As consumers, we’ve never had it so good. A perfect storm of technological evolution, increased competition and design-led thinking has made the online shopping experience more convenient, personalised and customer-centric than ever. Which makes it all the more frustrating when we feel we’ve been abandoned by retailers the moment we click the ‘buy’ button. All the carefully branded and well executed care and attention that’s gone into attracting (or buying?) our attention and winning our custom is abandoned. Our hard-earned money in hand, the retailer passes our experience off to a third-party delivery company. Moreover, any emotional connection that was established with the brand is damaged or lost as lines of communications break down. At best, we receive a tracking link to an unknown, unbranded website, and from there we keep our fingers crossed until our goods arrive. What a waste! This approach to the post-purchase experience not only fails to meet the expectations modern customers have of their favoured brands, but it also denies the retailer a number of opportunities to build trust, establish brand loyalty and encourage repeat custom. These moments matter: they all feed in to the customer’s overall perception of - and engagement with - the brand. Retailers that can optimise this experience therefore stand to benefit from a significant competitive advantage. Today, customers buy experiences, not products. So, it’s an imperative for retailers to ensure they control the post-purchase experience. At Narvar, we’ve identified a series of critical post-purchase ‘moments’ during which brands can build customer loyalty. Let’s look at just 6 of these moments to illustrate what’s possible with more carefully thought-out, branded and customer oriented experiences. [If you’d like to discuss post-purchase moments more, get in touch.]
On the product description page (PDP) or at checkout, the customer should be provided with clear information on the estimated date of delivery, giving them the confidence to click ‘buy’. Why? With a clear delivery date on a PDP or at the checkout, consumer confidence (and conversion) increases. That’s great news. But in fact it doesn’t end there. Delivery accuracy also encourages 58% of customers to shop with retailers again and again. (Get all the stats in this report)
At checkout, the customer should see a range of selectable delivery options, including all prices and the speed of delivery. But one size does not fit all. 41% of customers will bail if there’s not an option for home delivery, 12% for not having the option for "click and collect" and 42% for simply having to pay for delivery. Choice and convenience is key. Why? Reassure customers that their needs and preferences are what count. You are the host - they are the guest. Make them feel special by providing choice and the ability to personalise your service to them.
The customer should be sent proactive status updates to the device, channel or App of their choice, giving them peace of mind that their product is on its way. Why? Customers expect to know the details about their order, so let them choose their favourite communication channel (if you think email work for Gen Z, think again). Capture communication preferences up front. WOW them with your post-purchase comms by contextualising information for the medium. For instance, if they’ve chosen WhatsApp, make comms super short (and include emojis). If they want an email….well you have the opportunity to embellish status updates somewhat.
Provide customers with proactive notifications that drive customers towards a dedicated, fully-branded tracking page that provides value-add content and personalised recommendations for further purchases. Why? Immerse customers in your brand. Shine. Forget sending them to a third party. Make it easy to see exactly when their order will arrive, let them manage their delivery in flight and drive them to where they can buy again (or tee up their next purchase). By communicating proactively with customers before they have to ask where their order is, shows you really care (and you can drive revenues up via up-sells and x-sells as a result too).
When a customer needs to return a product, even this moment should be used to build loyalty. Build digitised, omnichannel returns experiences that take the headache out of the process for customers, and incorporate beautifully simple interfaces & design thinking upfront. Why? Nobody likes looooooooong FAQ pages or having to hunt for return advice, let alone beg for their money back. There’s an opportunity to treat every return as an opportunity to give customers what they really wanted - with concierge-like recommendations. Once a return is initiated, the retailer should give the customer options: an immediate refund if they want it, or specially selected recommendations supported with promotions to convent the return into an exchange. Above all else, make good on your brand promises. (Bonus: always capture customer feedback to show you really care and leverage that data to additionally improve your merchandising and inventory planning).
Rethink FAQ or help pages so that they don’t appear as a relentless stream of text, jargon and complex terms and conditions. Serve relevant (contextual) content and create customer-first experiences that reassure and add value to the customer relationship. Why? Meet and exceed your customers’ evolving needs. Build loyalty, with repairs and warranties simply done right. Make good on your brand promise with simple and painless replacement, replenishment, returns and warranty processes that get the job done efficiently. Most importantly help customers before they ask.Post-purchase experiences are rapidly becoming a new battlefront for the hearts and minds of customers. We’ve mentioned just 6 - but there are many, many more. So, now is the time to make sure your business is well placed to succeed with compelling, relevant and branded experiences that add value to customers - after a sale is made.
Chris Hoskin is Narvar’s Regional Director of Marketing in EMEA. He has been working in the ecommerce sector for over 15 years and has experience spanning omnichannel integration, design, and supply chain & logistics.