4 Questions to Ask Before Building a Post-purchase Solution

There’s no doubt it’s a tempting idea: build a post-purchase experience platform yourself, and (in theory) you retain all control across the board. There’s no third party to deal with, you become the gatekeeper, and the solution can be anything you dream it to be.

Before you get too excited about this idea, however, answer us this: who’s going to take the time out of their already-busy schedule to build your perfect platform initially—and maintain it? How much will it end up costing your business ultimately? When you really start to dig into what it means to build an entire end-to-end post-purchase platform, covering everything from order tracking to returns and beyond, you’ll find it takes a lot of a) manpower, b) money, and c) time. There aren’t many companies that can spare many of these resources on their own, let alone together—they’re needed to keep all aspects of the business running, not just the post-purchase curation aspect.

Be sure to keep the following questions in mind when thinking about how to allocate resources for an in-house project:

Can we surface a clear EDD upfront?

60% of shoppers say that they’re more likely to choose a retailer that can tell them the exact date that a package will arrive. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that customers want to know what they should expect at checkout and after their order has been shipped. It’s important to show shoppers when they can plan to receive their order for every possible shipping option, and then not fall short on those promises.

Especially before the carrier scan—when excited customers often find themselves clicking through shipping confirmation emails only to be sent to a ‘We Can’t Find Your Order’ page—you should be able to offer up the right information in a format that’s easy to understand. You want to make sure your platform is able to get this prediction right: broken promises mean frustrated customers, and frustrated customers means losing out on repeat business.

Especially before the carrier scan, you should be able to offer up the right information in a format that’s easy to understand.

Can we communicate proactively via consumers’ preferred channels?

Where do your customers go to get their updates? Whether it’s through email, messenger app, text, or voice-activated device, your solution should be equipped to not only deliver the right message at the right time, but through the right channel to the right customer. We’ve seen that while most folks still prefer to receive order updates via email, 34% want to hear from retailers in multiple ways, and we can only expect that number to grow as more communication channels open up and become ingrained in the modern consumer’s day-to-day.

Can we integrate with carrier data systems and stay up-to-date with their changes?

98% of consumers say they feel better about a company if they’re immediately notified when something goes wrong. In order to proactively update customers in the case of a delivery exception, you need to be able to access data from various carrier systems about order statuses, and then normalize the carrier codes to fit into certain specific buckets. On top of that, you’ll need to keep up with constantly changing APIs and functionality on the carrier side—there unfortunately is no ‘set it and forget it’ way to go about this.

98% of consumers say they feel better about a company if they’re immediately notified when something goes wrong.

Can we make returns as simple as possible?

Self-service is the way to go when it comes to returns. By allowing your customers to initiate their own returns online, you streamline the process for them and optimize the process for your business. It will let you enforce any business rules around returns, and if you allow for omnichannel returns, you can easily facilitate options from here. From capturing return reasons about individual products upfront to pinpointing the most logical distribution center according to location, item, and return reason, an easy, step-by-step online portal will help minimize the financial and operational impact of ecommerce returns.


For more on what to consider before deciding to purchase or build a post-purchase solution, download our latest eBook, Build vs. Buy: A Guide to Choosing the Right Post-purchase Solution for Your Business.