Do The Obvious Better: eCommerce & Loyalty Thank You Automation

by | Jan 7, 2020

Thanking your customers for their purchase seems such an obvious task – but it’s one that many seem to fail to do, despite having all the means in place to create a thank you that will not only give the customer the praise from this purchase, but will encourage them to shop with you time and time again.

And if you are already thanking your customers, we’re sure you can do this even better.

Whether your business is eCommerce, or you communicate with your most active customer base using details collected through a loyalty scheme, sending an email to thank them for their purchase helps to create a customer/retailer relationship that can be retained for years to come, pleasing customers and driving more sales in the future.

Brick and Mortar vs Online Shopping

In general, when there are no means to distinguish who is buying what in store, a customer will browse at their leisure, choose the product they either came into store for, or has seen whilst browsing, and walks away after making a purchase. The only interaction is between the customer and the sales assistant, whether that be through the help they have been given on the shop floor to make the purchase, or during the transaction at the till point. They walk away and take their purchase home.

Online, things are a little different. There is a small amount of anxiety when it comes to online shopping. A customer will log on, browse the site, hit the buy button, and then the second guessing nature will commence. Did I click the right size? What if it doesn’t fit? Should I order a couple of sizes and send one back? Will my order arrive by the time I need it? Has my payment gone through ok?

When they log into their email account, the order confirmation hasn’t come through yet – did I put my email address in correctly? How will I know when it is on its way if I haven’t? What if my confirmation has gone to someone else’s email address – will they be able to access my bank details?

Customers crave the reassurance that they will receive their reward. And a ‘thank you’, before they even get their product in most cases, is a great place to start.

Saying Thank You

Whether your customers are online or in-store, saying thank you for their purchase is such an easy, simple step that can give your customer the satisfaction they need to make a repeat purchase, either through your site or on their next shopping trip on the high street. It shows that you care about your customers and want to develop a connection with them, both face-to-face and through their inbox. The more personal you are – through saying thank you, as well as personalising your email communications – the more likely they are to open future emails from you.

An email to thank them for their purchase not only gives a customer something to save to show their friends and family, but it’s also a great way of asking them to create an account with you. 37% of shoppers abandon their carts if they’re forced to open an account, so sending this out after they’ve paid for this product is best, and then it gives them the opportunity to use the details they have already populated for this transaction, saving precious time doing so when they next visit your site.

Most importantly, it’s the perfect way to begin a relationship online that is just as good as the one they have in-store. Customers expect a thank you at the till point, so why not send one into their inbox too?

When is the best time to thank your customers?

1. After a Purchase

An in-store customer would always expect a thank you at the till after they hand over their hard-earned cash, so an online customer should get the same. A confirmation email is a great function as a ‘thank you.’ If yours doesn’t already say it, then it’s time to make sure it does. It is much better than just a bog-standard receipt. Not only is it a thank you, but it also makes the customer comfortable with their purchase, gives them proof of the transaction and puts all the information including price, shipping details, refund policy and contact info in one place to refer back to.

An after-purchase email containing these details has an average open rate of nearly 5 times a standard communication, so it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your brand.

2. After Subscribing to an Email List

If a customer signs up to your mailing list, it’s because they’re interested in your brand and they want to know more, whether that be learn more about you, or be the first to know about any offers, sales or store info. If they have signed up, say thank you for doing so. Not only will it be appreciated, but it gives you the opportunity to confirm that they have been added and that their details are secure with you.

They have not made a full commitment to you just yet – they may not have even made a purchase. Use it as an opportunity to thank them for their attention and show them the main benefits of your store. If you offered something in return such as 20% off their first order or free delivery, then make sure you follow up with that promise too.

3. Predicting the end of a product’s life

Whatever you stock, there will be a time when it reaches the point that it needs replacing. You can use data gathered on customers purchase behaviour to determine when this may be – for example, if a loyal customer purchases a certain foundation or moisturiser from you, you can see roughly when they may replenish. If they buy one every 2 months, when theirs runs out, you could use this time period to send an email thanking them for their purchase, ask for feedback and offer them a discount for the next time they need to replace it with a new bottle.

This works especially well if you sell products that have for example a 30-day supply, and you can even use it seasonally when it’s time to transition their wardrobe from summer to autumn.

There are many products that this may not work for – electricals do not necessarily have a shelf life and there is no way to determine how much it has been used. However, you can use a typical lifeline of the product to determine something like a mattress, which needs replacing roughly every 8 years.

4. Hitting milestones

A special anniversary or achievement is always something worth celebrating – so why not get your customers involved too. Use it as a chance to thank them for shopping with you over the years, resulting in you being able to hit a charity goal or move to larger premises.

It’s important not to send these too often. It is not triggered by a visit or a purchase, so you don’t have to do it every single year. Constantly celebrating something will deem each one a little less exciting. However, done right makes a customer feel part of the team and helps instil that loyalty that they already have towards your brand.

Another time to send a thank you might be when the CUSTOMER hits a milestone. Have they collected enough points to warrant the top benefit in your loyalty scheme, or shopped consistently with you for a certain number of years? It is a great time to acknowledge them. If they’re not already signed up to your loyalty scheme, and you have a way of tracking their purchases through your website, it’s also a great time to nudge them towards taking that step – especially if they could have done so much with their benefits by now, saved money or earned enough points to warrant something great like an afternoon tea with a friend in your store.

5. After a global pandemic

Yes, it might be (hopefully!) the only time that this one happens, but due to the unprecedented Covid-19 lockdown, many ‘non-essential’ stores are shut for business, meaning customers cannot currently shop. It has shown though, that loyal customers will continue their loyalty through other means – whether that’s opening your emails and staying interested in what is going on or liking and commenting on your posts on social media. All of these small acts show that your brand is still close to their hearts, even if they cannot currently enjoy your products.

Give them an incentive to visit when this is all over, in terms of a personalised promotion or a welcome back event. If you have been able to continue trading through the lockdown period, keep customers active by offering them services that they may not be able to find elsewhere right now, and keep showing you care by providing promotions on things needed right now such as free delivery for the full period.

The icing on top: Make the thank you even more effective

Saying “Thank You” using words is enough, but you may want to go a step further with your thank you emails to showcase more of your brand.

Some effective strategies include:

  • Add photos of the team and put a face to the products that they’re purchasing. This particularly works well for smaller businesses.
  • Make sure your returns policy is easy to navigate, giving the customer a piece of mind that they will be able to get a refund if they’re not 100% happy, particularly if you’re an eCommerce business.
  • A personal offer that they can use next time they are in-store.

From your side, it’s also a great way to take the relationship to the next level. Use it as an opportunity to promote your social media platforms in case they might want to follow you and keep up to date with what is going on in-store or within the business even more so than just by being on a mailing list. You could also ask them to review you or your products online, or complete a survey to see if there are any steps within the transaction that you may want to look at and make easier for the next customer.

If you have data on your customers, it’s so easy to be automating the types of thank you emails that could help cement the relationship that you’re already building with your loyal customers. If you think something like this would be perfect for your company, our Response Works platform is the perfect way to segment customers, evaluate their spending habits and produce a thank you email that they would appreciate.

Give us a call or contact us to find out more.