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Omnichannel commerce | Email Marketing

After the Purchase: Follow-up Emails to Boost Loyalty and Sales

image: Smiling women holding her hands up making a heart symbol shape.
Six types of emails to keep customers engaged and coming back for more

Another customer made a purchase: huzzah! But now you want to ensure that the customer comes back to make yet more purchases. Postpurchase emails can help you maintain relationships with customers long after they've unwrapped their parcels.


Of course, you need a reason to contact these customers. That's why organisations create enewsletters and send subscribers news of sales and the like. But in its "Ultimate Guide to Post-Purchase Messages," digital marketing provider Silverpop offers ways to "use online purchase behavior to trigger relevant, personalised content that inspires customers to buy repeatedly and become brand loyalists." Among its suggested postpurchase emails:



A first-purchase welcome email

Sending a welcome, or onboarding, message or series is a best practice when people opt in to your marketing email list. A first-purchase welcome email follows the same rationale. Make sure, though, that the messaging first-time customers receive is pertinent. As Silverpop notes, "Consider, for example, that a new customer clicks a 'receive our emails' box during checkout. If the first message they receive afterward says, 'Get 10% off your first purchase,' that's not going to get the relationship off on the right foot." Instead, the initial message should thank customers for the purchase and perhaps reinforce some of the benefits of purchasing from your company. A subsequent bounce-back email could offer a discount.



A postpurchase survey

Not only will this sort of message give you a reason to engage with the customer again, but it will also provide you with customer feedback, which is always helpful.


Silverpop suggests triggering the survey email to arrive several days to a week after the customer has received the purchase. The survey can be embedded in the email, or the email can include a link to the survey online. Another suggestion: "Set up rules so that someone with particularly negative feedback is automatically routed to your call center for personal, immediate follow-up. In many cases, you'll turn a negative into a positive."



An invitation to rate or review the product

Amazon, for one, regularly sends emails to customers asking them to rate or review their purchases on its website. Assuming your site includes customer ratings and reviews on its product pages, reminding customers to provide feedback shows that you value their input. It also helps provide your website with valuable user-generated content that will boost your SEO and search-engine ranking and help other visitors to your site with their purchasing decision. Generally you should wait at least a few weeks after the purchase to send this email, so that customers have had time to use their purchase.



A recommendation or cross-selling message

For this to work, you ideally need some sort of personalisation or recommendation engine on your website. You can then use that engine to cull a few recommended products relevant to the customer's purchase. This sort of email typically boasts a high conversion rate, according to Silverpop: "Who wouldn't want to receive an email with cool accessories related to any item they just purchased?"



An invitation to share on your social media feeds

If you sell gardening gear, you could invite customers to share photos of their garden on your Pinterest or Instagram page. If you sell pet supplies, ask customers to upload pictures of their pets onto your Facebook page. "Your messaging should refer to the product, the result, and how recipients might share their stories," Silverpop advises. After the customers have engaged on social media, you can then follow up on the social channel with a message ("Your puppy looks so proud of his new collar!"), thereby extending engagement.



An anniversary email

"Many retailers have generated significant revenue through 'happy birthday' email programs," Silverpop notes. "Purchase anniversary emails are driven by similar logic, except instead of the customer's birthdate triggering the email, the date of the customer's first purchase initiates the email." This sort of message is often accompanied by a discount, a free-shipping offer, or another incentive with an expiration date. If you do opt to include an incentive, follow this email up with reminder messages to encourage recipients to take advantage of the offer. Don't assume that the first email is enough of a prod to revisit your site.

author: Sherry Chiger

Sherry Chiger

The editorial director of Your Commerce, Sherry Chiger is an award-winning writer and editor. She was formerly editorial director of Multichannel Merchant and Catalogue e-business magazines.


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