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The 5 Post-Purchase Emails You Need to Send Your Customers


As a merchant, there are few things better than knowing you’ve just made a sale. That all the work you’ve put into acquiring a new customer has paid off. Knowing that your marketing efforts are working, you might be thinking that all you have to do is ship the order and then you can kick back, relax, and wait until the next order comes through. 

But while making a sale might be your endpoint, it represents the beginning of your relationship with your new customer. And when attracting new customers costs five times more than retaining existing ones, it’s a relationship you’ll want to nurture. 

The good news is that the relationship is easily nurtured with an automated post-purchase email campaign. All you need to do is set up the email flow once and then every time a customer makes a purchase, they’ll receive the emails that enhance their relationship with your brand and  keep them coming back. 

So what are the emails you should have in your post-purchase automation? Well regardless of what you sell or whether it’s a repeat customer or first time buyer, we’ll cover the five emails every merchant should include in their post-purchase series.

Email 1: The order confirmation

It might seem obvious, but the first email you should send a customer right after purchase is an order confirmation. 

Immediately upon completing their transaction, customers will go straight to their inbox to make sure that everything went through smoothly. To give them peace of mind, and reduce the number of people reaching out to you, ensure you send an order confirmation email automatically. 

Fortunately, these transactional emails are easy to enable on ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce.

Within your confirmation email template, you’ll want to make sure you include the following details:

  • An order number
  • The time of purchase
  • Descriptions of what was purchased (ideally with product images)
  • Billing summary including an itemized breakdown, total amount paid and tax
  • Shipping details including
    • When the order is expected to arrive
    • The address it will be delivered to
    • Ideally also a means to track the order

The email below from Burst is a great order confirmation example.

Post-purchase emails - Burst - order confirm

Note the clear call-to-action (CTA) to view the order details. This is something you’ll want to replicate. 

Even though there are no shipping details, the email clearly explains that they will be forthcoming when the order has shipped. This is absolutely fine to do if you don’t have the information available straight away. 

For more inspiration, check out examples of order confirmation emails here

Email 2: The thank you for your purchase email

After your customer has received their order, it’s a nice touch to send an email thanking them for their purchase. 

Doing so shows your customer that they’re not just buying from a faceless website, but that there are people behind your brand who care about their experience. 

When setting up this email, it’s a good idea to segment out first time buyers and return customers. If it is someone’s first purchase, in addition to thanking them you might also want to mention your loyalty or rewards program. This is a great way to incentivize making that all important second purchase. If you don’t have a loyalty program set up, you should get onto it. 

For repeat customers, you don’t want to be sending the same message after every purchase. Especially if you decide to include a voucher or coupon code as a thank you, you’ll only do it once or twice, otherwise you’ll set the expectation to receive one after every purchase. 

Instead, as a customer’s order count increases, you should consider sending a more general “thank you for your support” email. In it you can talk about how you appreciate them being such a loyal customer. The email below from Abercrombie & Fitch is a great example of exactly this.

Post-purchase emails - Abercrombie and Fitch - thank you

For additional inspiration, check out more examples of thank you for your purchase emails here

Email 3: Product review request

After your customer has received their purchase, it’s a good idea to check in with them to see how their experience is going, such as what Bellroy does in their post-purchase email.

Post-purchase emails - Bellroy - order review

By asking for an honest review, you’re able to identify any issues with your product or sales experience. 

It might seem surprising, but a lot of customers will remain quiet if they’ve only experienced a relatively small issue. Often it’s not worth their hassle to reach out to you. But by actively reaching out and fixing any issues, your customer will become much more loyal in the long term than had you done nothing. 

It also helps prevent future customers from experiencing the same issues. 

Of course, this is assuming you’ll receive negative feedback, which hopefully won’t be the case! 

If you instead receive positive feedback, put that to good use by asking them to review you on a public platform. Few things will quell any doubts a potential customer may have better than seeing plenty of positive reviews from other shoppers. 

Email 4: Product recommendations

One of the reasons existing customers are more profitable is because you have an idea of what your customer is interested in. You can take advantage of this in your email marketing by setting up a product recommendation campaign.

Product recommendation emails can take two forms: personalized recommendations from machine learning, or an automated cross-sell based on the originally purchased product.

With personalized recommendations, your email app (if it supports product recommendations) will automatically choose the products for you. You just need to decide whereabouts in the email to include the products.

Alternatively, you can choose to set up your own cross-sell email flows where you manually choose what to recommend based on what product your customer has purchased. This can be particularly beneficial when you have a small catalog of items which leave recommendation algorithms lacking the data they need to make reliable predictions. 

Dollar Shave Club does a great job of this by cross-selling a toiletries bag to people who purchased razors.

Post-purchase emails - Dollar Shave Club - upsell

Obviously, it’s not practical to set up a dedicated cross-sell email automation for every product in your store if you’ve even got a moderately sized catalog.

Instead, you might want to focus on setting up recommendations at the product category level. The Dollar Shave Club email probably goes to everyone who’s purchased only a set of razors as it pairs well with any of the ones they sell.

The other option is to only set up a few cross-sell recommendations for your best sellers and use personalized product recommendations for purchasers of other products. 

Email 5: Replenishment reminder

Every product has a lifecycle. Some longer than others, but eventually most products need to be either replaced or refilled. 

If the products you’re selling typically have a lifespan of anything less than a couple of years, then you should be setting up an email to remind customers to place another order.

For example, if you sell pet food in packs that typically last a month, a month after someone purchases a pack, you send an email asking whether they’re running low. 

Of course, it’s not just pet food that leads itself well to replenishment emails. Office supplies, arts and crafts, makeup, cleaning supplies, supplements, baby formula and medicines are all perfect examples of such products.

Even something like snacks that you think people only buy as a once-off, can still do with a replenishment reminder. Just like this one from Graze.

Post-purchase emails - Graze - restock

Your own post-purchase email series

These five emails provide the basis of a great post-purchase series. But that doesn’t mean you need to stick with only these particular emails. 

Your store is unique and as such you should modify your post-purchase campaign to suit your unique brand and style of messaging. 

Maybe you’ll want to add a few emails to tell people about your brand and why you started your store. Or maybe you’ll want to recommend more of your best sellers. 

Whatever you decide to send, as long as it’s engaging and relevant, you’ll improve your customer retention rate and get more repeat purchases–all with minimal work. 

There’s not many things better than that.

Build the ultimate customer engagement email campaign

Learn how you can make your own campaign to supercharge engagement

This article was written by Aaron Wiseman, content writer and marketing coordinator at SmartrMail. SmartrMail is an app that makes it easy to send emails your customers love and get more sales.

This article originally appeared in the Smile.io blog and has been published here with permission.

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