You did it! Yet another subscriber to your email list made their first purchase. Mission accomplished, right? That all depends on how committed you are to getting that next purchase. What’s the best way to to turn that one-time customer into a repeat buyer? A post-purchase series.

Why Send a Post-Purchase Series?

Consider this:
  1. Only 32% of customers place a second order in their first year as a customer.
  2. The likelihood a customer will place a second order is only 30%; however, the likelihood a customer who has placed two orders will place a third jumps to 50%.
  3. It’s the perfect opportunity to solicit product reviews.
Pretty great stuff, right? So if you want to commit to getting that second order, a post-purchase series is the best automated tool in your arsenal.

What Are the Basics?

If you aren’t currently using an automated post-purchase series, here are some strategies for getting your first campaign off the ground. Message One: Thank the customer for their first order, and offer a bounce-back coupon if possible. It’s also ideal if you can identify first-time customers and acknowledge them. This is a super simple form of personalization, and it will make your brand new customer feel good about their decision to do business with you. If you don’t have that level of sophistication, don’t worry; thank your customer for the purchase, and give them a reason to come back to buy again. Shutterfly does a great job by offering a short window of time to use the coupon code and even gives the customer a suggestion for how to take advantage of this discount: dt_shutterflySome businesses include a bounce-back coupon in the package when they ship the order. This first email in a post-purchase series is pretty much the exact same thing. If you don’t offer discounts, focus your call to action on your top converting categories. Popular choices include new arrivals, best sellers, highest rated and highest viewed. This is also a great time to highlight your rewards program to help drive those repeat purchases. Customers who are part of loyalty campaigns have 40% higher open rates and 29% higher conversion rates. Message Two: Make your customers feel good about their order. Express how much you hope they are enjoying their purchase. Here’s a great example from Banana Republic. The subject line is: Congrats on buying something great. The preheader says We hope you love it! Banana Republic The next step for an email like this is to encourage your customer to share their purchase on social media. Tell them how to tag your business and which hashtag to use when sharing their post. User-generated content is very popular right now and fits in perfectly with a post-purchase campaign. This example from Banana Republic is from the same email above: Banana Republic 2 With this email, there’s no indication of what you purchased. The brand is simply thanking you for your purchase and encouraging you to share with them on social media. It’s super simple to implement and send via automation. The image even shows both men and women, so it doesn’t even need to be gender-specific. And the call to action is a single button that takes you to their homepage. Message Three: Now it’s time to encourage your customer to come back and review their purchase. Ideally, this would feature some personalization based on the item purchased and link directly back to the product page to make it easy for the customer get started on their review. Here’s an example from Sephora: SephoraSephora’s review request email is highly effective as many products on the site have dozens if not hundreds of reviews. They use a social media marketing strategy that focuses heavily on Pinterest, which explains the “pin it” part of this post-purchase email. But your main focus should be getting your customer back to your site to review their purchase. Reviews help website visitors decide which products to buy from you and may have an SEO benefit, which is important as more and more people are shopping on five-inch phone screens. You can also use this email to remind your customer to use that coupon code if you offered them one in your first message of this series.

What Are You Waiting For?

In our experience, a post-purchase series should be one of your top performers, right up there with a welcome series or cart recovery series in terms of engagement, conversion and revenue per email. When you take your campaign live, be sure to benchmark your performance and then work on optimization. If you craft your series thoughtfully and tailor it to your customers’ preferences and behaviors, you’ll see them coming back again and again.