Keeping the conversation open: 6 ways to engage with customers post-sale

This is a guest post from Melinda Curle, a content writer at ReferralCandy, a referral marketing tool for eCommerce stores.

Once you’ve made a sale, it can be tempting to move on to new customer acquisition and repeat the process. But that’s short-sighted. Loyal customers are far more profitable than new customers. They tend to spend more money, and frequent your store more often. Therefore, it is essential that you continue to engage with your customers after a sale. In fact, it is one of the most profitable marketing activities that you can do!

When it comes to engaging with customers, email marketing campaigns are the most effective. Two thirds of customers have made a purchase as a result of email marketing. For every dollar spent in email marketing, it will generate $38 on average. This is a 3,800 percent return on investment.

Here are six ways that you can engage with your customers via email after a sale.

1. Send a thank you email

Everyone loves to be appreciated. A thank you email will leave a positive impression. It is a great way to show your respect and appreciation for the actions that the individual has taken—in this case, spending their money with your store.

Thank you notes are just as important to send to customers after sales as they are to send to your family and friends after receiving a gift. eCommerce marketing can sometimes seem like it’s all about optimization and automation. However, at the end of the day, building customer relationships comes down to connecting with people.

Thank you emails keep the personalization and human touch in an increasingly technological world.

According to the DMA, about 66 percent of eCommerce consumers have made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message. In the example above, above shoe company AllBirds lends a humorous touch to their thank you email with a dancing sheep and an on-brand pun. This helps to build a more personal relationship with customers.

Because post-purchase emails tend to be opened at a higher rate than other emails, they present a good marketing opportunity. Consider adding complementary products or a coupon code to your thank you emails to entice shoppers to purchase again.

2. Provide a product guide

Some products, like kitchen gadgets, computers, or phones can be a bit intimidating to new users. It is always helpful to have some instruction about how to use them.

Creating a guide for your customers can also give you the opportunity to introduce complementary products and make more sales. For example, someone who purchases an electric pressure cooker may also be interested in a replacement bowl in the future. You could include some helpful tips and recipes to go along with it and links to other helpful products.

You might think a guide like this is unnecessary if your products come with their own instructions in the box. However, it shows that you’re going the extra mile by providing additional value for your customers. You can also offer product instruction using methods that a printed pamphlet couldn’t (like video or a webinar).

Sharing product knowledge can also help to reduce the returns of a product. For example, if many consumers make a common mistake when using the product, you can point that out in a guide and help them avoid frustration.

FrameBridge, a custom art framing service, sends customers instructions on how to hang up their art. This type of instructional email helps their customers get the most from their purchase, reduces customer support, and increases loyalty.

3. Ask for reviews

Reviews help you to make sales. They provide social proof for your products, and customer trust them. 79 percent of customers trust a customer review as much as they trust personal referrals. Collecting reviews can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Asking for reviews in a post-purchase email shows your customers that you value their opinions.

To encourage customers to provide reviews, you can entice them with a discount or special deal, like free shipping on their next order. Be careful, though, because some marketplaces don’t allow incentivized reviews and if customers feel that your reviews are “bought,” they may not carry the same weight. Never reward only good reviews—if you do offer an incentive for reviews, make sure everyone who leaves a review gets it, regardless of the content. (Read more about incentivizing reviews at Jilt Learn.)

Reviews also provide your with valuable information about the quality of your products and whether your customers like them or not.

4. Request referrals

Referral marketing is extremely effective. Individuals are four times more likely to make a purchase when they receive a recommendation from a friend, according to Nielsen.

After you make a sale, customers tend to be in a good mood with regards to your brand. This is a great time to request a referral. They may be eager to share their latest purchase with their friends.

You can create referral promotions around holidays, anniversaries, and other themes. Direct-to-consumer eCommerce snack company NatureBox used the Super Bowl as promotion in the example below.

As you can see, NatureBox incentivizes their customers with $10 for giving their friends a 50 percent off coupon. People enjoy sharing products they love with their friends and family, and they enjoy earning discounts for sharing those products even more.

5. Cross-sell or upsell other products

Post-purchase emails also can focus on upsells and cross-sells. Alert them to the newest products you sell or offer recommendations based on their previous purchases.

Personalizing product recommendations based on a customer’s purchases is one of the best ways to maximizing profits from your upsells or cross-sells.

In the example above, you can see that they are recommending fun socks and shoelaces to the customer. For someone who has just purchased a pair of shoes, socks and fun laces are a useful upsell based on their buying behavior.

6. Invite to a customer loyalty program

Customer loyalty programs are an excellent way to show your customers appreciation and to engage with customers after they have made a purchase. This is popular with small businesses, where punch cards keep bringing customers back to earn reward. However, loyalty programs can work even better for eCommerce stores, because you have access to much richer customer data.

Chick-Fil-A’s customer loyalty program has been a huge driver of success. It has helped them beat out their competition in average sales per restaurant.

Chick-Fil-A’s loyalty program is simple. It rewards customers with points for each purchase. The customers can redeem the points for more food items at the restaurant.

The loyalty program is used to gather data and feedback from customers. Michael Lage, the manager of digital experience at Chick-fil-A, says that after customers complained about their initial point system, they used that feedback to completely revamp their loyalty program.

Keeping the conversation going

You don’t have to stop engaging with your customer after they have made a purchase. In fact, it is in your best interest to keep the conversation going, build a relationship, and continue selling to your customers.

Thank you emails, asking for feedback or reviews, and sharing your product knowledge all build trust with customers. When the time comes, they’ll happily check out your upsells and product recommendations. Building relationships is the key to turning one-time shoppers into long-term, repeat customers!