In today’s competitive eCommerce space, customers are looking for much more than just high-quality products and great prices. They want the overall experience. While it can seem like there isn’t much that can be done about customer experience online compared with a brick and mortar store, it’s the exact opposite. The user-friendliness of your brand’s website, level of customer service, and overall post-purchase experience determine your customers’ satisfaction and ultimately the success of your eCommerce brand.
Once your customer has finished purchasing a product online, the only thing left for them to do is wait to receive their delivery. This is where the post-purchase experience begins, and sadly, many e-commerce brands neglect this tremendous opportunity. Without any communication and post-purchase services from your brand, your customer is unlikely to have a lasting connection with your brand and company.
The post-purchase experience includes any form of contact that you make after your customer completes the online purchase. This can consist of order confirmation emails, delivery updates, facilitating returns and exchanges, loyalty programs, and continued marketing of new products. How you handle this opportunity has massive potential to create customer loyalty, improve the overall shopping experience, and secure future sales.
Once your customer has completed their online purchase, they can sit back, relax and wait for their order to arrive. If it’s something like clothing, they may be both anxious and excited to try on their new outfit. If it is a repeat purchase of let’s say, perfume, they know what to expect already. Or at least they think they do.
The truth is, most customers have a terrible experience after they click the buy button. This is the stage during which they fall into what we call at Bond, The Satisfaction Death Valley. If your online game is strong, your customer has had a smooth-sailing, enjoyable experience while shopping. But once they click the buy button, it’s all downhill. For most brands, as the customer journey continues, the customers’ satisfaction levels drop significantly.
Here’s what post-purchase looks like for most customers: They wait… and wait… and wait some more. If they’re lucky their package comes late, but often it doesn’t arrive all. Next they have to deal with complicated returns and exchanges. Where on earth do they start? Automated email responses, semi-helpful impersonal bots, UGH. Of course, it’s time for an Advil ‘cause by now they’re confused and have a major headache. Raise your hand if you still can’t figure out why most customers don’t come back to shop after experiences like this. Yup, that’s what we thought.
The good news is, there are many practical ways for brands to improve their customers’ post-purchase experience. A lot of the methods are generic, while some are most specific to the nature of the products and services you provide.
Stay in touch – One of the main ways that brands slack in the post-purchase experience is through not staying in touch with their customers. After a sale, many brands are too busy focusing on the next sale. Some fear that staying in touch might annoy the customer. There is a balance to find, but staying in touch with your clients shows that you care and want to build a long-term relationship. Newsletters, product and sale updates are all valuable ways to keep them in the loop. Another important aspect of communication is responding to customers’ questions and inquiries as soon as possible.
Same-day, on-time delivery – Much of your customers’ post-purchase experience is made during the last mile delivery stage. Customers today want same-day delivery and they want their packages to arrive on time. Your brand’s last-mile services need to be efficient and timely so that there are no unmet expectations or broken promises. Teaming up with fast, accurate and data-driven post-purchase partners can make your delivery process smooth and efficient.
Upgrade your packaging – Unwrapping a package is an experience on its own. Have you seen the countless unboxing videos taking over the internet?! If you’re a direct-to-consumer clothing, cosmetic, or gift brand, consider upgrading your packaging to ensure an outstanding unboxing experience. Beautiful packaging and wrapping show that you care about the entire customer journey, even the last mile.
Ask for feedback – Even once your customer has their package, your work is not yet done. Asking clients for their feedback shows your commitment to delivering excellent service. On top of that, you can get some helpful insights into where your products and services are falling short of expectations. Feedback gives you a glimpse of how you make your customers feel, and this is key to developing your brand into one that meets and exceeds customer expectations.
Offer perks and delightful surprises – Another way to stay in touch with your customers is to provide valuable information and perks. Examples can include recipes for food, style guides for clothing, and other surprises that relate to your customers’ purchases and brand. Customers always appreciate relevant and value-adding content and perks.
Make returns and exchanges easy – One of the necessary evils of online shopping is the high rate of returns. Don’t punish your customers for changing their minds about their purchases once they receive them. Instead, make the return and exchange processes as seamless and straightforward as possible. The best way to ensure enjoyable returns process is to partner with post-purchase companies that offer
Reward loyalty – One of the best ways to build a loyal customer base is by rewarding loyalty. Point schemes, discounts, promotions, and a referral program are all ways to set your brand apart from the competition.