4 Mistakes to Avoid in the E-commerce Post-Purchase Journey

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of ecommerce customer acquisition. For example, many stores prioritize marketing campaigns aimed at attracting new website visitors over keeping existing customers. But here’s why companies should rethink their disproportionate focus on customer acquisition: Attracting a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one.

Chances are, your online store already has a loyal customer base. You’ve already done the work of convincing these buyers to convert at least once. This means they’re more likely to return for subsequent purchases, perhaps even becoming a loyal, long-term customer. Retaining these important consumers is an economical way to increase ROI.

But how? Start by thinking of the purchase journey as a never-ending cycle. Even after a buyer clicks “Confirm Purchase,” there are still ways to engage post-purchase.

Here are four mistakes to avoid in the ecommerce post-purchase journey. After all, how you interact with your customers in the aftermath of their transactions can make the difference between a one-time purchase and an ongoing relationship.

Failure to Follow Up

Put yourself in an online shopper’s shoes for a minute. You visit a new ecommerce website, browse the product catalogue, fill your cart with goodies and checkout. Then: Nothing besides a generic confirmation email. What gives? A lack of communication from an online store tends to be unsettling for consumers, as it leaves them wondering what’s happening on the back-end.

Make your customers feel valued by reaching out within an appropriate timeframe—usually between a day and a week, although subsequent follow-ups may be appropriate. Take the time to ask them about their purchasing journey. Are they happy with the product? Would they like to leave a review? Do they want to sign up for your email newsletter, so they don’t miss important updates and discounts?

Botching Order Fulfillment

If you want to establish a pattern of repeating consumer relationships, prioritize timely delivery. On one survey, 60 percent of respondents said they’re more likely to buy something from a store that can offer a firm delivery date. Similarly, nearly three-fourths of respondents named “receiving a package when it’s supposed to be delivered” as the top factor affecting future purchases.

Understanding how customer retention is tied into order fulfillment is the first step in refining how you get your products from point A to point B and beyond. Make sure your postal carrier has a good record of accurate, undamaged deliveries. For instance, if you sell electronics, you will need to devise a way to protect gadgets with heavy-duty materials. Nobody appreciates a broken device showing up on their doorstep.

Prioritize accurate packing and shipping. Reducing mistakes in this arena has a huge bearing on how many people revisit your website in the future.

Convoluted Customer Service

If something does go awry in during the post-purchase journey, the only remedy is responsive customer service. Make sure your customers can reach your team across multiple platforms before, during and after a purchase. Consider implementing an AI-powered live chat system around the clock, but especially during the hours when human specialists are not available.

Unclear Return Policies

Returns will always be part of the post-purchase journey. While your website should clearly feature a landing page with your entire return policy, customers may need a reminder after the fact. Give your buyers enough time to decide whether or not they want to return something—a 30- to 60-day window is typically appropriate, depending on industry. If it’s financially possible, accept returns for free. This will score you major points with customers.

Avoiding these four mistakes during the ecommerce post-purchase journey will help you boost customer retention levels and, ultimately, drive revenue.