For many decades, the major focus of eCommerce businesses has been on the pre-purchase stage of the customer journey. And let’s be honest: that’s where most retailers try to get creative and innovate.
But with repeat customers accounting for 65% of a company’s revenue, it’s critical to be as (if not more) innovative with your post-purchase strategy.
Many retailers stick to generic deals and follow-ups during the post-purchase stage. But these don’t really move the needle for anyone. If you want to drive repurchases and turn one-time buyers into lifelong customers, you must come up with some interesting post-purchase ideas.
To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of unique strategies you can use to boost post-purchase engagement. Read on to learn how to impress and delight your customers following a purchase—and improve your overall customer experience.
8 cool post-purchase ideas to get repeat customers
1. Give customers usage tips for their purchase
Does your product require any special instructions to be able to use it right way? Are there some tips you can give for care, storage, or use that will help buyers better enjoy your product for longer?
Sending educational or how-to emails can be a great way to strengthen your customer’s relationship with your product. It can help answer any questions they might have while reinforcing your brand as one that cares about their experience.
Many brands find that these types of emails can also help to reduce returns, avoid negative reviews, boost customer loyalty, and increase the chances of a customer repurchasing the item in the future.
This post-purchase email from Dossier gives customers tips on how to make their perfume purchase last as long as possible. (Did you even know that perfume can get weaker when it’s exposed to heat and humidity? We sure didn’t.)
2. Offer gamified rewards to boost loyalty
Sure, you can just send a typical, predictable email with a freebie or reward. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
But what if you could make it more engaging and interesting? There’s a reason that gamification is so popular. It captures people’s attention, entertains them for a while, and gives them a little boost of dopamine.
Try spicing up your rewards with an extra element of engagement. Here, Gwynnie Bee uses a fun way to give their customers free stuff. It’s a digital form of lottery ticket scratch-offs, where they can “scratch” 1 of 3 choices to reveal a potential prize underneath.
Gamification also works with loyalty programs, like awarding points for certain actions and letting customers grow their category or ranking. There are tons of ways to go about gamification, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
3. Send replenishment reminders (with a dash of humor)
Do you sell consumable products with long-term use, like self-care products, toiletries, home products, or pet food (or human food, for that matter)? Slide into their inbox when it’s a typical time for a refill.
For example, if you’re a contact lens brand, and your customer bought 6 months' worth of lenses, send an email 6 months after their purchase date. If they bought a bag of dog food that typically lasts 3 weeks, send an email then.
Replenishment emails are a great way to stay at top-of-mind for your customers. And if they’re happy with your products and service, they’re a huge boost for repeat orders and helping to build coveted brand loyalty.
Of course, using humor isn’t critical here—especially if you have a more serious brand. But it can be a nice extra boost to build a relationship with your customers, humanize your brand, and establish a sense of relatability.
Here’s a quick and simple example from men’s grooming brand Harry’s. They maintain their lighthearted brand personality while keeping customers looped in.
4. Don’t always hard sell… link to other blog content
Customers these days aren’t stupid. They can see a hard sell, even if you think it’s cleverly disguised. And when they see that all you’re doing is trying to sell, sell, sell, most of them will be repelled by your brand.
The name of the game here is to build a relationship with them. It’s fine to drop a hard-sell in, but be sure you’re punctuating them with helpful, informative, and entertaining content. This way, they’ll be more receptive when those hard-sell messages roll around.
Sharing your brand’s content is an excellent way to keep things smooth in between sales messaging. If you have a blog, send out links to recently published articles.
If you don’t have a blog, here are some things you can include:
- Educational content about how to use your products or help their shelf life
- Content about the industry you’re in, including trending topics and breaking news
- Inspirational content, like style guides if you’re in the fashion or retail industry
- “Behind the scenes” content of the people running your company and a day in the life
- News about what your company is up to and what you’re trying to accomplish
- Curated content that brings together topics that other people are talking about right now
- Updates on more salesy stuff, like a company sale or new product launch
5. Build an experience-based loyalty program
We all know how loyalty programs work. Buy a certain number of items, earn points, then redeem those points for more items in the future. (Obviously, there are plenty of variations and cool things that companies are doing, but this is the gist of it.)
But what if you could give your customers more than just additional products? REI gives an example of an incredible and unique loyalty program for their customers.
Not only can they redeem points for merchandise, but they can also redeem them for experiences. The company offers adventure-packed trips all around North America, like kayaking in South Carolina or backpacking through Joshua Tree Park.
Of course, you probably don’t have the massive budget that REI has to curate these experiences. But it’s certainly some food for thought about what you can do locally, online, or in certain places relevant to your brand.
6. Invite customers to join your online communities
As humans, we’re ultimately all in search of community. A place to connect and talk about our interests with like-minded people.
You can help to provide that to your customers online too. And you can reap some big benefits for your brand. Research shows that branded online communities can help to reduce your customer support costs, boost exposure to your brand, promote your products and services, and stimulate buzz and word-of-mouth.
If you’re able to run these types of communities, your email list is one of the best ways to help grow it. Just shoot out an email to your customers about the community—you can choose to highlight certain popular posts or just explain the benefits they’ll get if they join.
You might even add this to your loyalty program.
Here’s an example of Instant Pot’s Facebook community, where millions of people go for updates, recipes, and entertainment.
7. Make the unboxing experience unique and ‘gram-worthy
We’ve all seen (or at least heard of) unboxing videos. Excited influencers letting their followers join them on the journey of opening a product package for the first time.
If the right influencer posts a good unboxing video of your products, it can be a boon for your brand. But of course, the goal here isn’t to get covered by an influencer. The goal is to surprise and delight your customers by sending them a lovely product.
Here are some tips for a top-notch unboxing experience:
- Make sure your branding shines through in all elements of your packaging, from the cardboard box to the note inside.
- Have some fun with your packaging, like making special boxes or including fun confetti or padding.
- Add something unique and personalized, like a handwritten note that makes them feel special.
8. Offer painless returns and exchanges
Today’s customer doesn’t have time for a BS return and exchange process. Research backs this up too. One study from Klarna shows that 84% of respondents will say sayonara to a brand after just one bad return experience.
That’s why it’s so incredibly critical to make sure you make this process smooth and painless for your customers.
Here are some tips to help ensure that your returns are satisfactory:
- Have a crystal-clear returns and exchanges policy on your website, then link to that policy on your product pages and during the checkout process so nobody misses it.
- Be communicative and transparent. Don’t make them chase you down for updates and information.
- Automate as much of the process as possible to avoid hiccups and human errors.
You can use a solution like AfterShip Returns Center to do most of these things.
The platform lets you create a branded returns page, give proactive updates of the return status, and optimize other aspects of the return experience.
Ready to nail your post-purchase CX?
In a world where customers often feel like bystanders after they’ve completed their purchase, it’s stores that amplify their post-purchase strategy that find the most success.
AfterShip empowers retailers to execute these post-purchase ideas with minimal effort. With an intuitive dashboard, an on-site parcel tracker, and branded communications, it helps you inform and satisfy customers throughout the buyer’s journey. It is tools like these that add a new dynamic to your customer experience.
Check out AfterShip to get started with building relationships post-purchase.