How to Improve Customer Experience With an After-Sales Strategy
Running an eCommerce business requires hard work, but maintaining a profitable eCommerce business demands smart work. While the former gets the job done, the latter allows you to fulfill the same task more effectively by simultaneously increasing customer lifetime value.
For instance, you can sell a product to a customer and be done with it by embracing the “sell it and forget it” mentality, or you can put forth smart work and adopt a more lucrative “sell it and retain it” approach by employing an after-sales strategy.
This article explains what an eCommerce after-sales strategy is, identifies concrete examples of how Amazon and Walmart sellers can improve customers’ post-sale shopping experience with an after-sales strategy, and highlights its chief benefits.
What Is an eCommerce After-Sales Strategy?
In eCommerce, an after-sales strategy is a series of actions a company takes after a consumer makes a purchase to follow up on the customer’s purchase satisfaction. These actions are intended to help brands build a relationship with buyers and keep their attention and engagement even after they finalize their purchase.
Although overlooked, maintaining good post-communication with buyers and following up on after-sales services is just as valuable as SEO. Amazon and Walmart brands are increasingly incorporating after-sales strategies into their customer conversion journey to improve buyers’ post-shopping experience, increase brand loyalty, and boost sales.
What Impacts Customer Experience?
Customer experience is the overall impression customers have of a brand throughout the shoppers buying journey and directly affects the perception of a brand and, subsequently, its revenue. HubSpot indicates that the two primary touch points that form a customer’s experience are people and products. For example, is the customer satisfied with the quality of the product? Are they pleased with the attention they were given to rectify an issue?
Relationship building with customers does not happen during the selling process but in the post-sale customer experience phase. Several factors influence customer experiences, such as speed, convenience, and consistency. But perhaps the most impactful are friendliness and giving digital technology transactions a human touch.
A study conducted by PwC, a professional services network, found that in the US, 32 percent of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience. Fortunately, there are several things brands and sellers can do to enhance post-sale customer experiences and ensure that shoppers are satisfied even after the transaction is complete.
How to Improve Customers’ Post-Sales Experience
Customer experience has the utmost potential to dictate whether a brand will succeed or fail in digital marketplaces, which emphasizes the importance of improving one’s customer retention via a post-sale strategy.
Brandwatch, a social media suite company, claims that increasing customer retention rates by as little as five percent can help increase profits anywhere between 25 to 95 percent. In an effort to reap all the benefits associated with improving customers’ post-sales experience, eCommerce sellers should integrate the following processes into their after-sales strategy and activate them shortly after customers press the “buy” button.
1. Include Product Inserts
Product inserts are a form of printed marketing material that brands include in packages. When done correctly, they can be a fun way to engage with customers long after the shopping experience has ended. They usually include contact information, newsletter invitations, thank you messages, additional information on how to use the product, or social links. A package containing a handwritten “thank you” note with the customer’s name on it can personalize an order and encourage the customer to feel appreciated. Product inserts also help set smaller brands apart from those larger-scale brands allowing them to build loyalty.
2. Send Feedback Surveys
A great way to gauge customers’ post-sales experience is through customer experience management (CXM), which is the process of surveying. Surveys, which remove the need for any guesswork, are one of the most efficient ways to know how customers feel about their new product post-purchase. They can also shed light on product issues that customers would not communicate otherwise and shows that the brand is invested beyond the transaction phase. Additionally, analyzing survey responses after a customer receives a product can enhance that customer and future customers’ interactions with a brand.
3. Dispatch Delivery Updates
Sending out delivery updates allows customers to feel excited about receiving a product and, if done correctly, keeps the consumer engaged with the brand even after finalizing the purchase. Include their names in the delivery update to personalize the experience, remind them what’s on the way, and why they chose that particular product over others. People love to stay informed about the delivery status of their orders. A Retail TouchPoints survey report found that 93% of customers reported that they want to receive proactive updates from brands and sellers about their shipments. This process encourages customers to look forward to what is to come and works as a primitive measure to address client inquiries before they even ask them.
4. Respond to Customer Reviews
Addressing customer reviews publicly is a critical element of managing post-sales experiences. Publicly responding to customer reviews enhances consumer-seller relationships regardless of the substance of the review. For instance, if a shopper leaves a positive review, it is beneficial to answer that review and express your contentment with their experience, making the shopper feel special. However, it is even more vital to address negative reviews:
Benefits of Adopting an After-Sales Strategy
According to Bain & Company, a management consulting company, acquiring new clients is roughly seven times more costly than retaining existing ones, and existing customers are three times more likely to buy products compared to new prospects. Providing great customer experiences throughout and even after the customer journey has a positive ripple effect. For example, if a customer has a great shopping experience, they are inherently going to buy more, become a loyal customer, and share their experience with others either online or via word-of-mouth marketing.
Among the many benefits of adopting an after-sales strategy, three stand out and have additional long-term advantages such as brand loyalty, improved customer retention, and brand advocacy. Brand loyalty, which is the faithfulness a customer develops for a brand, usually occurs after the consumer has a good experience with a product. In other words, satisfactory product quality, good post-sale experience, and and brand image all contribute to brand loyalty.
Customer retention is a brand’s ability to turn buyers into repeat customers. The more positive a post-purchase experience is, the more likely a customer will return. As a result, customer retention is one of the most promising ways to generate constant growth. Brand advocacy, which is a form of marketing, is when customers proactively promote a brand and its products to new customers and prospects via social media or word of mouth. Brand advocacy has the utmost potential to be cultivated using a post-sales strategy and increases brands’ visibility at large.
What’s more, these benefits also work to increase a brand’s organic ranking on digital marketplaces such as Amazon and Walmart. The more positive reviews, high ratings, repeat customers, and positive seller-buyer exchanges brands have, the more qualified they are to win the Buy Box. After all, algorithms almost always favor the customer.
The post-purchase experience is too often overlooked among eCommerce brands and sellers as they are typically more focused on finding alternative ways to reach new customers instead of nurturing existing ones. However, as demonstrated throughout the article, developing an after-sales strategy can actually attract new customers.
In sum, what a brand offers its customers during the post-purchase process, is ultimately what the buyer remembers. Given that the rise of inflation in eCommerce is making digital marketplaces increasingly competitive, having an after-sale strategy can be a determining factor when it comes to succeeding.
Furthermore, personal touch and attention to detail go a long way in the world of eCommerce, where humanization feels like a distant memory. Therefore, incorporating product inserts, feedback surveys, delivery updates, and responding to customer reviews, all of which allow brands to reap the benefits listed above, can drastically improve customers’ post-purchase experience and, as a result, a brand’s overall reputation and sales.