Every business should say “thank you” to its customers, including eCommerce stores. Though when you run an online store, you obviously can’t actually say “thank you” to customers as they exit your store, so the best way to thank customers is with a thank you email.
The purpose of a thank you email is to make your customers feel like you genuinely appreciate their relationship. You can thank them for anything—a purchase, their support, subscribing to your email newsletter, a Facebook like, or action that’s meaningful to your business.
Your thank you email, much like your thank you page, is a great opportunity to please your customers and drive more sales.
In a brick-and-mortar store, a customer pays and walks away with their product. They don’t have to worry that the store won’t fulfill its end of the bargain. (And even so, most store clerks say “thank you” to customers after the transaction anyway!)
But buying online comes with a certain amount of anxiety. Shopping may be an exciting experience, but your customers have to endure a delay between hitting the buy button and actually receiving and using the product. This means they crave reassurance that they’ll eventually receive their reward.
Saying “thank you” to your customers gives them a sense of satisfaction and demonstrates that you’re a not just a faceless corporation processing a transaction. It shows that you’re a company made of people who care about the job you’re doing and the products you sell. Your customers will develop a connection with your brand through their inbox, which makes them more likely to open your future emails.
In some cases, customers forward their thank you emails to friends and family—often do this to brag about their recent purchase. This means a thank you email is also a potential opportunity for you to reach new customers.
Most important, though, thank you messages are a way to begin building a relationship online that’s similar to the in-person relationships your customers have with brick-and-mortar brands. Customers expect a thank you when they pay at the register, and by doing the same, you tap into the confidence customers feel when they buy in-person.Thank you messages foster an online relationship that’s similar to the in-person relationships they have with offline brands. Click To Tweet
The beauty of a thank you message is that you can send it at any time throughout the customer lifecycle.
No one is offended by gratitude, so any time you prepare an email to your customers, consider if it’s a good opportunity to say, “Thanks.”
Nevertheless, it’s important to send emails at the right times. Here are a few times when it’s especially important to say, “Thank you.”
1. Right after a purchase
The most common time to send a thank you email is immediately after the customer makes a purchase. Some people call this the confirmation email or post-purchase email, but this email can also function as a “thank you” to customers. There is an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your customers by positioning your post-purchase confirmations as thank you messages rather than just sending them receipts.
It’s important to thank your customers after a purchase for three reasons:
- It makes them feel more comfortable about their purchase. Every eCommerce transaction comes with a little anxiety. A confirmation and thank you message in their inbox makes like feel like they’ve put a machine into motion.
- It gives them proof of the transaction for peace of mind.
- It puts the important information your customers might need all in one place—their purchase price, shipping estimates, a link to your refund policy, a way to get a hold of you if there’s a problem, etc.
Make sure to show genuine gratitude and try to validate your customer’s buying decision. If you sell pet toys, say something like, “Thanks for your purchase! Your best friend’s new friend is on the way!”
Since this type of email has an average open rate nearly five times that of bulk emails (meaning most of your customers will see it), it’s also a good place to create more value for your brand. (Read our full guide here: 8 techniques to squeeze more value out of your email receipts.)
2. After they subscribe to your email list
It’s a good idea to send your new subscribers something as soon as they sign up to your list. Saying “thank you” is perfect for the first email in your welcome series.
Keep this type of thank you email short and casual. The subscriber may be interested in your products, but they haven’t made a strong commitment yet. Thank them for their attention, educate them on the main benefits of your store or product line (your unique selling proposition) and invite them to contact you if they have any questions.
If you promised the new subscriber anything in return for their email address (like specialty content or a coupon), this email is the time to provide that.
At this point, it’s, important not to get pushy about making a sale. Do your best to provide value, not serve up a sales pitch.
3. At the end of a product’s life
You can predict when your customers will finish using certain products. You can turn your thank you email into a replenishment reminder to entice customers to make another purchase.
For instance, if you sell a 30-day supply of dog food, it’s smart to send a quick thank you email a month after the purchase. Show your appreciation, ask for feedback, and throw them a discount to buy again.
Naturally, this doesn’t work for every product. It’s nearly impossible to predict when a customer will need a new laptop or Christmas sweater. But if you can make an educated guess at when the customer will finish using a product, a thank you email can be effective.
4. When you hit certain milestones
A great time to thank customers is when your company reaches a special milestone, anniversary, or achievement. You might thank your customers when you hit a big number of Facebook likes, celebrate your company’s birthday, or achieve a charity goal.A great time to thank customers is when your company reaches a special milestone, anniversary, or achievement. Click To Tweet
Since these emails aren’t triggered by a customer’s action (like a purchase or sign up), they might feel interruptive to your customers. It’s important not to send them too often—not only do you run the risk of annoying them, you may devalue your milestones. If you’re constantly celebrating something, it makes your celebrations less important.
Don’t get too pushy with trying to make a sale in these emails, but if you can find opportunities to thank your customers for their support, they’ll feel like part of the team, and you’ll start to instill a sense of loyalty toward your brand. Don’t be afraid to get personal.
5. After the customer hits a milestone
Thank you emails are a great way to put a spotlight on your best customers. When customers reach shopping milestones with you—such as spending a certain amount of money, having shopped consistently with you for a certain number of years, or ordering a certain number of times—it’s a good idea to acknowledge them with a thank you email.
You can also tie this type of thank you email to other rewards and loyalty programs. If you have a loyalty program, members are already regularly receiving emails about rewards when they reach certain milestones, but you can take it further by triggering special thank you emails for personal events, like their one-year anniversary of membership.
6. After the customer receives the product
If you can track shipping, a great time to thank your customers is a few days after you know they’ve received the product and had a few days to use it.
This is an excellent email to offer some product support information. You might link them to a how-to guide or a video teaching them how to use, set up, or care for the products.
Upselling and cross-selling are effective in this email as well. Include any complementary products that go well with the customer’s recent purchase, especially reusable components they’ll need to get the most value out of their original purchase.
This is also a good email to request a product review. Thank the customer sincerely, ask them for their honest feedback, and link them to the page where they can leave their review.
Instead of sending a quick, “Hey, thanks!” try to squeeze some extra value out of your thank you emails. Here are a few ideas to build stronger relationships with your customers and drive more sales.
Include personal photos of you and your team
Gratitude is a personal gesture that should come from one person to another, but just text doesn’t feel personal. You can reinforce your gesture by including a photo of yourself or your team so your customers know the thank you comes from real people.
Be transparent about resolving problems
Some companies hide their customer service contact information and their refund/return policies because they don’t want customers to use those resources. You can please your customers by putting that information front-and-center. Customers who need it will appreciate your honest service. Customers who don’t need it will respect your transparency.
Promote offers and products
If you’re sending a thank you email in response to a customer’s purchase, it’s the perfect opportunity to offer them other promotions and products. Why? Because you know they’re comfortable buying from you.
A word of warning about including coupons in your thank you emails: Discounts are effective at encouraging customers to make future purchases, but there’s a chance they’ll set an expectation that every email should offer a coupon.
As it is, 70 percent of people report that they open brand email specifically looking for coupons. This effect is compounded if their initial purchase involved a coupon as well. They might be displeased if your future emails don’t include discounts.
Prompt them to create an account
You probably want your shoppers to create accounts on your website, but since 37 percent of shoppers abandon their carts if they’re forced to open an account, it’s best to leave this until after they’ve paid.
Your thank you email is a great time to prompt them to set up their account. It helps to offer some kind of incentive here, such as the ability to track their orders or take part in your affiliate program.
Ask them to connect with you on social media
If social media is a big part of your marketing strategy, ask them to follow your social media pages. If they were comfortable subscribing to your email list or buying a product, they shouldn’t have any reservations about viewing your social media posts.
Don’t ask them to follow you on a dozen platforms, just one or two your customers are most likely to use. (Truthfully, you shouldn’t be on a dozen platforms anyway.)
Deepen the relationship
Entice your customers to continue to engage with your brand by sending them other things they can interact with. This might be a discount for a future purchase, a piece of specialty content designed to solve one of their problems or information about how to get more value out of the product they already purchased.Entice your customers to continue to engage with your brand by sending them other things they can interact with. Click To Tweet
Here are some ways to get more value from your thank you emails:
- Ask for a product review (only if their purchase is immediately available, like something downloadable, otherwise they won’t have it yet to review).
- Ask them to complete a survey about their shopping experience.
- Ask them to fill out a form about their preferences so you can send them the right emails.
- Ask them to enter to join a giveaway or event.
Don’t be afraid to get personal
Remember, your customers want to interact with people, not brands, so make it clear that the thank you email is from a real person. You can do this by addressing the recipient by name and close the email with your real name and photo.
It’s also important to use language that appeals to that particular customer segment. This helps them trust you and accept that you know them well. Make them laugh, smile, or awww. You could even make them sad or angry if that’s appropriate for your brand.
Keep your thank you emails short
Even though your customers will appreciate thank you emails, they won’t devote much time to them. Avoid writing long or complex messages. Research shows that the right email length is about 100 words.
Furthermore, don’t go overboard with your gratitude. Saying thanks once or twice is appropriate. Saying it a dozen times and showering your customers with praise is creepy.
Simple gestures matter to your customers
Saying “thank you” may seem like a simple thing, but it matters to your customers. It shows them they’re more than just a transaction to you.
Thank you emails are one of the best ways to show that gratitude. If you follow our advice, you’ll design powerful thank you emails that strengthen your customers’ loyalty and drive more sales.