Customer Loyalty

5 Ways To Own Your Post-Purchase Customer Experience

Anastasia Fullerton
January 21, 2022

Every year thousands of retail companies thrive or die based on their ability to retain customers. Data from Semrush shows that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%, while for new customers it’s only between 5-20%. However, customer retention often takes a back seat to its flashier cousin — customer acquisition.

It begs the question: in a world where customer retention has such high potential business value, why do companies devote so much time, money, and effort toward getting customers but so little on keeping them?

To increase brand loyalty, drive referrals, and encourage repeat purchases, you must go beyond providing a stellar shopping experience from start to finish — e-commerce companies must find ways to add value through the post-purchase process long after the initial sale is complete.

Here are five simple ways companies can own and improve their post-purchase process to create a more memorable experience, nurture brand loyalty, and increase customer retention.

Delight customers with post-purchase freebies

Many companies use discounts or freebies to generate sales, but these gifts are even more impactful when used as part of the post-purchase experience.

Gifts after purchase are a great way to say thank you to customers and can go a long way toward increasing brand loyalty while improving rebuy rates. In fact, a study from Harris Interactive found that almost 90% of customers reported they were more likely to repurchase from the same company after receiving a free gift.

Not only do post-purchase gifts put a smile on your customers' faces, but they're also an excellent way to showcase your other products and services to someone who's already bought into your brand.

Here are a few types of freebies that can delight customers and enhance your post-purchase experience:

  • Samples of another product
  • A free trial for a related service
  • A branded gift
  • A discount code for a future purchase

Package physical gifts, such as a product sample or branded item, in your customer's original order, and experiment with delivering non-tangible offers like discount codes or free trials either in-order or through email. See which method resonates most with your customers, and stick with it!

Build an online community where customers can connect

Online communities help connect customers with your brand long after their initial purchase.

Customers can geek out over their favorite product, share photos, connect with people who have that same interest, and get recommendations for other items they may love. That initial excitement is compounded, and the connection to your brand begins to strengthen.

That's the power an online community provides — a place where customers can engage on a more personal level with your brand and other customers.

Replica Surfaces does a great job of this. They're a smaller company that sells hyper-realistic background surfaces for product photography. While their product is excellent, the real value comes through their online community. Anyone who places an order is immediately invited to join Replica Surfaces' VIP Facebook group, a closed group that's exclusive to customers.

Members can share photos of their surfaces in action, get feedback on ways to improve their photography, and give recommendations on how to pair different surfaces or use them creatively to achieve stunning photographs.

Replica Surfaces leverages its online community to:

  • Engage with customers
  • Run contests and giveaways
  • Generate buzz about new products
  • Share educational resources about its products and their applications
  • Create brand champions

It's a symbiotic relationship that demonstrates that online communities — when done right — provide a powerful platform for engaging customers post-purchase, promoting new products, and generating sales through word-of-mouth marketing.

Offer a loyalty/rewards program you'd love to join

Loyalty or reward programs have long been a tried-and-true method for increasing customer retention. But in a world where everyone is offering some form of loyalty rewards, e-commerce brands face a difficult challenge: standing out from the crowd.

Data from Colloquy's Loyalty Census shows that the average number of loyalty program memberships per U.S. household is a staggering 29. That’s a lot of rewards programs to keep track of, and if you want yours to stand out from the other 28 then you need to create something that’s valuable, memorable, and worth customers’ time. 

So how can you find ways to cut through the noise and create a rewards program customers want to be part of?

  • Inject personality into the program. Whether your brand's tone is casual and fun, sleek and refined, or full of swagger, your rewards program should reflect that. Embrace that personality through your email communications and promotional materials to differentiate yourselves and engage customers.
  • Have a simple system for earning points. Don't make the mistake of over-complicating your points system. Use a simple system for earning points, such as one point earned for every dollar spent.
  • Offer bonus rewards for engagement-related activities. Getting points for purchases is great, but offering bonus rewards for actions that aren't purely transactional is even better. These could be things like getting a friend to join the rewards program or following your social media pages.
  • Run members-only sales/discounts. Remind customers of the ongoing benefits of being part of your rewards program by regularly offering special sales or discounts that are exclusive to members. Providing continued value will encourage repeat customers and help you stay top-of-mind.
  • Include birthday gifts. Adding this simple benefit to your rewards program makes it feel more personal and shows members just how much they're appreciated.

With a stellar rewards program that demonstrates your brand's value and keeps customers engaged, you'll be primed to own the post-purchase experience and nurture loyal customers for years to come.

Ask for feedback (and act on it)

Even if you think you've perfected your customer experience, there's always room for improvement.

Customer feedback is essential in helping e-commerce companies identify roadblocks to success — whether it's an issue with your website, a breakdown in your shipping process, or a problem with your product. Regularly soliciting feedback from your customers and taking steps to act on that feedback is one of the best ways you can show customers that your brand cares.

The best time to gather this information? During your post-purchase process. Consider the following when soliciting customer feedback:

  • Request feedback on the shopping experience and your products. Most companies are great about asking for product reviews, but product satisfaction doesn't equate to a positive purchase experience. To truly gauge your customer's satisfaction with your brand, solicit feedback on the entire shopping experience. Ask about things like your website's ease of use or shipping speeds, and find out how likely customers are to purchase from you again or recommend you to others.
  • Make leaving reviews easy. Your customers shouldn't have to work hard to provide feedback. Make the process simple by sharing direct links to wherever you want them to leave their review — whether it's the product's review page, a section on your site, or even your social media pages.
  • Act on what you hear. When you don't act on the feedback you collect, you risk damaging the customer relationship. Develop an internal system for reviewing customer feedback on a monthly or quarterly basis, and take steps to implement changes that address common issues and positively impact the customer experience.

Once you know what's not working, you can improve your internal processes for a better customer experience.

Provide peace of mind with product protection plans

Product protection plans help eliminate anxiety pre-purchase and post-purchase by ensuring functionality long term.

With a protection plan in place, your customers can rest assured knowing that the $5,000 sectional they just purchased is protected from accidental stains and damage for years down the line — not just for the week after it was purchased.

Here are some things to evaluate when selecting a product protection plan vendor:

  • Variety of protection plans available. Your protection plans should be tailored to the specific needs of your customers. That means picking a protection plan partner with more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Extend offers a variety of customizable options, from traditional protection plans to extended warranties and plans that cover accidental damage.
  • Product eligibility. Protection plans are a huge value-add for e-commerce merchants, but many companies offer limited item coverage. Modern protection plan companies like Extend are breaking the mold, providing protection for millions of products across almost any industry.
  • Hassle-free claims processing. A lengthy claims processing experience is likely to leave a bad taste in your customers’ mouths and, even worse, could damage their opinion of your brand. Extend's support team works to provide resolutions for your customers faster than legacy vendors. Because we administer our protection plans, we’re able to make decisions around claims processing without third-party delays, turning what could have been a negative experience into a positive one.
  • Ease of site integration. Whether your site was custom built by a team of developers or set up on a SaaS ecommerce platform like BigCommerce or Shopify, Extend offers robust API options and simple e-commerce platform integrations that make implementation a breeze. Selling product protection plans to your customers has never been easier.

By providing peace of mind through modern product protection plans, companies can establish trust with customers after they've made a purchase — building loyalty and increasing the likelihood of retention.

Building trust through the post-purchase customer experience

An exceptional post-purchase experience is a gift that keeps on giving. By creating a process that adds value and establishes trust, you're not only satisfying current customers — you're building relationships that will lead to future ROI.

Don't make the mistake of damaging those valuable relationships by not offering product coverage for your customers. Talk to our team today about how Extend's modern product protection plans can help build customer trust, drive higher conversion rates, and enhance your post-purchase experience.

Anastasia Fullerton
Anastasia Fullerton is Head of B2B Marketing at Extend.

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