Post-conversion and after-sales marketing: Tips for boosting customer loyalty
For eCommerce businesses, the key to turning first-time buyers into loyal repeat customers is post-conversion marketing. A loyal customer base is the best way to increase your sales and get ahead of your competitors. In this article, we’ll show you the steps you need to take to boost customer loyalty for your online shop.
What is post-conversion marketing?
Post-conversion marketing refers to any marketing tactics that help increase loyalty among your existing customers. After all, successful conversion is only the first step. Once a customer makes their first purchase, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep them coming back for more. By holding your customers’ attention you increase the likelihood that they will become loyal customers who place multiple orders. Think of it this way: The key to post-conversion marketing is to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers. This is why post-conversion marketing is often part of after-sales service in customer relationship management (CRM).
Post-conversion versus after-sales marketing: What’s the difference?
Post-conversion and after-sales marketing are closely related to each other. However, there are some differences:
Post-conversion marketing: With post-conversion marketing, conversion is the starting point for further actions aimed at building customer loyalty. This conversion doesn’t necessarily have to be a sale. It might be a newsletter sign-up or a download, for example. So, your post-conversion marketing depends on how your company defines conversion to begin with.
After-sales marketing: Unlike post-conversion marketing, after-sales marketing refers directly to actions you take after an actual sale. After-sales management is also a major component of customer relationship management. Although CRM includes every action that you take throughout the entire customer journey, after-sales service focuses only on communications that occur after a sale.
In eCommerce, the word ‘conversion’ is usually used interchangeably with ‘sales’ (checkout conversion). What this means is that both post-conversion and after-sales processes involve the same marketing tactics.
Why are after-sales and post-conversion marketing important in eCommerce?
Online retail is an extremely competitive industry. That’s why it’s so important to remain top-of-mind among your customers after a sale. In addition to the quality of your products and services, your after-sales marketing tactics are essential for improving customer loyalty and satisfaction. Used well, they will increase the likelihood that customers return to your online shop to make another purchase. They will also increase the chances that customers will recommend your shop to their peers.
Plus, post-conversion marketing is an extremely effective means of generating more sales in eCommerce. It’s important to remember that it takes far greater effort and expense to win over new customers than it does to build loyalty among the customers you already have. According to a report on customer loyalty from Bain & Co., eCommerce retailers can increase profitability by as much as 75% simply by expanding their customer loyalty measures by 5%.
What can I do to increase customer loyalty?
There are many different tactics that you can use to increase customer loyalty, such as:
email marketing (newsletters, etc.)
social media marketing (competitions, sweepstakes, etc.)
The tactics that will work best for you depend on the type of conversion and the goals you want to achieve. If your goal is to encourage customers to return for repeat business then discounts or customer loyalty programmes are good tactics to use. If you want to strengthen the emotional relationship with your customer, try using evocative storytelling to build a strong community around your brand.
Post-conversion and after-sales tactics: Examples
The table below shows how eCommerce companies can increase customer loyalty through targeted post-conversion marketing.
|Ideas of customer loyalty tactics||Description|
|Inform||After a successful conversion, customers need to know exactly what to expect next. Keep them fully up to date by sending regular updates on the status of their order.|
|Keep in contact||When a user converts, this clearly indicates that they are interested in your company. To continue to encourage their interest, you can invite them to sign up for your newsletter or to follow your company on social media. As an after-sales tactic, include these options directly in the order confirmation the customer receives after completing their purchase. Be sure to also explain how these options benefit the customers.|
|Personalise advertising||The more you know about your customers, particularly their buying habits and preferences, the more precisely you can target them with personalised newsletters containing special offers and promotions. Customers who have already made one purchase are often very open to receiving this form of post-conversion marketing.|
|Offer discounts||Once you’ve won over a new customer with the quality of your product or service, a discount or coupon can be a great way to encourage them to make another purchase. For SaaS suppliers, for example, try offering a free test version of a new programme as part of your after-sales service.|
|Offer added value||If a customer is interested in a specific product or service, they sometimes want to find out more about it. Offer your customers added value by publishing blog posts, videos and whitepapers, or by offering free advice.|
|Ask for reviews||Customer reviews are extremely important in eCommerce because they build trust among potential customers. So asking customers to write a review after their purchase or encouraging them to share a product or special offer on social media can be very helpful. This benefits your company while also letting your customers know how much you value their opinion. Sometimes it helps to offer incentives, such as discounts, so that your customers will take the time to write an honest review.|
|Introduce a loyalty scheme||A loyalty scheme is a proven method for encouraging repeat business. According to a 2018 study by market research institute Splendid Research, customers who are part of a loyalty scheme consciously change their buying behaviour to take advantage of the benefits. Around 44% of them buy more often, and around 30% spend more in shops where they are members of a loyalty or bonus programme.|
|Create a customer community||Social media has fundamentally changed the way brands communicate. Customers want to interact with brands and, above all, with their fellow customers. By facilitating an exchange within an online community, you give your customers a sense of belonging. This also helps raise awareness of your brand so that you can grow your customer base.|
|Host sweepstakes||Thanks to social media, sweepstakes have become one of the most popular post-conversion marketing tools for online shops. These encourage both potential and existing customers to interact with your brand, so you create even stronger brand recognition.|
|Offer excellent customer service||Studies show that the quality of customer service has a huge impact on customer loyalty. According to a 2018 survey by Genesys, more than one-third of customers say they would cut ties with a company after a negative service experience. This means that reliable customer service, which exceeds customer expectations, should be a part of any after-sales management strategy.|
|Make repeat ordering easier||There are various options that can make it easier for customers to place repeat orders. For example, give your shoppers an option to create a wishlist on your site, or offer them a one-button option to repeat a past order. Post-conversion marketing also includes sending email notifications as soon as out-of-stock items are available again, or whenever the price of an item on the customer’s wishlist changes.|
When should I use customer loyalty tactics?
From the moment your customer makes their first purchase, you can start using tactics to gain their loyalty. These include things like giving them an option to subscribe to your newsletter or to follow your company on social media. You can include this type of post-conversion marketing directly in the order confirmation email. However, with other activities it may be better to wait a few weeks first, or to repeat them regularly.
Here is an overview of various after-sales services and the ideal times for carrying them out:
|Immediately after the sale||After a few weeks||Any time|
|Enable newsletter sign-up||Provide discount coupons||Host sweepstakes and events on social media|
|Refer users to your social media channels and community||Ask for a review of your product or service||Offer excellent customer service|
|Provide information about the order status||Email a customer satisfaction survey||Send a regular newsletter|
|Invite the customer to join your loyalty programme|
|Inform the customer of additional information and blog posts on your site|
Post-conversion marketing tips for online retailers: What do I need to know?
The following tips will help you to successfully implement the right types of online customer loyalty tactics.
Timing is everything
Once a customer has converted, pay careful attention to how you time your after-sales marketing. It’s important not to take action either too early or too late. If your timing isn’t right, you will run into problems like these:
Post-conversion marketing too soon: It’s not useful to your customers if they receive a coupon code for a future order only a few days after making their first purchase. Firstly, they may not have even received their original order yet. Secondly, they’ve probably already ordered everything they want from your shop for now, so they may not be looking for anything more at the moment. This might also inadvertently cause the customer to return their original order, so that they can re-order the same items and apply the discount code. As a result, you not only decrease your margins, you also incur higher shipping and handling costs.
Post-conversion marketing too late: The more time that passes, the more likely it becomes that a potential customer will forget about a past interaction with your company. This is particularly true when the ‘conversion’ is not a sale but some other type of interaction, like subscribing to a newsletter. At the time they convert, the user is interested in a product or service. So, you should seize this opportunity to offer them additional offers and information.
These after-sales service examples show that the right timing depends on the type of conversion as well as the marketing tactics you use. To take the right actions, it helps to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask yourself: What are my customers’ wishes and expectations?
Marketing automation tools can help
Marketing automation tools and CRM systems make your after-sales activities easier to manage. For example, they divide all your leads into either marketing or sales leads and then automatically create targeted activity plans for further communication. This helps you, as an online retailer, to find the right customer loyalty tactics and to use them at the right times.
Use paid ads to show your product range after conversion
Paid ads (on social media platforms, for example) are based on the user’s interests. They are a great way to raise awareness of your brand among potential customers. However, these ads can have the opposite effect if a customer sees an ad for a product they have already bought. In the worst case scenario, they may find the ad annoying and choose to block future ads from your brand. To prevent this from happening, it’s a good idea to always show multiple products in your ads. This raises awareness of your full product range and makes existing customers more likely to place a new order.
Adjust post-conversion marketing to your product and target groups
It’s also important to remember that not all after-sales activities are a good fit for every product group. Online fashion retailers, for example, don’t have to offer ongoing services like maintenance and repair, while for electronics retailers these after-sales services are a must. In any case, always give your customers an easy way to contact you if they have any questions or feedback. For more tips, be sure to check out our industry-specific guide to optimising conversion, which focuses on eCommerce retailers working in fashion, electronics, furniture and food.
Conclusion: Post-conversion marketing for online retailers
There are many different marketing options for strengthening customer loyalty after a conversion. These include things like customer loyalty programmes, sweepstakes, customer communities and excellent customer service. It’s important to develop a careful strategy for your post-conversion marketing and to plan effective activities at each stage of the customer journey. It takes some trial and error, and it’s important to keep testing new tactics. Before you know it, your eCommerce company will be well on its way towards fully understanding your customers’ wishes. And then you can be sure to reach your customers with the right after-sales activities at the right time.