You may think that your job as an e-commerce merchant is done after a new customer finally purchases your products. Of course, it’s important to put effort into driving conversions from newly acquired customers. But encouraging repeat purchases from existing customers is even more important.
Targeting existing customers is not only cheaper, but gets you more sales as well. It’s 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Returning customers are also almost 2 times more likely to convert than new customers. As such, e-commerce sales from returning customers doubles that of new customers. You do the math.
The best way to extend customer lifetime value (LTV) is to provide a great experience for your customers. Engaging with them in a post-purchase follow up email campaign is a fantastic way to do so. Not only does this improve customer satisfaction, but also allows you to boost your e-commerce sales.
1. Order Confirmation
The first email you need to send customers after a purchase is an order confirmation. It is important that this is sent immediately. This gives customers peace of mind, especially if something went wrong in the purchasing process – if they had trouble with PayPal or if your website crashed, for example. It also helps them get excited about their purchase. It’s that old retail therapy thing – shopping makes people happy.
This goes without saying, but the first important thing to include in an order confirmation email is a ‘Thank You’ to customers for purchasing your products; it’s just common courtesy.
Imagine you bought something in a bricks-and-mortar store. Would you consider it a good customer service experience if the shop attendant simply slid your purchases across the counter, and slapped your change and receipt in your hand, without so much as a ‘Thanks’? Definitely not. In fact, you’d probably never go back there again, and might even tell your family and friends about the rude customer service you received. It’s the same with sending a confirmation email.
Another must-do is to remind them of the items they’ve purchased. Again, this helps their peace of mind, because it confirms that they are going to be sent the correct items. Reminding them of their purchases gets them excited about them again, meaning that they are fully engaged with your brand. To expand on these good vibes, you can provide an estimated arrival time if possible, to get customers even more pumped about the products they’re going to receiving soon. This means that an order confirmation email is a fantastic place to cross-sell by recommending complementary products, direct them back to your website or social media accounts, or ask them to refer a friend.
Another way to encourage a repeat purchase is to include an offer code. This not only leaves a good taste in your customer’s mouth, but boosts the likelihood of another sale in the future. You could even increase the sense of urgency by making the offer code time sensitive.
Another strategy to grow your customer base is to include a referral system. By simply asking your existing customers to refer their friends to purchase from your store, your customer is doing all the hard marketing work for you. Their friends are also more likely to trust them, meaning that you don’t have to provide any social proof.
To learn more, check out our collection of order confirmation emails here.
2. Product Education
When: 1-2 Days After Expected Delivery
The next email you should follow up with is a product education email. This should be sent around the time your customer is set to receive their shipment. Basically, this email should explain how to get the most out of your product. This can be in the form of a step-by-step guide, a video tutorial, FAQs, and so forth. It’ll depend on what products you’re selling.
If you sell electronics, you can explain how to get the device set up and fully operational. If your e-commerce store sells food, you could send out some recipes for your customers to try out that highlight the ingredients they’ve bought. Or if your customer has just received some clothes, you could show them how to coordinate the perfect outfit. Not only does this reduce the risk of an unhappy customer sending back items that they don’t like or know how to use, it also shows that you’re invested in customer satisfaction and care about them.
It’s also a great opportunity to do some more cross-selling. If your customer just bought a new shirt, you could subtly show them other items of clothing that would look good with it in an outfit. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a ‘Recommended Products’ format. You could do this in a style guide or look book format – tell them that a pair of your store’s jeans or one of your jackets would look great with the shirt they bought.
3. Review Request Email
When: 3-4 Days After Expected Delivery
Another email you could send around the time your customer is due to receive your products is a request to leave a review. It’s best to strike while the iron’s still hot, when your customers are still excited about having received your products and have had ample time to use them. Asking your customers to leave reviews shows that you value their input and are willing to hear what they say. These reviews are not only important for other potential customers, it’s also important for you as an e-commerce merchant.
Customers who are looking around online to buy a certain product are searching for some sort of affirmation before they go ahead and purchase something. So by asking customers to leave a review, this can help your chances at selling more products further down the line. On the other side, negative reviews can be good for your e-commerce store as well. They allow you as a merchant to improve customer experience, and rectify any issues with your products.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to send a second follow up email requesting a review. You can combine this with a cross-sell recommendations to add additional value to the email.
For more information, check out our guide on review request emails here.
4. Replenishment Reminders
When: At Expected Use or Expiration Date
You can extend customer LTV even further by sending out replenishment reminder emails. If you sell finite items like food or beauty products, customers are going to run out eventually. Sending a perfectly timed replenishment reminder could result in an easy conversion. Once you’ve figured out an average time between purchases of a particular product, you can time a reminder based on how often customers need to buy a replacement.
This replenishment reminder could also be an opportunity to upsell. If there’s a newer version of that product, you can suggest that instead. Likewise, you can recommend that they purchase the same product in a bigger volume, with more value for money.
To learn more, check out our guide on replenishment emails here.
Following these 4 steps are a great way to encourage customers to keep coming back to your store. This not only saves you money, but extends customer LTV and trust with your store. Now that you know how to create your own post-purchase follow up sequence, start creating your own email campaign with SmartrMail.