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17 Post-Purchase Emails in Action

Posted on 11.28.2013

The holiday season brings enough statistics – from consumer habits and expectations to retailer’s projected and actual sales – to deck the halls, the lunchroom and the neighbor’s house with boughs of numbers…

Internet retailers who want to grow their businesses after the holidays should just be concerned with one statistic – Constant Contact reports 52 percent of new customers obtained during the holidays actually end up becoming repeat, loyal customers. They don’t, however, come back on their own. Online merchants must work for their repeat business, and post-purchase emails are a very, very good place to start. 

According to Listrak, post-purchase email campaigns beat other email campaigns in opens, clicks, conversions, average order values and ROI. On average, the email marketing company continues, these triggered campaigns outperform even the best-broadcast emails 4-6 times. 

Most email services have post-purchase emails as an automated feature and it will take retailers very little to get started, but post-purchase emails don't all have to be transactional in nature (e.g. shipping, receipts, etc.), they can also be win-back campaigns, product review requests, new customer nurturing campaigns, product replenishment and more. 

Here are 17 post-purchase emails in action – received by staff and friends of Website Magazine. 

1. WHEN THEY NEED DETAILS

Subject Line: Your Items Will Arrive Soon, [Name]

Pros: Personalization in the email subject line as well as in the greeting. There’s also a prominent CTA to check shipping status. Further down the page (not shown) is the product’s image, details, order totals, shipping address, billing address and how to contact Nordstrom, including the phone number and links to live chat and email. 

Cons: Nordstrom could add complementary products. 

2. WHEN YOU WANT A REVIEW

Subject Line: [Name] We’d Love to Hear About Your Recent Purchase (Order #xxxxxxxx)

Pro: Personalization (from name to purchased product and order number) and strong call-to-action and copy. 

Con: Nordstrom.com’s automated emails need to talk to its in-store customer service, as these boots were returned in-store on Sept. 13, but the email was received nearly two weeks later. And although returns (specifically the reasons for them) make for good reviews, some retailers may want to avoid sending “tell us what you think” emails to people who already returned items.  

3. WHEN YOU HEAR CRICKETS

Subject Line: Unknown

Pro: Macy’s segmented its list to engage inactive buyers.

Con: It’s easy to forget someone’s name you haven’t talked to in a while (awkward), but really, no personalization Macy’s? You know this buyer's name. 

4. WHEN YOU NEED A REASON TO FOLLOW UP

Subject Line: Unknown

Pro: Personalization (from name to preferred store)

Con: This email could use a prominent call-to-action. Thanks for the reminder, but what do you want me to do? 

5. WHEN YOU WANT TO CONFRIM (& RECOMMEND)

Subject Line: Purchase Confirmed: Thank You for your purchase!

Pro: A major pain point for deal-seekers is redeeming vouchers bought on daily deal sites. Groupon takes away the guess work by not only including what the Groupon is good for in the email, but also telling the purchaser how to redeem it (on their mobile app or by printing in My Groupons). Note, Groupon includes redemption instructions twice in the email. Additionally, Groupon takes the purchaser’s location and recommends nearby deals that have something in common with the initial purchase. Oh, and they also personalize the greeting with the subscriber’s name.  

Con: While the email’s design is clean and includes a lot of relevant info, it’s not the prettiest email to look at. 

6. WHEN THEY BOUGHT A GIFT

Subject Line: Your Amazon.com order of [Product Name] has shipped!

Pro: Gift-givers are as excited for their friends or family to get their presents as the recipients will be to receive them. Amazon keeps the original purchaser in the loopby having a “Track Your Package” call-to-action embedded in the email. More impressive, Amazon includes social icons next to the item description to encourage sharing. A gift-giver may not want to wait to tell the birthday girl or gal, so they can share it on social. They also personalize the greeting. 

Con: Perhaps its navigation (see where it says Kindle Store, Your Orders and Amazon.com) could be used better like instead of Kindle Store, do something complementary to the item purchased. 

7. WHEN YOU WANT TO INCENTIVIZE LOYAL SHOPPERS

Subject Line: 40% off EVERYTHING (just for our Friends & Family)

Pro: Here’s a brand thinking about mobile. See the bar code? Shoppers can present that at any Loft store to receive the discount offline. The email is also easy on the eyes (great image and color scheme), and Loft is taking its concept of an exclusive discount (always a good selling point) for friends and family further by incentivizing those who share the email. See the “Share with 3 or more style-loving friends and get $25 off” copy? 

Con: Cursive font is always tough to read 

8. WHEN THEY REARCH A STATUS LEVEL OR SIGN UP FOR A LOYALTY PROGRAM

Subject Line: You’re on the list! Now you’re a LOFT Insider

Pro: Clear, yet clever copy.

Con: Oh no, where did the personalization go Loft? This shopper became an insider and now Loft doesn't know her name!

9. WHEN YOU KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE (REALLY WELL)

Subject Line: Pins we ♥

Pro: Moms love Pinterest, so when you know where your buyers are, meet them there with cross-channel promotion. Also, Carter’s includes the closest store to the recipient. 

Con: The two CTAs “see our pins” and “shop now” could certainly use a bump in size. 

10. WHEN THEY NEED TO PLAN 

Subject Line: 2014 Stagecoach Festival Line Up and On Sale Announcement

Pro: People who attended Stagecoach Festival last year received details (and a reminder) about ticket sales for the 2014 festival. 

Con: Leaves a lot to be desired in terms of design. It’s cluttered with no apparent calls-to-action. The first “click here” is highlighting its newly redesigned website (which looks awesome), their emails should be consistent with the new design. 

11. WHEN A RETURN HAS BEEN PROCESSED

Subject Line: Your Return has been processed 

Pro: There’s nothing more frustrating to an online shopper than not knowing if their return was received. Sports Authority keeps its customers updated with this email, as well as indicates which credit card the credit will be charged back to. 

Con: Some recommended products would help shoppers to start buying again. 

12. WHEN YOU HAVE COMPLEMENTARY ITEMS

Pros: A terrific way to get another sale is by offering complementary products. This email is creative as pictures are as personal as you get and there are so many ways to be creative with them – many that most people wouldn’t think about. Plus, the email has textbook-worthy CTAs and design. 

Cons: Wouldn’t it be terrific (for both click-through and conversions) if the buyer’s pictures were the ones shown in the email?  

13. WHEN IT’S AN ANNIVERSARY

Subject Line: Thanks for another great year, [Name]

Pros: A note of thanks is always appreciated and even more so when it’s clever and includes a play on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

Cons: While this campaign is to say thanks and does remind the recipient of contact options, perhaps an incentive to stick around another five years would be appreciated – like a lower APR or design your own card, etc. 

14. WHEN IT’S SERIOUS

Subject Line: A Promise to Homeless Pets

Pros: PAWS Chicago – a no-kill humane society – followed up from its mail campaign (sending 2014 calendars) with an email asking for support. 

Con: PAWS Chicago might have wanted to include an actual image of the calendar for consistency and to refresh people’s memories quicker than the long text from the founder. 

15. WHEN YOU’RE LEGITIMATELY OMNICHANNEL

Subject Line: Thank You for Your Purchase at Kmart!

Pros: This consumer bought a pair of Mickey Mouse pajamas for her two year old in-store and received an eReceipt immediately. Three days later, she received a personalized email with suggested items and complementary products to the original purchase. 

Cons: A very small con is that product descriptions could me more consistent, so they all fit on one or two lines, not fluctuate.  

16. WHEN YOU NEED TO SEND AN E-RECEIPT

Subject Line: Your eReceipt from Toys “R” Us/Babies “R” Us

Pros: Includes “Just for You” and “Best Seller” product recommendations. 

Con: The “Chance to Win” part of the e-receipt should be reformatted/redesigned for the email so it is more prominent. 

17. WHEN ITEMS ARE BACK IN STOCK

Subject Line: Back In Stock – Our Favorite Graphic Tees 

Pros: Beautiful designed and may win back a frustrated customer because of the incentive. 

Con: No personalization. 

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