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Why should you have a post-purchase strategy?

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You’ve heard it all before. Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase (White House Office of Consumer Affairs). How come, then, that so few of the emails I receive after purchasing something are targeted to me to make me loyal to the brand? We might be sharing the idea that the probability of successfully selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, compared to only 5-20% for new prospects (Marketing Metrics), but as marketers we’re obviously not putting it into practice.

A post-purchase strategy helps you drive loyalty

By tracking what your customers purchase, you can send them product recommendation emails – and companies like Amazon are very good that. But an often overlooked strategy is using replenishment emails for perishable products with a predictable lifecycle. As human beings we don’t like risk, so buying the same product again is the safest choice (granting that the purchase was satisfactory). Use email to send a gentle nudge and you’re very likely to see great results. Harrod Horticultural used this strategy for selling slug nematodes and saw a 50% increase in sales year-on-year.

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It can help you track individual customer journeys

We talk a lot about customer journeys in the marketing industry but many times we discuss pre-purchase journeys rather than post-purchase ones. And yes, the first step might be to at least separate business-as-usual communications from customer ones, but a well constructed post-purchase strategy can help with a lot more. Unique voucher codes are one example of that. By assigning a different code to each new customer in subsequent promotional emails, you can start tracking your VIPs and your most successful offers. Evans Cycles won Campaign of the Month in May based on that exact idea. They used unique voucher codes to entice customers who had recently made a purchase to make another one. With a predicted additional revenue of £27K from this campaign alone, it’s worth giving it a go.

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It can help you attract new customers

That’s right, existing customers can help you attract new customers. They can boast about their purchase through word-of-mouth or share it on social media, but more importantly, they can leave a review. Reevo found that product reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales and 50 or more of them can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.

You can take it outside the boundaries of email and digital

A study shared by eMarketer highlighted communications based on previous purchases as a top priority for Fashion & Boutique retailers. A more interesting area, which is a high priority for hard goods retailers, is accessing customers’ past online activities and purchase history during the purchase process. For example, if you have a loyalty card scheme, you could ask the customer to scan it before starting a conversation so you can access their transactional profile. Or for the fashion retailers who are experimenting with smart mirrors, you could load previously purchased items to help customers find a matching item. Bought a lovely pair of chinos a month ago? These three shirts go perfectly with it.

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It’s time for retailers to start experimenting with post-purchase strategies because, let’s face it, we’re leaving money on the table.

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