Post-Purchase Program-Alooza

As a marketer, you’ve spent a lot of effort getting consumers to a point of purchase and convincing them to follow through with a sale. But what happens afterward? Sure, if it’s an online sale, you send them a confirmation email – but if you stop there, you’re missing a big opportunity with an engaged customer.

Post-purchase programs like customer satisfaction surveys, product reviews, lifecycle rewards, and replenishment reminders are an excellent way to keep customers engaged with your brand. With a strategic approach, you can solicit critical feedback, build upon the relationship, and gain “earned social media” that can drive additional revenue and other benefits associated with word-of-mouth marketing.

According to a 2011 survey by my company, only 45 percent of companies reported using post-purchase programs. However, a simple program soliciting product reviews can have a profound effect on generating purchases from other customers and instilling brand loyalty. The first step is to understand why customers want to engage after making a purchase and leveraging those reasons to keep the dialogue going. Beyond the sheer revenue-generating impact of such programs, post-purchase communications deepen the customer’s involvement with your brand, build loyalty, and aid in improving reputation – making consumers more likely to pass on recommendations to friends.

If you look across the different types of lifecycle email communications – welcome, winback, upsell, cart abandon, etc. – a post-purchase program truly gets to the heart of cultivating an appreciative dialogue with your customers. The hope is that by reaching customers at a peak moment of positive sentiment for your brand – after receipt of their purchase – you can continue the conversation with a customer who is engaged, interested, and satisfied.

Companies are continually striving to offer ways for customers to engage with their brand. However, what is of interest to one customer may not be of interest to another. With that in mind, it’s important to offer unique approaches and try different post-purchase campaigns, across different audience segments and discern what resonates with each of them.

My company recently published an email marketing guide on developing successful post-purchase programs that offered the following tips for getting started:

  1. Identify post-purchase messaging opportunities
  2. Encourage customers to participate
  3. Measure success
  4. Don’t ask for too much…take baby steps
  5. Don’t be generic, personalize
  6. Refer-a-friend messaging

The purchase is the ultimate goal of any marketing program, and once the purchase is made, confirmations and shipping updates usually follow. Make sure you don’t let the communication stop there. By making a post-purchase email program a permanent component of your overall marketing strategy, you can drive repeat purchases, create stickiness with current customers, and build brand awareness outside your current customer base. Done correctly, a sophisticated post-purchase program can turn existing customers into brand ambassadors and drive significant incremental revenue.

Yes, it will take a little bit of work to get these types of programs started, but the benefits will certainly outweigh the effort – both in conversions and customer satisfaction.

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