Why are post-purchase email sequences important?
Because we are convinced that e-mails can play a major role (as well as logistics, unboxing, etc.) in the post-purchase experience of your customers, we have prepared an article that reviews best practices and tips.
We will go into more detail on the two types of e-mails (and e-mail sequences) that can occur after an order, and we will try to share with you as many tips as possible so that you can increase the satisfaction, and mechanically the lifetime value, of your customers.
Post-purchase emails: transactional vs. promotional
While both transactional and marketing emails can be sent in response to a customer action, it is important to differentiate them.
As a general rule, a trigger-based e-mail that aims to convey essential information to the customer rather than to generate sales can be considered a transactional e-mail.
Another important distinction between marketing and transactional e-mails is that the later don’t require that a person subscribed or opted-in to receive e-mails from you.
Even if a customer has unsubscribed from marketing emails, they expect to receive transactional emails concerning their purchases or account administration activities.
For this reason, emails marked as transactional in your CRM (Klaviyo, Sendinblue, etc.) will still be sent to the deleted recipients.
Transactional emails: post-purchase experience, order tracking
Good to know:
Bigblue's branded tracking emails have an open rate of 75%, 3 times more than traditional marketing emails (with a 25% open rate). They are also opened 4x on average. You have the opportunity to add 4 touch-points with your customers and consequently, 4 more opportunities to create brand love.
The main goals: to increase customer loyalty with branded tracking e-mails, to increase sales by adding marketing campaigns directly in your follow-up emails, and finally, to reduce your support requests by giving contextual and accurate information on orders.
The 3 most popular order tracking emails
1. Purchase confirmation e-mail :
💡 Bigblue’s tips to craft the perfect order confirmation email:
- An obvious subject: [First name] your order [Brand] #[Order number] has been confirmed
- Thank your customer for their purchase.
- Add as much context information as possible:
- The order summary
- Give the ETA of the delivery
- Add the order tracking link
- How to contact you and what to do in case of problems or questions
- Add your branding for a better experience.
A nice branded post-purchase email helps show the customer that their buying experience is not over. The whole process doesn't stop at once.
2. Shipping confirmation:
This is a lost opportunity for many brands to do reassurance, upsell, and cross-sell by leaving the sending of follow-up emails to their carrier partners. The probability of selling to a customer who has already purchased is 60 to 70%!
💡 Bigblue tips for the perfect shipping confirmation email:
- Brand your tracking e-mails
- Give context:
- Your order has been assigned to X shipping partner
- It will be delivered to the following address
- Summary of products in the package
- Add tracking link
- Add your marketing campaigns:
- Add links to your social networks
- Add coupons on their next order.
3. Order delivery confirmation
The delivery experience can make you retain a customer, or it can negatively impact your brand image. As many as 28% of online consumers who have experienced an unpleasant delivery experience tell others about it.
The order confirmation email is an excellent opportunity to measure buyer satisfaction. If it goes well, you have the opportunity to talk to your customers when they are satisfied. Brands that work with Bigblue have a 94.3% customer satisfaction rate.
On the other hand, it will allow you to be responsive and show that you are willing to go out of your way to resolve issues. This is an opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer into an ambassador, 97% of consumers are sensitive to service recovery.
💡 Bigblue tips for the perfect package delivery confirmation e-mail :
- Provide contextual information about the delivery: "the package was delivered to your building’s doorman".
- Ask how the delivery went?
- Summary of products in the package
- Give a way to contact you in case of problems
- Add your marketing campaigns:
- Offer complementary products.
- Ask your customers to post a picture on social media
Promotional emails: post-purchase experience
In addition to maximizing the customer experience, post-purchase sequences are designed to increase the average basket, the re-purchase rate of your customers, as well as the lifetime value of those customers.
Lifetime Value = Total spent by a customer since the beginning of the relationship.
We distinguish two types of objectives on the transactional side: to push for an immediate repeat-purchase (in the days following the first order) and to push for a re-purchase over a longer period of time.
1. Reorder immediately (under 15 jours)
Regarding immediate repeat purchases, upsell and cross-sell sequences will aim to increase the order value of the customer in the days following the first order.
Some e-merchants using this type of sequence have an essential asset to drive their acquisition: if you are sure that 5% of customers place a second order thanks to these flows, you can increase your acquisition budget proportionally.
Post-purchase upsell flow: 5 to 10% more orders
This flow is not widely used, but it is an extraordinary margin lever, customers like it!
The concept is simple: it consists in asking customers to order again under 24/48h in with a discount (additional or not, where we just say take advantage of the current offer). Having no acquisition cost to bear, or even no delivery cost in some specific cases (if the 2 orders can be joined), we will then be able to propose an attractive (and reasonable) offer to our customer, while maintaining a very interesting margin.
From the consumer's point of view, it’s a great experience: she can add products at a lower cost. This allows you to convert a part of the customers who had hesitated to place a larger order.
From the e-merchant's point of view, it is interesting because you have already "paid" your customer.
The goal is to achieve a conversion rate of between 5 and 10%. At EmailClub, we see an average of around 8%, with a margin rate of around 50% (including discount).
Below is an example of a post-purchase upsell flow on which we A/B tested two sequences. 5% conversion on the first email! A little more than 7% in total!
Another example below of a post purchase flow over 2 days, where the winning variation (left) converts at 7%. The proposed promotion is 10% higher, which translates into a much better conversion, from the first email.
If you decide to set up such a flow, we advise you to AB test different combinations until you find the promotion / branding / margin formula that suits you best.
Cross-sell e-mail sequences
As its name indicates, this flow aims to present complementary products, in order to make your acquisition costs profitable as soon as possible, but also to make your customers discover as many products as possible.
For example, a food supplements brand whose best-seller is protein powder will take advantage of this flow to highlight protein bars, etc... Whether or not the customer buys in this flow, you will benefit from presenting additional products.
Be careful not to send too many e-mails. If you set up 2 flows, make sure that they are as short as possible.
If you have to choose only one, we recommend the post-purchase upsell flow, which tends to give better performance (7-8% on average compared to 4-5% for a not too intrusive cross-sell).
If you already have an upsell in place, we advise you not to put in a cross-sell, or at least to shift it to come after the post-purchase upsell flow.
Because of the nature of this flow, it can be important to prepare different paths according to the products, for the most relevant recommendations.
Below is an example of a flow to set-up:
The example of a purchase of a protein powder box:
- Trigger condition according to the products purchased, identify the 2-3 best-sellers and make a dedicated flow very relevant to them, then put the rest in a general flow.
- In the case of our protein seller, we will segment according to the presence or not of proteins, or complementary products to avoid redundancy.
- D+7: cross-sell 1: the most complementary product with the one purchased (protein bars)
- D+14 : cross-sell 2 : the "additional" product most appreciated by your customers (the protein spread)
- D +21 : cross-sell 3 : the technical product, to go further (vitamins x and y)
2. Buy again in the long-term
The classic repeat purchase flow
Warning: this flow looks very different if you sell vacuum cleaners or solid shampoo.
In the case of a solid shampoo, we adopt a strategy of repeat business and therefore we find it abnormal that the customer does not come back. We will do everything we can to satisfy them and make them come back.
It is important to send emails at the right time: if a shampoo runs-out after 30 days, we advise you to send a repurchase email three weeks after the purchase and not the next day. The difficulty lies in finding harmony between the functioning of a sequence and its product.
The idea is to do everything possible to get it right, because we know that this will mechanically increase our chances of having a satisfied customer who will repurchase and/or talk about it around him.
Never underestimate the positive consequences of customer satisfaction.
This is the time to be creative, to take risks to create a memorable and positive experience.
Example of a simple, non-intrusive post-purchase flow (Thanks Ubac for letting us share this flow with you. Go check out their shoes they are amazing ❤️).
2 days (onboarding): why and how (if the product can be maintained, how to do it)
Example: how to maintain your shoes:
7 days: follow-up and invitation to join social networks.
Example: invitation to follow on Instagram
21 days: cross sell with promo code
Example: thank you promo code following the order (one of the only ways to get a code for the first order)
28 days : Reminder of the promo code (valid for 7 days, so last day)
60 days: a backstage e-mail, a mission e-mail
Example : focus association
90 days : Taking feedback
Example : invitation to google review following the late creation of the page (90d)
The reactivation flow
Concerning this flow, it is important to ask yourself a question regarding your product typology, and its natural recurrence: whether you sell televisions or a solid soap, you will have very different recurrence needs.
So build your strategy according to your product, so as not to disturb your customer, and bring him a maximum of value!
Note: if you are using Klaviyo, using the "experts date of next order" trigger may be a good choice once you have accumulated enough data on your customers' recurrence behavior!
To set up this flow, nothing could be simpler: this flow must start from a date when you consider it abnormal that the customer has not placed an order, and its purpose is to convert all the customers who were about to disappear from our active base.
This flow is particularly adapted to personalized promo codes: if your customer has not placed an order for X amount of time, you are ready to make a gesture to win him back.
Regarding its structure, you can make a single simple flow, which will be received by your customers each time they enter the scenario (hasn't ordered for X days). If you have more time to devote to it, we advise you to create several different versions, so that your customer does not receive the same email twice.
The number of emails will vary from several factors: if you send many weekly campaigns, 1 to 3 emails will be enough. If you don't do campaigns, you can increase this number.
Below is an example of a 5 email reactivation flow, where we alternate 5 paths:
Bonus: the birthday purchase flow
At EmailClub, we believe that contacting a customer for his birthday is a bit outdated... Indeed: not only does your customer not necessarily want to tell you his birthday, but you can agree that it is not very original. You will then find yourself between an e-mail from his bank, his insurance, and the loyalty card he doesn't use all year...
On the other hand, a birthday that we really like is the anniversary of their first order! Indeed, it is a unique moment, which links you both!
It's an opportunity to remind your customer of good memories, and all the pleasure he had with your products. As a bonus, it's the perfect time to offer a coupon code, to encourage him to order again! (see according to the life of the product).
Example of a first order anniversary email (Thanks Ubac).
Installing an order anniversary sequence will allow you to stand out, but also to build an intimate relationship with your customer, showing them how important they are to you!
Post-purchase e-mail sequences in summary
As you can see, post-purchase emails have a considerable impact on your buying experience (and your recurrence).
When developing your strategy, take into account your product type, which will greatly influence it.
This article is part of a series of articles co-authored with EmailClub. Q4 has taken its toll on our weekly rhythm but here we are again.
See you next week for the last episode of this series of articles dedicated to e-mail marketing.