As soon as a shopper has placed their order, the post-purchase customer experience begins. For many brands with international DTC ecommerce channels, new customers can be hard-won, and the post-purchase process is crucial to nurturing the next purchase. Even though many brands want every customer to become a returning customer, only 17% of consumers believe brands care about their experience after buying.
Building a post-purchase experience that is personalised, timely and useful is possible at scale. Features that enable post-purchase communication, tracking, returns and customer service all play a vital role in ensuring customer satisfaction and creating an experience that customers will likely remember and continue to return for.
Keep Communication Flowing
Customers want to know what is going on with their purchase. After they receive the order confirmation email, the next question on their mind is when will items arrive. Package tracking has become table stakes in ecommerce and an essential building block of the post-purchase customer experience.
However, brands can take shipping notifications to the next level by offering personalised notifications and choices to the customer. Allowing customers to opt in to text message notifications and push notifications in addition to emails gives customers the option to pick the form of communication that works best for them. Sending notifications for major events like order shipment details, delivery, delivery attempts and shipping or delivery delays keeps the customer in the loop and prevents costly customer service interactions. Customers want to see at a glance where their package is and when they can expect it to arrive.
While the customer waits to receive their first order, brands should prioritise communication and information about their purchase instead of promotional emails to drive new purchases. Instead of immediately flowing your customers into the regular email nurture stream, brands should use this opportunity to nurture them as new customers with information about the product they have purchased, details about the brand or an introduction to the loyalty program.
Once the customer receives their order, asking for a quick review is another good way to keep in contact. Reviews let you discover any potential issues during the post-purchase experience early enough to address them.
Create a Simple Return Process
A transparent, fair, convenient return process is also essential for creating a positive post-purchase experience.
Brands should create a return portal that guides customers through the return process. Whether they are using a pre-paid shipping label or opting to bring in the merchandise to a store or a returns hub, giving clear instructions and tracking their return offers peace of mind. An easy return experience builds confidence, loyalty and trust in a brand. Customers want to know if they are not satisfied with a product, they can get their money back or try something new.
Prioritise the Customer in Post-Purchase Customer Experience
Sometimes, a purchase does not go as planned, and a customer needs help. Customers should be able to easily and quickly contact customer service with questions or concerns about their order. And just like customers have preferences for their return and notification channels, they also want a variety of support options. Building multiple channels, such as email, phone, chat or social media, lets customers communicate with your brand and resolve an issue.
Nearly 80% of customers state that previous merchants could have done something during the post-purchase process to keep them as a customer. Do not let potentially loyal customers get away because of issues that could be solved by better communication and customer service.
Many customers, especially younger shoppers like Millennials and Gen Z, prefer to solve problems without speaking to customer service. Building a documentation help centre to answer frequently asked questions can reduce the volume for your customer service agents. Because while customers want many different channels to reach out to, they also want answers quickly. Delays due to high volumes of tickets give the impression that lots of customers have issues with their purchases.
Building an excellent post-purchase experience is complex but does not have to be time-consuming or difficult to execute. Brands with DTC channels can engage vendors to deploy a payment and post-purchase platform to provide customers with tracking details, a return portal and end-to-end support.
Loyal customers pay off for your brand. Many consumers have changed their shopping habits in the past three years, and brand loyalty continues to wane overall. Brands that are committed to being retailers and service providers through the entire journey build loyalty.