This is a guest post from Laura Narusyte. Laura is the SEO manager of Omnisend, where she increased Omnisend organic traffic by 300% in 12 months.
When used correctly, email can be your most cost-effective medium to turn first-time shoppers into loyal customers. As sellers, you have much more to gain by nurturing your existing customers than by focusing all your efforts on securing new ones.
Of course, all repeat customers were first-time buyers at some point, so that’s not to say spending on new acquisitions isn’t important. But according to a study led by the Boston Consulting Group, the cost to convert a new customer is as much as 5 times the cost to retain one.
Additionally, data gathered by Bain & Company reveals that returning customers spend approximately 33% more than first-time buyers. Its impact on a company’s bottomline is so significant that a mere 5% increase in customer retention leads to at least a 25% increase in overall profits.
The key to using email for customer retention is to treat every completed purchase as an opportunity to restart the customer journey. That means amplifying your post-purchase emails so buyers don’t just drop off and churn. Here are the best ways to use post-purchase emails for that purpose.
1) Order Confirmation
Since it’s a transactional message, marketers tend to overlook the value of order confirmation emails. But according to Omnisend’s Marketing Automation Statistics Report, these emails actually enjoy the highest open rates (58.32%) and click rates (18.69%). Although their order rates are fairly low at 0.94% (welcome emails enjoy 3.02% order rates on average), their impressive open and click rates should be enough for marketers to use them to cultivate enough trust that customers become open to start thinking about their next purchase.
Here’s an excellent example of a good order confirmation email:
This email starts with a brief message of thanks and a confirmation that the customer’s order is being processed. It also contains a summary of the order accompanied by an image, so the recipient can easily recognize their purchase.
Additionally, the email has a breakdown of payments made, which is always a critical part of gaining a customer’s trust. Lastly, it shows billing and shipping details as well as a link to access more information on the order. To make this an even more powerful email, you could include some product recommendations, which could be easily done using a good email marketing platform.
2) Shipping Confirmation
When you’re ordering from a store for the first time, you tend to be a little antsy until the items are actually in your hands and in good condition. Consider that feeling as you prepare your shipping confirmation emails specifically to try to ease your customers’ worries.
Check out this shipping confirmation template from Fitbit:
This shipping confirmation template works primarily because it is concise and the brand’s playful personality shines through. Plus, it has all the information needed to put the customer’s mind at ease. It contains a way to track the package and a summary of the order. It also offers a way to reach the seller for any concerns about the order.
But perhaps the most important part of the email is an indication of how soon to expect the package. Even if you can’t provide a specific date, providing a duration is enough to manage your customer’s expectations.
Sending shipping updates is the only time you don’t need to worry too much about sending too many emails. Send one as soon as their package has shipped as well as when it has already been delivered. These are definitely welcome and will bring comfort to your buyers.
3) Thank You Message
A simple thank you message has a huge impact on your ability to build long-lasting customer relationships. You could send your thanks for specific transactions or for their general support and enabling you to achieve the level of success you currently enjoy.
Here’s an example of an outstanding thank you message from Bombas:
The best part about this thank you email is that it immediately brings the customer’s attention to the company’s mission of donating socks to homeless shelters. More than that, it highlights the recipient’s participation in fulfilling that mission. That shared success strengthens the customer’s bond with the brand.
Recipients are then faced with an incentive (discount code) to complete another purchase, which they are now more likely to use after being primed with good feelings about supporting the brand.
4) Feedback Gathering
Getting customer feedback is essential to providing excellent customer experiences. These valuable pieces of information allow you to gain insights not only on what you can improve about your products and services but also what you’re doing right.
Additionally, positive reviews can be used to drive sales as BrightLocal data shows that online shoppers typically read approximately ten reviews before feeling like they can trust a brand enough to make a purchase.
Here’s a good example of a feedback request email from Target:
The best thing about this feedback request email is that it is concise. It is designed to give the recipient the impression that leaving a review won’t take much effort, but will provide other shoppers with valuable information. Additionally, it asks customers for a chance to address any concerns they might have had with their order instead of leaving a negative review.
5) Product Recommendations
Sending personalized product recommendations to your customers is one of the best ways not just to boost engagement but encourage repeat purchases. Nowadays, email marketing automation software has innovative product pickers that populate email templates with recommendations based on data gathered from previous purchases and other interactions.
Here’s an excellent product recommendation email from Perigold:
This product recommendation email doubles as a cart abandonment recovery message. It starts by reminding the recipient of something they left in their shopping cart, with the intention of prompting the customer to proceed with the checkout process. But, to increase the likelihood of conversion, the email also offers a list of similar items that might finally prompt them to complete a purchase.
6) Rewards Program Updates
Running a rewards program is an incredibly effective way not just to retain customers but to encourage them to spend more on your business. According to InvespCRO data, the ability to earn rewards points influences how 69% of consumers select retailers to patronize. Plus, 50% have a tendency to spend more just to reach a higher tier within a rewards program.
Here’s a an example of how to use email marketing to make the most of your rewards program:
This email from Total Wine & More starts by letting you know that your level of patronage for their business is something to celebrate. It also details all the perks of the recipient’s current tier, with each perk contributing to their brand loyalty and likelihood to purchase again soon.
The email also shows how much the recipient can already redeem as a reward and how to redeem it, which further makes them more likely to shop again. Plus, it shows how many points they need to earn in order to reach the next tier. The promise of even better perks is typically enough to motivate customers to keep shopping.
7) Replenishment Reminders
Taking care of your goods and tracking them from one end to the other along your supply chain will help to manage your inventory.
Sending replenishment or restocking reminders is a good way to generate recurring income from sales of consumable products. The key to your success with this type of email is timing. Use your data to predict the best time to prompt another purchase and send them an email reminder that also makes it easier for them to checkout.
Here’s an excellent example of a replenishment reminder email from Fullscript:
In this email, the recipient is reminded of supplements they might need to continue taking and might soon run out of. Taking into account the time it takes to prepare and ship orders, Fullscript predicts the optimum time to send you a purchase reminder.
It also gives you easy access to your prescription as well as alternative ways to order. Additionally, it goes into detail about the benefits of ordering from them. So, not only are customers reminded of their need to replenish but also why that specific seller is the best source.
Repeat purchases have an undeniable direct effect on your revenue. But don’t forget about the indirect value it offers. InMoment data reveals that 75% of loyal customers will recommend your brand to their friends and family. Additionally, 61% are willing to go out of their way to buy from you, even if a competitor’s products are more easily accessible.
Given both the direct and indirect effects of customer loyalty to your bottomline, there’s no doubt that retaining customers should be one of, if not your top goal for your ecommerce email marketing strategy.
Thankfully, a well-thought-out post-purchase email series can cover the bulk of the work for you and keep the customer lifecycle going for as long as possible.