Firstly, how do your customers feel during your post-sales experience? Unlike buying in-store, there’s no instant gratification. No friendly smile at the checkout and no immediate tangible reward. So what do you do to match up to those in-store perks and encourage customer loyalty? Unfortunately, most just send a confirmation email and disappear.
The time between placing an order and receiving a package, known as the post-sales experience, is a prime opportunity to re-engage customers. Brands worldwide across every industry are missing out on this. During our recent webinar, we heard tips on how to provide a branded, controlled, relevant post-purchase experience that excites the customer and increases customer loyalty. Here are our three key takeaways.
1) Managing customer expectations is vital
parcelLab recommends that brands change how they communicate in order to build momentum for their customers. How? By creating and managing expectations. Sure, your customer doesn’t get the instant gratification of taking home their purchase right away, but brands can make that work in their favour. Creating excitement and anticipation post-purchase is a great way to make an impression. A good example of this is to give a predicted delivery date up front. Emily, Senior Analyst at Forrester, pointed out that three-quarters of customers are (much or slightly) more likely to buy when they have visibility into a delivery date in advance.
Additionally, 70% of customers are less likely to shop with the retailer again if an item is delayed and the retailer fails to inform them about it. So it is in the brand’s interest not only to set an expectation, but keep customers involved with any changes or updates. Also, you don’t have to worry about over-informing your customers, because according to Forrester data nearly 70% of consumers want to receive more communication from retailers about their deliveries during these times. In summary, as Emily says, “The sooner your customer knows what to expect, the better. This is how you avoid disappointing your customers: manage those expectations.”
2) Send post-sales emails your customers want to read
What do your customers actually want to hear from you about during the post-sales experience? Well, 64% of consumers say that transactional emails, like shipping notifications, are the most valuable messages that they receive. According to Experian, transactional emails have an open rate of 10x higher than bulk or promotional emails. Order confirmation and shipment confirmation messages are often opened more than once, meaning it’s normal to see open rates of above 100% for these messages. Additionally, transactional emails can drive more than 4x the revenue of bulk mailings. Interestingly, it is shipping confirmation emails that drive the most revenue, followed by order confirmations, and then Return / Exchange messages. Leveraging these emails will have a significant impact on the traffic and revenue you generate.
Tobi, parcelLab CEO and founder, states: “When you add something of value that your customers want to know, whether it’s because they’re anxious or excited, the open rates go up to 300-400% and click-through rates shoot up to 20-30%. So brands should utilise this.” This works best when these messages include highly relevant, precise messaging that helps the customer rather than sending a generic message.
3) Make every interaction personal
So, you have historical data on a customer – what they have browsed before, what they have saved, what they have bought. This data can be used to create highly personalised and relevant communications. As Emily says, “If you know that I bought my summer blankets the beginning of the summer and now I’m buying the winter ones, tell me how to clean and put away for the season my summer ones.” This creates an experience that feels relevant and personalised to the customer. You can use data to find patterns and automate processes. How about things you’re ordering? Add a tutorial on how they can assemble the product. Add a link to a FAQ section for the product they bought. This is great quality content because it reassures the customer that they have made a good choice by purchasing from you. You’re not trying to make a sale out of them, you’re simply adding value to their experience. This will improve customer loyalty. Customers feel as though they are being taken care of and looked out for.
And here’s the cherry on top: you can use the data that you have from your post-purchase experience to learn about your own processes. Learn how fast your orders get out the door on average, and when most orders are placed. Find out how your warehouse is doing on fulfilment and if your carrier is performing well. Learn how often there are delays, and if this has a pattern. This data is hugely valuable to your organisation. Also, you can use data to learn about your customers. How they interact with your communication? Do they interact more if you offer a discount, or a coupon? This will help you improve your post-sales experience, which in turn increases customer loyalty.
What does your post-sales experience feel like?
When a customer buys from you, they have made a commitment to you. Be appreciative. Be excited. Build anticipation. Communicating with your customer will help them stay interested in their purchase, and they’ll associate those great feelings with your brand. Make your customers feel comfortable and confident in their decision to buy with you. Send regular, relevant updates that add value, and you will increase customer loyalty. To hear more expert advice on how to optimise your post-purchase communication, watch our webinar on demand.