How to Increase Post-Purchase Engagement

How to Increase Post-Purchase Engagement
Shannon Cortina
Shannon Cortina
Published on: May 22, 2023

Any interaction you have with your customers once they’ve made a purchase comes within the purview of post-purchase communication. Its purpose? To convert these customers into loyal brand advocates, ultimately increasing retention and revenue.

In this article, we’ll discuss why post-purchase engagement is so important for ecommerce businesses and the different ways you can use post-purchase communications to boost engagement.

Why is post-purchase engagement important?

Post-purchase communication is as important as any of the marketing activities leading up to a sale. 

In fact, the open rates of post-purchase emails are 17% greater than the average automated email. That’s because once a customer has made a purchase and is waiting for their order to be delivered, they are the most engaged — emotionally. They’re both excited and anxious, which explains why most consumers are obsessed with order tracking.  Our research shows that 53% of shoppers consider the post-purchase experience to be the most emotional part of their shopping journey.

Yet, we also found that 54% of corporate and 32% of D2C brands do not share any status updates with customers after sending the order confirmation. 

That’s a huge blunder, as you’re losing out on a golden opportunity to connect with your customers.

Benefits of post-purchase communication

If you take a proactive approach toward keeping your customers informed every step of the way —  from order confirmation to shipping, delivery, delays, and even returns and exchanges — not only can you ease their post-purchase jitters but also leave a lasting impression on their minds.

If a customer has a positive post-purchase experience with your brand, they are more likely to make repeat purchases. Effective post-purchase communication can thus help you build stronger relationships with customers, and boost loyalty and retention while keeping “Where is my order?” (WISMO) support tickets to a minimum. 

Essentially, post-purchase engagement emails can help ecommerce brands:

  • Validate the customer’s purchases

  • Provide real-time visibility into order statuses

  • Personalize the order tracking experience

  • Reduce WISMO calls

  • Gather feedback about products and services

  • Stay top of mind, boost loyalty and retention

  • Enable the next sale via personalized recommendations

What is the post-purchase engagement process?

Post-purchase phase

Key components

Immediately after purchase

Thank you message and order confirmation

Order fulfillment, shipping, and delivery

Regular order updates and notifications; branded tracking page 

Returns management

Returns and warranty portal that facilitates self-service returns

The post-purchase engagement process can be divided into a number of stages. 

There’s the phase immediately after the purchase, which includes the thank you message and order confirmation. 

Then, there’s order fulfillment, shipping, and delivery. During this part of the post-purchase engagement process, your customers would ideally get order updates and notifications regularly. It’s also best to have a branded order tracking page that shoppers can use to monitor their orders. You can also use this phase to cross-sell and upsell relevant products or offer exclusive discounts for repeat purchases.

In some cases, post-purchase engagement can extend to returns management. In the event that a shopper decides to return their purchase, you can facilitate the process through a returns & warranty platform. For best results, set up your returns procedures in such a way that shoppers can initiate self service returns to make it easier for them to send items back.

Tips for effective post-purchase follow-up

To drive the best results from your post-purchase emails, keep the following in mind:

  • Focus on turning every touch point or interaction into a moment of joy.

  • Personalize the experience. Address the customer by their name, celebrate their birthdays or anniversaries of their first purchase, offer relevant product recommendations, share unique promo codes or discount vouchers, etc.

  • Look for ways to give back to your customers. Incentives like free gifts, upgrades, special discounts, etc. go a long way in making them feel valued and appreciated.

  • Think about how you can add value through your content. Share tips and tricks on how to make the best use of the items they’ve purchased or how to care for them, send ideas for products that may complement the items they just bought, etc.

Mapping out your post-purchase engagement strategy: How do you engage customers after purchase?

Now that we’ve discussed their importance, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of post-purchase messages that can help you engage customers effectively.

1. Thank you emails

Sometimes, a simple “thank you” message is all you need to let your customers know how much you value and appreciate them. But why stop there? You could sweeten the message with a free gift, a discount, or a coupon code that incentivizes them to come back to your store — even if they weren’t ready for another purchase.

That’s exactly what the gifting company, Loop & Tie, does through the following post-purchase email. They offer their customers a 20% discount on their first ten purchases along with inspiring content on maintaining client engagement.

2. Engagement with notifications via email or text

One of the best ways to alleviate “buyer’s remorse” and establish trust post-purchase is to send an order confirmation email that validates the customer’s purchase and sets proper expectations about the next steps. These emails should definitely confirm the contents and cost of the order as well as shipping information and the estimated delivery time. 

This shipping confirmation email from Ulta does just that and also includes a link for the customer to track the status of their order at any time. This is a great addition as most consumers prefer to track their shipments on their own as opposed to reaching out to customer service in case of any delays. 

With parcelLab’s post-purchase solution, it’s easy to send automated, branded emails at every step of the post-purchase journey. Multi-channel bookseller Weltbild noticed a 7.5% decrease in customer inquiries and a 5% reduction in returns by implementing parcelLab’s solution. 

3. Survey feedback requests

It’s often a good idea to send customers a single-question survey that asks them how likely they are to recommend your products/services to others. It shows them that you value their opinion and are keen to improve. While you may not always be able to do something about the results, sometimes you may be able to pacify disgruntled customers with a replacement or a discount on their future purchases.

4. Personalized product recommendations

Post-purchase emails containing personalized product recommendations are a great way to stay top-of-mind and even create opportunities for repeat sales — especially as 35% of consumers want to see products and offers based on their past purchases in promotional emails. 

Leading fashion retailer PETER HAHN uses parcelLab’s platform to send customers post-purchase emails containing personalized product recommendations that keep them engaged and connected for longer.  

5. Exclusive promotions and discounts

Offering exclusive promotions, discounts, or freebies to your customers is a great way to remind them about your brand and recognize their loyalty. Sending post-purchase emails on their birthdays or other milestones with a surprise freebie, bonus, or discount code can reinforce any positive feelings they have about your brand. Here’s a great example from Target.

6. Personalized loyalty rewards

Post-purchase emails are particularly great for communicating your loyalty program and its rewards to your customers. This can pave the way for repeat purchases from them. 

For example, the following email from Marriott Bonvoy gives members a look at the exclusive perks they can reveal with their points. 

7. Tips and tricks

A bit of extra help never hurt anyone. In fact, most customers value emails from brands that offer a bit of extra hand-holding in the form of tips or tricks that help them make the most of the products they just bought. 

Whether it’s instructions on how to care for or maintain their purchases, tutorials on installing and using them, or just the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions — they all qualify as useful post-purchase content. The email below from Sugarwish, for example, showcases several gifting ideas to show your gratitude to work colleagues and loved ones. 

8. Automated review requests

Every retailer understands the value of customer reviews. Not only do they serve as social proof, helping you build trust with new prospects, but also show that you value the thoughts and opinions of your customers. 

Reaching out for reviews also enables you to stay top-of-mind and might even bring back a customer to your store. This could potentially translate to an opportunity for repeat sales. 

The email below shows how Fashionette uses parcelLab’s post-purchase platform to collect reviews from its customers. Since implementing the solution, the brand has observed a 45% increase in product reviews (with an 8% rise in 5-star ratings) and a whopping 75% of their customers coming back to the website. 

9. Exclusive promotions for reviews and referrals

Word-of-mouth marketing is undoubtedly one of the most effective forms of marketing. Of course, if you give your loyal customers a little incentive, this can work even better. So why not use your post-purchase engagement emails to do just that? Here’s an email from Zazzle that talks about the rewards customers can get when they refer their friends and family to the website. 

10. Referral programs and rewards

You could also use your post-purchase communication to educate customers about your referral programs and all the amazing benefits and rewards they can get out of it. Not only can this be great for your word-of-mouth but it also gives you an opportunity to delight your customers by helping them earn some cool commissions (or discounts). Just make sure that participation is easy enough or else you won’t find many takers. 

The following post-purchase email from SiteGround, for example, highlights how easy it is to participate in its affiliate program. Customers simply need to mention the brand on social media along with their unique affiliate link (or place a banner or write a review on their website) in order to participate. The email also does a great job of highlighting the benefits of this program for customers. 

Final words

As you can see from the various ways you can use post-purchase communication, a sale shouldn’t mark the end of your relationship with a customer. In fact, it’s just the beginning. 

By timing your emails effectively and using top-notch content that adds value, you can build stronger relationships with your customers that boost retention and increase revenue. If you’re looking to level up your post-purchase experience, get to know the parcelLab platform and discover how we can help streamline the customer journey — from pre-checkout to delivery to returns. 

Take a demo here.

Written by

Shannon Cortina

With nearly two decades of experience in marketing for technology companies, Shannon brings a wealth of expertise to her role of overseeing the company's branding and communication efforts.

When Shannon isn't busy driving parcelLab's marketing initiatives, she devotes her time to her family, including her children. She's also deeply committed to giving back to the community and supports two charities: Tunnel to Towers, which honors the victims of 9/11, and LivLikeAUnicorn, which provides support for children with cancer.

When it comes to leisure time, Shannon dreams of being in Hawaii for her next vacation. With her extensive marketing background, her passion for family and charitable causes, and her love of the islands, Shannon is a dynamic force at parcelLab.

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