Post-purchase behavior is the way in which a customer reacts after they have completed the checkout process.
Ensuring a positive customer post-purchase experience is vital for brands. It indicates if their service has met customers needs and expectations, whether customers will return to the brand in the future, or if they would recommend the product or service to others like friends or family.
Why does the post-purchase customer experience matter?
There are a number of reasons why ecommerce businesses should adopt a seamless post-purchase process for their customers. For example, an order management process providing customers with order status updates and a complete returns process – will help ensure customers have a positive experience. This avoids the risk of negative feedback or worse – looking to competitors instead of your business in future.
What happens post-purchase for customers can be incredibly influential in their decisions to give your brand repeat customers. Improving the post-purchase experience can therefore be a great customer retention exercise.
What can retailers do to improve the post-purchase experience?
As soon as a customer has purchased an item, the post-purchase experience begins. It is at this stage that retailers must provide a best-in-class service and leverage the positive sentiments customers are already experiencing.
Retailers need to cover areas such as: Do they receive a confirmation email? Have they been given an approximate delivery date? What updates of their product journey will they receive?
As soon as customers have completed the checkout process, they are in a state of anticipation and excitement. This will help retain trust in the brand to deliver and meet expectations. Taking all uncertainty out of the situation is a great way to reassure customers.
At this point, it would also be beneficial for brands to offer extra content that adds value to the customer journey, such as the opportunity to sign up to a loyalty program, track their package, or view similar products based on their previous behavior.
This action could be useful in helping to influence subsequent purchasing decisions, and also helps brands get to know their customers better. It’s all about building that strong and continuing relationship between the business and the customer.
Consistency is key. Customers expect and appreciate regular updates about the status of their order. Companies that can respond quickly to changes and keep their customers in the loop tend to come out on top and are reviewed well by their audiences. This encourages more people to shop with them and expands their customer base.
Improving supply chain management
Retailers must ensure they have efficient supply chain and logistics operations so that they can offer the best possible service to their customers.
Implementing a technology such as Linnworks helps retailers automate and control their inventory. Stock from all sales channels can be managed easily from one central location, allowing merchants to focus on other areas of their business.
Sometimes, a poor customer experience is out of the company’s control, e.g an item of clothing might not fit. Although this is probably not entirely the fault of the merchant, it is a perfect opportunity for them to regain some control and put in processes to help rectify the situation and therefore the customers relationship with the brand.
An example here would be to ask the customer the reason for their return out of a multiple choice list. This allows brands to gather direct customer feedback and use these insights to improve their online store and product offerings.
If the customer is not satisfied with their items for one reason or another and needs to process a return, it is essential that this process is streamlined and hassle-free. This is a crucial point where any hiccups in the process could damage the relationship between customers and brand.
So, why are returns such an important part of the post-purchase experience? 5874 conducted a study in which they ordered from 100 retailers and analyzed their returns processes. Some interesting findings are below:
- Only 34% of retailers mentioned returns on their confirmation emails
- 47% of retailers offered a free postal returns service
- The average number of return options offered to customers was 1.91
- 86% of retailers had returns mentioned either in the header or the footer
- Only 15% of merchants had returns mentioned in their main body of homepage
- The average returns period offered for customers was 40.49 days
Ecommerce returns solutions
Some examples of ecommerce returns solutions that can be implemented to improve the post-purchase experience are:
- Pay close attention to feedback and reviews and use these insights to improve products/services
- Make the process as seamless and hassle-free as possible, e.g contactless returns, drop off points, in app returns etc.
- Conduct frequent quality testing on products – especially those that are returned the most often
- Keep a consistent flow of contact and give updates on stages of delivery and returns
Ultimately, optimizing and enhancing the post-purchase experience bridges the gap between the customer and the retailer. Creating a positive post-purchase experience is a great opportunity for merchants to develop strong relationships with their customers, build a loyal customer base and improve their lifetime value (LTV).
5874 Commerce are a global commerce agency headquartered in Birmingham, UK. They create end-to-end commerce experiences that drive scalability, growth, and business success. Check out their website for more information on their commerce services: 5874commerce.com