StoreStrength

Life after checkout- Post purchase emails

They’ve added to cart. They’ve put in all their info, and pressed the buy button. You’ve got a new buyer.
 
So what’s left besides the packing and shipping?
 
Plenty.
 
A one-time buyer is great, but building a relationship that extends beyond that single sale is much better. Relationships lead to happy buyers, reviews, referrals, and more purchases.
 
It’s up to you to make that happen through great customer service and communication. The more logical reason you can find to have a touch point without being pushy, the more chances you have to make a great impression on someone who has already bought from you.
 
You can’t personally email each customer at every step of the way, but you can make it feel like that’s what’s happening. Email automation has come a long way from weekly newsletters and plain text order confirmations.

Post-purchase email sequence

Every online order I’ve ever made triggers two emails.
 
First, an order confirmation lets you know that you’ve successfully paid, your order is processing, etc. Most of the time, these are plain text and buyers file them away without a second look. Next, a shipping notification tells the buyer their item has shipped, and gives them a tracking number. Unless the seller is heartless bastard, in which case you get no tracking.
 
There is value in those emails. It’s minimal, but it’s there. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make them a lot more valuable.
 
First, I’m going to assume you realize the value of injecting some brand identity into every email you send. Add your colors, logo, product images, and copy that conveys your brand personality (you have a personality, right?). That already makes for massive improvement over standard email.
 
But what else could you do with these emails that you are already sending?

Order confirmation

Thank them. Thank your buyer. Tell them they are wonderful. Tell them they make your business possible and you love them. Maybe it’s too soon to say I love you. But for sure, at the very least, thank them.
 
Then tell them the next steps:
  • You're working on their order, it’s going to ship on (date), and they’ll get a confirmation when it does.
  • Offer help and customer support if they have any questions or problems. Gather feedback about their buying experience.
  •  And then give them the opportunity to buy something else.
 
Many ecommerce platforms allow you to easily plug a product feed into your automated emails.
 
So in the order confirmation, you can show your buyers upsells and cross-sells related to what they just bought. Use best sellers, items they looked at but didn’t purchase, commonly purchased with, etc.
 
To sweeten the pot even more, tell them that if they order within the next ___minutes or hours, it will be added to their existing order for no extra shipping cost.
 
Don’t be pushy on sales here. Don’t even talk about it. Show them the stuff, and let it go. 
 
Depending on what eCommerce platform you use, this may not be the easiest email you set up, but it will be worth it.
Food To Live has a wonderful order confirmation email

Shipping notification

Thank your buyer again.
 
Noticing a trend there? Good. Notice it. Be loving and supportive to your buyers.
 
Then get down to the business of letting them know that their order is on the way. Give them the tracking number. Let them know what is in the box, when it should arrive, all that jazz.
 
Ask them if they have any questions. Make sure they know if they have any problems, they can contact you and you’d be glad to help.
 
And then you're done. Keep it simple.
Stitch Fix shipping confirmation threads the needle perfectly.

Delivery notice and product education

 
This is extra. This is where you don’t just get fancy, you go beyond what many stores do with email.
 
The day before or day of scheduled delivery, send an email telling them that their package is about to arrive. This is helpful and it gets people excited for the purchase all over again.
 
And it’s a great way to reduce returns and increase buyer satisfaction. Because you’re going to use this as an opportunity to educate them about the product. Here’s a few links you could include, or even boil down and put directly into the email itself.
 

Assembly

If your product has to be assembled, give them a video or text-and-picture guide showing them how to put it together.

 

User guide

If it’s more complicated than a banana, show them how to use it in order to get the best results.
 
Beardbrand sends this guide via email when you order beard oil from them. Beard oil seems a fairly simple concept, but people who buy your product probably want to get the most out of it. If they can’t easily get information from you, they’ll get it from someone else. Maybe your competitors. Which means next time maybe they’ll buy from them instead.

 

Value Add

Even if you don’t do anything else, throw some kind of value adding content into the delivery notification email. Anything that helps someone get more usefulness and love your brand more is going to be a bonus that will make them see you in an even more positive light. Happy buyers tend to be repeat buyers. Happy buyers tell their friends, who also turn into buyers.
Delivery Confirmation and usage help email

Review Request

We read reviews when deciding whether or not to buy something. We all buy with the best of intentions to return the favor. When we’ve had time to use our purchase, we’ll go back and leave a review, so it will help out the store we bought this awesome new thing from, and it will help others.
 
Except we don’t. Because life gets in the way and we forget.
 
So you, as the purveyor of awesome products, should make it easy for buyers to come back and leave a review. By dropping a wonderful email into their inbox.
 
How long you wait after really depends on your product and what the right amount of time is for someone to use it well enough to write a solid review.
 
Even negative reviews are not all bad. You get to learn from your buyer’s problem and improve in the future. Respond to the review in a way that shows great customer care and makes the situation right. You'll gain fans even from a bad experience. People will buy despite a couple of bad reviews, and they’ll know that you are a business who will respond to their needs and help them out if anything goes wrong.
Make reviews as easy as possible.

Repeat buyer discount 

After all the other emails are sent and the dust has settled, you still have something to say to your buyer.
 
Invite them back to replenish their supply (if it’s something they will run out of) or to buy something else. Just like the initial cross-sell email, there are a lot of options for what to display. Best-sellers, often-purchased-with, accessories for the item they previously purchased.
 
Beyond just a reminder that you exist, you can offer a one-time discount or free item for becoming a repeat buyer. That tiny cost will be more than made up for by the fact that you are establishing a repeat-buyer relationship with them that may well last a long time.
5 pounds off is a great start

Don't miss out on the post-purchase window of opportunity

Exactly what you send after a purchase depends greatly on what you sell and who you sell it to, but no business should miss the post-purchase window as an opportunity for giving customers a memorable buying experience.

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Ben Froedge Wrote This

I'm Ben, and for the last 3 years, I've helped people build strong, sustainably profitable online stores that thrive and grow. I want to see the people who create awesome products get paid more, so they can keep on making the world a better place.

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