So, let’s be honest, what is the most irritating part about online-shopping? In our opinion, a plain order confirmation saying “Your order has left our distribution hub and will reach your chosen destination in approximately 3 to 5 days” would rank pretty highly on the Top 10 Shoppers’ frustration list. But, the ironic part is, post-purchase emails like this boast the highest opening rates of all customer communication.
After all, people do want to know when their highly awaited order will reach them. In the IBM Watson study on customer engagement, 90% of customers said that notifications on delays with an order or its delivery, were extremely important to them. 88% wanted to track their orders online, and 88% wanted to be notified when their order had been delivered.
So, whenever an online retailer does reach out to customers, to tell them about the journey of their order, the retailer has their full attention. But, what to do with said attention? Sticking to the basic notifications like “Your order has been shipped” is not only boring, but also means you are missing out on a perfect opportunity to promote your brand and deepen customer loyalty.
3 key things customers like to read about in post-purchase emails
1. Parcel Status Information
An informed customer is a happy customer. Keep your customers informed about the status of their order – and that means providing precise information.
Tell them when their order is received and processed, when it has been shipped and when – exactly – it will be delivered. Give them the opportunity to trace their parcel. And if the order can’t be delivered to their house, tell them exactly where it has gone and how they can get it. Provide the opening times of the local post office and include a map with its exact location.
Also be forthcoming with any information about problems concerning the order. If shipping is delayed, tell the customer. If a customization process is taking longer than estimated, tell the customer. If delivery takes longer because the carrier is on strike, tell the customer. If the order is held in customs, tell the customer.
2. Additional product information
If you have fulfilled the customer’s main need, providing information about the status of their order, you can maximise having their full attention to tell them a bit more about the product they’ve just bought. Consider this, alongside confirmation that the recently ordered food processor is now on it’s way, the retailer could send a (video) tutorial which explains to the customer how best to use the new device. Or a recipe for cooking. Or assembly and cleaning instructions.
A fashion retailer could include a personalised look book with the latest fashion, which fits thematically to the recently ordered summer dress and that is tailored to the taste of the customer. A bike store might incorporate a link to cycling routes in the customer’s area – or include the address of a local partnering bike store which could help with personal adjustments.
All this additional information is highly relevant to the customer and their order – and it shows the retailer’s high-level competence in their field, assuring the customer that they purchased from the right place. Additional product information therefore can help build up customer loyalty – and bring the customer back into the store.
3. Relevant advertising
What many online retailers don’t know is that even after the implementation of the GDPR on 25th of May they are allowed to advertise in their post-purchase emails – even if they don’t have the customers’ extra opt-in! Although the advertising must be kept strongly in the background and must not distract the reader’s focus from the actual message. The email must not become a means for (advertising) purpose. So, information foremost, advertising second.
That being said, it is absolutely possible to advertise products which are directly related to the ordered product.
So, the aforementioned bicycle retailer could advertise a biking helmet to go with the customer’s new bike. A fashion retailer could recommend trousers that would match the ordered top.
All of this merely hints at the plentiful opportunities to promote a retailer’s brand and competence, lure the customer back into the shop and increase customer loyalty through a smart post-purchase communication strategy.