A customer’s experience of your brand is critical to whether or not they buy from you again. That experience can encompass everything from packaging to in-store service, brand advertising, and social-media buzz. But it’s the customer’s post-purchase experience that appears to have the most influence on their decision to make another purchase from you. In fact, 86% of customers say their post-purchase experience is what most influences whether or not they’ll choose your service again.
This may be most important to customers because it’s at this point in their relationship with your brand that they feel most powerless.
Consumers presently enjoy a great deal of power in their relationship with brands. They have more choice of vendors than ever across most sectors, the ability to join interest groups via social media, and opportunities to challenge brands publicly via online reviews. After their purchase is complete, some of that power is diminished–particularly if they buy online.
It’s when the customer has completed an online purchase but not yet received their item that they may feel most vulnerable. Perhaps that’s why this stage is the most vital when it comes to maintaining confidence in your brand.
This period is known as the anticipation window. Keep in mind that customers buying cross-border may be particularly anxious during this phase of the brand encounter. Meeting their desire for reassurance during this critical period may strongly influence their likelihood of buying from you again in future.
What’s the solution?
Offering a strong brand experience that meets the particular needs of customers post-purchase is vital to ensuring they feel confident and reassured. You must offer a robust return policy and satisfy their needs for support contact with you.
If problems arise post-purchase, make sure they’re addressed swiftly and meet–or even exceed–consumer expectation. You also need to ensure the return policy you provide fully satisfies your customer.
Transparency is particularly important to customers post-purchase as well as within the anticipation window. This means keeping customers up to date on the delivery process, whether that’s fulfilling a custom order or offering tracking that keeps them informed of delivery.
Customers are particularly eager to be notified during this period, so they are more likely to sign up for text alerts or click tracking links to check on the dispatch process. In fact, a customer will check a delivery tracking page an average of three times prior to receiving their purchase.
Another winning strategy is to reach out to customers to inquire if they’re happy with their purchase. Personalizing this communication can also add value and help strengthen the brand relationship.
Reaching out to the customer to inquire if they are satisfied–and not to sell anything–is a cost-efficient way to endear them further to your brand.
Although businesses don’t like to dwell on what happens when things go wrong, ignoring this information can cost you repeat sales. Things can and do go wrong in retail, and how you put these right can not only help resolve the situation but even turn it around. If you impress your customer with the way you handle an error, they will be more likely to trust you and favor your brand again in future.
Narvar research shows how important it is to immediately admit when there’s a problem with a customer order. A whopping 98% of customers say they feel better about a company if they are notified immediately of any problems with their order. UP! Your Service has some great advice on how to ‘bounce back’ customers after something goes wrong.
Customers don’t just engage with your brand post-purchase if things go wrong. They’re also likely to return items for other reasons, such as the item not being what they expected. Having an easy return policy is critical to the customer experience. From Narvar’s survey alone, 70% of customers say an easy return policy would make them more likely to buy from a brand again.
Brands have been sucked into a discounting culture that’s massively damaging to both brand equity and profit margins. But customer loyalty isn’t generated through discounts. In fact, customers looking for a deal are more likely to shop around elsewhere.
Rather than only reaching out to customers with discounts and other offers, it’s important to segment your audience and reach out at particular touchpoints that are not promotionally driven.
On a practical level, having a robust engagement strategy in place that is not driven by promotions requires integrated systems and an email platform that supports segmentation. You’ll need to ensure you can segment your audience at particular digital, mobile, in-store, online, and social media touchpoints.
For many organizations, this may seem like an insurmountable task. In fact, it’s one of the reasons brands resort to the same, tired discounting strategies rather than working on lifecycle marketing. Yet all evidence points to the fact that focusing on the customer’s post-purchase needs is a sure-fire way to win repeat business.