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3 ways DTC brands can stand out post-purchase


Published on: November 7, 2021

Updated: September 8, 2023

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The post-purchase experience is critical to driving customer loyalty, retention, and, by extension, a brand’s long-term success. To understand what the American post-purchase experience looks like when purchasing from a DTC brand, we ran a study of 50 of the biggest DTC brands. We found that, for brands looking to set their experience apart from the pack, there are many opportunities they need to act on in the post-purchase experience.

DTC brands can set themselves apart with a sustainable post-purchase experience.

Sustainability is a key focus for many consumers. Simply put, most DTC brands are not providing an experience tailored to that interest. Only 6% of brands offer carbon-neutral delivery in the U.S. Even fewer – just 4% – offer a reduced packaging option at checkout. By partnering with carbon offsetting brands and utilizing greener packaging options, DTC brands can easily stand out from their competitors.

Fast delivery and free shipping are popular options, but still offer plenty of room for innovation.

Amazon has been pushing innovation in the space of delivery speed and price for years now, so it’s unsurprising that this is an area in which DTC brands have made some strides. For instance, 60% of brands offer faster than average delivery options and 88% offer some type of free shipping option. Half of all brands have a minimum order value for free shipping, a majority of which (34%) are set between $25-50.

That said, there are still some areas ripe for improvement and brands need to start implementing changes.

The majority of brands (70%) offering faster delivery options charge at least $20 for the privilege. Amazon, on the other hand, can offer same-day, next-day, and two-day shipping for $0-10. Figuring out how to offer cheaper fast delivery will set you immediately apart from the pack.

12% of DTC brands are still always charging for shipping. If your brand is in this category, you’re already falling behind the trends.

92% of brands offer only one delivery option – home delivery – despite huge strides being made in this arena during 2020. Some retailers now offer options to buy online, pick up in store or at a local central location. These methods typically allow brands to offer faster shipping for very little cost. As innovations like neighborhood package lockers and shared urban fulfillment centers become more prominent, even eCommerce-only DTC brands need to be adding options beyond home delivery.

There is a large amount of opportunity for brands in post-purchase communications.

Shipping an order, particularly the delivery of an order, is a very emotional step in the customer journey, yet many, many brands are allowing this part of the experience to go by without any communication. And even when brands do communicate, they frequently spurn thoughtful, personalized communication in favor of generic templated content.

Only 2% of shipping confirmations include personalized content in their shipping confirmation emails.

Only a further 4% included any content beyond the basic message. 78% of brands send customers to a 3rd party order tracking page. As a result, they miss a massive opportunity to own the order tracking process. This cannot personalize the tracking page, serve up product recommendations, or offer more chances for the customer to get in contact with customer service.

A shocking 16% of orders were delayed without any communication from the brand. This leaves customers hanging and feeling very unimportant to the place they chose to spend money.

33% of brands take more than 3 days to ship an order and don’t communicate that.

Simply put, DTC brands must update their post-purchase communication as soon as possible. Providing thoughtful, personalized content to the most engaged group of contacts in their database.

What Brands Can Learn

Ultimately, there is a lot of room for improvement and innovation in the post-purchase experience. It is an opportunity that DTC brands simply cannot afford to ignore.

Brands need to be auditing their current experience for missing communication touchpoints and filling them in. Even small changes make a huge difference. Simply hosting your own order tracking pace can boost site traffic by 85% and reduce “Where’s my order?” inquiries by 25%.

In fact, even just adding thoughtful, relevant content to the communications you already have running can be a big differentiator. Most DTC brands aren’t even making that effort! So use this research to improve your brand experience today.

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