Customer loyalty is an incredibly powerful asset in times of endless choice. Having customers shop from you repeatedly has marketing and financial benefits that businesses with only one-time shoppers do not enjoy.
To get there, though, you need to make an effort in your customer engagement and nurturing so they stay positive towards your brand, and not indifferent. Post-purchase emails are a crucial part of this retention strategy – they keep your customers close and stimulate repeat orders.
Why is post-purchase engagement important?
You have probably paid some acquisition costs for the first sale to a new customer. Often, you earn a little or no margin at all because of this upfront cost. The only way to make up for this expense is to sell to this customer again. Orders from existing customers come at a much lower (or even no) price, driving your profit margin up. Returning customers are your chance for financial stability so you can invest in new acquisitions as well.
To drive repeat purchases, you should be nurturing and keeping people close after their first order. In other words, post-purchase engagement keeps you top of mind until the customer is ready to buy again. With well-planned communication, you can keep people engaged, interested, and shopping regularly.
Why use email to drive repeat orders
If profitability is your focus, you need to keep costs down. Once you have a person’s email, there is no need to pay for ads to get them to buy again. You can, of course, do retarget successfully, but remarketing via email is a lot cheaper and under your control – you decide and send the email directly.
In addition, from the first interaction, you can be gathering data about a customer in your ecommerce CRM. How did they find you? What do they do on your site? Do they read your blog? What categories are they looking at? What products do they browse but do not buy? All of this and more can be used for tailored email campaigns. Email backed with data enables you to make the right offer at the right time for each customer.
As people are getting weary with marketing messages everywhere, strategic email communication can set you apart. Custom offers and content for various customer segments create meaningful relationships between you and your audience. They would appreciate the added value and welcome your emails. Careful timing also helps you be relevant and not just too pushy too often.
Now, let’s look at a few examples of post-purchase emails that will help you drive repeat orders.
Email #1 – Tailored content for the products bought
The first thing that instantly improves the post-purchase experience of customers is tailoring the engagement they get to their tastes and preferences. This shows you care about what customers like and are interested in.
Tailored content will provide value, making people more open to engaging with your brand. It also drives product adoption because you can showcase different product uses for inspiration. The more familiar people are with your product and brand, the more likely they are to shop again.
How to do it? Once people have bought from you, you already have some data on them: products they considered and what they bought, what pages of your website they looked at to make their decision, etc. This will enable you to segment your customer base into a few groups – meat-eater, vegetarian, vegan, keto for a food delivery business, for example. From there, simply customize the content in your nurture emails so everyone gets what they want. This will increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Parachute follows up on a bedding purchase with care tips for this product specifically. It is not only a tailored message (note how they cross-sell towels later in the email), but is also considerate of the money the customer just spent and shows care to make it last longer.
Email #2 – Replenishment reminders
Replenishment or reorder reminders are the new cart abandonment emails. Based on product use cycles, they can be easily automated to hit an inbox about the time when people should have used it up. It is less intrusive communication that also makes sure you are not too spammy.
And the truth is, customers shopping from multiple stores instead of buying all their groceries in one supermarket trip might be having a hard time remembering to reorder something. It is actually helpful to remind them they are running out of dog food or shaving cream.
This tactic stimulates more repeat orders and increases customer lifetime value, which means better profitability in a shorter time.
Email #3 – Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback is a great way to engage people without appearing to sales. It plays on their ego because everyone has an opinion to share. Plus, such an email would remind them about the product and stimulate use in case they have left it just lying around. And who knows, they might decide they need to buy something else from your shop.
Don’t be afraid to ask what people think about your products! Both positive and negative feedback is very useful. The positive will highlight what you are doing right so you can emphasize that in your marketing, even use the words your happy customers use.
Negative feedback, on the other hand, is an opportunity for improvement and constructive communication with not-so-happy customers. If you can resolve the problem and get back to them, they would be impressed. This way, you will be tackling an issue brewing and possibly saving a client from churning.
Bellroy uses the feedback request email to add some more brand values and reassure its customers they have made the right choice. It is a great email for keeping the relationship going in the right direction.
Email #4 – VIP treatment of loyal customers
Loyal customers are a valuable asset. In a perfect world, all customers would be loyal and shop from you repeatedly. Your profit margin is greater from them because the costs of acquisition are low. They also know your brand so cancellations and returns are rare. And above all, since they like your products so much, they do word-of-mouth marketing for you for free. This is huge for growing brands, looking for the right customers.
So making your repeat customers feel special through customized post-purchase experience is important. They should see the value in sticking with you in exclusive offers, special treatment, and useful content. A few ideas:
- Early-bird access to new products
- More and better deals
- Insider information on related topics of interest
- Curated content
- Exclusive games
- Participating in product development
This email from MeUndies below is for members only, giving them a sneak peek into a new line of products. It is exciting to be in the know before anyone else – a perfect members perk.
Email #5 – Alternate content nurturing and sales messages
Surely, your ultimate goal is driving more repeat sales. But constant sales messages bore people. After all, they cannot be shopping all the time. If they know every email is just a call to action to buy, they will stop opening your emails altogether.
It is smart to mix free value with sales calls to not look so pushy. Company news, events, blog articles, and games with user-generated content are all great for engaging your customer base while they are still not ready to buy again.
To better plan your email marketing strategy, look at the natural shopping behavior your customers display. How often do they shop? Every month or maybe every two months? Flooding them with promotional emails won’t make them buy a whole lot more, especially in the long term. So space out your promotions for just the right time when you see the natural resurgence of interest – a cohort analysis will help you map your customer’s behavior out.
Chobani, for example, sends recipes. It is true that the recipes always feature yogurt, but it is not a hard sale call and is actually useful.
Post-purchase emails are a way of keeping your brand top-of-mind and building a meaningful relationship with your customers. You are able to show your brand, your values, and connect on a deeper level through them. When it is not just about the sales, you actually win people over and do get more orders because they like your brand more. Customer loyalty needs attention and added value to thrive on.
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Guest Post by Dimira Teneva
Dimira Teneva is Content Marketing Manager at Metrilo, an ecommerce analytics, CRM, and email marketing platform. They have the customer tracking and segmentation, retention metrics, cohort analysis, email automation, and feedback gathering this article calls for to help you grow your ecommerce business through customer retention.