Why is the post-purchase customer experience important in the retail industry?

Editorial Team

5 min read
Person taking survey on phone with smileys above

For many retailers, making that next sale is the ultimate goal. They measure success based on their ability to get customers through the door and to the checkout counter. Brick-and-mortar and virtual stores alike often devote much of their resources to this sales strategy.

However, a successful sales process should require diverting some of your time and attention to the post-purchase experience. This article explains why post-purchase marketing is important, and it also outlines steps to help improve how your customers view your brand after the sale.

What does post-purchase behavior mean?

Post-purchase behavior can be defined as the feelings and actions a customer takes after they have purchased an item from your business up until the end of the return period. Once the customer has completed his or her evaluation, they may:

  1. Keep the product, make another purchase from your business, and tell their friends and family about it
  2. Return the product, never return to your business, and take to social media and review sites to express their dissatisfaction

As a business owner, you’ll want to connect with your customers during the post-purchase stage to find out how satisfied they were with the product, and determine what steps you can take to help improve the product and/or experience if they express dissatisfaction. Getting ahead of any negative reviews can help protect your business reputation and show your customers you care how they feel, which can help improve customer retention.

Why does the post-purchase customer experience matter?

Generally, people like to feel good about the purchases they make. If those feelings are positive enough, they’re more likely to re-create that experience at some point in the future.

This can mean more repeat business for your retail store; however, the reverse can also be true.

Buyer’s remorse stemming from low-quality products, poor customer service, or misleading advertising reduces the likelihood of customers returning to your store. This means you’ll have to constantly attract new customers, which is time-consuming and can cost up to five times as much to acquire new customers as it does to retain existing ones.

Add to this the ever-present threat of refunds and chargebacks, and it becomes clear that investing in the post-purchasing experience can help make your business more profitable.

Tips on keeping customers happy after the sale

Technology has enabled retailers to automate the post-purchase communication process to stay connected with customers. Here are some tips on how you can stay top-of-mind with your audience and turn one-time customers into repeat business.

1. Touchpoints

Post-purchase touchpoints are the interactions between the customer and the business after the sale, and they can provide further opportunity to build on the relationship. These can include follow-up surveys, thank you emails, or promotional text messages. They might also include a call from a customer service rep asking about their satisfaction with the product. This can also be a good time to promote cross-selling opportunities. 

2. Personalization

Personalization can mean more than including each customer’s name in all marketing materials. Today, it means providing users with a full array of self-service options, including the ability to edit mailing addresses, save delivery and payment preferences, and create favorites lists alerting them when these items go on sale.

Handing more control to your customers isn’t just empowering. It also saves you money since customers can manage their accounts without you having to intervene.

3. Community

Another way to keep customers coming back is to build a community around the values your store represents. With social media, newsletters, and forums, it’s possible to keep the conversation going even after customers leave your store.

The same is true when responding to comments or online reviews, both of which demonstrate you’re actively engaged with your customers’ needs and desires.

4. Customer service

Many businesses regard customer service as a cost. With the right approach, your call center can become a valuable source of information as you collect (and fix) problems as they arise.

If one customer is facing an issue with a recently purchased item, there’s a good chance others will as well. With proper training and reporting, your customer service team can help you stay ahead of the curve so future customers don’t have to deal with the same issue.

5. Loyalty programs

One of the most effective strategies for attracting repeat business is to reward those who visit your business repeatedly. This means launching a loyalty program in which customers accumulate perks, benefits, and discounts with each subsequent visit.

When designed correctly, a loyalty program can also incorporate some of the above steps, since:

  • Customer engagement becomes easier because you have a direct line of communication with every loyalty program member
  • Personalization is already included; every customer has a dedicated membership account
  • Access to exclusive discounts and gated content can help promote feelings of community and belonging

Tackling just one of the strategies above could help turn some of your one-timers into repeat customers. Combine all of these tips into a well-designed post-purchase customer experience, and you could turn repeat customers into evangelists for your business.

To learn how Clover POS systems can help you improve your post-purchase customer experience for your retail business, connect with an expert today.

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