How to optimize your post-purchase experience? The Ultimate Guide

Discover the 6 essential levers to improve your e-commerce's post-purchase experience to turn your clients into loyal brand ambassadors

Ana Martinez
November 11, 2021
November 29, 2021

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Beyond the quality of your products or the efficiency of your e-commerce logistics, your ability to retain your customers is essential to the success of your business. 

Did you know that a customer who has already purchased on your platform will spend 300% more than a newcomer? An excellent reason to charm your current clients. And the good news is that there are many strategies to optimize the post-purchase experience of your customers to keep them loyal in the long term. 

In this guide, we explore the 6 most effective levers to create an unforgettable post-purchase experience! 

Why is it so important to engage your customers after they purchase from your e-commerce?

According to the latest figures shared by Marketing Metrics, the probability of re-selling a product to an existing customer is about 60 to 70%. Conversely, this probability drops to 5-20% for someone who has never heard of your store. 

These figures speak for themselves: customer loyalty is one of the most profitable business strategies for e-tailers. Customers have already shown interest in your products, and have created a stronger and more lasting bond with your brand. 

Loyal customers are also more likely to recommend your store to their friends and family. The word-of-mouth marketing strategy is much more effective than advertising! 

The latest IFOP report published in 2021 shows that 75% of consumers actively consult online reviews to get reliable information about the brands they are interested in. 

If you want to optimize your results, your best bet is to consolidate the lifetime value of your customers. In other words, the value they are likely to bring to you throughout their relationship with your brand. And that means a 5-star post-purchase experience! 

Read on to discover all the elements that contribute to creating a quality experience for your customers... 

1. Optimize the post-purchase experience by accompanying customers in using your product 

Create fun and innovative guides

A new sale has been made on your site - congratulations! One of your products has won over a new customer. But are you sure they know how to use or care for it? 

Nothing is more frustrating for a consumer than receiving an item and realizing they have no idea how it works. Sure, you could just slip a boring, technical manual into your package... But who bothers to read them anymore? 

To improve your post-purchase experience, it's essential to support your customers so that they can get the most out of your product. For example, you can plan an email campaign to share key information about its basic and advanced features, as well as general usage tips. The idea is to send them this information when your customers are most likely to need it. 

💡 Good examples of post-purchase experiences

On this point, there is no lack of use cases you can draw inspiration from. Take the example of Jimmy Fairly, the famous eyewear manufacturer who shares on his website a kit to get reimbursed for his glasses by Social Security. 

Or the brand Tediber, which sends its customers an eye mask within a month of receiving their mattress. It's a touching gesture and one that improves their experience with their product. 

Tedibear eye mask

At Bigblue, we're also a fan of Nuud, which also shares a video tutorial to get familiar with its natural deodorant. 

Share product care tips 

Beyond the use your customers make of your products, consider increasing the value of their purchase in the long term. How do you do that? By helping them extend their lifespan with maintenance tips to take care of it.

💡 Good examples of post-purchase experiences

You can take inspiration from the brand Veja, which has dedicated an entire page of its store to sharing concrete tips on how to care for your sneakers. Customers can find instructions on the tools to use, the temperature of the water, or the most suitable cleaning product. The brand also takes the opportunity to remind that its customer service is available to answer questions about maintenance. 

An excellent way to give customers the feeling that you care about their post-purchase experience. And that you will continue to accompany them and share value with them even after their order has been confirmed! 

2. Optimize conversion at every stage of the shopping experience 

The Achilles' heel of online sales is that it doesn't offer consumers the same quality of service (and especially advice) as an in-store experience. And yet, this element remains decisive in influencing your customers' satisfaction and loyalty to your brand. 

The more they are accompanied in their purchase and well advised in choosing their products, the more likely they will come back to your site. 

For an e-merchant, this is the ideal opportunity to boost your conversion rate. And this, in particular by suggesting complementary items that will increase the average basket of your customers. Don't forget that personalized product recommendations at checkout can increase your conversion rate by up to 915%!

All stages of the buying process are conducive to cross-selling: before, during, and after the purchase! Let's see how you can maximize your conversion rates for each of them...

Before the purchase and during the checkout 

There are three ways to use cross-selling and up-selling. Starting with: 

The pre-purchase experience. For example, you can present other products of the same category directly next to the product sheet your customer is viewing. 

💡 Good examples of post-purchase experiences

If like Jimmy Fairly, you sell eyeglasses, you can suggest a cleaning product, for example. Or even an eyeglass case/chain. 

In addition to recommendations, you can also take a cue from Amazon's strategy. The e-commerce giant systematically displays incentives to buy by explaining to its customers that they will receive their package faster by ordering now or before a specific time. 

Conversion can also be optimized during the purchase, for example, during the payment process. This is a strategy that is not usually thought about, but it is a very effective one. On average, it will allow you to increase your sales by 3%. You can also encourage your customers to add more items to their shopping cart by offering free shipping on orders over a certain amount!

Once the purchase is made

Post-purchase conversion is also an effective strategy to keep your customers coming back to your online store.

To optimize your post-purchase experience while boosting your conversion rate, your options are numerous: 

  • Improve your thank you page. Show your customers that you appreciate their support for your brand! 
  • Recommend cross-selling. The next page that pops up to your customer can share the benefits of repurchasing from your site again. For example, you can offer them a discount on their next order. Or, the ability to join your loyalty program and be kept informed of upcoming private sales, etc. ;
  • Enable product recommendations on order tracking page.  On average, merchants who opt for this strategy experience a 141% increase in purchases in the 4 months following the first order. Why? Simply because customers visit the order tracking page an average of 3.5 times per purchase;
  • Send branded tracking emails to stay in command of the entire customer experience. This will allow you to offer a consistent shopping experience from A to Z!
Bigblue tracking email example
  • Slip a coupon into your product packaging. Opening your package can be the perfect time to boost customer engagement. For example, consider slipping a coupon for a discount on their next purchase. 
  • ShopApricity, a Los Angeles-based brand, shares a 15% discount on every package they ship. It's a nice touch, coupled with a nice thank-you note written on recycled paper and with soy ink;
  • Retarget your existing customers. Retargeting can be considered aggressive for some consumers. But you can make it more "ethical" by limiting it to products that were "out of stock" when they ordered from your site. You can also consider retargeting them with "awareness" ads to remind them of you.

The good news is that you can easily implement many of these actions on your e-commerce site with Bigblue! Our platform allows our clients to activate product recommendations on their site, send personalized emails, generate coupons in their packages and use advanced retargeting features.
In fact, our clients' personalized tracking emails have an open rate of 75%, a great performance compared to the standard 25%! All these levers are excellent opportunities to increase the frequency of purchase of your customers... Don't miss out!

3. Improve your return policy to optimize the overall post-purchase experience 

Returns are, in a somewhat counter-intuitive way, a great lever to build customer loyalty. Your e-commerce return policy can therefore contribute to optimizing your post-purchase experience! Let's take the example of Zappos. 

The clothing brand has noticed that 95% of customers who returned an item bought again on the platform. And while simply having a quick and easy return process can encourage future sales, it can be optimized to generate immediate sales.

A creative strategy to turn a return into a new purchase is to offer a cash-back voucher, or instant credit equivalent to the amount spent, to be used across your entire store. Typically, returns in e-commerce require waiting several days or even weeks for the money to be re-credited to your customer's account. 

Yet, figures shared by Rebound show that a quarter of shoppers believe that a delay in processing their return contributes to a negative experience.

This means that instant credit can be a much better deal for them! This offer even has the added benefit of producing the same psychological effect as a discount. So in practice, customers who take advantage of it usually spend more than they did on their original purchase...

Best practices in returns that you can learn from

We've already cited Zappos as a great example to inspire you to improve your post-purchase experience. In practice, the brand offers a return policy that is almost too good to be true. Its customers have 365 days from the date of purchase to return a product they are not satisfied with! 

Zappos does not impose any minimum or maximum (in terms of price or number of items) on returns. And last but not least, returns are completely free and entitle you to a full refund!

Another excellent example of a return policy is Unique Vintage. The latter offers its customers the possibility to use their credit as soon as the return request is made. If the customer prefers to wait, the brand will send several emails to remind them that their voucher remains valid until their item is processed. 

💡 Good examples of post-purchase experiences

At Bigblue, we also find the approaches of the following merchants particularly creative and inspiring:

  • Tediber, which offers 100-night trials to test the comfort of its mattresses;
  • Asphalt, which makes returns as easy as possible by sending a courier to exchange the product;
  • Asos, which avoids abuse by placing large, highly visible, and impossible-to-remove labels on its clothes;
  • Jimmy Fairly and Sézane, who offer their customers the possibility to return their items in-store;
  • From Future, qui a conçu un portail en ligne de retours ultra-fluid, simple et agréable (le tout, grâce à Bigblue !)
  • Amazon, which has optimized its ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) to the maximum. A wise decision since, according to a recent study, 87% of online shoppers believe that the delivery time is a critical factor in their decision to buy again from an e-retailer. 16% will not return to your online store if they receive a bad estimate about their delivery! 

Pssst... Want more inspiration and best practices? We've dedicated an article to the top 10 e-commerce product return experiences online!

4. Customer satisfaction and reviews: a powerful lever for improving the post-purchase experience 

For a long time, customer satisfaction was challenging to measure in a tangible way (and often, it was put aside by traditional merchants!). But with the advent of social networks, the game has changed. Consumers are now more inclined to publish and share content about their purchases and express their satisfaction (or conversely, their dissatisfaction)...

A recent study suggested that about 65% of an e-commerce's future revenue comes from existing customers. All the more reason to make sure they are satisfied with their order! 

At Bigblue, we believe that understanding customer satisfaction is a powerful lever. It allows merchants to:

  • identify flaws in their purchasing experience;
  • be proactive when a problem arises;
  • anticipate negative comments;
  • to have all the cards in hand to transform a dissatisfied customer into an ambassador!

That's why we developed a feature to measure post-purchase buyer satisfaction. And the results are in: 94.3% of end customers are satisfied with the Bigblue delivery experience!

Unboxing, a critical moment in the post-purchase experience

Unboxing can also be a powerful lever to optimize your post-purchase experience. It speaks volumes about the care and attention you give to your customers. Moreover, unboxing allows you to ritualize the discovery of your products to make them memorable (and more easily viral!).

The emotions triggered by a quality unboxing can compare to your very first memories of a child unwrapping his presents on Christmas morning (remember? 🎄). Jokes aside, this marketing strategy guarantees your brand a real advantage over other similar products. Studies show that 40% of online shoppers are willing to share an image of their purchase on social media if the product is presented in a unique package. 

Unbottled's email example

💡 Good examples of post-purchase experiences

To leave a positive image of your brand, which will encourage further purchases, you can inspire from the Care/of brand. This company, which markets vitamins, distinguishes itself from its competitors thanks to its packaging. 

Each vitamin ordered is packaged according to the customer's recommended daily intake. The pouches themselves are personalized with their name and a quote, fun fact, or challenge. The brand also uses recyclable packages to protect the environment. 

Take advantage of these best practices to improve your packaging and the design of the flyers in each of your parcels. Don't forget to take care of your items by wrapping them in tissue paper or by delivering your clothes on hangers. And for the holiday season, double your attention with small personalized notes to offer your items as gifts!

Track your customer satisfaction rate to gauge the post-purchase experience

Nothing is more frustrating for your customers, and therefore damaging to your post-purchase experience, than pestering them with satisfaction surveys or emails urging them to rate their purchase experience. Even if these measures are essential to assess the quality of your customer journey and improve what needs to be improved, it is vital to limit the means of collecting them to what is strictly necessary. And to optimize as much as possible the way you collect them...

For example, Bigblue allows you to measure your satisfaction rate simply, rapidly, and efficiently. When your customers receive their package, they receive an email branded with your brand and personalized. It asks them how their delivery experience was - a question they can answer with a click!

Bigblue's buyer satisfaction

This minimalist survey allows your company to measure buyer satisfaction very quickly. It also allows you to be proactive in contacting unhappy customers rapidly.

Interact with your customers in the "reviews" section of your product page

The reviews given by your previous customers on the products they bought in your store can increase your conversion rate by 270%! Therefore, they are crucial for your company's turnover and are a lever not to be neglected to improve your post-purchase experience. 

But did you know that in addition, 41% of customers think that a response from you indicates that you care about them?

These numbers prove that reviews are a key element in turning a bad experience into a positive one. But also, to reinforce the trust of your customers and build their loyalty in the long term!  

When you respond to a negative or positive review, remember to thank your customer for taking the time to share their experience with your brand. For negative reviews, a good reflex is to start by apologizing. Then, communicate an email or phone number where the customer can reach you to share the reasons for their dissatisfaction. 

If it's a positive review (and in this case, congratulations!), avoid limiting yourself to simple thanks. Instead, you can use the opportunity to share more in-depth knowledge about the product in question. Or even suggest complementary items or items in the same category that your customer might like. And therefore encourage them to buy from your store again! 

Create a complaint form

Learning to value your customers' criticisms and complaints is never easy. But it's a crucial step towards improving your customer experience in general. And your post-purchase experience in particular. Optimizing the way you collect and manage complaints will not only help you turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one. But above all, it will help you avoid this happening again in the future! 

Keep in mind that complaints have the advantage of : 

  • Highlighting key areas where your products or services need to be improved;
  • Provide your brand with the opportunity to have honest conversations with your customers. These conversations can make them feel like they are being listened to. And even become essential elements of your success;
  • Gather valuable information about your customer support. And improve it accordingly...

70% of your customer's journey is dictated by how they feel they are treated. Effective communication will play a key role in resolving their complaints and building their loyalty. 

So make a point of: 

  • Listen to your customers. Offer them a simple and effective way to express their complaints (via an email or a toll-free number);
  • Find an effective solution to problems. Give your customer service the means to respond to complaints. And avoid slowing down their resolution by eliminating the need to get past their superiors; 
  • Optimize follow-up. After offering solutions, follow up with your customers. This will ensure that they are satisfied with the resolution;
  • Meet and exceed your customers' expectations. Use these reviews to improve your products and services. And thank your customers by offering them benefits (like early access to your new collection). 

5. Multiply the touchpoints to build loyalty after the purchase

Customer loyalty is a game that is played over the long term. Your brand can rarely turn first-time buyers into fervent ambassadors overnight!

The earlier you work on this in your customer journey (especially very early in your post-purchase experience), the more positive the results you will get! 

For example, remember that the transactional emails you send after the purchase have an opening rate 8 times higher than your marketing emails. They also have the potential to generate 6 times more revenue!  Given this potential, you might as well take the time to take care of their design...

We explain below what elements to include in your emails to maximize their potential. Let's get started! 

The order confirmation and tracking email

According to marketing experts, 48 hours after the purchase is the ideal time to initiate a positive customer interaction. Be careful, however, not to settle for a simple email to confirm the order. This type of attention, often very dry and generic, in which the merchant simply lists the price and description of the product, as well as the ETA) will not set you apart from your competitors. 

This is undoubtedly crucial information that the customer needs to know. But it offers little real, tangible value.

You need to go beyond your customers' expectations in each of your post-purchase communications. Think about a customer's key questions and fears after they place an order. Then use this information to flesh out your email sequence and improve their post-purchase experience. 

These will be specific to your brand and the product you are marketing. But as an example, you can think about mentioning: 

  • Delivery times; 
  • How to change them if the ETA is not convenient for your customer; 
  • The main data of your return policy;
  • The date when their free trial will end;
  • A link to the FAQ section of your site;

Bigblue's branded tracking e-mails

💡 Good examples of post-purchase experiences

Fast-food chain Domino's offers a great example of these best practices. It allows customers to track their orders. This will enable them to see the exact location of their pizza in the production queue. The tracking email also gives them a very accurate indication of the delivery time. A boon for hungry customers or those who are planning a meal and waiting for the main course!

Email alerts for product replenishment

Replenishment emails are automatic notifications sent to customers when their product is about to run out so they can reorder it. 

They can be handy for several items, from skincare or makeup products to clothing, vitamins, or pet food. Most importantly, they require almost no effort on your part. CMS allows you to automate the generation and sending of them to the concerned customers most of the time. 

This simple attention to detail will drastically improve your customers' post-purchase experience. And it will give them a sense of confidence and comfort, making your brand a reliable source they can trust! 

Welcome email to your loyalty program

Did you know that 74% of consumers expect a welcome email when they make their first online purchase? These emails generate 320% more revenue than other promotional emails!

Don't miss the boat: go beyond thanking them and show your customers that you value their loyalty. To do this, you can invite them to join a loyalty program. But also, take advantage of this email to expose its benefits (bonus points, free shipping, early access to new products, private sales, etc.).

6. Responsive customer service: the key for an optimal post-purchase experience 

Today, most online shoppers face a common problem related to post-purchase customer support. According to a recent study, more than 56% of customers do not consider themselves satisfied after purchasing from an e-retailer. 

Consumers will systematically turn to your customer service to solve a problem related to payment failure or concerns about order tracking. Especially if they do not find an appropriate or personalized answer in your FAQ section. And if the latter is slow to respond or does so out of order, the customers you have managed to attract to your platform will leave it without any hesitation. 

This is why a premium post-purchase experience necessarily involves optimizing your customer service. 

This can be as simple as offering different contact options via phone, email, or live chat. Personalized, human assistance is often your best option. It will allow your customer to explain their problem in detail and get a proper response. 

Your response time also plays a crucial role in the quality of your customer support. More than 93% of brands do not respond directly to their customers after they ask for help. The latter expect a delay of 5 minutes before turning to social networks to report their problem. An action that will have heavy consequences on your brand image. 

If you don't have much money, choose the chatbot, which will allow you to be more reactive! 

Final words

A sale is not the same as crossing the finish line!

Or, to put it another way, just because a customer has clicked "buy" doesn't mean your relationship is over. In many ways, it's just beginning. So focus on your post-purchase experience to build customer loyalty and attract new buyers! And surround yourself with partners who share this vision and will offer you the right tools to make it happen.

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