Post Purchase Emails

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Post-purchase emails are the most effective type of email to market through. Here’s how to use them.

Emailed receipts, thank you notes, shipping confirmations, requests for reviews, how-to guides - these are all emails you get after you’ve already purchased something. Customers read these kinds of emails more than any other kind of email from eCommerce companies, making it an often under-utilised opportunity for marketing.

What does a post-purchase email do?

Post-purchase emails have two main functions.

First, they give you a professional interaction with the customer when you convey critical information such as item descriptions, receipts and shipping confirmations. By being clear and professional in your emails, you can help answer questions before your customers come to you with them. These emails are also an opportunity to offer long-term value and interaction with your customer.

Second, these emails offer an important opportunity for email marketing. You’re sending a customer something - you should make it engaging, build your brand, and give them reasons to come back. Compared to other forms of marketing, email marketing is SUPER effective - with an average conversion rate that is 4X higher than social and 1.5X higher than searches. And, of the emails you send, post-purchase emails are the most likely to be opened.

Types of post-purchase emails

There are more kinds of emails out there than you might think of at first. Though you might not need to send emails for every type, consider what opportunities you might have by automatically emailing customers with the following:

Order-related emails

  • Order confirmation/receipt
  • POS and mobile receipt
  • Order cancelled/refunded
  • Draft order invoice
  • Abandoned checkout
  • Re-order reminder emails
  • Gift card created

These kinds of emails are a great opportunity to thank the customer, get them excited about what they bought (or, in the case of abandoned carts, should have bought), and encourage them to look at some other products they might be interested in. You can also include calls to action, such as encouraging your customer to share their purchase on social media.

Customer activity-related emails

  • Customer welcome 
  • Customer account activation
  • Password resets

If you are using customer accounts (require customers to log in to your store) then you should automatically be sending emails related to those accounts. Customer accounts are common for companies with VIP programmes, loyalty programmes, subscription services and Software as a Service models.

Shipping-related emails

  • Fulfilment request for third party shippers
  • Shipping confirmation
  • Shipping update
  • Shipment delivered or out-for-delivery

These emails are crucial for most customers, and especially for your logistics management. If you are using a third party shipper you need to make sure these emails are clear, concise, accurate, and sent out immediately after purchase.

For customers, shipping confirmations and out-for-delivery notifications are a great chance to get them excited about their products. This is usually the biggest question that a lot of customers have after they’ve purchased…”So when is it going to get here?”. Having smart shipping notifications can save you customer enquiries and is an expected and professional thing to do in eCommerce.

Here’s an example of a shipping notification that clearly shows:

  • What the email is about, right at the top
  • Branded images 
  • An itemised list of purchases
  • The expected shipping information
  • What to do next, with clickable collections
  • Social shares

User content requests

  • Rating and review requests
  • Request for feedback through surveys
  • Customer photos and video requests

This is where you start getting into user-generated content marketing, which you can learn more about here. UGC is one of the most effective ways to build a community around your brand, develop trust and credibility for future shoppers, and improve your SEO.

Best practices in stepping up your post-purchase email game

1. Use an general email marketing service

This is what they’re for! Email marketing services such as MailChimp and Klaviyo are set up to help you build branded and effective post-purchase emails. After you connect your email marketing service to Shopify, spend some time setting up your templates for all of the above emails, and then create automations to make sure they’re going out at the right time.

Here’s a handy MailChimp walkthrough that shows you exactly how to set up an automatic Thank You/Order Confirmation email.

2. Use Spently if you aren’t on the full-on EMS train

If you don’t already use a whole email marketing system, you can consider using Spently instead. Spently is specifically designed for making the most of post-purchase emails through tactics such as product recommendations and custom branding. Read our piece on how to use Spently to turn post-purchase emails into marketing opportunities.

3. Always brand your emails

Shopify starts you off with generic Dear Customer Thank You For Your Order email templates, but you should always update your email templates to include branded language and logos. These are emails you would already be sending out, and it is a wasted opportunity to engage with your customers if you leave them generic.

Bonus read: How to include a GIF in your next email marketing campaign

4. Offer Value

You should keep your emails short, relevant and engaging every time. That means displaying the important information right away, including some visuals that either promote other products similar to the ones your customer bought, and having a “next step” that your customer would be interested in. One thing you can consider is including links to recent blog posts that you’ve written or giving a discount as an incentive to come back.

Think about what you want from an email when you order something online. You don’t want it to take forever to read. You want to feel rewarded for making a purchase (whether that’s a financial reward or just a rehash of why the product you got is going to make you feel great). And, you want information that is relevant - such as return policies or upcoming news.

Harry’s, for example, includes a “how-to” email for those that have recently purchased shaving kits.

Go pro with email segmentation, or breaking your customers into groups based on what they purchased, where they’re located, what their age is, etc. Learn how to segment emails here.

5. Make sure you’re grabbing email addresses

Of course, you already have the contact information for people who have made a purchase, but it’s also important to build up your email subscriber list at every opportunity. This helps you attract potential shoppers to visit your site before and after they’ve bought something, and to give you a starting point for email marketing campaigns.

Bonus read: 5 Strategies to Capture Emails On Your Website

6. Avoid email fatigue

There are a lot of types of emails you can send. But it can be a fine line between “they’re a responsive company that I feel engaged with” and “oh my god I cannot stand them they send me emails every day and now I just delete them”. I am a person that tends to be on the latter side of things, and when companies email me too frequently (even if it’s for basic things) I tend to send them straight to the void. You can avoid people like me getting annoyed with your emails by checking your email open rates with your MailChimp/other EMS account. If it’s dropping too low, or your bounce rate is getting high, or your unsubscribe rate is getting high, then it’s time to slow down.

Use your post-purchase emails as part of your marketing strategy

It’s an effective way to build your brand, increase your customer lifetime value, stay professional and convert more.

If you need help getting started, or creating an email marketing strategy that works for your company, talk to us. We are Shopify Experts that can help your business grow through data-driven decisions.

*Image via Dribbble