When it comes to online shopping, the holiday season reigns supreme. Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and general Christmas shopping, more people are going online to buy gifts for their friends and family. In fact, last holiday season, online shopping generated a record-setting $108.2 billion in revenue—almost a 15% increase from the 2016 holiday season.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of online shopping, you’d think running an eCommerce site was pretty easy, right? After all, nobody wants to deal with crowded malls and holiday traffic when they can order from the comfort of their own home.
But as the store owner, your job extends beyond helping the customer during their shopping journey. A large portion of your work should be spent not just attracting new customers, but also creating marketing and engagement campaigns that strengthen relationships with existing ones. And one of the best ways to boost retention rates is through post-purchase email marketing.
Why You Should Be Sending Post-purchase Emails
From a financial standpoint, it’s smarter for brands to retain the customers they have rather than seek out new ones. Not only is there a greater likelihood that existing customers will make repeat purchases, data shows retaining customers costs significantly less than acquiring new ones—as much as 25 times less in some cases.
What’s more, a study conducted by Adobe found that:
- Repeat customers spend more during the holiday season than other times of the year
- It takes between 5-7 new customers to generate the same revenue as a single repeat purchaser
- Repeat customers that have made two or more different purchases at your store are 9x more likely to convert than first-time visitors
Good customer retention guarantees the long-term success of eCommerce companies, which is why post-purchase emails should be an essential tool in every brand’s arsenal. Great for building brand loyalty, post-purchase emails get customers thinking about your brand even after their purchasing journey has been completed.
Post-purchase emails also help brands build meaningful relationships with their customers. Not only does this help boost revenue—ongoing communication makes it easier to provide quality customer support while gathering important feedback. In other words, sending post-purchase emails shows your customers that you value their relationship and want to keep the lines of communication open.
In this post, we’re going to look at different ways you can leverage post-purchase emails this holiday season to make sure your customers keep coming back.
Eight Ways You Can Use Post-purchase Emails Over The Holidays
One of the most popular ways that brands encourage customers to repeat purchases is by offering discounts. After all, who doesn’t like a good discount? While effective, discounted promotions aren’t the only way to entice customers. In fact, your first choice of action shouldn’t be to offer a discount, but rather to touch base with the customer and explore other ways to enhance their shopping experience.
If you’re looking for an actionable solution this holiday season, here are eight ways to get the most out of your post-sale emails.
1. Run an Abandoned Cart Campaign
Cart abandonment emails are a great way to reach out to customers without cutting into your profit margin. They let the customer know that you value their business and want to improve their purchasing journey. And when you consider that nearly three-quarters of shoppers abandon their carts at checkout, it’s evident that sending an abandoned cart email is an important step for preventing customer churn.
The content of your email will vary depending on your customer base and industry, but all effective abandoned cart emails contain these three components:
- Social proof: Nearly 90% of all consumers base their purchasing decisions on the reviews of others. Adding social proof in your abandonment email increases the likelihood that the customer will finalize their purchase.
- Loyalty points: Some brands offer discounts in their abandoned cart emails as a way to win over customers, but offering too many discounts eats into your profits and can water down your brand. If you reward customers with bonus loyalty points for recovering their carts, you’re working to build brand loyalty, which can turn one-time customers into repeat ones.
- Target the right product: Customers may abandon a cart filled with ten or more items, but they don’t really want all of those products. Find the product that you think they’re the most likely to buy and highlight that one in your email. This can be a product that has the highest ratings or it can be the one that best matches their buying persona. You can even use their past activity on your site to help you determine which item to promote.
The next time you notice a returning customer abandoning their cart, send them a simple follow-up email reminding them to complete their purchase.
2. Onboard First-time Buyers to Your Loyalty Program
Once a buyer has purchased something from your store, send them a post-purchase email asking them to sign up for your loyalty program. You can even boost conversions through scarcity by offering them bonus points if they sign up within the next few hours. Animal-inspired clothing manufacturer SpiritHoods successfully boosted their onboarding rates by 60% in a single month following this tactic.
Loyalty programs are one of the most effective ways eCommerce companies can encourage repeat customers. But simply handing out reward points on its own isn’t effective—you’ll want to develop a solid loyalty campaign that’s engaging and has rewards that customers want to receive.
Once customers have joined your loyalty program, send them emails informing them of:
When should you send these? It’s a good idea to automate reminder emails so they send around important time-based triggers, such as:
- When items are abandoned in a shopping cart
- When purchase hasn’t been made in more than four weeks
- Key moments (like their loyalty program anniversary or birthday)
3. Offer Buy One, Get One Free Deals for Specific Items
Believe it or not, offering buy one, get one free deals (BOGOs) can save you more money than running discounts. Not only is getting something free more exciting than buying something on sale, customers can get used to discounts (and not want to buy items at original price. )
In short, BOGOs are perfect for driving sales and tie in nicely to post-sale campaigns. All you need to do is send a post-purchase email to customers offering them a buy one, get one free deal.
An easy way to do that is by offering BOGOs with specific products that make good gifts. For example, when a customer buys a product that’s part of your BOGO campaign, you can send them an automated follow-up email saying: We see you’ve bought X, which makes a great gift for friends and family members. Is there anyone else you know who’d enjoy this gift this holiday season? For a limited of time, you can buy two more for the price of one!”
Just keep in mind that this type of marketing strategy only works well with products that customers would want to buy more than one of.
4. Ask for Product Reviews
We’ve already touched on the power of social proof. Approximately 90% of customers use it to help them decide whether they’re going to purchase a product or not. If you aren’t already collecting testimonials and reviews, start using post-sale emails to get feedback from customers.
Along with getting testimonials and endorsements, product review emails let you:
- Learn more about what customers like and dislike about your products, your marketing campaigns, and your website. You can use this information to improve weaknesses in your business strategy and strengthen your brand image.
- Feedback-related emails let customers know that you value their input. They’re ideal for strengthening the relationship between customers and your store, which is important for building brand loyalty.
When collecting feedback, it’s important to remember that both positive and negative reviews are important. One is a powerful tool that converts prospective buyers, while the other lets you know which areas you should work on improving.
And there’s no better time to get honest reviews than the holiday season when people are busy buying gifts. Customers tend to be more honest in their reviews when they’re purchasing gifts rather than buying something for themselves.
5. Upsell Whenever Possible
The average customer wants to get the most bang for their buck. And unless they’re on a strict budget, many customers are even willing to spend a little more money if they know they’re getting a good deal.
But how do you upsell in a post-sale email? It’s not as hard as you may think.
Before the customer’s product ships, send them an automated email asking them if they want to upgrade their purchase. How you choose to upsell depends on the products your company offers.
- If you sell computer products, you can ask them whether they want to buy additional RAM or a faster processor.
- For health and wellness products, try getting them to buy a premium version of the same product, like name brand supplements instead of brand X.
- If you sell holiday baskets, offer them upgrades on the contents included (like more expensive chocolates, decorated cookies, or premium cheeses.)
Your objective should be to get them to switch to a similar product that costs more money. But remember, time is of the essence. You don’t want to leave too large of a window between your upselling attempt and the product’s shipping date, as customers will think you’re causing unnecessary delays.
6. Send a Follow-up Email with Cross-sell Recommendations
Cross-selling works the same as upselling, but instead of getting the customer to upgrade the product, you’re selling them something that complements their original purchase. This works well during the holiday season because it takes some of the legwork out of hunting down the perfect gifts for people on their lists.
Some example of cross-selling emails include:
- Recommending an aftershave or scented lotion to a customer who recently purchased perfume or cologne.
- Selling cases or covers to a customer who purchased a smartphone.
You can also decide to send a cross-sell recommendation based on the shopper’s purchasing history. This type of post-sale email doesn’t have to follow an immediate purchase. Instead, it can be sent to the customer at a time of your choosing.
However, you may want to wait until after the holiday season to send cross-sell emails that don’t immediately follow customer purchases. Why? Because many people don’t buy luxuries for themselves during the holidays when budgets are tight…and also because they’re waiting to see what they get during the holidays.
7. Give Customers a List of Popular Gift Ideas
Some people have a knack for buying the perfect gifts, while others struggle to find something that their friends and family will love. Emailing customers a list of popular gifts is a great way to reach out to the shoppers who have no idea what gifts to buy.
You can even target the last-minute shoppers specifically by suggesting a list of popular gift ideas, in addition to highlighting various expedited shipping options. This is also a great opportunity for you to remind customers that you sell gift cards as well, which is perfect for targeting those shoppers who are really late with buying gifts.
8. A Standard Thank-you Email
Not every email you write has to be sent with the intention of boosting sales. Part of building a long-term relationship with your customers is letting them know you appreciate their support.
A cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign is engagement—whether it be email engagement or communication over social media. By sending a simple follow-up thank you message to your customers, you’re telling them that you value your current relationship and are looking forward to serving them in the future.
Maximize Your Email Campaign This Holiday Season
Did you know that emailed receipts often have open rates of 70% and click-through rates as high as 10%?
For this reason, receipts also can be used to engage your customers. While not technically a post-sale email, receipts are perfect for advertising your BOGO offers or encouraging first-time buyers to join your rewards program.
After all, most customers read their receipts because they want to verify their purchase. So it makes perfect sense to use this as another moment to boost conversions.
The holiday season is a great opportunity for eCommerce brands to reach out to consumers. During this time of the year, brands can use post-purchase emails to strengthen relationships with their customers and provide much-needed assistance through feedback, gift recommendations, and more.
Moreover, an effective holiday-themed post-purchase campaign can turn seasonal shoppers into lifelong supporters. Not only does this translate to higher customer lifetime value, it also gives you the opportunity to connect with prospective customers who’ve learned about your brand through word-of-mouth recommendations.
For this reason, customer engagement and an optimized post-sales marketing campaign can be equally as valuable to your brand as traditional, pre-sales marketing.
Want to learn more about how to use email marketing to optimize your business without offering discounts? Check out this short video.