Did you know that a new study from HubSpot showed that 55% of US and UK consumers mentioned that their brand loyalty is declining? During these challenging times, how can retailers and brands increase customer satisfaction and loyalty?
While everybody is focusing on the shopping experience, most forget about the importance of the post-purchase experience. In this article, we are going to show you how to create an amazing post-purchase experience and how this can impact customer loyalty. Let’s get started!
The post-purchase experience is forgotten
A customer comes to your store and makes a purchase. You’ve created an amazing experience for each one of their touchpoints. From the carefully curated messages on your company's social media pages to the packaging and in-store promotion. But what about the post-purchase experience?
While in-store it is a bit more complicated to create a post-purchase experience and to engage with the shopper, for eCommerce it is mandatory.
What is a post-purchase experience? You mean you don’t just forget about the customer once they purchase a product? Well, of course, you don’t! Providing a post-purchase experience means engaging with the shopper even after they made a purchase and left the store or closed the tab, in case of an online purchase.
Why is the post-purchase engagement important?
90% of consumers say the post-purchase experience is just as important as the quality of the products. This stat shows that customers want to keep in touch with the brand after they make a purchase and they like to have a good experience even after they pay for the product.
Yes, you receive their money and they will receive the products. But is the shopping experience simply transactional? We don’t think so and neither do your shoppers. Post-purchase engagement can have a big impact on both customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Understanding the Post-Purchase Experience
To better understand this concept, let’s talk about the stages a customer goes through after making a purchase both online and in-stores.
Stage 1: Bagging and packaging
During this stage, the customer is excited about the purchase and wants the store representative to move quickly and efficiently. This is a great moment to mention a loyalty program or discount available.
Stage 2: Receipts and documentation
At this stage, the customer pays for its products. Make sure to state all of the payment methods available and share any relevant information the customer needs to know about returns and or services.
Stage 3: Guidance and support
During this stage, it’s important to offer all of the relevant information regarding the product to the customer. If they are purchasing a tech product, explain briefly how it works and mention if they need any additional products to make it work. Also, it is a great moment to cross-sell or upsell.
Stage 4: Customer service and product returns
Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. For clothes, the sizes might not be good. For tech products, the customer might experience an issue. Issues are numerous and customers have the right to return the product or demand that the store exchanges or repairs the products. Now, your customer service department needs to shine and offer guidance. Make sure your returns experience is effortless for the customer.
Stage 5: Continuous engagement
Even if the customer doesn’t exchange the products, this doesn’t mean that your job is done! Continuous engagement can be done via your store app, a weekly brochure or on social media.
Online shopping experience
Stage 1: Order confirmation and delivery updates
When we are talking about the online shopping experience, things are a bit different. Customers can’t enjoy the products right after paying for them. They need to way for the order to be confirmed and delivered. Make sure that you provide regular updates regarding the status of the order. Also, it’s crucial that the products are delivered in pristine condition.
Stage 2: Unboxing and initial impressions
Once the customer receives the order they would like to unbox it and check all of the products. Packaging is important. Also, you can leave a code for a discount in the box or a letter to thank them for the purchase. A small gesture like this one can go a long way.
Stage 3: Product usage and satisfaction
This is the stage in which the customer tests the quality of the products you’ve delivered. Always check the products before sending them off to the customer to minimize the risk of returns.
Stage 4: Customer support and issue resolution
If the customer has any issues with the products, they can choose to return them or ask you to repair or exchange them. Make sure that your customer support provides options and guides the shoppers.
Stage 5: Engagement with post-purchase content
Lastly, your job is never done! Now that your customer is enjoying your products is a great moment to continuously engage with them via newsletters, online discounts, and social media.
3 brands that have mastered the post-purchase experience
Want to get a bit of inspiration to create a better post-purchase experience? Here are 3 brands that are winning in this department:
Post-Purchase Experience: Amazon has set a high standard for post-purchase experiences in the eCommerce world. Their seamless and efficient order tracking and delivery updates keep customers informed about the status of their purchases. The "Amazon Prime" loyalty program offers customers benefits like faster shipping, streaming services, and exclusive deals.
Customer Loyalty Impact: Amazon's focus on convenience, reliability, and personalized recommendations has fostered strong customer loyalty. Customers often return to Amazon for their wide product selection, ease of use, and trust in the brand.
Post-Purchase Experience: Nordstrom, a high-end department store chain, provides an exceptional in-store post-purchase experience. They offer free alterations and tailoring services to customers who purchase clothing, ensuring a perfect fit. Nordstrom also has a lenient return policy, making it hassle-free for customers to return or exchange items.
Customer Loyalty Impact: Nordstrom's commitment to customer service and attention to detail has led to strong customer loyalty. Shoppers appreciate the personalized service, the quality of in-store experiences, and the peace of mind that comes with their return policy.
Post-Purchase Experience: Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, is renowned for its outstanding customer service. They offer free and fast shipping, easy returns with a 365-day return policy, and 24/7 customer support through phone and chat. They go above and beyond to make customers happy, often sending handwritten thank-you notes or surprise gifts with orders.
Customer Loyalty Impact: Zappos' unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction has resulted in exceptionally high customer loyalty. Their "WOW" customer service philosophy and focus on exceeding expectations have created a loyal customer base that returns for the service as much as the products.
The shopping experience never ends
In the world of retail, the journey doesn't end when a customer makes a purchase; it's only the beginning of what's known as the post-purchase experience. This critical phase has a profound impact on customer loyalty, whether in the digital realm of eCommerce or the physical space of brick-and-mortar retail.
Exemplary brands like Amazon, Nordstrom, and Zappos have demonstrated that investing in the post-purchase experience pays dividends in terms of customer loyalty. Whether it's through seamless online order tracking, in-store tailoring services, or legendary customer service, these brands have shown that customers value convenience, reliability, and personalized attention long after they make a purchase.