Season’s greetings: how to perfect your post-purchase communication strategy in time for Christmas

Phil Hearing on Unsplash
  • Written by Shipup CEO Agop Ashjian

Imagine it’s Christmas and everywhere you look there’s a rush of people making purchases, wrapping gifts, and eagerly waiting for their online orders to arrive. In the thick of it all, retailers are facing a real challenge – not just to sell, but to keep customers coming back. Especially now, when budgets are tight and shopping smart is the norm, how we keep in touch with customers post-purchase is crucial.

First impressions

Let’s chat about the first purchase. A customer makes an online order. The wait for delivery begins. It’s not just about the product; it’s about the brand making its first impression. A smooth, on-time delivery? That’s a good start! But we all know that during busy times, like the festive season, this doesn’t always happen.

Our recent study uncovered something pretty straightforward but vital: keeping shoppers informed is key. A big chunk of shoppers (38 per cent) won’t return after a bumpy post-purchase ride. They can handle delays, but they want to be in the know. For 80 per cent, receiving timely alerts on where their order is matters a lot, and 57 per cent expect instant heads-up on any delays.

But the journey doesn’t end after the delivery arrives. Keeping up communication with post-purchase emails can gently nudge a customer towards buying again. A hefty 80 per cent of shoppers say they need a good, if not excellent, post-purchase experience to consider coming back. A smart post-purchase plan doesn’t just tick boxes; it keeps customers smiling and opens doors to make them loyal fans.

While 26 per cent of shoppers always open their post-purchase emails and 29 per cent open them most times, a surprising 25 per cent don’t get any follow-up from retailers. That’s a massive gap and a missed shot at building a lasting connection that turns one-time shoppers into regulars.

Subject matter

Diving a bit deeper, what do customers want to see in those emails? Our study shows 46 per cent like seeing special deals or offers, 41 per cent want information on loyalty schemes, and 21 per cent appreciate suggestions on other products they might enjoy. Additionally, while 41 per cent believe customer reviews are vital when making shopping decisions, only 21 per cent contribute them. This discrepancy not only highlights but confirms a robust opportunity to encourage more customer feedback and interactions.

Being honest and saying sorry when things go wrong also goes a long way in keeping a customer. Our study shows that over half of shoppers (54 per cent) might give a retailer another shot after a bad experience if they apologise and offer a discount. A genuine apology and good customer service builds bridges and gives retailers a second chance. 

In the bustling holiday season, a message for retailers has emerged: post-purchase communication isn’t just a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have. The conversation shouldn’t stop at the buy button. If you continue the communication, ensuring customers feel valued and acknowledged, it’s likely they will become loyal customers, returning during Christmas and throughout the year.

Agop Ashjian is CEO at post-purchase experience specialist Shipup, which helps online retailers deliver consistent and proactive communication to inform customers at every stage beyond purchase;