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Hey, Scott. Austin here.
I'm a big fan of email for ecommerce brands. What I see from my clients is that the brands that have a well thought out and executed email plan are getting 1/4th to 1/3rd of their revenue from email. Now my favorite email tool for Shopify stores is Klaviyo. So for this rest of this podcast, I'm going to use the venacular of Klaviyo. Other email tools have similar features, they just may have different terms for them.
Email revenue will come from both campaigns - which are bulk emails that you send out for things like a Valentine's Day sale - and from flows - which are emails that are sent to one person at a time based on a trigger or action the customer takes like making a purchase. And these trigger based emails are very powerful because once you set up a flow, the emails get automatically sent out whenever a customer takes the trigger action. So there's effort on your part to set them up, but once they are setup, they continue to just run with no intervention from you. So they help you build your brand while you are sleeping or focussing on other tasks.
The post-purchase flow is an especially valuable one. Because this is one of the key tools for you to convert a one-time purchaser into a repeat purchaser. So I'm a fan of having many post-purchase flows. The important part is to think about your brand from your customer's experience and to determine how many different post-purchase scenarios you can cover. To help with that, here are some ideas for post-purchase scenarios for you to consider.
Post-Purchase Email Ideas
Now these first few are covered in Shopify's notifications, so you probably won't be building them in your email tool.
Idea 1. Order Confirmation: Confirm the order and provide a summary, including order number, items purchased, and expected delivery date.
Idea 2. Shipping Notification: Inform customers when their order has been shipped, including tracking information and estimated delivery date.
Idea 3. Delivery Confirmation: Send an email once the order is delivered, asking if everything arrived as expected.
This next one will probably be sent out by review app and not your email tool.
Idea 4. Request for Review: After a suitable period of time, invite customers to review the products they purchased. Now the suitable period needs to account for three things:
- The amount of time that it takes you to process orders. So that that's the time between the order being placed and the package be shiped.
- The amount of time that it takes for the package to be delivered. So that's the time between the package be shipped and the package being delivered.
- The amount of time it takes the customer to use the product enough to be able to comment on it. You see when brands get this wrong if many of the product reviews mention not having had the time to use the product yet. And this time will depend on the nature of your products so you'll have to use your judgement to determine it.
Now, the remaining scenarios I'm about to go through will be set up in your email tool. Some of these ideas overlap with others on the list. My goal here is to get you brainstorming as many different post-purchase ideas as possible for your brand. I've recently purchased some pickleball products. As that's top of mind, most of my examples will center around a hypothetical store selling pickleball products.
I'm going to present the ideas in buckets of similar topics.
Bucket A - Order Processing
Idea 5. Thank You Note: A simple, personalized thank you message to express appreciation for their business. I set this email up to be as personal as possible. So I make it a text email, not an HTML email. I like to add a real person's name from the store. Usually the owner. By doing this, customers feel special as they think that someone actually sat down and typed out this thank you message for them. Because of that, customers will also respond in a personal way. So be sure that responses get seen by store staff and responded to. I like to send this email a day after the order was placed and during normal business hours.
Idea 6. Delayed Shipping Notification. This is a great one to reduce customer support inquiries by proactively addressing concerns. So let's say that you normally ship your products out in three days, but there are times where it can take a week or more to ship out a product for whatever reason. Well, you set up flow that has a time delay on it. In this case, let's make that time delay 5 days which is two days longer than your normal processing time. Then add to that email a filter so that it won't go out if the order has been shipped. The content of the email lets the customer know that processing of their order is taking a little longer than expected. But not to worry, there order hasn't been lost is a top priority for you.
Idea 7. Reminder of Warranties or Guarantees: Inform customers about warranty periods or satisfaction guarantees. Being proactive about your policies and giving them notice when guarantee windows are about to expire can reduce customer support inquiries. Short sighted brands may say that letting customers know about ending warranties can increase claims and costs. But sophisticated brands will know that this can increase trust and the likelihood for customers to be repeat purchasers.
Bucket B - Getting More Sales
Idea 8. Cross-Sell Recommendations: Suggest complementary products based on their purchase. So if they order a pickleball paddle, you can offer a pickleball paddle case to protect their purchase. Now, if you're doing things right, your shopping experience will have already promoted the case to paddle purchaser when the made the purchase. So for the flow, wait a bit for the customer to have time to use the product and better understand the value prop for the products you are recommending. For example, the cross-sell for the case could go out a month after the paddle was delivered.
Idea 9. Replenishment Reminder: For consumable products, remind customers to reorder before they run out. To do this well, you'll need to determine the average time for consumers to use their supply. So let's say that you are selling nutrition bars to your pickleball customers and the average time for the customer to replenish is 30 days. 25 days after they order send a replenishment reminder for that exact same product if they have not placed an order since the first purchase. Then if after 10 days they still haven't placed an order, send a second reminder but this time recommend alternatives to the original product.
Idea 10. Subscription Reminder: This is for products that have a subscription option. I like to let customers know that they have a subscription option. But I do this after they have ordered the product more than twice. And then I send the reminder after every order from then on. I'll also include the subscription reminder in the replenishment reminder flow.
Idea 11. Replacement Reminder: Products wear out and need to be replaced, so the messaging on this one is a little different from the replenishment flow where the product has been consumed. In the replacement flow, we're educating the customer on the expected lifespan of a product and telling them how to check if their product needs replacement.
Idea 12. The Next Level Upgrade Reminder: Before a product wears out, a customer can outgrow it. For example, if our customer buys a beginner pickleball paddle, six months later, the paddle may be in fine condition. But the features and capabilities may be holding the player back. So in this flow, we want to educate the customer how long it usually takes to go from a beginner to an intermediate in pickleball. We'll also want to educate them on the improved play they'll see by using an intermediate paddle. And then we show our recommended intermediate paddles.
Idea 13. Extended Warranty Upsell: If you offer an extended warranty for your products, create a flow that let's the customer know about the closing window available for purchasing the warranty.
Idea 14. Anniversary of Purchase: Some best practices will say to send an email one year after every purchase. But I prefer to do it for these scenarios:
- When the product is a gift for an event like Valentine's Day or birthdays. 50 weeks after the purchase, send them a reminder about the event and highlight other popular products for that event.
- When the product is for an annual shopping event like Halloween or Back to School. Promote the product they originally purchased and popular alternatives.
Idea 15. Reminders for Seasonal or Annual Replacements: For products that need regular replacement like filters or batteries.
Idea 16. Courses: If you have any courses related to your product, let your customers know, especially if those are paid courses. For our pickleball example, we could develop a course that shows the drills a player should master to get from beginner to intermediate.
Bucket C - Product Usage
Idea 17. User Manuals: If your vendors supply user manuals, send your customer an email with a link to the manual where they can download it and save it to their device. We can't attach files to Klaviyo emails, so here's what to do instead. User manuals are usually PDFs, which can be stored in your Shopify store. So go to your Shopify admin and add the PDF to the Content > Files section. Then add a link to that file to your e-mails
Idea 18. Educational Series: Send a series of emails educating them about the product. The best way to get started with this is to just gather all of the existing content you have about your product and put it into a flow. That content will come from your product page, FAQ, blog articles, podcasts, video and social. Once that is complete, you can evaluate the flow for any missing content that customers want and fill in those holes.
Idea 19. Product Care Tips: Share tips on how to care for or use the purchased product effectively. This email should go out after the customer has had enough time to use the product so that the customer receives it when its time for the first round of product care.
Idea 20. Maintenance Tips: Provide guidance on maintaining the longevity and quality of the product. Emails should go out when the product hits the recommended maintenance windows. Emails should also promote products that are used in maintenance and replacement parts.
Idea 21. Seasonal Maintenance Tips: Offer tips for using or maintaining products during different seasons. For example, we can provide recommendations on how customers should store their outdoor pickleballs when winter comes and they shift to indoor play with indoor balls.
Idea 22. Product Customization Ideas: If applicable, suggest ways to customize or personalize products. Personalized products increase the customers emotional connection to the product. But they also have these business benefits.
- Customers are less likely to part with personalized products because of the emotional connection. So even if they are no longer using them, they keep them around and maybe show them off which keeps your brand top of mind.
- Personalized products are less likely to enter the second-hand market so new customers will need to come to you to get a new product instead of a finding a used one.
Idea 23. Different Uses for the Product: This email should explain how they can use their product in other ways than initial intended. For example, let's say we sell ankle braces for pickleball players who sprain their ankle. We can send emails that explain how the ankle braces can be used to prevent future ankle sprains too.
Idea 24. Upcycling Ideas: This email can go out when the product hits its replacement window. The email should seed some ideas in the customer's mind on how they can use the old product in different ways. For example, we could describe how to use old balls and paddles to create trophies for club tournaments.
Idea 25. Disposal Tips: This email can go out when the product hits its replacement window. It should explain how the products can be disposed of. Can they be recycled? Are the materials appropriate for general trash?
Idea 26. DIY Tips or Ideas: For relevant products, provide Do-It-Yourself tips or creative ways to use the product. For example, our pickleball store may sell a blank vinyl banners and markers so that the customer can make their own banner to hang at their local pickleball court. We could have emails that show the designs that others have made from this product.
Idea 27. Ask How It Is Going: Let's say someone buys a replacement grip for their pickleball paddle that they have to apply themselves. A couple weeks after the product has shipped, we can send an email asking them how the grip replacement is going and if they need any help. Do they need a recommendation on a service provider that can do it for them?
Idea 28. Recipes: If relevant, share recipes using your products. This can be for food or for supplies.
Idea 29. Pairings: If relevant, share pairings of what goes well with purchased products. This scenario works for many product categories including food, clothing, decor, and much more.
Bucket D - Product Story
People love telling stories. And one of the ways that you can encourage word of mouth marketing in your customers is to give them stories about your products that they can retell to others.
Idea 30. Story of the Product's Origin: Share the story behind how a particular product was conceived or developed.
Idea 31. 'How It's Made' Series: Provide a detailed look into the manufacturing process of the product.
Idea 32. 'Did You Know?' Fun Facts: Send fun and interesting facts related to the products they purchased.
Bucket E - Community
Idea 33. Clubs: Let customers know of relevant local or national clubs that are related to their products. For example, we could let customers know about their local pickleball clubs even if our store is not associated with the clubs.
Idea 34. Events: Let customers know of relevant local events that are related to their products. For example, we could let customers know about local pickleball meetups or tournaments.
Idea 35. User-Generated Content: Showcase customer photos or testimonials of your customers using your products.
Idea 36. Customer Spotlight Stories: Share stories or case studies of customers using your products effectively. In our pickleball example, we could show how customers who bought the same paddle they did improved their skills and won tournaments.
Idea 37. Invitation to Join Online Communities: Encourage customers to join brand-specific forums or social media groups. For our pickleball store, we could create a pickleball Facebook group that we invite customers to to discuss pickleball with the community.
Idea 38. Collaborations with Influencers: Share content created in collaboration with influencers or industry experts.
Idea 39. Collaborations with Ambassadors: Share content created by people in your ambassador program if you have one.
Idea 40. Invitation to Participate in a Webinar or Live Event: Host webinars or live events that customers might find valuable and are related to your niche. For example, we could host a monthly webinar about how to improve your pickleball play.
Idea 41. Challenges or Contests: Engage customers with challenges or contests related to your products. For example, we could develop a challenge for our new pickleball players that outlines ten drills in ten days for pickleball mastery.
Bucket F - Brand Programs
Idea 42. Subscription Education: If you have subcriptions, you should send first time subscribers an educational series on how to manage their subscription. I usually do this with a video that shows them how they can change, pause and cancel their subscription. I resend it on the anniversary of their subscription as long as they are still subscribing.
Idea 43. Loyalty Program Invitation: Invite them to join your loyalty program, outlining benefits and rewards.
Idea 44. Referral Program: Encourage them to refer friends in exchange for rewards or discounts.
Idea 45. Brand Partnerships: Share news about collaborations with other brands that might interest them or add more credibility to your products.
Bucket G - Brand Story
Idea 46. Sustainability Practices: Share information about your brand’s sustainability efforts if relevant to the purchase.
Idea 47. Charity or Community Involvement News: Share how their purchase contributes to charitable causes or community projects.
Hopefully this list of ideas has got you brainstorming. You should now have a handful of different post-purchase flows that you want to implement for your brand.
Here are some things to think about when implementing your flows.
- Keep each email focused. Each email should be focused on one topic and one call to action. Some emails will be about educating customers. Others will be for building the brand. And yet others will be about selling. My key recommendation here is to not throw selling calls to action into emails that are about education or branding.
- Product Specific Flows. You should not make one post-purchase flow for all of your products. They will need to be relevent to the customer's purchases. For example, with our pickleball paddles. We could have a separate flow for each paddle manufacturer. Or seperate flows for each level - beginner, intermediate, expert and pro. Or seperate flows for each individual paddle. Making more flows takes more effort. But it also provides more value to your customers. You'll need to figure out the right balance for your brand.
- Multiple Flows. I like to break my flows up into many separate flows so that I can more easily manage them. For example, I make a separate flow for just the post purchase thank you. And a separate flow for warranty upsells. And a separate flow for replenishment. And so on.
- Don't worry about sending too many emails. If you create a handful of these flows for a given product, you could easily be sending a customer a dozen or more seperate emails over time. I see too many store owners worrying way to much about sending too much email. But when post-purchase flows are done right, the customer will find great value in them and they won't perceive them as being too many.
- Content. Email is content heavy especially in these post-purchase flows. And you're going to need to be creating content to be successful here. Content creation is one the things that seperates successful brands from average ecommerce stores. So if you want to grow your business through email, you're going to need to be serious about content creation. As with most things, this will be an interative process. Start with the content that you already have. Then map out your priorities for what content you want to make.
That's it for post-purchase emails. By now I hope you understand how important these flows are to growing your business and that you have enough ideas to get started. Each email aims to enhance the customer's engagement with your brand, providing value beyond the transaction and fostering a long-term relationship. Tailoring these ideas to fit your brand voice and customer demographics will help differentiate you from the competition and grow your brand.
Thanks for listening.