For the inbound ecommerce marketer, the first sale to a new customer isn't just a one-time victory -- it's the beginning of a long-term relationship where the customer grows in value over time (and vice-versa).
Use your first contact with them after that first sale -- the post-transactional email -- to set the right tone for the long-term.
What the Post-Transactional Email Does
If crafted correctly, the post-transactional email may look like a simple thank-you message, but the real meaning behind the email can be much more. This is where you continue the relationship with your customer -- build upon the introduction so that the buyer develops trust for your business. Asking them to open their wallets again when they just shut them can be a tricky prospect, so you have to get the formula just right. That’s why we’ve got the anatomy of a post-transactional email here to help you out.
If you never greet your customers by name ever again, this is the one time to do so. After they’ve spent hard-earned money on your products, you better well know who they are. This brings up the importance of clean data and social login options to be sure you’re using the proper greeting.
Summary of Order
Show buyers what they purchased and how much it cost so they have a record of their order. If the wrong thing shows up at their door, they have proof that you messed up. No one expects you to mess up, of course, but they do like knowing they have that reassurance. You also boost the excitement of waiting for the item when they see it yet again in their email inbox.
Let buyers know how to find their package when they’re too excited to wait. You can include the tracking link the moment you ship, which gives everyone involved some peace of mind.
If buyers just purchased something large or an object that’s likely to carry personal significance, you should offer the chance to register that product through your site. With this gesture, you give peace of mind, since registration helps locate stolen or lost objects. You also gain more information for your customer database.
Request for Reviews
Asking buyers to give their opinions offers a sense of power, and their complicity gives you much-needed social proof. Letting them know their opinion matters to you is one thing, but giving them a chance to tell the world is another. That kind of validation goes far beyond any simple “thank you.”
Invitation to Loyalty Programs
Go ahead and get those buyers thinking long term with an invitation to your loyalty program. Let them know the perks associated with membership, and maybe even offer a gift for registering right away.
Additional tips on how to use the products they purchased are a great way to continue the relationship. This shows your customers you know them, their purchases, and perhaps even their likes and dislikes through the data you’ve collected.
Tips for Use
If your products require assembly or can serve various purposes, send a tutorial or tip guide with your thank-you email. This could be a video, an ebook, or a simple list of tips, as long as you provide valuable information that might not be found anywhere else. Not only do you start building trust with your customers, but they also might just keep that email around for later reference.
Matching or Complementary Products
This is where things can get a little tricky, since most buyers won’t want to make another purchase so soon after their first one. You have to handle the offers delicately so they don’t feel you’re being pushy. Simply make them aware of any other products that complement their purchases and include links for product pages. As long as the recipients feel this is for informational purposes only, they’ll feel appreciation instead of resentment.
Don’t assume your buyers know how to contact you if something goes wrong with their order. The first place they will likely look is the confirmation or thank-you email sent after they purchase. Include your phone number, email address, website address, and live chat options, if those are available. You will save them a world of frustration by doing so, and they’ll remember the next time they need to buy something.
Social Media Buttons
Let your buyers know where they can find you online. They’ll relish the chance to follow your company to get first dibs on specials and new products. Not only that, they’ll also take the chance to engage with you, share their thoughts about your products with other users, and give you even more of that social proof that other buyers need when making decisions.
Start the New Buying Cycle
It's very important that you remember that not everyone knows as much about your line of products as you do. The end of one purchase is the beginning of the next. We jokingly call this the "ecommerce marketing tuba" because the bottom of the "funnel" forms an infinite loop with the middle of the funnel.
Don’t let your sales stop at one. If you show gratitude through all the parts and pieces of the post-transactional email and within every other subsequent email, you’ll inspire, build, and maintain trust among those customers. This is so much more important in the long run.
Originally published Mar 28, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016