Once you've had that very first purchase from a customer, the journey to truly creating memorable experiences begins. Debatably, with a lot of brand focus on acquisition, the retention of shoppers is not given the same amount of attention. Here at Ometria, we know that a high customer retention rate is the key to more sales and increased loyalty.
In this post we discuss the reasons you may get in touch with a customer post purchase, and we'll soon follow with how to make those first purchase shoppers into returning customers..
The goal of writing this is to help you go about keeping first-time customers engaged by sending the right content at the right time; in other words, by using a brilliant customer lifecycle marketing strategy.
This is a great opportunity to encourage another purchase, especially if your brand sells any perishable or refillable items. After a shopper has bought the item, you can engage with them and note how long it may be before they need to replace it with another. These emails can be automated and sent to the customer around the time that they'll likely need a top up. You can calculate this by using the average time of repurchase across your entire customer base, As customer journeys continue to advance, using AI to conduct 'predictive replenishment' means that you can give customers what they want without them needing to ask. Using machine learning, AI is able to predict the average time of the individual shopper based on their previous purchases of the item.
A great example of this would be a beauty brand sending a post-purchase email to a customer who bought a face cream, a few weeks after their purchase. They could note that the cream may be running low and encourage them to purchase a brand new one.This small touch is a great way to create a personalised experience and enhance the overall customer journey. By taking into account the use habits of your shoppers, you make them feel understood and increase the likelihood of them wanting to spend money with you consecutively.
In an industry as competitive as retail, ecommerce brands should always acknowledge when a customer has chosen to spend their hard earned cash with them; so if you don’t say thank you in your transactional emails, it’s worth including it in a follow-up message. To work out the best time to send your follow-up message, you can use what we call ‘order gap analysis’, which you can read more about here.
Here are a few other content ideas to include in your post-purchase email:
- Cross-sell: Use a product recommendation engine to recommend items based on the product purchased; this could be based on the item itself, category or price-point. Likewise, if a customer has visited your website since making a purchase but not bought anything, you can base recommendations on the items browsed.
- Upsell: On the back of the point above, you could also promote any new products in your store that relate to the product purchased. For example, if a new shade of the lipstick range bought has been released, you could mention that.
- Refer a friend: Some brands show gratitude to a customer by offering them a “refer a friend” discount code. This is something Papier does really well, as demonstrated in the example below:
- Loyalty Scheme: If you have a have a loyalty programme, you could also get in touch to say: “You’ve earned [X] amount of points following your purchase.”
- Content related to the purchase: As we all know, good, quality content is one of the most important marketing tools today, so if you have an in-house blog or magazine with posts relating to a purchase, it’s worth including it in your follow up emails: These can include:
- Care instructions
- Encouraging a repeat purchase if a replenishable item was purchased
- How items can be styled
- The story behind the item for more one-of-kind gifts
Any brand that wants to keep improving both its products and its customer service should be asking customers for feedback. Brand new customers are no exception—they might even have some thoughts on your brand that you’ve never come across before. This can be a great way to strengthen your brand and its story into one that resonates with shoppers. You can also use reviews as a way to tie together the offline customer journey. Following a customer's purchase, you can encourage them to share what the experience was like in your brick-and-mortar store.
Looking a little further down the line, anniversary emails are a great excuse to get in touch with a first-time customer, especially if they have not repurchased in all that time.
- Anniversary of first purchase
Customers want their loyalty celebrated and what better way than to acknowledge how long they have chosen to continue shopping with you. By sending an email on the anniversary of their first purchase, alongside an incentive to make a purchase, you create a memorable customer experience and further align them with your brand by making them feel valued.
- Birthday emails
Birthday emails are equally as easy to send, and go a long way with customers—especially if you include their name, personalised product recommendations and/or a discount.
For obvious reasons, finding out a customer’s date of birth is critical here. This can be done either during the newsletter sign-up process, or by sending out an email asking recipients to include their DOB in their account settings. Fancy some birthday email inspiration? Check out this blog post.
As noted in our blogpost, it is much more costly to focus on acquisition without an equal effort being placed on retention. Customers lapsing means that they feel your brand no longer offers a service they can't do without out. A great win-back opportunity create a chance to remind customers not only of the value your brand adds but why you value them as a customer. Using personalised product recommendations based on their last purchase or browse history, you can win them over by showcasing the importance they have to your brand and your ability to craft a personalised experience that matches, and may even surpass, what they are experiences in their day to day with brands such as Netflix, Deliveroo and of course, Amazon.
- Ask them where they’ve been or tell them you miss them
- Remind them of the key benefits of shopping with your brand
- Include a win-back offer to incentivise a repeat purchase as a last resort
To conclude this post, here are a few best practices when it comes to reaching out to a customer after their first-purchase that can be applied to all of the above:
- Whilst we have focused primarily on email in this blog post, you can target first-time customers via social media as well, using custom audiences. This is particularly true if your email marketing does not appear to be working.
- The thing about a post first purchase strategy is that you need to respond to it in real-time should something change:
- 💡 If a customer makes a second purchase, cancel any campaigns focusing purely on the first one. Likewise, cancel any lapsed campaigns. You will need access to all of a customer’s data - across multiple touch points - in order to know if and when they’ve made a purchase. For example, if a customer makes a second purchase offline, it’s still incorrect to send them an email asking where they’ve been.
- 💡 Likewise, be careful not to cross-promote any items a customer might have bought in-store or shortly before your follow up email is due to go out.
- 💡 Look at all of your customer’s behavioural data to check whether they are interacting with your brand, even if they’re not purchasing. You can then tailor this information to your post-purchase emails. For example, if a customer has been looking at a dress from your brand on Instagram, it doesn’t make much sense to ask them where they’ve been and tell them you miss them (as, technically, they’ve still been engaging).
For more on making the most of every touchpoint in the customer journey, download our download "The advanced guide to automation", to see a step by step of the 8 campaigns you should be sending throughout the customer journey and how to maximise the impact of your marketing in each of them.