup
- Estimated delivery
- Downloadable invoice
- Contact information
2. Provide important updates in real-time
If you can be specific in your communication, they’ll trust you more for it. Wondering what updates can be sent as post-purchase messages? Here’s a quick list.
- Delivery status
- How they can access their receipt
- Who and how to contact if there’s a problem
3. Identify and fix spam trigger points
The idea is to send customers content and updates that relate to them and have contextual relevance. On the side, make sure you also fix HTML and technical elements.
4. Remember timing is key
Build a strategy around one central thing—your post-purchase email needs to be noticed. Sending it too early or late can lead to their emails piling up and your mail getting lost. And you definitely don’t want that to happen.
5. Space out your emails
The average person gets 21 emails per week from various brands. So it’s a good idea to restrict the number of emails to 2–3, giving at least a day’s gap between them.
Start experimenting with your post-purchase emails
We hope these examples would help you get on track with creating stellar post-purchase email campaigns.
Your brand and story are unique. So you should come up with ideas that match your brand style and messaging.
As long as it’s engaging and relevant, it’s sure to grab eyeballs and improve your customer retention rate.
Most customers will simply look for a thank you or confirmation. This is your space to trigger their imagination and curiosity.
To help you in building the perfect post-purchase email campaign, we have built a robust email marketing software called Engage.
With this, you can leave the worry of crafting the perfect email (and sending them on time!) to experts and just focusing on building your revenue.
Want to give it a shot? Our experts are here to help you.