How to Use Post-Purchase Emails To Increase Engagement and Revenue

Here’s a pop quiz: Once a customer converts and buys a product, the sale is over. True or false?

The correct answer is false.

Once you make a sale, give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t pop open that champagne in celebration just yet.

In reality, the engagement process has only just begun.

Research suggests that customers are most receptive to your marketing messages immediately after making a purchase.

According to ReMarkety, post-purchase thank-you emails have…

  • An average open rate of 42.51% (2.5 times better than the industry average).
  • Click-through rate (CTR) of 18.27% (7.9 times better than the industry average).
  • Conversion rate (CVR) of 10.34%.

Post-purchase emails provide you the opportunity to send engaging content that will build trust and intimacy and deliver more value to your customer–which, over time, will deliver more value to your business.

To get you started, here are five of the most engaging elements that eCommerce brands should include within their post-purchase emails:

  1. A unique discount code to encourage repeat purchases.
  2. Cross-sells in the form of recommendations for other products your customer may like.
  3. Incentives and prompts for your referral program.
  4. Social sharing buttons to invite customers to connect with you on different channels or share their shopping experience with their social network.
  5. A request for customer feedback.

eCommerce marketing company Conversio found that when they compared plain receipts against those with any of the five features listed above, they saw:

  • Receipts without any additional marketing assets had a 61.7% open rate, a 5.1% click rate, and a 0.1% conversion rate.
  • Including just one of the five elements listed above, on average, meant receipts saw up to a 14.6% increase in open rate, a 64.7% increase in click rate, and a 2200% increase in conversion rate.

If that data alone isn’t exciting enough–here are three reasons why the effort and time spent on developing effective post-purchase emails will pay off for your eCommerce company…

#1 Increase Customer Satisfaction and ROI

An improved customer experience means more money in your pocket in the long term.

The Harvard Business Review published research from customer experience firm Medallia stating that “customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.”

Post-purchase emails work to improve the customer experience in more than one way. For example, they can…

  • Give shoppers peace of mind with an order confirmation email.
  • Set clear expectations with shipping information (see the Zulily example below).
  • Educate customers on how to make the most of their purchase with product information.
  • Encourage repeat purchases with replenishment reminders.


Improving the customer experience through product education and the inclusion of frequently asked questions (FAQs) in post-purchase emails can also reduce returns.

Often, returns are free for customers–but come at a hefty price for eCommerce companies.

In fact, returns cost retail brands a whopping $642.6 billion a year, according to a report commissioned by OrderDynamics in 2015.

So, any chance you can get to lower returns, the better.

Post-purchase emails are also a way to build intimacy and positive brand sentiment with your customer. This is your chance to share why you created your business and how the purchase will change life for the better.

For example, when customers buy makeup products from BOOM! By Cindy Joseph, the first email they receive includes a video message from the founder, Cindy.

She thanks them for buying and reminds them of the mission and values of the company, all centered around the “pro-age revolution.”

Don’t skip out on this opportunity to nurture warm and fuzzy feelings toward your brand in the minds of your customers. If you have an important mission and values to share–include that info in these emails!

#2 Create an Opportunity for Brand Exposure

Ever bought something and felt the need to tell everyone about it?

We all try not to brag, but let’s be real–we’re only human, and we like to share the good news in our lives.

Post purchase is the perfect time to capitalize on customer excitement about the order.

Include social sharing buttons in post-purchase emails to encourage customers to share their shopping experience with their friends. This way, you’ll amplify awareness of your brand and products to your customers’ extended community.

Post-purchase emails are also a simple pathway to receiving referrals. In the example below, Zulily makes referring friends clear and easy while also incentivizing customers with a $15 credit for every referral.


The window of time just after customers have received their product is an ideal time to ask your customers to fill out a satisfaction survey or write a review of your product and their experience with your company.

See how Adidas does this well.


The messaging is short, clear, and inviting–making it easy for customers to contribute their honest thoughts about their order and experience.

#3 Encourage More Purchases

Post-purchase email sequences can seamlessly prompt return purchases in the form of cross-sells.

This can come in the form of recommended products or providing a unique discount code to facilitate future or repeat purchases.

Adding a ‘you may also like’ recommendation box in your post-purchase emails is a subtle and friendly way to invite customers to make a follow-up purchase.

See House of Fraser’s example below.


Amazon has found great success in this strategy.

In fact, when JP Mangalindan of Fortune interviewed an Amazon employee about the company’s cross-selling strategy, he reported, “The conversion rate and efficiency of [product recommendations] emails are ‘very high,’ significantly more effective than on-site recommendations.”

For an eCommerce business to continue to grow and scale, it needs to provide customers with long-term value that leads to repeat purchases and, thus, increases the customer’s lifetime value to the company.

…and that’s why the sale does not end as soon as your customer completes checkout.

Don’t miss out on the various opportunities to increase value for you and your customer. Be sure to include post-purchase emails in your eCommerce strategy if you aren’t already.

If you found this helpful–we’ve got more valuable eCommerce digital marketing strategies to share with you–check out our take on best practices to stand out in a saturated market. 


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