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Phillip Moorman

What’s better: a sale or a customer?

A customer, you answer, remembering one of the pivotal lessons of successful business.

Great. So what are you doing to turn sales into customers?

If you’re not using the power of post-purchase emails, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to turn a one-time sale into a loyal customer who will come back again and again. Don’t neglect one of the most vital aspects of sales.

Here are some tips on improving your post-purchase email automation.

1) Don’t Be Transactional

This is a common mistake brands make—not just in confirmation emails, but in every aspect of branding.

When you send a post-purchase email, you’re being handed an opportunity to touch a customer in a way that’s much more likely to be engaged with than a regular marketing email. You already have the customer’s attention—they just bought from you!

So many brands send out thank you emails after a purchase now that you’re competing for a more and more crowded slice of attention. If your email is just a simple receipt, or if it’s the kind of automated inbox spam that users will tune out, you’re wasting a prime chance to re-engage and turn a sale into a customer.

Be engaging in tone and thank them for their purchase. Consider a personal message (and make sure the person it’s coming from is writing it—customers have a nose for the lack of authenticity). Sourcify has seen great results by including personal messages from our founder, Nathan Resnick.

2) Consider ‘Double Opt-In’ When Adding Customers to Your List

This is more about building your email marketing subscription list, but it’s a valuable side benefit to any checkout process that includes a possible email marketing opt-in.

How do you know that your emails are going to a real inbox?

If you’re looking at low open rates and wondering how to fix them, consider moving to a double opt-in model. Sending your customers an email that requires them to confirm an account not only confirms that they’re a real person with a real email account, but also has a higher open rate than single opt-in.

This only applies to first-time buyers, of course, but it’s a powerful tool that can help you grab their attention right away in a way that single opt-in just doesn’t. Single opt-in emails do have an advantage in some ways because you can grow an email list quicker, but it’s offset for most businesses by the increased engagement and lack of false addresses that comes with double opt-in.

When you capture a customer’s email address through the checkout process and have them opt in to emails manually, you’re getting a more engaged audience and adding another touch point. It’s a great choice for just about any business.

3) Give Buyers the Information They’re Looking for

Your customer doesn’t want to have to poke around through your website or look through multiple emails to find out the details of their order. And you can save both yourself and them some headaches by simply adding a few details to your first post-purchase automated email: the thank you/confirmation.

What are they looking for in a confirmation email?

  • Product information. Name, quantity, photo. Sounds like a no-brainer, and it should be, but make sure.
  • Shipping information. Order number, shipping address, estimated arrival date and tracking number. This is key, and may be something they come back to reference. You should also include this information in your “order shipped” follow-up email.
  • Payment information. Payment method, price, billing summary. There’s a good chance they’ll come back to look at this too.
  • Contact details. Have a way for them to get in touch with a real, human person. You’d be surprised how often people enter shipping information wrong, or have concerns that can only be addressed by talking with someone. Having contact details can save you headaches down the road (the kind that involve product not showing up and the customer throwing the blame back on you).

Make sure all of these details are in your initial post-purchase confirmation email, especially the contact details. Little things add up. The best brands know this—there are plenty of examples out there to follow. Find your own spin on it.

4) Re-Engage, Re-Engage, Re-Engage, etc.

Since engagement is so much higher on post-purchase emails, you’d be remiss to ignore the possibility of building your sales or engagement through this crucial method. Here are some methods to do that:

  • Referral. Adding a monetary, shipping or in-store credit reward if your customer refers a friend is a great way to both incentivize word-of-mouth marketing and increase engagement. You can use this in a separate email to the purchase confirmation, a little further down the line, or you can add it to the confirmation email.
  • Cross-sell. You can use automated product recommendations to a post-purchase email to get customers to come back to your website for a second look. This works great in a confirmation email—show them a “products similar to” or “customers also bought” panel. If you have multiple e-commerce businesses that might be able to cross-sell with each other, or you’re partnered with another business, this is also a great opportunity to promote across platforms.
  • Branding. Restating your brand proposition to your customers can be a great way to confirm in their minds the reason they made the purchase in the first place and reinforce your brand in their mind. Remind them that they’re part of whatever your mission is, and remind them of the benefits they reap from the relationship.
  • Usage. Especially if your business model is built around a unique product, a post-purchase email can be a great spot to add some copy on how to use that product. For example, if you were selling straight razors, a quick guide to maintenance—or maybe a brief color matching guide for a clothing accessory. Use your imagination. Just remember, added value doesn’t have to just be sales.

5) Send Multiple Emails

Some businesses make the mistake of only sending an initial purchase confirmation follow-up.

That’s a waste of an engaged audience. You can use multiple types of post-purchase emails to maximize the attention you’ve been given and strike while the iron is hot.

  • Thank you / Confirmation. This is the first one the customer should receive. You’re thanking them for their purchase and giving details about it. You can put in something like a product recommendation here, but it’s not the primary focus.
  • Order shipped. Keeping your customers in the loop both gives you another touch point and eases their mind about the process—the more you can keep them up to speed with what’s happening with the order, the better off you are and the more favorably they’re likely to think of you.
  • Review / Feedback. Make sure you leave a window long enough for them to receive the product first for this. As much as possible, you want to encourage product reviews—customers prefer highly-reviewed products, especially if there are a lot of reviews.
  • Product recommendation. You can add this to another type of email too, but don’t rule out sending it as a separate message. Letting them know “hey, if you liked that, check out what else we have” will keep them engaged beyond the initial sale.

The Power of Post-Purchase Engagement

Post-purchase emails are crucial to growing your business. They’re higher in open rate, higher in engagement and more likely to reap benefits than many of the other types of email marketing you can send.

With these basic tips, you can improve your post-purchase automation and provide benefit to both your customers and your business. Start today and harness the power of post-purchase email engagement.

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