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Using Post‑Purchase Emails to Improve Customer Loyalty

Boost customer loyalty with post‑purchase emails. Learn how to create effective strategies to engage and retain customers, and increase sales and revenue.

When you’re running an ecommerce business (or even if your business just has an ecommerce component), there’s a lot to manage. Customers want instant access to all kinds of things. They want an easy shopping process, lots of automation, and to receive their goods in a timely fashion with no problems.

We all want these things, but providing them is a challenge. While you’re tackling that challenge, you’re going to invest a lot into automation to help you stay on top of customer expectations. Along the way, you can learn about post purchase emails.

They’re a tool that can help you with customer engagement. They help with sales, ROI, customer lifetime value, and a whole lot more.

What is a post-purchase email?

As the name suggests, these are emails that you send after a customer makes a purchase.

Typically, post-purchase email campaigns are automated, making it easy to keep up with them.

Additionally, you can target a number of different important pieces of information within these emails. In fact, it’s normal to send multiple post-purchase emails (not necessarily all at once) to convey the following:

  • Order confirmation information (like order numbers, receipts, and tracking information).
  • Product details (that might include operational instructions and what is included in the packing).
  • Support information (so they can contact you as needed).
  • Reminders (especially if there are backorders or shipping delays).
  • Special offers (usually targeted around the type of items already purchased).
  • How-to emails that show more ways to use the product (like recipes for a crockpot).
  • Surveys (to help you identify key metrics for improvement).
  • User content (testimonials or other content made by your users).

Why should you send post-purchase emails?

What do these emails really accomplish? Well, they provide value to your existing and new customers, and that can lead to measurable benefits.

Improved customer retention

First off, customers expect receipt and confirmation emails. If you don’t send those two shipping confirmation emails out, you might dissuade customers by convincing them that you aren’t running a good or legitimate business.

Beyond that, surprise and delight emails provide customers with reasons to come back and shop with you again. Whether that comes from coupons, seasonal promotions, targeted offers, or anything else, you’re engaging with your customers via these emails, and that helps you build a relationship that fosters customer retention.

Increased customer lifetime value

Even while you’re keeping repeat customers back around for a long time, these same emails are helping customers to come to trust you more. You’re increasing customer lifetime value.

Say you sell a tennis racket to a customer. They’re not likely to come back for new tennis rackets too often. Rackets last a long time. But as you establish a relationship with your customer, they might turn to you for replacement tennis balls, sweatbands, and all other kinds of things related to your post-purchase emails.

The emails are increasing their lifetime value as a customer.

Opportunities for customer feedback

On a completely different note, customer feedback is invaluable. Certainly, you will send out customer survey emails that never come back to you. But from the surveys you do receive, you get direct feedback from your customers about their experience.

There is nothing more valuable in shaping how you move your business forward. You can steer into what customers like and abandon things that they don’t like (or improve on weaknesses that they identify). This is essential for growth.

Improved brand reputation

So far, your emails are establishing a relationship with your customers and enabling you to adjust the business according to feedback. You’re also building trust with automated receipts and confirmation emails for repeat purchases.

It’s easy to see how these things translate into a positive brand reputation. It’s hard to establish a reputation from a single interaction with a single customer. But, when your loyal customers regularly come back to you (because you keep giving them good reasons to do so), you build up that reputation.

Key elements of effective post-purchase emails

When you want to create a great post-purchase email campaign, you need to keep a few ideas in mind.

Those ideas include timing, personalization, clarity, and a call to action.


There are a lot of different kinds of post-purchase emails, and they don’t all fit into a neat, single-timing window. Let’s look at the most obvious examples.

A receipt email should come within minutes of processing a transaction. A confirmation email should come when the item is shipped (or ready to ship) with the ability to track that shipment.

Meanwhile, special offers need appropriate timing. If a customer bought a tennis racket, you shouldn’t send them emails for new rackets the same day. But, you might want to send an offer for tennis balls relatively soon.

Seasonal promotions need to be timed appropriately, and occasional reminder emails should not be too frequent, lest they come across as spam. Timing is everything with these emails.


Sure, it’s nice to get a receipt that’s down to business, but who doesn’t like a personalized touch? Your customers are engaging with you when they shop. You can take that engagement and use it to personalize things.

Put their name on the email. Cater to their interests. Talk about their shopping history with you (when it makes sense to do so). Email personalization goes a long way.


People get a lot of emails. You know this because you are a person, and you get a lot of emails.

What keeps your interest? What doesn’t?

If an email meanders and fails to get to the point quickly, you’re probably not going to finish reading it. You can assume that your customers behave similarly.

If you’re sending your customer a special coupon, make it big and obvious in the email.

Get to the point. Make the point very clear. Don't allow for misunderstandings.

Call to action

The call to action is remarkable. If you send an email thanking your customer for the purchase, they’ll notice it and move on pretty quickly. If you send them a coupon, they’ll recognize it, but in many cases, they won’t use it.

But, if you include a basic call to action (e.g. hop online and use your coupon today), you will get dramatic improvements in engagement and responses. It’s a strange trick of psychology, but adding the call to action can increase responses by as much as 80 percent.

You’re helping readers to overcome mental and emotional inertia. Simply telling them to act is enough in many cases.

Popular types of post-purchase emails

In a previous section, you saw a list of common content choices to put into post-purchase emails. Now, let’s take a look at the very most common options.

Order confirmation emails

Again, this is expected. If someone buys something from you, they want a receipt. They want you to acknowledge the order and give them expectations on when they can receive their item. When you ship the item, they want the ability to track it.

Usually, this is broken into two or three emails on account of the timing. Most people don’t want to wait to get a receipt until after you ship the next purchased item.

Ultimately, these items give customers confidence that the process worked, they haven’t been charged for nothing, and that you are on top of things in your business.

Thank you emails

These usually go out after shipping confirmation when an order is completed (meaning that the shipment made it to the customer successfully). First, you don’t want to send out a thank you email only to find that the customer never received their confirmation. That’s like rubbing salt in a wound.

But when timed correctly, a thank you email shows personalized communication to your customer. You can include a gift or promotion in the email, or you can simply focus on saying thank you. Either way, it’s something positive for your whole customer journey.

Product review emails

These represent a great way to get valuable feedback from your customers, and they can even generate customer-written content that can go in future emails. Product review emails are usually best sent after the customer has had a few moments to get acquainted with the product.

Using the tennis racket example, give them a couple of weeks to get out and play with the racket before sending such feedback requests in an email.

Most importantly, pay attention to remind customers what they say. If you’re selling subpar goods, improve your business model. If your customers all love the same thing, then maybe it’s time for a promotion.

Cross-sell and upsell emails

There are two approaches to cross-selling and upselling. You can include a few ideas in a confirmation email. That’s immediate, but many products make sense in this content. People who buy a tennis racket need tennis balls too. Go ahead and cross-sell right away.

But, these emails can feel like spam if you’re too aggressive. So, give a few weeks between these emails if you’re continuing the campaign.

Leverage email marketing software to send post-purchase emails

A good post-purchase email flow can do a lot for your business. If you would like resources that help you automate this process while maintaining a personal touch, turn to Mailchimp.

You’ll find that there is an abundance of tools and tips that can help you make the most out of post-purchase emails and many other digital aspects of running your business. From improving your landing page to expanding customer leads, it’s all available.

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