How do we launch our brand in the market?
How to stand out from our competitors?
How to acquire new customers?
How do we define our USP to attract customers?… and on and on!
These are a few questions most eCommerce brands focus on while competing in the race to stand out in the ever-growing eCommerce space. But what most of them ignore is how to retain customers.
Did you know the average customer acquisition cost in retail is at least 5 times higher than the customer retention cost? This indicates the importance of keeping your shoppers in mind after they hit the ‘Buy Now’ button with an inclusive post-purchase strategy.
In this article, we will take you through-
- The entire customer journey
- Importance of offering a memorable post-purchase experience
- 5 ways to improve the post-purchase experience
A Detailed Customer Journey
Understanding the various phases of your customer’s journey is crucial as it gives you the scope to optimize the entire process starting from the discovery of your brand to product delivery.
- Pre-Purchase – The pre-purchase stage is the stage that takes place before your customer clicks on the Buy button. It includes discovering your brand, scrolling through your website, and making a call whether to buy or not by looking at your product listing and reading through reviews, return policy, etc. For bringing customers to this stage, all you need to focus on is brand visibility and reputation.
- Purchase – This is the stage where the customer purchases something from your online store. But this stage is way beyond just hitting the ‘buy button’. You must offer your customer a smooth payment process (allow multiple payment options such as debit/credit cards, wallets, COD, and even financing). The customer must be shown relevant messages at every stage of this process till he completes his purchase.
- Post-purchase – This stage includes everything that comes after your customer checks out. Sending confirmation notification/email, shipping, shipment tracking, and unboxing experience. This stage also covers the returns/exchange experience you offer your customers. A hassle-free returns experience can bring 56% of customers back to your store.
Importance of focusing on the post-purchase experience
ECommerce is an ever-growing highly competitive space. Differentiating your brand from the many other similar brands out there can get challenging. To date, most online sellers focus more on the pre-purchase and purchase stages. Be the one who cares about his customers even after checkout – make it the differentiating factor of your brand!
An effective post-purchase strategy builds a loyalty loop that ensures customers come back to your store after their first purchase. Here are a few more ways in which a post-purchase strategy can positively impact your brand-
- Increases brand loyalty – Believe it or not, customers are usually distrusting. You need to prove to them that you care, not just till the time of checkout but beyond that. And, there’s no better way to achieve it than implementing a customer-first post-purchase strategy in your plan.
- Retention is better than acquisition – On average, an online retailer spends around $10 acquiring a new customer. And, retention is 5 times cheaper than acquisition. By focusing on the post-purchase experience, you can get repeat buyers to your store to drive revenue and growth.
- Get actionable insights – Continuing the conversation after checkout gives you insights into what your customers liked and disliked about your products. If there’s an issue with a product line, your customers will be more than happy to tell you but only if you continue showing that you care.
If you want to create loyal, lifetime customers as compared to a few newly acquired customers, the post-purchase experience is the answer. Here are the top 5 ways you can implement to improve the post-purchase experience for your shoppers-
Do not ghost your customer right after checkout. Communication is the key to a successful post-purchase experience. Send them an order confirmation mail, and tracking updates, and ask for feedback once they receive the product. You can opt for multiple communication channels such as push notifications, in-app messages, emails, messages, etc. Your constant engagement will tell the customer that you genuinely care.
The communication talked about above can take up a lot of your team’s time if not automated. Automating the entire workflow with sequences set in place will save you time, effort, and money. Also, the chances of human errors increase with manually sending notifications. You can do a lot with automation – it can also increase your brand visibility. You can set up retargeting ads and automated emails for cross-selling products.
- Offer Hassle-free Returns & Exchanges
Returns are an inevitable aspect of running an online business. But you can transform returns into the profit center of your brand by turning it into a source to build customer loyalty.
Reports suggest that 80% of customers come back to your store if the returns process is hassle-free.
Not allowing returns can impact your business negatively. In fact, allowing returns and streamlining the entire returns and exchange flow will be beneficial for your brand. Let your customers place the return/exchange request just how they shopped from you in the first place – just in a click. Offer a self-service return portal to shoppers where they can choose the product they want to return, look for exchange items, and refund requests – all by themselves.
Read about the disadvantages of manually handling returns here.
Let your return policy be visible to customers. Use simple language that can be read and understood easily by all. Having a clearly written return policy can take you a long way. Read all about return policy here.
- Feedback Requests
One of the most effective ways to improve the post-purchase experience is by personalizing feedback requests. It will also allow you to know what your customers are thinking about your products. Name the product they have purchased instead of just asking ‘Are you happy with your purchase?’ But before asking for feedback, ensure they are satisfied with the purchase. Also, timing plays a major role here. Successful brands schedule a feedback mail at least 15-30 days after the purchase has been made. This gives the customer sufficient time to judge the item before giving feedback.
- Offer Insurance
Offering protection and shipping insurance is a great way to tell your customers that you care for them even after their purchase. With the growing eCommerce, package thefts are also on the rise.
According to a report, 43% of Americans have been a victim of package theft.
Insurance makes customers feel safe when making a purchase online. Offering insurance as part of the post-purchase experience drives loyalty and improves customer retention.
Ecommerce businesses often spend tons of money on attracting new customers, but often forget about them after checkout. In this age, customers make decisions based on the experience a brand can offer, not just discounted prices and attractive advertisements. Implement these 5 post-purchase experience strategies to stay ahead of the competition and drive growth and revenue.