The post-purchase experience is a critical stage in the buyer journey and an important part of strengthening customer retention.
A great post-purchase strategy increases repeat customers, and generates more reviews and referrals, and ultimately more revenue.
In this recap of a panel webinar, industry experts from Feastables, Postscript, Rebuy, and Friendbuy share strategies on how to:
- Create a strong post-purchase experience
- Drive higher customer engagement
- Collect zero-party data
- Increase repeat purchases
Meet the experts
Why should brands care about what happens post-purchase?
If you think about your customer and the customer journey, as soon as they're done clicking complete purchase, they are the most excited and the most engaged because they're basically waiting for the UPS truck to show up on the side of the road and deliver their item right there. They're just so excited, so having a post-purchase strategy at the end of the order gives you the opportunity to really layer in a message to them because they're going to remember it. And, they're going to really take the time to read what's on the screen before they click off because they want to know about shipping and what to expect next. So, it's the best time to mention upsells or other offers, or prompt for a review if it's a returning customer or even a referral.
I think that it's a great timem, in addition to everything Ivette said, to capture some data from the customer that you might not already have. So not just first name or where they're from, but what type of products they're interested in and who they are purchasing for. who they per who they are purchasing
I think also just getting them hyped on the journey is important, so a lot of conversational things can be done
via SMS. An example I love is Kalo, which is one of our clients. They send this really awesome text showing a picture of the Founder with a package in hand, saying “we're packing up your stuff!” and that just is really touching to me, and it's so exciting and makes me want to check the mail every hour.
The post-purchase experience is so, so important and might be under thought of in a lot of instances. The big thing that a lot of brands are looking at Rebuy for is offering an upsell or a cross-sell post-purchase, as well as directly after the customer is checked out as Ivette mentioned. At that time, adrenaline is high, the customer is super stoked to have just purchased from your brand, and by offering a one-click post-purchase upsell, a lot of brands are uncovering revenue that would have otherwise been left on the table.
The other thing we look at is collecting more data from that customer. Then we can segment that customer into the right placed based off of their purchasing behaviour or perhaps their customer persona, so that you can then personalize the experience to that specific segment of a returning customer more effectively and give them a great experience to come back again as well and increase that lifetime value.
I think going off of what everyone else is saying, the customer is super excited they've purchased from you, they're engaged, they're waiting and for that tracking number. Really, what's what's more important is collecting that customer feedback and hearing how you could improve that experience of checking out.
That's why having something like a post-purchase survey to collect that data and feedback is really important. We see that having a survey on that post-checkout page has a really high engagement and completion rate,
so it's kind of a no-brainer to ask your customers at that point for any sort of information that you want to collect.
Another thing as well is collecting product feedback, and that would be during the the review process of sending your customer a review request and getting that information around how they interacted with your product. You can ask would they recommend your product, and then showcase those reviews on your website.
It's super important to collect that zero party data that you can also then use for more personalized communications moving forward. With CAC going up and retention being a stronger focus right now, these data points are even more important to capture.
I think everybody has already hit on the why its important to collect data, but where I actually put that into action for a post-purchase strategy is we do the post-checkout surveys. I surveyed based on the types of
products that people purchase, so like if we're gonna do a bundle or a special drop, I want to know
information in that post-purchase journey about what are the drivers, and why did this person come and whether you're a new customer or a returning customer.
We find that our post-purchase experience, whether that's through a survey or upsells or any of that, it speaks to the immediate actions that a customer has had. We see so much engagement with it so for us that post-purchase journey is honestly the single most important part of the journey. That's where we are between a customer getting it in hand and understanding why your purchased, and it's what's going to drive you to make more purchases in future.
Why is the post-checkout survey such a common touchpoint, and what can you do with that data?
I think Jess you said it so well, having that post-purchase experience optimized, that channel in particular is one of the most important parts of the customer journey. We see much higher engagement and completion rates when surveys are shown on the post-checkout page, again as your customer has already shown interest and they bought from you, and they're going to spend some time on that checkout page looking for more information or any order details. So having that survey specifically on that channel is super important.
What we've seen is upwards of a 50% completion rate on those types of surveys. So you can collect
customer feedback at this point in the journey and get insights that can then affect the customer
coming back, as well as experiences of future customers.
There are so many different types of surveys that you can have on your post-checkout page. You can have a net promoter score survey so you can understand you know how do your customers like your customer journey. Or see how they like your brand and how have they engaged with your brand before.
Asking these types of questions really help dig deeper into who are your detractors. What didn't work with them, and how can we improve with our brand. And then also, who are your promoters? Where else would they purchase from you? What other products could you maybe upsell?
Another really great point in that post-checkout experience is asking your customers where they heard about you, and that gives you insight into where you could be funnelling in more marketing spend. If your customers are hearing about you from TikTok ads, you might want to explore putting more spend into that channel specifically so that's really important insight. Not just into who your customer is and why they like your brand, but also where did they hear from you and how can you find more customers that look like that.
This is also a great way for contextual targeting, so tailoring the questions that you're asking post check-out to the audience based on the insights and the data that you want to receive.
We utilize our post-checkout surveys to understand that audience. So you know you can ask the basic things of like where did you come from, but I want to get a little bit deeper than that. I actually ask demographic information, as my audience can range from whether you're a 17 year-old to a 35 year-old, or a parent, or grandparent. I want to understand who you are in our audience, I want to understand why you purchased it and who you purchased it for.
Because I see so much engagement in this survey, I ask information on what we're thinking about for product innovation. So maybe we're thinking about coming out with a new snack, and here I add a question like “hey, would you be interested in this type of snack? What are your favorite brands?”
I also like questions like “Where would you like to see us at retailers?” and I think that's a very good question to ask if you're a DTC brand looking to go to retail in the future. You're then able to see where your audience wants to see you out in the wild.
I also like to ask these questions and compare new versus returning customers. I also ask a different type of post-checkout survey based on the product that you purchase. So for instance, we just launched a new merchandise product. Merchandise is very new for us, so I want to dig deeper into those questions “do you like merchandise? Would you like to see more merchandise? Who are you purchasing this for?”
And then bringing this all back home and collecting all of these points of data creates a feedback loop into supply chain, into marketing, and into the tech team. Then I'm not just asking simple questions about how is
your shopping experience, I want to ask like five questions that are going to be heavy hitters for my customer customer research.
What data should you be collecting or utilizing in that post-purchase stage?
I love the Insight that Jess gave. Even thinking about those examples, based off the types of questions it helps you understand what this customer's next step is going be, and then based off of those answers.
For example, asking if a customer is interested in X type of snack, how do we segment that customer and then personalize the experience on site, in the email, in the SMS? There's a mix of using that zero party data and informing how this is going to influence your merchandising strategy on site. And then also taking a look at all the other data that you already have available to you.
So as an example, maybe you know where they came from. If they heard about you from an influencer, or if they came in from a friend referral, you can personalize that experience on site to truly reflect that and get the customer the right offer at the right time with the right messaging.
What are some sources that you can get the data from to power that personalization in the post-purchase phase?
We really look at two avenues for collecting that data. The first would be through reviews, as it's such a natural and organic way to collect information directly from your customers. You know through sending a review request over email, you can also use text messages through Postscript to send the review requests, and collect that feedback. It's not invasive because you know your customer has already purchased from you, and you're also asking information that's relevant to your brand, the product that they purchased, etc. So that would be one avenue to collect that data. Another would be through surveys. These surveys can be
shown to your customer again either on the post-purchase page, or you can also show your customers a survey on site triggered through a certain event. If you customers are clicking around or maybe abandoning cart, you can collect information around why they've abandoned cart and what made them
add that to cart. You can ask whatever sorts of questions you want to uncover to get that feedback loop to understand why your customers are engaging with you.
Then what's really great is you can push all of that zero party data so anything around your customer, whether it's the size they purchase, their age, their skin type, their skin tone, you can put all of that information over into your ESP or your SMS platforms. You can then add personalization to messaging.
And I think Aaron mentioned something about upselling and being able to make recommendations that are personalized. When Okendo collects that customer information, you can make product recommendations to your customers via email or SMS.
One thing that I was just thinking of as you were chatting about that is, we talked about potentially collecting data around what customers might be interested in. At Rebuy, a lot of what we are looking to accomplish is predicting what customers are going to want before they even know that. So I think one thing to be really
mindful of, as a brand if you're selling a particular product or solution that is solving for a specific thing, is understanding what that customer is looking to solve with their purchase. As the brand, you can then understand that those are the main things that my customers are trying to solve, and identify the complementary products you want to get in front of this customer. And one of the best mediums to be able to communicate this is through SMS or email.
Something that comes to mind for me is often we are focused on the immediate response when we're personalizing. So if somebody texts us back and says I have combination skin, so I want beauty recommendations for this. But then we forget to use that down the road not only for knowing when there's a product on sale that's really targeted towards combination skin for example, but it's also with an inventory forecast. So if you know 30 percent of your customers are looking at combination skin products, but you only have one product for them. And then 20 products for dry skin but that's only five percent of your total customer base. That helped me when I was on the brand side reconfigure how I might forecast inventory in the future.
I want to go back a little bit here because where we're also utilizing our personalization isn't just in post-checkout surveys, we're also utilizing our personalization and NPS surveys. I'm going to start doing some on-site surveys, as well as CSAT surveys through Okendo. Then focus on really getting into personalizing
and triggering those surveys. The reason I'm bringing that up is because the way I think about customer experience is it's not support. And the reason that's different is support is a reactive manner, and customer experience is a proactive manner.
So where I'm like utilizing a lot of this information that I'm collecting is not just in marketing campaigns and segmenting, but also to be 10,000 steps in front of my customer. So maybe I got something in the NPS survey that was based around the type of product that this person purchased. And maybe what I got from that survey was something about how they didn't really understand the product offering for instance.
One example is we sold a holiday bundle, and one of the benefits of this bundle was if you purchase it, some of the proceeds actually went to a charity. But what I was gathering out of my NPS survey was
“Did you purchase this because of this, or did you purchase this because you want to give back to this charity?” And what I found was that people actually didn't get the message that the some of these proceeds were going to go to charity.
So I took that information and then for new product offerings that we're going to be offering to charity, I'm
making sure that messaging is up front. And I'm making sure that we're answering the why for the customer at the time of buying and not just after the fact.
From an FAQ perspective, you know gathering information of if somebody understood a product or didn't understand a product and how can I play that back. Maybe it's that my automations or my FAQs aren't clear. There are plenty of opportunities to personalize and then feedback loop.
What are some tactics to ensure you're effectively communicating with customers to keep them coming back?
Postscript is an SMS marketing platform, so we are very much mobile only and I'm sure as many of you have seen over the last handful of years, the ratio of people purchasing on desktop versus mobile shifted very heavily towards mobile. This is true especially for younger audiences. I think meeting them where they're at is important.
I think we have this default tendency to rely on email for review requests for example. But I know in my experience I'd much rather text a phone number a photo of my product, whether it's a broken package or a selfie of me wearing my new t-shirt, than have to take the photo and upload it to my desktop, and attach it to an email.
Meeting customers on the platforms that they're is so important. If you notice your traffic is 80% mobile, trying to tailor your approach towards that is key. I think the second thing that is really important to us is being conversational.
I know there are many brands who when I look at their texts it's always just like save ten percent, here's 20 percent, here's this – but how can you engage with them better? I think Jess, who's a very excellent client of Postscripts, does this really well too. A lot of what she said of how can we ask them for their feedback like “hey, what do you want to see next? Reply back 1 if you want to see this product and 2 if you want to see this product.”
People love seeing those types of surveys, and also incentivizing them for engaging well with that channel. So if you see that they're always responding to your feedback and things like that, maybe offering a discount code for those who are regularly completing your surveys and giving you good customer data.
If someone's opted into receiving text messages, you should send them that review request via SMS. They've obviously told you that they like that channel for communication, so it's really about meeting your customers where they want to be communicating.
One strategy again is sending those review requests or surveys via text message. Another one is getting that post-purchase survey or any type of survey to get customer feedback and ask what did they like about your product.
It just goes back to exactly what I've been saying, it's like just personalizing, personalizing, personalizing. Everything that I'm gaining from surveying individuals is going to help me segment and cohort better.
For Feastables, we offer so many different technologies in order to communicate with our customers. So there are many different types of avenues of understanding our audience, and being able to communicate with them effectively. I think that it's really important to know what our audience wants to hear.
able to message them appropriately. I think that that actually applies for every brand.
If I was a skin care brand, maybe you know I'm selling to a millennial or a gen Z, which has two different types of audience. It's really just like gathering that information to drive into the right type of communication styles that your audience wants.
What are some opportunities or tactics to encourage additional sales from first-time customers to increase lifetime value?
As I mentioned, we see the post-purchase journey as one of the most important steps. In general, we know that people need to see a message five to seven times before it clicks that they need to take action. So that post-purchase overlay for referral is a good adrenaline hit.
Really in the transition and the things that we've seen in the economy lately, people are being more conscious about what they're buying. And even though they made a purchase today, there were things in their cart that they probably removed that they're saving for another time. So they're already thinking about how they can get a discount on this. Through Friendbuy with referrals, we're able to encourage them to refer a friend, and we'll give their friend a discount and they'll get a discount.
We all know somebody who would also benefit from something we bought right, whether it's a shirt or skin care, or I can't wait to tell somebody about this new mascara I just got. So they're already thinking about that and so in that instance, you're already getting them to think about who they can refer and then what they're going to buy again.
As we kind of lean into Q1, retention is definitely top of mind for a lot of the brands that we're working with.
You know they've just spent an incredible amount of effort and money in acquiring a bunch of customers during BFCM, so looking at how they can get those customer to come back. Part of what we look at at Rebuy is what is the experience like for a returning customer. It's the same if I'm a regular at a coffee shop, I would expect the experience to be the same as if I'm the first time visitor.
Making it a unique and personalized experience, depending on who the customer is, based off of potentially the zero party data that you've already collected. And then the other thing that we look at is like how much friction is there for the customers to be able to purchase? Or, to be able to have high lifetime value if you offer a product that you can subscribe to, that's replenish-able. We look at how easy is it for me as a customer to be able to reorder that, so that when it's time to reorder, and I being sent directly to the product detail page or getting sent directly to checkout? If you offer subscriptions, how easy is it for me to be a subscriber?
Or, even taking a step back, and understand the benefits of subscribing. Whether it's monetary savings for being a subscriber or another reward, it's about making it easy for customers to repurchase, and to discover products that are going to be relevant based off of their segment and their purchasing history.
One strategy that we've seen be really effective from a retention standpoint is the offering of gift cards. So this is something that we've seen a ot of brands do as a post-purchase upsell. Getting the gift card is basically guaranteeing a second order and if you have a hero product and you're able to offer maybe a discounted gift card that is slightly below the price threshold for that hero product, basically you're guaranteeing that someone's going to come back. And, they're going to spend a little bit more to get the most out of that gift card as well.
I do want to comment on something based on what Aaron said about the gift card. This was actually an idea given to me by a client at the end of last year that I thought I was genius. You can run a report based on who has revenue left on their gift card and sending them an email maybe with a discount code, convincing them to spend their gift card.
Because like what Aaron said, nine times out of ten people spend more than what their gift card value is because they want to juice as much of the gift card as possible. So I just wanted to tag on that.
In addition to that I think something that was always a struggle for me on the brand side that I solved with SMS is it's a great opportunity to create and generate user generated content. So I really struggled to get people to tag us on social media, to include photos on email, etc. But when I was able to say just send a simple post-purchase text that says text us a selfie with your new product, and if we use your photo on Instagram, we'll send you $20 off or something like that I generated probably five or six times more UGC than on any other channel combined.
I think people love seeing if you as a brand are able to share their photos. Personally I think that's a fun little moment for me as a user, so I think that is a great way to just get people hyped on things. And then also get them to be interested in purchasing more long-term.
A couple of other things that come to mind, is using the personalization thats available within SMS to really generate some sort of exclusivity.
For example, having people as soon as they purchase or receive their product, have them text the word VIP and we'll let them have early access to your next sale. Something of that nature gets people really excited, as people love being called a VIP whether they've purchased once or 20 times.
Lastly, and I think this has been mentioned by many people, is over probably the last year or so the percent of clients I work with that are using some sort of subscription has increased exponentially.
Like brands that I thought never could turn any type of product into a subscription are because they want that monthly recurring revenue that's so much more predictable. So you know t-shirt companies, bracelet
companies, things that are making some sort of fun like quarterly box kind or fabfitfun-esque experience.
I think any product more or less could have something like that, whether it's monthly or semi-annually.
Incentives are important when you are asking something of your customers. Give them an incentive to give that to you.
So one of the biggest tips I can give you today is to set up some sort of incentive to collect reviews or customer responses via surveys. So one thing that we love to encourage at Okendo is tiering those incentives so you can offer discount codes or coupon codes, or you can also offer loyalty points through some of our loyalty and referral partners. Setting those up and then tiering them based on the type of review you're looking to collect is important.
If you're looking to collect more UGC, people love scrolling through those videos and those photos of your products in every day settings. You could potentially offer a higher discount code or more loyalty points for that type of review to help collect more.
You can also set those incentives on the survey level, so if you have an on-site survey for
example you can offer a 10% off discount to complete that survey. It will also help drive a sale at the end of the day, and then you're also driving incremental revenue from someone returning after they've left a review.
They then have that coupon code, and are retuning and making another purchase, so it's really a win-win.
We do incentivize on NPS, and let me tell you the reason we incentive on NPS and not everything else. NPS
is actually a little bit harder to get, especially because I'm already asking a post-checkout survey. If they're talking to customer support maybe there's a reason. You want to bring them back for the NPS because that survey is going to tell you the entire experience.
With our Integrations, especially with ESP and SMS providers, we're able to help grow subscriber lists seamlessly. So when people enter in their email in a referral widget, they opt into future emails. And now, they're going into their marketing emails so it's not just about the referral, but it's about putting them into the brand's mix so that they can continue to service them and market to them and really educate that customer.
I think Jess you said it really nicely, it's not just about the customer it's about the user and it's about creating that seamless experience. When you're evaluating your tech stack, that should be a priority. It should be understanding if your technology tools integrate with one another, if all of these best of breed tech apps work with one another, because t the end of the day you do want to make sure that you're looking at that data holistically. And, that you're able to make decisions for your Postscript campaigns because of what you're hearing on Okendo, or you're making product recommendations with Rebuy because of the feedback.
We chatted about talking to your customers and communicating with them through the channel that they've expressed wanting to be communicated through, and that is also through those Integrations that you have. So it's super important.
I would add over here, super important when evaluating any technologies just how this is going to play with your existing stack. And it might cause you to question if your existing stack is the right one too.
You need to understand is this something that's going to be able to surface my reviews for UGC, is it something that's going to be able to take advantage of that data to have it work in the way that we want it to work too.
I think one thing Jess I love that you said is if you don't think that they integrate, force them to integrate. And I think that's so important and just advice I wish I had when I was on the brand side. Go to the SaaS providers that you're using and share creative ideas.
An example that I can think of is we had a brand that sells pet related products and we didn't have a
natural thing for pet name, as in that wasn't something we were pulling in because that's a very small percentage. But, we were able to create a custom property and then pull that into a message so we can say hey, Fido is now due for a refill, instead of referring to the owner's name.
There's always out-of-the-box creative ideas you can do that somebody else might not have. So going to your providers and and asking how they might be able to pull two things that seemingly might not really go together is really powerful.
What's your final tip for ensuring a seamless post-purchase experience?
We've talked a lot about personalizing things, my biggest hill that I'm gonna be on and the final tip is listen to your customers. Your customers are literally screaming at you, they are offering you information. If a customer is new or repeat, they can offer you so much information on what's going to push you for the future.
My biggest thing personalizing and listening to your customers, and creating a feedback loop wherever you can.
I would say that as part of the post-purchase journey, don't just think of it as the immediate completed purchase on what you're showing on the screen. It's about layering in what's on your invoice, what's on your packaging, and how do you remind that customer to come back to you. And, see if you have other products or other ways to earn discounts. Or other ways to refer people, or to write reviews, or provide UGC. Because closing that loop and touching them in every place will allow you to ensure that you get them to come back.
Leverage the data that you have existing, and get tools that can leverage that data to make the post-purchase experience better. Whether that's you know getting the right messaging there, getting the right products to those customers, or really just wanting to make it as frictionless as possible. Stay 10,000 steps ahead of the customer in that journey.
First, I have to Echo what Ivette said of that post-purchase experience, down to packaging. I've gotten packages from brands who I know are making $10, $20, $30 million dollars and it's so generic, and it's a total loss. But something you can recoup I would say with Postscript SMS is a really unique platform. I think that more brands could benefit from texting people like they text their friends. So taking advantage of the speediness and instantaneous communication tool that SMS is.
An example I would say is the Super Bowl is coming up. I'm hoping for a 49er Super Bowl myself and so texting during Super Bowl “Hey, who are you rooting for? Text back 1 for 49ers, text back 2 for whoever else might make it”, and then text them after the game like “I'm sorry your team lost but here's a discount code to make you feel better”. Or “Congratulations that 49ers won, here's our favorite red and gold products to celebrate the victory.”
That's really hard to do on other channels, but something that would take you know 10 minutes or less to whip up on text.
Obviously we've talked about it this entire webinar, the post-purchase experience is a highly engaged and really important channel in the customer journey so i would recommend setting up a post-purchase survey. It could be any type, but it's really important to use this channel to collect that data, whether that's through net promoter score or otherwise.