Guide to Post Purchase Customer Experience Software Selection
Want to upgrade the post-purchase experience for your customers? Already have a platform to manage the post-purchase experience, but you are wondering if it could be better? Here are 5 questions you should always ask before choosing a post-purchase experience provider.
What is a post-purchase customer experience software solution?
Post-purchase customer experience software solutions are designed to help businesses improve the customer journey after a purchase has been made, but can also include pre-checkout like predictions on the product detail page or basket. These solutions provide customers with real-time updates on the status of their orders, delivery tracking information, and personalized communications that keep them engaged and informed throughout the entire post-purchase process.
These solutions offer a range of features to help businesses enhance their post-purchase customer experience. These may include:
Delivery prediction: This feature allows customers to receive accurate and up-to-date information regarding the delivery time of their packages. The prediction is based on various factors, including the distance between the warehouse and the delivery address, traffic, weather conditions, and delivery workload.
Order tracking and delivery updates: Customers can receive real-time information about the status of their order, including expected delivery dates and times, shipping carrier information, and tracking numbers.
Communication and engagement: Businesses can send personalized messages to customers, such as shipping confirmation emails or SMS messages, to keep them informed and engaged throughout the post-purchase journey.
Returns management: Customers can initiate and manage returns online, including generating return labels, scheduling pickups, and receiving status updates on their returns.
Analytics and reporting: Businesses can access detailed analytics and reporting on customer behavior and order data, helping them to identify trends and improve their post-purchase processes.
Overall, post-purchase customer experience software helps businesses create a more seamless and positive customer experience, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. By providing customers with the information and support they need throughout the post-purchase process, businesses can build stronger relationships with their customers and improve their overall bottom line.
Why should you ask these 5 questions?
Choosing a post-purchase solution is complicated because it involves so many different teams. Your digital and e-commerce teams are obsessed with the buying experience. How will customers interact with you? How can they discover new products? How can you give them personalized support and attention? Meanwhile, your logistics operation is focused on fulfillment, delivery, and inventory? How quickly can we fulfill this order? When will it be delivered? Can we deliver faster if we split the order?
The post-purchase experience platform you choose has to support all those teams with all their goals. And it has to be flexible enough to work with your unique business. That’s why I’m not just offering you a simple checklist of generic features to look for. Instead, these questions are designed to determine whether one has the technology, capacity, and experience to help your business succeed.
When you’re evaluating a new post-purchase experience solution, you should always ask:
How do they handle complexity?
Can they work with your existing tech stack?
Do they support your approach to customer service?
Are they future-proof?
And most importantly of all…
5. Do they care about your business?
1. How do they handle complexity?
In an ideal world, your customers would all live in the same ZIP code, within a day’s journey of your only warehouse. Orders would be simple, life would be easy, and the customer service inbox would always be empty. But that’s not how digital retail works.
You’re working with split orders, large order values, multiple carriers, and complex supply chains. You’re sending updates to customers on multiple order items, sometimes in multiple languages. It’s complicated! You need to factor that complexity into your choice of provider. This is especially important for retailers that operate internationally or are scaling fast.
For example, global retailers often use third-party logistics providers to fulfill orders for customers in Europe. 3PLs work with their own selection of carriers in each market, adding a whole new layer of complexity and data access. So even if international orders are just a small percentage of sales, they can still make up a big percentage of your headaches.
Before you settle on a post-purchase experience provider, be honest, and thorough, in understanding just how complex your operation really is. Then ask some tough and technical questions about what your new provider can handle…
How do you handle language selection for cross-border shipments?
How do you track multi-leg fulfillment? What about direct injection? What if the linehaul is “dark” with no events available?
How do you manage carrier data access if the 3PL owns their carrier relationships and won’t share their API credentials with you?
When we want to add our local input after a global implementation, how much market flexibility will our local teams have?
How do you work with our fleet in addition to parcel carriers? How will you specifically improve the experience for our customers when orders undergo two-man handling?
2. How do they work with your tech stack?
If you’re shopping for a new post-purchase experience provider, chances are that you have already made considerable investments in your technology. Instead of adding yet another platform that duplicates the tech you already have – but within the post-purchase landscape – you want to add a solution that empowers your existing software.
As retailers move towards composable and headless e-commerce, the bar for integration and compatibility is higher than ever. As an industry, we’ve fought hard to move away from monolithic software solutions that were powerful but inflexible. It’s no longer competitive to have one solution that does everything to an average standard when you can combine specialist providers that get better results. A composable approach to your architecture means customizable tech that does exactly what you need it to.
You need a post-purchase experience provider that helps you create your ideal, integrated system—not a point solution that fights against it. It should integrate flexibly with your existing technology and work seamlessly across different commerce channels.
A great post-purchase experience isn’t just about making the customer experience better. It should make your job easier too!
"Everything that has to do with our system, be it stocks, inventory, or the connection to marketplaces, runs through 4Sellers. So does our store system, where 4Sellers linked us to parcelLab. Post-purchase communication was something we always wanted to do but lacked the capabilities to do ourselves. That's why we decided to work with parcelLab - and I'm thrilled." – Marco Hörmann, IT Manager
3. Do they care about your customers’ experience?
Post-purchase is the most emotional part of the customer journey. There is no space for generic, one-to-all communication—we must connect authentically with customers, evoke the right emotions, and respond quickly when things go wrong.
Someone has just committed to being your customer. They’ve paid for something and now they’re eagerly anticipating it. And every step towards delivery brings more emotions: waiting for their order to be shipped, getting updates as it makes its way towards them, receiving the package, and finally unboxing that long-awaited item.
But there’s a flipside to these emotions. If the communication is missing or the shipment is late; if the item is damaged or the messaging is off-key; then all that excitement can turn into worry, frustration, and disappointment.
Your post-purchase experience provider should be keyed into the customer’s emotional journey. They must also have the technology in place to enable a personalized and highly contextual experience for each customer.
Are they ready to guide your customers through the post-purchase experience, by combining flawless logistics and updates with relevant, personal messaging? Do they understand your brand voice and how you want to speak to customers? Are they able to send customer-specific content to each customer based on what they purchased? Do they know how to adjust the expectations of a consumer whose order is late to leave the warehouse without causing panic, or make effortless the experience of ultimately receiving an order in multiple packages at different times?
“parcelLab provides all parties with more transparency in the otherwise opaque shipping process. The customers know the current status of their order and we know whether everything is running smoothly with our logistics partners. In addition, we are now learning much more about what our customers think about us. This is a real win-win situation for everyone.“ - Robin Jakoby, E-Commerce Product Owner, GRAVIS
4. Are they future-proof?
We’ve already talked about how retail is moving towards a different kind of technical landscape: composable, best-in-breed software that works for your specific needs. Retailers are looking at how to future-proof their technology investments. Future-proofing means asking questions like…
How is your fulfillment operation becoming more complex? Is your tech stack ready to handle that complexity (e.g., shipping from multiple locations, including stores; expanding to multiple geographies, or introducing cross-border shipping with multi-leg fulfillment)?
What are the barriers between different teams? Are there data silos that are holding you back (e.g., marketing has no data on how customers engage with post-purchase communications; logistics cannot easily identify and share their attainment against SLA or Customer Promise)? How can you share information better? Will your future Post-Purchase Experience provider enable you to easily extract data for use in internal BI Tools and Data Lakes?
How flexible is your potential provider when business challenges arrive without warning? The covid-19 pandemic showed us that sometimes, the unthinkable really can happen… transforming consumer behavior, supply chains, and delivery models overnight – is your Post-Purchase Solution really as nimble and agile as it needs to be to support you through these turbulent and challenging adjustments when they crop up without warning? Will their team be on-hand the moment you need them until you’re back in the clear?
Does your potential post-purchase provider align with your desired future architecture? Do you have the flexibility to share data with them in the way that works for you, be it a lean file integration, flexible APIs, or even your dream Event Bus integration?
Software solutions—including for post-purchase experience—are a major investment for retail businesses. So, you need to feel confident that you’ll get value for money from your post-purchase experience provider well into the future, avoiding a situation where you quickly grow out of your provider’s capability, making another integration investment only a year or two down the line. Future-proof software is flexible, adaptable, and customizable. It must grow with your business—and be resilient when shocks and surprises come along.
5. Do they care about your business?
When you are deep in the evaluation of your post-purchase experience provider, it’s easy to focus on the technical aspects. You can check off a list of features you need and feel like you’ve made a good decision.
But that’s not the whole story. Post-Purchase platforms are not just plug-and-play; it needs to be integrated with your systems landscape and may require configuration and adjustments to work with you. You’re looking for a post-purchase experience provider that will care about your business and have a meaningful working relationship with you.
Your provider should be on your side. They should be as committed to your business goals as you are.
When you invest in a solution, you’ve calculated the return on that investment: an improved post-purchase experience can retain more customers and get more repeat business. Ask your new provider how they’re going to track that return. Do they know what you want to achieve? Do they care?
”This was one of the main decisions to go with parcelLab. We really liked the idea, for example, of testing different templates...These tests would internally take a lot longer… but really kudos to the parcelLab team here – they have been super flexible, and everything is done really fast!” – Tim Volkmann, Manager – Digital Consumer Direct Europe, Bose
Your business—and your customers—deserve a post-purchase experience provider that is capable, flexible, focused on service, ready for the future, and genuinely invested in your success. Ask these five key questions, and don’t settle for anything less.
With his extensive knowledge of the Post-Purchase landscape, Angus has advised some of the world's most successful brands on how to improve their customer experience and drive business growth. He is committed to helping businesses understand the importance of the Post-Purchase phase and leveraging innovative solutions to create a seamless, engaging customer journey.
Angus's passion for excellence and dedication to his work have earned him a reputation as a thought leader in the industry. He is regularly invited to speak at industry conferences and events, sharing his expertise and insights with other professionals in the field.
In his spare time, Angus enjoys keeping fit and active, and can often be found lacing up his running shoes and heading to the nearest track or trail. His commitment to a healthy lifestyle is a reflection of his dedication to success, both professionally and personally.Read more from Angus