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PSA: The first sale should be the beginning of your relationship with a new customer, not the end.
You’ve spent money and time to get traffic to your shop, so you have already eaten the acquisition cost. But trust me when I say that the post-purchase experience is where the real opportunity is.
How? I’m going to show you.
I’m Lisa, and I’m an email and SMS marketing expert. With over 7 years of experience working with ecommerce brands, I’ve learned a thing or two about capitalizing on your transactional post-purchase email flows.
It all starts with taking some time to understand your customers’ needs, and putting effort into these post-purchase emails. Once you do, you’ll stand out to customers, and they will thank you for it by coming back for a repeat purchase.
Today, I’ll dive into a few examples along with tips on the type of content you can add to these flows to make them stand out.
What are transactional post-purchase emails?
As the name suggests, post-purchase means these emails are sent after a customer purchases products from your store. But post-purchase emails can mean a lot of things, such as educational flows, cross-selling flows, and transactional flows.
For the purpose of this article, we’re focusing on transactional post-purchase emails. These are emails that give the customer details about their purchase, including their order confirmation, shipping information, delivery updates, or any potential issues (failed payment or delivery).
8 post-purchase email ideas and tips
Right after a customer purchases, they’re already highly engaged with your brand. This is your opportunity to send valuable information and foster a long-term relationship.
But what should you send? Let’s explore eight email examples and tips right here.
Highlight your brand and product values
There’s ample space in your email footer (or right above it) to highlight the benefits of your products. I suggest picking three important values about your brand that make you stand out from your competitors.
For example, do you offer organic ingredients? Do you offer a lifetime warranty? Are you supporting an organization or initiative? Whatever your values, think of this as an opportunity to confirm that your shopper made the right decision and will love the products they just purchased.
Your values section doesn’t need to take up much space in your email. It’s a simple block with a short sentence and icon for each value. Here’s an example:
Showcase customer reviews
You may have thought reviews are pointless in a post-purchase email because the customer already purchased. But guess what? They’re perfect for reminding shoppers that you were worth every penny, which can help convince them to return for a repeat purchase.
Not to mention, showing how happy other customers are with their orders is a good way to build a community. Your new shoppers will want to get in on the excitement, so the review will build up their anticipation as they wait for their order to arrive.
Again, a review can just be a single block on any of your transactional or educational emails. This example from Braxley Bands is one of my favorites.
Highlight your loyalty program
While a shopper is waiting for their order, let them know about your loyalty program if you offer one. You can get them excited to earn and redeem points or climb tiers to become VIP-level customers.
One way you can get customers excited about your program is to automatically sign them up, and then let them know how many points they accumulated from their purchase. This shows them they already gained value from your brand—before they even get your awesome product in their hands.
And if you don’t want to automatically sign customers up, simply segment your list between those who are already program members versus those who aren’t. Current members will get an update on their status while new shoppers get the prompt to sign up.
She's Waisted has a good example on how you can add a small section to your email to show off your program:
Simplify customer support
One of the most common questions your customer support team will get is “where’s my order?” No matter how much information you share up-front, people will always get anxious waiting for their orders to arrive.
You can proactively support customers by making it easy for them to reach out to you and get help if they need it.
Take SASNola for example. They add a section to their post-purchase emails that explains how customers can contact support via email, phone, or live chat. They even add a CTA to direct customers to their contact page to make it even easier.
Include product education
One of the best ways to drive a repeat purchase is by making sure customers use your product successfully.
Let’s consider an example for skincare brands: customers need to apply your makeup primer after they wash and moisturize their face to see the best results. Also, let’s say it’s a water-based primer, meaning it should only be used with your water-based foundations.
If a new customer misses this information and fails to apply it correctly (maybe they used an oil-based foundation instead), they won’t be happy with your product's results, and they definitely won’t ever purchase it again.
But that doesn’t mean your product is bad—it just means the customer didn’t understand how to use it properly. This is why education is so important, especially in your post-purchase emails where customers are already highly engaged with your content.
What do you do? Help your customers make the most of their new products by sharing personalized instructions. Depending on your product, you can start educating them from the moment they purchase all the way to after they have their order at home.
As you can see in this example, you don’t have to take up too much space to educate customers. Simply add a few key points and direct them to blog content where they can learn more about how to use and take care of your products.
Promote your subscription program
Do you have a subscription program? Now is the perfect time to plant the seed, especially for any products with a shelf life. If you make it easy for customers to purchase again, they will.
Check out this example from Raw Generation:
Get community engagement
If you are actively building a community through social media and engaging with customers in those spaces, point new customers to them. That way, you can grow your other channels while shoppers are waiting for their orders.
However, the key is to highlight why they should follow you and create a sense of belonging. For example, BK Beauty highlights three of its key channels and explains why customers might want to follow each one.
One is for brand updates and tips, the other is for long-form education, and the last is for entertainment and quick tips. Showing each one gives customers the opportunity to choose the type of content they prefer to engage with.
Remember, building loyalty isn’t just pushing more products toward customers—it’s about sharing education, support, entertainment, and community.
Explain your charitable initiatives and donations
If you support a charity thanks to their order, let customers feel good about their participation. It’s a reminder that buying from your brand also benefits others, and that they can feel even better about themselves if they come back to shop again.
You can add a section like Tomlinson’s Feed did where they talk about each of the programs they’re involved with:
Timing is key
Even though I shared eight examples with you, obviously you can’t include all of these in one email. That would be way too long.
The key is to choose what type of content your customers will appreciate the most and spread it out amongst a variety of emails and timing.
It’s important to note that these are for transactional emails. You shouldn't take away from the main purpose of the email. Prioritize the transactional information and make sure it takes up about 80% of the total space.
Some of these ideas can be added as smaller sections in your transactional flows, and some can become stand-alone emails that are sent in between or after these order updates. It’s up to you to decide—I’m just here for the inspiration.
But if you are looking for someone to take over your email campaigns and flows, I can help with that. Learn more about what Fuel Made has to offer right here. Or if you just want to see more examples, check out our collaboration with Malomo and some email ideas here.