Have you ever purchased something online, and after sending payment, you never heard from the store? You just receive your order one day, and that's it!
And then after that, you forgot all about that online shop you purchased from because, well, you heard nothing from them! If it weren't for the product you received, you would even wonder if they're a legitimate business at all.
If you have a business and would like to be exceptional in the eyes of your customers, then you better do what most businesses fail to do, and that is to follow up with your customers.
What is Post Purchase Follow-up and Why Should You Do It?
The post-purchase experience is what occurs after a customer has made the actual purchase. Also called the after-sales campaign, post-purchase follow-up is a method of getting in touch with a customer to check how they liked the product, if there were any problems with shipping or delivery, and basically to establish a connection with the customer.
There are several reasons why post-purchase follow-up is necessary, some of them are as follows:
Let your customers know the status of their order
Providing updates on the status of your customer's orders is good business practice. If a customer has ordered from you and they're waiting on an email or SMS message for confirmation of their purchase, then sending them your post-purchase follow-up will let the customers know that you have received their order.
This is not only great business practice but also gives peace of mind to the customer, knowing where their item currently stands in the queue towards being shipped. Part of transactional messages includes informing them of the tracking details if an item has already been shipped, or even better, actual updates on the location of the order and expected date of arrival.
Help customers with product knowledge post-purchase
Sometimes after receiving their purchase, the customer might have some questions about it that they would like to ask before using or trying out the product. It is best if you can answer these post-purchase questions so your customers will know what to expect from their purchase.
An after-sale follow-up will reassure your customers that you are there to help them out if they get stuck or have any issues with their product, even if the product is so simple and easy to use.
Helps you build a Consumer-Business relationship
If you want to be able to get in touch with the same customer again in the future, you must build a relationship at a time when they can still remember you. If you only reach out months later, they would likely not remember you anymore. They may even have a negative impression of you!
Plus, if you send a marketing promotion months after your last interaction, your customers would think that you are only after them to get some sales and not because you care about them.
Building a relationship increases your Customer Lifetime Value
As we've previously detailed in our article on the impact of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) on your business, return customers are the best type of customers you can possibly have. They bring in more money than new customers because getting them to purchase more is easier and less expensive.
If you want your business to succeed in the years to come, you must increase your CLV. You can only do so once you build a relationship with your customers immediately after they purchase.
Therefore, running after-sale campaigns is important because it is the strongest way to generate additional revenue.
Improves Customer Experience
A follow-up campaign improves the customer's post-purchase experience and increases satisfaction. You can start by asking your customers how they like their product, if it was what they had expected or needed, whether there were any problems with shipping or delivery, etc.
Customer Satisfaction is extremely critical to a business's success because satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your business/products to their friends and family. Word-of-mouth recommendations allow you to earn more for almost nothing!
The post-purchase campaign is a great way for you to make sure that the customer has had an excellent experience with ordering from you, and it can also be used as an opportunity to introduce other products your customers might like.
Improve Products and Services through Customer Feedback
Feedback from post-purchase customers can help you improve your products and services. If there are any problems, then fixing these issues right away will directly impact how a customer experiences your brand.
If the post-purchase follow-up is done correctly, it becomes an opportunity to gather product feedback because most often than not, post-purchase customers have plenty of ideas and suggestions on how to improve your business.
This is also a great opportunity for you to get in touch with customers who might not have otherwise contacted you because they didn't want to bother anyone or were just too shy. They might be hesitant about contacting post-purchase customer care, but if you reach out to them first through email, social media, or SMS, then they might be more willing to give you some feedback.
Boosts Sales through Promotions and Coupons
A post-purchase campaign is an opportunity for businesses to offer coupons/promos on complementary products that customers may have purchased alongside the product they just bought.
For example, if a customer has just purchased an iPhone case online, you can send a post-purchase promotion for a screen protector or headphones that go along with the purchase.
Not only will this increase your sales because customers are more likely to buy something when they get it at lower prices, but also boosts your brand's goodwill because you're giving your customers something that they need and want at a really good price.
If you do not have post-purchase campaigns, then chances are high for post-sales abandonment because the customer might purchase from another store after seeing an ad about low prices or exclusive discounts on complimentary products.
All in all, post-purchase follow-up campaigns allow you to make a lasting impression on your customers, which is as important as any business strategy.
Different Post-Purchase Follow-up Methods
Now that you know how important after-sales campaigns are, let's talk about the different ways to do this.
Email marketing is one of the most common ways to reach out to customers, hence it is an easy way to follow up with them. Use your email list and send out a post-purchase campaign via an automated template that's focused on building relationships with customers, increasing customer satisfaction, and boosting sales through incentives and coupons/discounts.
Since this is one of the most popular customer outreach methods, you will find dozens of email marketing services and apps that you can pair with your online store. Some examples include Mailchimp, Getresponse, Send in Blue, and Optin Monster.
If you're looking for apps specifically for your Shopify store, your options include Care Cart, Automizely, Klaviyo, and Privy. Shopify also has its in-house email app.
Various studies have already proven that SMS gets opened six to ten times more than emails. Furthermore, an email is far more likely to get buried with dozens of emails for the day as compared to text messages, which are usually opened up within the first hour of receipt.
Aftersales SMS messages can be done side-by-side with promotions, so you would need a reliable SMS marketing tool for that. One good example is of course WinBack. For at least $1 spend on SMS marketing per month, you can gain hundreds to thousands of dollars of additional sales. Not a bad deal to get you started, right?
Via Push Notification
Another method of sending follow-up messages is through push notification messages.
Push notifications are a way to post an alert on a customer's mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. These notifications may be delivered through an app that the customer has downloaded or by a website that the person has "Allowed" to receive notifications from.
What's great about push notifications is that they have high visibility. Plus, you won't have to pay for each message you send. The downside though is getting your customers to opt-in to push messages from you can be tough.
There are tons of push notification apps in Shopify, but the most used ones are PushOwl, AAAeCommerce's Web Push Notification, and Hextom's Smart Push Marketing.
Via Social Media
This method can be used if the sale originally came from the same channel. If the sale came from social media and if the customer willingly connected their social accounts to their account on your store, then post-purchase follow-up through this method is possible and ethical.
However, if the purchase came from other sources like Google search or email marketing campaigns, then sending post-sales messages through social media may not yield much results because your customer might be following hundreds of different companies on Facebook and Twitter. They may even be surprised to get a message from you and might think you're stalking them! So be careful when using this option.
Via Snail Mail
This may sound old school, but sending mail and postcards are a great way to reach out post-purchase.
You can use snail mail letters as it allows you to be personal, more visual, and tactile with your message, which will definitely stand out from all the other messages that they receive on a daily basis. Also, there's no need for an app or software - just write or print out your post-purchase message and send it off.
Of course, making it look professional and attractive is important. You can use Canva to make your letters and postcards look beautiful and professional.
The downside to this approach is that you will have to purchase stamps, envelopes, printer ink cartridges for postcards, paper stock for letters, etc. The time and money spent in creating these things may not be worth the investment if you have a low-profit margin for what you are selling.
However, this works well for high-end and high-priced products because people feel more valued when you are willing to exert extra effort for them.
11 Best Practices on After-Sales Messages
Now that you know how to reach out to your customers after a sale and why, then it's time to know how you can maximize the results. Here are some post-sales follow-up best practices.
Except for the first one, you don't have to use everything in this list; you just have to choose those that are appropriate to your business.
1. Order Confirmation and Shipment
Some of you may say, "of course, you should do that!"
However, a lot of businesses actually forget about this, but we can't tell you enough how necessary this is.
Inform the customer of the status of their order. Is it being prepared? Have you shipped it? Is it on its way? What is the tracking number? These are some of the questions that you need to answer, even if your customer is not asking these actively.
It would be best to provide a tracking link that the customer can easily click and will take them directly to the tracking page.
2. Thank Your Customer
A simple thank you for patronizing your business can go a long way in making the person feel appreciated. Customers will also be happy knowing that they are valued.
Hi, Lisa! We just want to thank you for choosing us! Customers like you are the lifeblood of our business at ABCStore. Text STOP to unsubscribe.
3. Ask Your Customer about the Order they Received
Did your customer receive the order properly? Did the product arrive as expected? Are there no damages to the product? Are they happy with what they received? Do they have any questions about the product and how to use it?
Ask about the shipment and delivery, and provide information on returns and refunds in case they are not happy with what they receive.
Here's an example of an SMS message asking customers about the order they received:
Hi there! Did you get the order we sent? Please let us know if it arrived properly and what you think of our product. If you need further assistance, send HELP to 204703.
4. Ask to Share Photos of their Order and Tag your Page on Social Media
People are social animals, and with social media rampant today, everyone wants to put out content that makes them feel valued and relevant. Based on this information, you can ask your customer to post a photo of their order and post it on social media platforms.
If they have tagged you, then more people will see the brand even if they are not following you yet or "liked" your page. It's free marketing for you!
However, make sure that you ask this only if you are confident that your product arrived as expected by the customer, and that your customer is happy with the purchase. Else, you'll be encouraging your customer to post a negative review of you and your products.
Here's a text template asking your customers to post photos and tag you:
Post a picture of your order on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #XYZBrand. We want to show our fans how you use XYZ brand! Tag us in your post when you post it and we'll like and share it for you! Text STOP to unsubscribe.
5. Invite them to Follow You on All Your Social Media Pages
Even if you send post-purchase follow-up via snail mail, social media is still a good way to improve customer engagement.
You can invite your customers to like and follow your business across all of the different platforms that you are active on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The more followers you gain, the better your online reputation.
This strategy works especially well with eCommerce businesses as it is a good way of getting potential customers who are not yet following you on some or all social media platforms.
Your social media pages are a great way for you to engage with your customers, so make sure that you are active on these platforms. What's the use of having a lot of people liking your page if you don't interact with them?
Here's an example of a text message inviting your customers to your social media pages:
Hey, thanks for your order! Please follow us on our Facebook and Instagram pages @ABCBusiness so we can keep you updated with the latest products and promos. Reply STOP to unsubscribe.
6. Ask the Customer to Rate their Purchase Experience
Customers love being asked for their opinion. They feel validated and valued when they are given the opportunity to express what they think about a product or service that you have provided them with, so why not take advantage of this post-purchase?
You can ask your customers if there is anything that you could do better in terms of:
- product information
- checkout process
- website usability
- handling, shipping and deliver
- customer service
These are important aspects of your business that you can improve on. The more you know these, the better you can provide for your customers.
Also, if they have a less than stellar experience with any of these aspects, then post-purchase follow-up is an excellent way to ask them what went wrong so that it does not happen again in future purchases or business transactions.
Here's an example of an SMS message asking customers to rate their experience:
Hi, Lisa! How was your shopping experience with us? Please SMS 'great!' if you had a great time in our store and we'll do everything to keep it that way. If not, reply with 'bad' and we'll get in touch to learn what we can do better. Text STOP to unsubscribe.
7. Ask for a Product Review
While the previous one helps you learn about your customer's purchase experience, this one helps you learn whether the buyer is happy with his purchase.
In eCommerce, post-purchase product reviews are extremely important. Many online shoppers check out a store's review scores before they make a purchase, and the higher these scores are, the more people will be willing to buy from you because of your excellent reputation. Reviews are social proof!
You can ask your customer if he would be willing to post a product review on your social media pages or your eCommerce store's home page.
But just like in point #4, only do this if you are sure your customer is happy with the product. If they are not, you can provide them assistance on how to better use the product or you can even offer a return and refund if necessary. This way, you are opening up a chance for them to change their mind about the product and your business and see you in a more positive light.
For SMS templates, visit our article on Social Proofing: Get More Customer Reviews with SMS Messages.
8. Provide Promo Codes and Discounts
Providing post-purchase follow-up promo codes is a great way to get your customer's attention. Promo codes are valuable for both you and the customers, especially if you want them to come back to your store and purchase again.
Here's an example of an SMS message with a promo code:
To show you how much we appreciate your business, we're giving you a $20 discount on your next visit! Use the code 20OFF upon checkout. Text STOP to unsubscribe.
9. Let them Know How to Reach You in Case There's a Problem
Some customers will either be too shy to reach out or would be too lazy to search for your business's contact details. Actively give this to them in your post-purchase follow-up message.
If you're using SMS, you can provide a keyword to start two-way messaging. Here's an example:
Hi Lisa! We hope you loved your Super Vacuum Cleaner. If there's any concern, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Just reply with HELP and we'll be happy to assist. Text STOP to unsubscribe.
10. Cross-sell, Upsell, or Offer Refills
So your customer has already purchased from you. Does that mean it's the last time that they'll do? Now that they have purchased from you, there is less friction in convincing them to make another purchase, especially if your product is good and if your customer service is excellent.
Promoting related and complementary products based on their previous purchase is an excellent tactic. For instance, if they purchased a fishing rod, then it would make sense to offer fishing baits, fishing hooks, and other accessories.
If you're selling a consumable item, such as coffee or tea (like Ocha & Co.) then you can offer a refill. Only do so when you know that their purchase is just about used up. But don't wait too long for a follow-up! Make sure you still engage in between.
11. Encourage Them to Join Your Loyalty Program
Seal the deal and make sure they become a customer for life by asking them to join your loyalty or VIP programs.
A customer loyalty program is an incentive program designed to reward customers for repeated patronage of a particular company's products or services. If a customer decides to buy from your company again after their initial purchase, they will most likely have the opportunity to join the loyalty program and start earning points for each transaction. These points can be redeemed in exchange for rewards such as discounts, free product credits, free service credits, and even memberships in another program that offers reward benefits.
Here's an example of a post-purchase SMS for loyalty programs:
You've shown us how much you love our product! We'd like to thank you and show our appreciation by giving you a lifetime membership to GiftStore Loyalty Program. Just text JOIN, REPLY or STOP to unsubscribe.
It's no secret that post-purchase follow-up campaigns are an important tactic for improving customer satisfaction and boosting eCommerce sales. But it can be challenging to keep your post-sale messaging fresh, relevant, and personalized.
With the help of this article, you now know how to leverage various marketing tactics in order to increase post-purchase engagement with customers.
If you want professional guidance on crafting a stellar after-sales text message campaign or other SMS marketing strategies—let us know! Our team of experts is ready and waiting to partner with you so that we may create a plan which taps into the power of SMS Marketing. Sign up for any of our plans and get a free trial for 14 days.