As we approach the golden quarter, Moritz Weisbrodt, Co-founder of Alaiko, reveals some key ways to provide a robust post purchase experience.
After an uncertain year for retailers, the upcoming golden quarter, covering everything from Halloween to Black Friday to Christmas, promises an opportunity to maximize sales, earn customer loyalty and win more customers through referrals.
There is one thing that underpins all these targets that often gets overlooked among the noise – the post purchase experience.
A strong post purchase experience sets your business apart from the rest of the market by showing customers that you are there for them even after they have bought your items. This stage is just as important as attracting new customers, as repeat customers are some of the most valuable shoppers.
Here are five ways brands can ensure they deliver a strong post-purchase experience this golden quarter.
1. Deliver a good shipping experience
The festive season is busy for everyone, including couriers. This means that sometimes slower deliveries and holdups are unavoidable. To minimize any potential negative fallout from this, practise strong communication and send automated updates where possible.
While brands have little control over the speed of delivery, you can implement automated systems that flag potential issues such as incorrect addresses. This prevents a delivery from going wrong from the outset by preventing unnecessary mis-deliveries, and reduces strain on your customer service systems as customers try to find their order.
2. Never leave your customers asking, ‘where’s my order?’
Proactively communicate and update customers at every stage possible. Customers appreciate communication and transparency, especially after they have already spent the money. One way to achieve this is to automate communication throughout the delivery process, so that your customers always know where their order is and when to expect it – via email and by linking them to a tracking page within your shop. Here, they can see order updates on demand, and you can enrich that page with additional product recommendations or other marketing campaigns. Equally, after their order arrives, send a follow up email or text. This prevents them from having to turn to customer service for inquiries – freeing the team’s time for other important support tasks.
This communication is important to customers, and in our experience over 70% of emails updating customers on an order are opened, which also means it’s a great opportunity to embed advertising.
3. Personalize it!
As many businesses try to win new customers for Christmas gifts and Black Friday bargains, focusing on existing customers can set you apart from the crowd. Existing customers are more likely to recommend your products and spend more on purchases. The best way to maintain repeat custom and increase loyalty is to promote upcoming deals in advance, or even offer a special pre-sale for existing customers. This can be done within tracking and automated post-purchase emails.
4. Simplify returns
For retailers, returns are expensive, but for customers they are invaluable and a significant determinant of their post purchase experience. To minimize returns, ensure that product descriptions are accurate and contain as much information as possible. Measurements, pictures in multiple lights and customer reviews all contribute to helping customers make the best decision for them.
For a seamless returns experience, an integrated returns portal allows customers to manage the process themselves. Alternatively, ensure information is easily accessible to customers, from returns labels to deadlines. Offer direct exchanges, so when a shopper initiates a return they can select a new item, for instance getting a size up or down. This prevents the loss of a sale and is convenient for customers. Offering multiple options for sending their returns, such as different drop off locations or collections, is both more convenient for customers and also speeds up the return itself, saving you money.
5. Ask your customers for feedback
Asking customers for feedback makes them feel valued, helps you make better decisions and can improve the shopping experience for both new and existing customers. When retailers inquire about feedback, especially return reasons, customers feel that their opinion is important, and become aware that processes are constantly being improved, which contributes to long-term customer loyalty.
Striving to deliver a positive post-purchase experience makes your customers feel valued, and sets you apart from the crowd. In the busy season, this is more important than ever. A great shopping experience on Black Friday could translate into repeat purchases at Christmas or beyond and countless recommendations to friends.
About the Author
Moritz Weisbrodt is Co-founder of Alaiko.