October 7, 2021

Post-Purchase Emails: 12 Ways to Drive Customer Loyalty in Ecommerce

Reading time about 11 min
post purchase emails

Post-purchase emails are yet another part of ecommerce email strategy that shouldn’t be overlooked. Of course, you could go without them if you only care about new customers and don’t need your existing ones to make another order. 

But for most ecommerce businesses, customer loyalty is key to stable revenue. And one of the most cost-effective ways to drive repeat orders from existing customers is through continuous post-purchase engagement. 

What is a Post-Purchase Email?

Post-purchase emails are an extension of ecommerce marketing. They’re follow-ups, sent after the customer’s received their order (so they’re not transactional emails).

Their purpose is to keep people thinking about the brand through content and new offers. The best thing is that after the customer has bought something from you, you have data. You can use their buying behavior, product interest, etc. to tailor your emails and make them more relevant. 

This is a very different approach from simply sending just one massive promotion to all contacts on your email list

Most of the best customer retention strategies rely on targeted and customized post-purchase emails. And although the open rate is not as high as that of order confirmation emails, adding value helps build a mutually beneficial relationship with the customer. 

But if they’re just promotional and pushy, people will stop opening and you’ll lose repeat customers.

Examples of Post-Purchase Email Campaigns

You can send different post-purchase campaigns depending on your products, customer lifecycle, and buying habits. Here are 12 ideas for you:

  1. Product usage and maintenance tips
  2. Coupon for a discount on next order
  3. Offer to fight browse abandonment 
  4. Reorder reminders for complementary products
  5. Save the churners
  6. VIP offers for long-term customers
  7. Repeat successful campaigns
  8. Post-purchase engagement through content
  9. Ask for product review 
  10. Promote an updated product
  11. Tailored offers
  12. Timely push

Let’s take a look at each type of email driving retention.

1. Usage and maintenance tips

The post-purchase experience is just as important as the conversion. 

If we want repeat purchases, the customers should enjoy their new items. Content-heavy post-purchase emails are great to explain more about the product, how to best use it and how to take care of it.

This will make people use your product more and will increase customer satisfaction in the long run. So when they need something else, they’ll come to you for a second purchase.

You can easily tailor this kind of email campaign by product ordered and take engagement on a more personalized level. 

maintenance guide email

Source for this all examples to follow: Really Good Emails

2. Next order discount

Upsells are proven post-purchase emails that drive repeat orders. Offering specific items in an upsell email can get very inaccurate and presumptuous, though.

Instead, give customers a discount code for their next purchase with the call-to-action to add an accessory to the clothing item they just bought, for example.

You can make the coupon category-specific if you want to emphasize the connection between the products. It’s also a good way of pushing a category that doesn’t get enough attention on its own.

next order discount email

3. An offer to fight browse abandonment 

You can fight browse abandonment — this is when people browse your site but don’t buy anything. Reach out to them via an email and give them an incentive to go through with an order.

The beauty of this win-back email is that the viewed product(s) would be included in the email so the customer remembers easily.

Also, since this is still a post-purchase email, with a CRM like Sendinblue you have a track record of the customer’s behavior on site for all their visits.

To weed out casual browsers, only send a special offer to those who have looked at the products and left a few times.

browse abandonment email

4. Reorder reminder for complementary products

Replenishment reminders are the post-purchase emails every ecommerce brand should use if the products make sense to be reordered (sorry, baby strollers and bridal gowns!).

Identify how often people shop in your store to time your emails for when they’ll be ready to buy again. This tactic can work with anything from pet food and personal care to socks and home supplies.

However, if you sell something like shoes or plants, you can still do it with a mix between cross-selling and reorder campaigns. Your main product may be a one-time order, but the accessories are not.

It’s a golden opportunity to use post-purchase emails to keep customers coming back.

Think of complementary products you can offer:

  • Shoe cleaning products
  • Garment care (storage bags, special hangers, etc.)
  • Coffee/tea/water filters 
  • Spice mixes
  • Cleaning materials
  • Plant care products

5. Save the churners

There’ll always be customers ready to churn. To avoid it, look at others who are buying a lot and often. Their customer journey is worth replicating. What products do they buy? This is a huge part of why they’re happy repeat customers.

This post-purchase tactic aims to create more customer loyalty. It exposes more people to the products in your store that stimulate the most repeat orders. This increases the likelihood that more buyers will become loyal.

product feature email

6. VIP offers for long-term customers

Even without an official loyalty program, you can reward your repeat customers. Simply use post-purchase emails to give them better and better deals, special promotions and VIP perks. Make them see the benefits of sticking with your brand.

For example:

  • When a VIP customer leaves your website because their size is out of stock (you know what size they usually shop), find it for them and email them.
  • Give tiered discounts, growing proportionally with their customer lifetime value (more about lead scoring here).
  • Send limited-time free shipping offers.
  • Give them an exciting unboxing experience with freebies and branded merch.

vip offer email

7. Repeat successful campaigns

If you’re unsure what kind of email campaign to send out, look in your email reports – which type of campaign performed very well? Was it a clearance at 70% off or the curated selection by an influencer?

Then, recreate the same campaign for those who converted in it the first time, only with different products. If they like this type of campaign, send more of the same.

8. Post-purchase engagement through content

Your customers might get weary of too many promotional emails. Change things up a bit with a pure content email sequence without any sales CTAs. Branded content emails help connect with your customers over shared values.

Share any company updates that might be interesting like working on new materials or starting a new partnership. These customer engagement efforts are perfect for when you want to stay top-of-mind but have to wait a bit for the next order.

content email

9. Ask for product review

The most logical post-purchase email to send is a review request email. Any ecommerce business can benefit from improving its product based on customer feedback.

The more involved with something people are, the more loyal they are to it. Feedback is a wonderful customer engagement tactic to build trust. You can involve your brand’s following in the product creation process so they see it as their own – and shop it more.

Ask your customers what new variants and colors they want to see. Ask them for new product ideas, even. Their suggestions might surprise you but it’s an honest look into what they need and want your products to be.

Emails that don’t sell directly are the best at driving long-term loyalty.

And if you go ahead and actually realize those ideas….

10. Promote an updated product

Maybe your product changes from season to season, or you keep adding functionality or new add-ons. These are great for follow-up engagement and driving repeat sales.

You know what type of products people already bought, you can easily offer the new version in post-purchase email campaigns. For example, if someone bought winter gear, reach out to them for the new season and offer them the summer collection.

Or maybe you simply run limited editions. It’s important to keep your customers up-to-date about it with emails that stimulate reorders.

limited edition product email

11. Tailored offers

If you have a wide range of products, it’s a good idea to tailor post-purchase email campaigns by product preferences. This would mean looking at what people buy and only sending them emails with relevant products.

Even better if you use an email signup form to record their preferences. You can ask about their body shape, fashion style, type of hair or skin — whatever’s relevant to your products.

Such emails will keep customers loyal because people feel your brand gets them and all offers are spot on.

For example, people who buy wooden toys probably don’t want to get offers for plastic toys. People who buy books in Italian don’t need to get emails about books in French. People shopping your petite section will be happy to get a curated selection in their email instead of plus-size items.

12. Timely push

If you don’t want your emails to be left unread or worse, marked as spam, you can reevaluate how often you email existing customers. Post-purchase engagement is effective only when people actually open your emails.

It’s one thing to use email automation that triggers on specific customer actions and another to just blast emails every Monday because “this is the best day for emails”.

Read more: 12 Triggered Email Campaigns That Drive Sales

The best day for emails is when your customers are ready to shop again. It’s closely tied to the type of product and its lifecycle. Look at your ecommerce metrics to see how often people actually shop.

This is how much time you should leave between pushy sales emails for an optimal customer experience. People need a breather and your thoughtfulness will be appreciated. 

Credit: Cloudways

Send Post-Purchase Emails with Sendinblue

Whether you’re on Shopify or another ecommerce platform, Sendinblue offers all the digital marketing tools needed to drive repeat sales. Whatever your customers do, there’s a way to make them come back with post-purchase emails.

Drive repeat sales with Sendinblue

Email automation and drip campaigns, customer segmentation, personalization, and smart signup forms all geared to engage and retain customers.

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