Make your post-purchase emails count: 9 email ideas and 14 tips to drive more engagement, revenue, and loyalty
The moment after someone makes a purchase from your brand is pivotal.
A new customer has already made the leap to buy from you, so how you handle that post-purchase moment will define whether your brand becomes a trusted go-to or just another one-hit wonder.
Want to create better customer experiences—after shoppers get past checkout?
Read on to learn exactly what post-purchase emails campaigns and flows are and how you can use them to delight your customers, with examples from some of the top direct-to-consumer brands.
Table of contents:
- What are post-purchase emails?
- Post-purchase email benchmarks
- 9 post-purchase email ideas: content, templates, and more
- 14 post-purchase email tips from the experts
- The sale isn’t the finish line
What are post-purchase emails?
Any communication you send to customers based on the purchase trigger can be considered a post-purchase email. The campaigns and flows in a post-purchase email sequence typically include transactional emails that contain critical information about a someone’s purchase, but they also can include marketing or promotional emails to improve retention or to encourage a next purchase.
For example, order and shipping confirmation emails are both post-purchase emails that are transactional in nature. But you can also include a thank-you email or a review request email in your post-purchase automation series.
The timeline and message of these automations also varies based on how long it’s been since your customer made their purchase. For example, it’s best to send an order confirmation email immediately after, but you want to wait until the product is delivered and the customer has had time to use it before you send another email to request a product review.
Together, these messages make up your post-purchase email sequence.
Post-purchase email benchmarks for ecommerce
Post-purchase emails primarily provide your customers with important information about their orders, but they have another purpose beyond confirming order details.
You can also use them to tell your customers more about your brand and products, and why they’ve made the right decision to buy from you, which can help increase customer loyalty and lifetime value.
When done right, post-purchase emails will help you:
- Tempt people to come back to your site
- Lay the groundwork for a reorder
- Ensure satisfaction with the product
- Collect feedback from your customers
- Create an exceptional customer experience
They’re also one of the most valuable emails you can send: According to Klaviyo data, post-purchase emails see open rates that are almost 17% higher than the average email automation.
Check out these post-purchase email benchmarks by industry to get a better understanding of what performance metrics you can expect from these automations.
|Open rate||Click rate||Conversion rate||Revenue per recipient|
|Apparel and accessories||60.00%||3.86%||0.45%||$0.29|
|Food and beverage||59.27%||3.87%||0.53%||$0.25|
|Health and beauty||54.14%||3.16%||0.30%||$0.14|
|Sports and outdoors||61.21%||5.00%||0.51%||$0.42|
|Toys and hobbies||60.44%||4.39%||0.50%||$0.25|
Keep in mind: Unlike browse abandonment emails or cart abandonment emails, which are intended to incite an immediate purchase, post-purchase emails are mostly meant to nurture customers and provide details about a recent order. So it makes sense that they generally see lower click rates, conversion rates, and revenue per recipient.
But just because these emails aren’t as time-sensitive as abandonment emails doesn’t mean customers aren’t engaged. In fact, post-purchase emails still get pretty impressive engagement across open rate and click rate—proving these emails are a worthwhile addition to your automation suite.
9 post-purchase email ideas: content, templates, and more
Now that you have a thorough understanding of post-purchase emails and their value, how do you integrate them into your marketing strategy?
There are multiple types of emails that you might want to include in your post-purchase customer journey. Here are the main emails you may want to include in your post-purchase automation series, plus examples from brands that are doing it right.
Transactional emails that perform better
Transactional emails such as shipping, order, and delivery confirmation emails are highly informative emails you send after a customer places an order. These should be considered baseline post-purchase automations that every store should have set up.
These emails typically contain important details such as the customer’s order number and receipt, with product details, shipping information, payment method, and contact information for customer support.
But don’t feel inclined to stop there—you can go beyond the basics to make these informational emails even more engaging by adding branded touches and other elements that will set these basic email templates apart from the rest.
Order confirmation emails that elevate your brand
Order confirmation emails do more than just confirm product details. They’re an extension of your brand—and they’re often the first post-purchase emails your customers receive from you.
Sending these emails gives new customers peace of mind about their purchase, and helps you build trust and begin developing a new, hopefully long-lasting relationship.
This order confirmation email from Fenty Beauty does just that. It’s clear and to the point about what a customer cares about immediately after making a purchase:
Shipping confirmation emails that help customers keep track
Shipping emails are just as important as order confirmation emails. They let your customer know when the product they ordered actually leaves the warehouse and begins its journey to their doorstep.
By including a few basic components and adding a little creativity to these emails, you can build customer loyalty, improve the post-purchase experience, and establish a unique voice for your brand.
Check out how Ritual includes social media images and information about their refer-a-friend incentive to encourage customers to socially engage with their community:
Delivery confirmation emails that build trust
Delivery confirmation emails are a great way to appease eager customers that want to know when their order will arrive—down to the minute.
Especially if your store experiences long shipping times or is currently undergoing shipping delays, these emails can provide additional peace of mind for customers who are patiently awaiting their order.
This delivery confirmation email from Princess Polly is a great example of how brands can use the last touchpoint in the transaction to build trust and create excitement among customers:
Marketing emails that offer more than transactions
Not every post-purchase email has to be purely transactional. Consider what other offers, programs, or incentives might make sense to promote to customers immediately after they purchase or soon after they receive their item.
The benefits of these types of emails are almost endless—they can encourage reorders, act as a cross-sell or up-sell opportunity, increase word-of-mouth buzz, and establish your brand as a trusted business that truly cares about each individual customer.
Ultimately, including marketing emails in your post-purchase email marketing strategy can help you boost customer retention and lifetime value.
Don’t know what to include in your post-purchase email sequence as far as marketing emails go? Here are a few types of emails to consider.
Thank-you emails that show a customer appreciation
While you can just say thank you to customers as part of your transactional emails, sending a separate thank-you email is a nice way to go above and beyond in showing customers that you appreciate their business.
A separate thank-you email also gives you an opportunity to talk more about your brand, provide more details about how your product differs from competitors, and assure shoppers they made the right choice—just like this email from All Things Golden:
Educational or how-to emails
If your product comes with instructions, or if it requires some know-how to get the most use out of it, it might be worth following up with a how-to post-purchase email.
An educational or how-to post-purchase email can be about almost anything, from how to best care for a product, to how to use it, to how to assemble it—and including this type of email may even help increase repeat purchase rate while making people less likely to return their new item.
This email from Dossier, which provides tips on how to get the most out of their perfume, is the perfect example of how brands can provide education post-purchase to ensure their customers use the product properly:
Loyalty program emails
After someone makes a purchase is an ideal time to promote your loyalty program or rewards program. Showing customers they can earn rewards the more they shop with your store is a great way to incentivize new customers to keep coming back for future purchases.
This email from The Sill nails the post-purchase rewards email by showing customers what they can earn if they sign up for the program and continue to shop with the brand:
If a customer loves the product that they just bought, the best thing they can do to help your business is to tell their friends and family about it. And what better way to inspire them to do so than by promoting your referral program post-purchase?
This not only helps increase word-of-mouth, but also sweetens the deal for customers when they can earn a discount on an upcoming purchase—as you can see in this post-purchase referral email from ILIA Beauty, which offers customers a $20 discount code for their next purchase if they refer a friend.
Review request emails
After the customer receives their product, you might want to ask them to submit a review of their purchase or provide feedback. This a great way to gather insights directly from customers to improve your product. Plus, user-generated content like reviews can help other shoppers with their decision to purchase when browsing your site.
One consideration to keep in mind when timing your post-purchase review email is to make sure you trigger it to send after the product is delivered, and after the customer has had a chance to use it, rather than after the product ships. Otherwise you risk asking your customer for feedback about a product they’ve yet to receive.
The email below from Fly by Jing is a great example of an email asking customers to review the product post-purchase. It also includes a resource for customer support, just in case reviews are less than stellar:
Cross-sell or upsell emails
After your customer has had some time to use their new product, hopefully they’re highly satisfied with it and your brand—and more likely to shop with you again. Plus, since you already have an idea about what products that customer’s interested in, you’re more able to send highly relevant content.
CurrentBody, a beauty device company, curate automated emails that suggest products that are either related to or work well with someone’s initial purchase.
14 post-purchase email tips from the experts
Looking for more advice on creating an exceptional post-purchase experience to attract repeat customers?
Check out these tips from 14 email marketing experts who know how to keep shoppers coming back.
1. Ben Zettler, digital marketing and ecommerce consultant, Ben Zettler Digital
“Don’t shy away from incentivizing users to return to make another purchase within a relatively short time period after their first purchase. Use fixed amount, minimum-threshold discounts served in a post-purchase flow to incentivize users to return for a second order within 30 days.”
2. Hannah Spicer, director, Hannah Spicer Consulting
“Include an incentive for first-time purchasers to drive their second purchase. Once a customer has shopped with you twice, they are more likely to shop with you a third, fourth, fifth time.”
3. Christopher Maroney-Petitt, owner, Ecom Growers
“For first-time customers, don’t try to immediately up-sell. Send a few messages hyping people up about the amazing product they just ordered. Get them excited, ask them questions, share relevant information. This sets the stage for a future up-sell, when the time is right—which could be a few weeks or months later, depending on your business.
For repeat customers or returning customers, reward them with an immediate VIP-only, hard-to-say-no-to up-sell—for some brands, you can even have specific products for this effort that aren’t available to buy anywhere else on the site. Then thank them for coming back to support your business.”
4. Adam Kitchen, CEO, Magnet Monster
“Focus on optimizing the customer experience here and not on driving additional sales. Most brands see the biggest drop-off from first to second purchase normally because they bombard the user with such a high frequency of emails that they churn before you’re able to convey value to them on the channel.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about what their journey should look like.”
5. Alexa, vice president, client strategy, Power Digital
“Treat your post-purchase like a checking account. You want to deposit a lot of value before you ‘make a withdrawal’ and ask them to do something. Along with sending them a fantastic product, make sure you send them messaging that reaffirms their decision to buy using social proof, and send content that will guarantee they use the product right away and use it properly. This will ultimately tee you up very nicely for the ultimate cross-sell, upsell, or review ask down the line.”
6. Belle Murray, ecommerce senior strategist, SmartBug Media
“Retarget first-time purchasers with a bounce-back offer or another incentive to return to your store, encouraging a repeat purchase—but be strategic about when you send this opportunity. Give new customers a chance to experience your product and build brand loyalty, then introduce a new way to experience your brand and products.”
7. Morgan Mulloy, associate director of retention marketing, Avex Designs
“Nurture, nurture, nurture! Show you care that the customer enjoys their purchase and provide resources in case they have any issues. The fact that you care so much will make the customer appreciate you all that much more.”
8. Abby Siciliano, email expert and director of business development, Tinuiti
“Ask for ratings and reviews. This is an opportunity for customer service outreach when needed and will create user-generated content and social proof that can improve your conversion rates dramatically (you can even incorporate it into your future emails).”
9. Toccara Karizma, CEO, Karizma Marketing
“My No. 1 tip to improve your post-purchase email flow is to add a bounce-back email into it. This is an email that is sent immediately after an order with a very limited-time, irresistible offer. I suggest excluding anyone who has received the email in the past to ensure it is only sent once to every purchaser.
I also recommend sending a different email after every purchase. This requires adding a conditional split to your post-purchase flow that segments subscribers by how many orders they have placed. With each order, they should receive a different email. The goal of each post-purchase email can be different. For example, you can share your gratitude for their support of your small business, tell them what they can expect from the product they just ordered, invite them to join your Facebook community, introduce a loyalty, rewards, or referral program, and much more.”
10. Nichelle Hubley, founder and CEO, &BAM
“The sale isn’t done until the customer has the product in their hands and it does what it was supposed to do. Nurture them from the minute they hit ‘buy’ all the way through their first interaction with your product. Make sure they have a good first use or they know how to get help if they need it.”
11. Cassie Benjamin, email and SMS channel manager, Tadpull
“As soon as your customer places an order, you have an abundance of data that can help you craft unique and personalized content that is relevant to a customer’s purchase. To improve the performance of your post-purchase series, split your email flows up by categories or products to craft unique post-purchase experiences based on what was purchased.
For example, if a customer bought a pair of hiking shoes, consider personalizing their post-purchase series to include content around how to care for their new boots, hiking trail inspiration, or even recommending insoles and laces to pair with the shoe they just purchased. This is an easy way to make the post-purchase series much more valuable to your customers and provide a more tailored experience.”
12. Brittany Rycroft, director of marketing, GhostRetail
“Your post-purchase experience should do 2 things: Ensure the customer is successfully using and enjoying their purchase, and help tee up your next sale. Offering live video co-shopping experiences is a great way to do both of these things. Customers can get a demo on how to use an item, find coordinating items, get their questions answered, and continue their journey with your brand.”
13. Eric Miller, director of lifecycle marketing, Tinuiti
“Post-purchase is a great time to further deliver on your brand promise and increase your value to your customers. It’s more than just driving the next purchase. If your product requires instructions for assembly or installation, send a link to instructions on the day of delivery. If you have a great warranty, remind them of this as a way to reduce buyer’s remorse and returns. If your product requires regular maintenance, schedule reminders to alert those purchasers that it’s time to service with the reminder, tips, and links to products that might help them out.”
14. Sharon Goldstein, CEO, LimeSpot
“Post-purchase emails and SMS are a great time to get the flywheel going, re-engaging existing customers to queue up their next purchase. Providing personalized product recommendations based on what they’ve already bought is a great way to retain their interest and get them visiting your site again.”
The sale isn’t the finish line
What happens when sprinters win a race at the Olympics? They stop at the finish line, right? Wrong. They often run their lap of honor, pose for photos, and start prepping for their next event.
Just like Olympians, your job doesn’t end once you cross the finish line (when you’ve made a sale). Your next “event” is to deliver exceptional customer service and convince your customers to come back for more—ideally through a winning post-purchase series.
If you’re looking to increase retention and customer lifetime value, consider adding a post-purchase flow to your email marketing strategy—and stay with your customers past the fish line.
Want to optimize the entire customer journey, not just the post-purchase experience? Read these tips for attracting, converting, and retaining customers.