Why a mere receipt just won’t cut it post-purchase

In the offline world, when you buy something, you’re given a receipt. And for some companies, the post-purchase confirmation email is still treated in the same way; a simple, visually unappealing list of what the customer has bought and how much they have paid.

Yet in customer lifecycle terms, this is golden time. Your customer has just bought something from you; they’re at their most active. You know what they’ve bought which, if you know your data, should give you a degree of insight into what they might do next. And the chances are they’re feeling pretty warm towards you too. Why would you waste this opportunity by sending them a virtual receipt?

So instead, use this window of opportunity wisely. Of course, you should thank them for their purchase, and tell them when it’s coming, but don’t stop there. What else could you offer them? Is there a way to encourage them back for more?

Here are the top five things you should think about when you’re planning your post-purchase emails.
1- Recommend something else they might like

Look at your data to see what other, similar customers did next, and use it to recommend something else that might catch their eye. For example, if they’ve bought a tent, could you tempt them with a camping table, a coolbox, a high-end gazebo? And make sure you segment so you’re being smart about what you offer – after all, a gazebo is more likely to appeal to someone who’s just bought a six-bed masterpiece than a tiny one-person tent.

2- Make them feel special

We all want to feel valued and understood, so capitalize on this when you’re making suggestions. Present your cross-selling activity as a handpicked selection, a specially chosen menu of things that you think they’ll love. And if the ROI allows it, sweeten the deal with free delivery or a time limited discount. Given that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one, it’s worth doing a bit of buttering-up here.

3- Work out what they’re worth and act accordingly

Speaking of special, it’s also worth remembering that some customers are worth more to you than others. So, for example, you might want to treat a first time buyer with a low cart value differently to an until-recently lapsed, but previously high value customer. Your lifecycle and lifetime value data will be key here to making sure not giving too much away to customers who don’t merit it.

4- Bring your customers closer

Post-purchase doesn’t have to just be about selling – it can also be a great time to try and build on your relationship in other ways. For example, if they’ve bought but not registered, you might want to try and sign them up. Or you could encourage them to get involved with you on other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Both of these will help you build a stronger, deeper relationship with them, and that can only be a good thing when it comes to future sales.

5- Find out what works best

You know what I’m going to say: don’t just try it, test it. Find out whether a discount works harder than free delivery, whether a better offer to a higher value group is worth the investment, whether recommending a larger number of products works better than a more select amount. Then use what you’ve learnt to refine your plans and make your emails work even harder next time round.

To wrap it all up, here are five 5 second suggestions that are worth bearing in mind:

  • Make sure you’ve thanked the customer for their purchase and used a warm, friendly tone.
  • Check that you’ve included refund and return information as well as links to a customer service centre or online chat.
  • Use clear and snappy call to action buttons so they’re in no doubt about what to do next.
  • Think about including your navigation bar to make it easy for them to head back to your website.
  • Check that your email is optimised for mobile and other devices – particularly if they have bought tickets for an event which they might want to store electronically.

You can read more about CLM in general, including cart abandonment emails, in our Convert, keep, grow e-book. And look out for my next CLM blog, which will fill you in on how to turn browsers into buyers.