Making the most of email

Post-purchase emails are a crucial part of your online business. Julie Henry explains how to improve your game.


Julia Henry is Post-Purchase Manager at parcelLab

Post-purchase emails informing customers about the progress of their online order boast the highest opening rates of all customer communication.

This means that sticking to basic notifications like: “Your order has been shipped” is not only boring, but also means you are missing out on the perfect opportunity to engage directly with your customers to promote your brand and deepen loyalty.

Of course, you can’t simply bombard customers with marketing messages or you’re likely to annoy them and worsen your relationship rather than improve it. So what can you say that will add real value and have them coming back for more? Here are three key things that customers like to read about in post-purchase emails.

1 Order status information

It might seem obvious, but first and foremost customers want to read about the status of their online order – after all, an informed customer is a happy one. What’s more, this information validates any post-purchase email you send out, opening the door for further communication.

The key here, though, is to provide precise information. Simply saying: “Your order has left our distribution hub and will reach your chosen destination in approximately three to five working days” can do more harm than good, as it provides no detail and will just be viewed as annoying.

You need to tell customers:

  • When their order is received and processed
  • When it has been shipped
  • When – exactly – it will be delivered

Give them the opportunity to track their parcel. And if the order can’t be delivered to their house, tell them exactly where it has gone and how they can get it. If relevant, for example, the opening times of the local post office and include a map with its exact location.

Also, be open and honest about any problems concerning the order. If shipping is delayed for some reason, or a customisation process is taking longer than estimated, or the order is held in customs, whatever the issue, it’s vital to keep people informed every step of the way.

2 Additional product information

Once you’ve fulfilled the customer’s main need by providing accurate, timely information about the status of their order, you can capitalise on getting their full attention by telling them a bit more about the product they’ve just bought. Alongside confirmation that a new food processor or juicer is on it’s way, for example, you could send a video tutorial explaining how to get the best out of the new device, such as a selection of recipes.

All this additional information is highly relevant and useful to the customer and their order, adding real value to the purchasing experience. What’s more, it shows that the retailer is an expert in their field, assuring the customer that they have purchased from the right place. This helps to build up customer loyalty, driving revenues through repeat sales.

3 Relevant advertising

By providing key order status updates and valuable information, you’ve earned the right to be able to advertise to your customers during the post-purchase process. However, it’s vital that it should be kept in the background so as not to distract from the core purpose of the email: to keep customers informed about the progress of their order. But remember – information comes first and advertising second.

Any advertising should also be directly related to the ordered product, for example with recommendations of complementary products and recipe ideas. This not only encourages purchases, but also meets GDPR requirements.

Making the most of the post-purchase customer experience in this way – and there’s plenty more scope to be creative – plays a key role in strengthening customer relationships, building loyalty and encouraging additional sales. In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, it really is an opportunity that’s too good to miss.

parcelLab (parcellab.com) is a cloud-based, post-purchase solution for smart parcel monitoring and targeted customer communication including e-mail, SMS, Facebook or a retailer’s app.

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