We’re now in the thick of the holiday season and end of year sales are expected to be the busiest shopping days for stores. With up to 30-40% of annual retail sales occurring during the last quarter of the year and shoppers slated to spend an average of $1007.24 each (at least in the US), stakes are high for retailers to maximize the opportunities of the peak season.

Source: Kenshoo

But have you thought about what happens after the peak season and whether these customers stay with you? Data from Shopify found that 64% of retailers find customers acquired during the peak season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) have a lower customer lifetime value than other times of the year.

This means customers acquired during the peak season make fewer repeat purchases or never purchase from you again. If you’ve spent so much time, effort and money wooing these customers to your store, you might be thinking: is there a way to keep these customers for the long run?

The answer is yes, and it lies in your post-purchase communication. It’s important to take the right steps now to build powerful relationships with your customers and not add it in as an afterthought to your holiday customer retention strategy. In this article, we’ll be sharing two important ways to optimize your post-purchase communications for customer retention.

1. Incorporate branded post-purchase emails after checkout

Just because a new customer buys something from you doesn’t mean that they will be returning to purchase again. Some experienced retailers even don’t think of new buyers as customers until the second, third or even fourth purchase.

You may be thinking: “okay, then I’ll send out more promotional emails and spend more time on marketing. Correct?’

Well, think about it. Your promotional emails spread your product news and promotions to a wider audience in a bid to get them to buy from you for the first time, but does it persuade current customers to buy from you again? This job is better left to the post-purchase email sequence especially designed to build stronger relationships with your existing customers in your own brand voice, colors, and design.

A typical branded post-purchase sequence usually consists of the following emails:

  • Order confirmation and thank you emails
  • Order shipped
  • Order delivered and customer feedback email
  • Issue and delay emails

We’ve written a series of articles illustrating some of the best practices to craft remarkable post-purchase emails here and here

Tip: Start incorporating branded tracking emails in your workflow today with our platform! Get started for free and start communicating with your customers in your brand voice, even after checkout!

2. Alleviate customer shipping anxiety with proactive communication and accurate delivery estimates

During the holiday season, anxiety and anticipation usually run high while your customers are waiting for their parcels to be delivered to them. Considering that carriers and delivery partners notoriously take longer with deliveries during the peak season due to the sheer volume of orders, retailers who can earn customer trust by accurately predicting delivery times and proactive communication will distinguish themselves from others.

The delivery experience matters in the post-purchase experience. Research conducted by Narvar shows that 72% of consumers ranked on-time delivery above a customer loyalty program and customer service when it came to deciding if they would shop with that retailer again.

Customers also want to be constantly kept in the loop after their purchase. They want to know the status of their order. Has it left the store yet or is it on the way to my house?

Even if things go wrong during the shipping process like an issue or a delay, you can still turn things around with a well-timed email. A staggering 98% of consumers say they feel better when a retailer takes steps to notify them immediately when something goes wrong – like an undelivered parcel, damaged parcel or delays.

Tip: Flag these delayed shipments as a priority follow up for your customer service staff for more efficient service.

In Conclusion:

The holiday season represents a huge opportunity for retailers. Take the time to establish proactive post-purchase communication practices through the use of branded tracking emails and constantly keeping customers in the loop after checkout. By implementing these two practices during the holidays, you can create the foundation for customer loyalty and drive customer retention for your shop.

Want to learn more about how you can use the post-purchase experience to drive customer retention? Download our free white paper here.