“Selling a car to someone is not hard, getting them to come back years from now and buy a second one is the challenge.”
– Employee at Bluekens, Roosendaal.
This is a quote I’ve heard a few times when I went along with my parents when they were getting a new car throughout the past fifteen years. Over the last years I learnt that the man who told me this taught me a very important marketing rule: once you’ve got the sale, your work has only just begun.
Colin Shaw (2013) noted that it costs a company, on average, six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Therefore, companies can save a lot of money by creating an experience that makes customers want to come back and tell others about your company. The post-purchase period is an important point in the customer’s journey and is just as important, if not more important, than the actual sale. As an illustration, Marketing Metrics found that the probability of selling a product to an existing client lies between sixty to seventy percent, whereas the probability of selling a product to a new client lies between five to twenty percent.
As there are many methods of post purchase engagement, I will take a look at post-purchase e-mails in this post. When used correctly, these e-mails will create a better consumer experience, resulting in a stronger customer loyalty. This will lead to a positive word of mouth which may refer new clients to you. Furthermore, it may lead to more repeated purchases and, most importantly, establish a strong connection between customers and your brand. So, what would these e-mails require in terms of content?
1. Order confirmation, tracking and support.
First of all, it is important to give your customer the security that the order was successfully processed. An example of such an e-mail can be seen in the picture below. When Bed, Bath and Beyond receives an order through their website, the e-mail that is sent contains a simple statement regarding the confirmation of your order and the tracking information.
2. Discount offers to incentivize future purchases.
Other than experiencing a good post-consumption process, consumers may need an extra incentive to make a future purchase. By sending discount offers days after someone made a purchase, you might trigger a new purchase. Take for example Pottery Barn. About a week after making a purchase at Pottery Barn, customers receive a mail with a code to get free shipping on a future purchase. As consumers have enjoyed a good experience, this discount is the icing on the cake to let them make another purchase.
3. Thank your customers
Make your customers feel appreciated. A thank you page after an order is not enough, as they may feel everyone can see this. When dedicated in a mail, consumers may feel more personally engaged, which will increase their post-purchase experience.
I believe these companies show great examples of ensuring consumers enjoy a positive post-purchase experience. Although each of these suggestions contain only small things, I do believe they have a huge impact on how a consumer experiences a purchase. Remember, the purchase of a product is not the end of a relationship with a customer, it is merely the beginning.