Fact: The buying process doesn’t end when a customer checks out. While it may be tempting to give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back after a successful sale, you might want to hold off until your customer actually receives their order. A whole lot can happen in the journey between checkout and delivery, and it’s your job to ensure smooth sailing.
Just like how you poured time and effort into creating, marketing, and selling your products, the same should be done in the post-purchase stage. Do it right, and you’ll boost customer loyalty and even acquire new customers along the way. Do it wrong and… well, we won’t let that happen to you!
#1. Loop Customers In
Unless it’s Halloween, being kept in the dark is never fun. In fact, one of the biggest post-purchase mishaps is a simple lack of communication. Luckily, there’s an easy fix for that! Can you guess what it is? Yup, it’s communicating!
After a customer checks out, they should receive an email (or text) when their order has been received, shipped, and delivered. That’s the bare bones of it, but of course there can be twists and turns along the way.
One such twist and turn would be a delay in shipping, which can happen for a number of reasons. Backordered products, overloaded carriers, and manufacturing hijinks can all contribute to less-than-perfect delivery times. While some strategic planning could take care of many internal issues, there are some things that are pretty much out of your hands. But, regardless of the type of bumps in the road, don’t forget to let your customer know what’s going on — you’ll be happy you did!
#2. Create an Unforgettable Unboxing Experience
Listen to your Fitbit and go that extra mile. The vast majority of customers will appreciate a little somethin’ extra when they open their packages, and, as eCommerce has grown to be more competitive, an unforgettable unboxing experience has gone from optional to indispensable.
There are plenty of ways to razzle and dazzle your buyers, such as:
- Focusing on product presentation for Instagram-worthy pics
- Including inserts, like coupons and handwritten thank you notes
- Investing in attention-grabbing packaging material, like branded crinkle paper and tape
- Providing free samples of up-and-coming products
- Using eco-friendly packaging
A memorable unboxing experience is something all eCommerce business owners have in common, and it’s a win-win for both you and your customers. They get a partial reenactment of Christmas morning, and you get a chance to strengthen your brand and stand out from the crowd.
#3. Have a Flexible Return Policy
Did you know that 96% of shoppers would turn into repeat buyers based on a positive return experience? That’s a huge number, which is why a flexible return policy is something you can’t afford to miss out on.
But what does that entail, exactly? We’re talking a long return window and no restocking or return shipping fees. Additionally, your return policy should include:
- What items are and aren’t returnable
- What conditions the items have to be in
- Where and how they can be returned
Your return policy should also be immediately visible and use clear, plain language that is easy to understand. While returns may not be immediately profitable, losing a little money in the moment can have big payoffs in the future.
#4. Reward Loyalty
Loyalty matters, so why not reward your shoppers for supporting your business’s livelihood? Rewards are a nice way to show customers that you appreciate them while also adding some dimension to your store’s shopping experience.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Give redeemable points with each purchase
- Offer exclusive access to new product launches
- Reward customer referrals with promo codes
- Run a gift card raffle or giveaway
Whatever reward system you end up choosing, don’t forget to let your customers know about it! Emails, website blurbs, and promotional inserts are a great way to do so.
#5. Engage and Provide Value
When it comes to engaging customers, the old marketing saying rings true: Content is king. Generating good content does wonders for 1) increasing your brand’s value and credibility and 2) generating new leads while keeping old ones interested.
Once your customer has received their order, nurture your budding relationship by sharing content that matters to them. Things like product care guides and product recommendations are always helpful and serve as a way to reaffirm the worth of your products in an educational and approachable way.
Content can take many forms, such as:
- Articles (like this one!)
- Case studies
- eBooks and whitepapers
But that’s not all! Content also shines on social media, where, aside from sharing your latest and greatest material, you can connect with your audience through likes, comments, and shares. That kind of engagement opens countless doors, many of which lead to long-lasting, profitable relationships.
#6. Follow Up
So your customer finally receives their order and… radio silence. That’s perfectly normal — people are more likely to share negative experiences than positive ones, so the cricket noises aren’t (usually) cause for concern. However, it’s important not to leave it at that. Following up with your customers — whether it be through call, text, or social media — is an invaluable opportunity to connect with your audience, as well as to know what you’ve been doing right… and not-so-right. Regardless of the feedback you receive, there is always a chance to go above and beyond.
And there you go! Creating a stellar post-purchase experience is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Well, actually, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, but you get the idea. The post-purchase stage is an excellent time to get creative and secure more sales in the process. We encourage you to take full advantage of it — you may even be surprised by how much fun you end up having!
Like the Robin to your Batman, fulfillment partners can be a key player when it comes to the post-purchase experience. Among other things, they can execute picture-perfect unboxings and ensure speedy (and cheap!) deliveries. If you’re looking for a partner in crime, or even if you’re lurking in the shadows, we encourage you to hit us up with any questions, comments, or propositions!