The post-purchase email flow is an often overlooked sequence as far as email automations go. Brands put more energy into acquiring customers through abandoned cart flows and new subscriber welcome flows. But once a customer purchases, your work isn't done yet.

Buying online leaves a lot of room for doubt to creep in. Shoppers don't have the instant gratification of the product in their hand, only the feeling of their wallet being a bit slimmer. Customers may be second-guessing their purchase, ready to return their order as soon as it arrives.

Or, their excitement may drop as they wait for a few days, and they're no longer excited to receive their product. They might keep it, but they also might set it aside, intending to use it someday and forget about it.

While in this case, they didn't return the product, they're probably not going to be enthusiastic about buying from you again, and you can be sure they won't think to recommend your brand to their friends and family.

So once a customer purchases, you want to continue building the relationship with them and keep them excited about their purchase.

That's where post-purchase emails come in. By engaging customers while they wait for their product to arrive and thereafter, you can reduce returns, make them more likely to use and enjoy their order, and drive customer loyalty and retention.

Here are 11 post-purchase email campaigns to keep your existing customers coming back time and again.

1. Order confirmation email

The first post-purchase email you should send your customers is an order confirmation email. This lets customers know that their order has been received and provides all their order details so they can confirm it went through correctly.

An order confirmation email should include:

  • Order number

  • Order date

  • Shipping address

  • Item(s) ordered, along with quantity and price

  • Shipping method (e.g., standard vs. express) and cost

  • Discounts used

  • Taxes paid

  • Total paid

  • Payment method

  • An estimate of when their product will ship

  • Your company's contact information

These details should be the first thing customers see. If you include other things in this email, like cross-sell promotions or an invitation to join your loyalty program, those should be at the bottom of your email.

2. Shipping confirmation email

Shipping confirmation emails let customers know that their order is progressing and allows them to track their order. Send this once a customer's order is shipped.

The shipping email should include basic order details and tracking details like:

  • Order number

  • Shipping address

  • Items shipped

  • Tracking link

This will be another straightforward transactional email to communicate essential information to customers. Put any additional details you want to include after the shipping information in the email.

3. Delivery confirmation email

When the carrier delivers the order, email customers to confirm its arrival. You want to ensure your customers know it's arrived, so it doesn't sit on their doorstep and risk getting stolen.

It can also ensure the package made it to the correct address. Misdeliveries are rare, but they do happen. If a customer doesn't receive their order, they can let you know so you can fix it quickly.

In your delivery email, list the items that arrived again, so customers know they've received what they're supposed to. And add a link or email address for customers to contact you if they haven't received their order or have other issues, such as a damaged package.

4. Thank you email

If you just want to send a quick thank you for a customer's purchase, you can include that in your order confirmation email. However, a separate thank you email is another opportunity to build the relationship with new customers.

Consider sending a longer thank you message that shows how much you appreciate your business. You could go into your brand story or values. Or include the founder's personal story and how that relates to the products you sell.

Send this email soon after your order confirmation email.

You'll also want to think about how this ties into your new subscriber welcome series. If customers have already received a long brand story message as part of your welcome flow, you don't need to send it again. So create two different messages that can send depending on whether or not they were a subscriber before purchasing.

And if a customer has purchased in the past, you might skip this message altogether.

5. Loyalty program email

Remember what we said about customers feeling the loss of money after a purchase with no product in hand? Well, an invitation to join a loyalty program can combat that. Receiving loyalty points after purchase means they've already received something for their money.

And, of course, a loyalty program can help you bring customers back for future purchases. So, send an invitation to join your program after a customer's first purchase.

Reward them right away by offering points or rewards for their recent purchase so they feel like they've already benefited from joining.

6. Product education email

Product education emails can help onboard customers to your products before they receive it and when it arrives.

You can use a product education email before an order arrives to teach customers about the design and quality of the product they ordered.

And once a customer has the product in hand, you can send an onboarding email to help the customer set up the product or learn how to use it.

This is great for technical items or products with a lot of features. But you can also send inspirational content for more basic items to get customers excited to use your product. For example, you might send recipes if you sell baking accessories.

7. Review request email

A review request email shows customers you care and value their opinion. It helps you surface issues that came up with a customer's order, such as a broken item or missing part, so that you can resolve those problems. It provides valuable social proof for future customers. And it can help inform future product development.

You can encourage more reviews by offering loyalty points or discounts on future orders.

Send these emails a few days after a customer receives their order, so they have a chance to test it out.

8. Refer-a-friend email

After a customer has had a chance to use your products, it's a great time to encourage them to spread the word to friends and family. So send out an email about your referral program.

This may be tied to your loyalty program with points or rewards as incentives, so it's another opportunity to encourage customers to join if they haven't already.

In your referral emails, include everything a customer needs to encourage their friends and family to buy, whether that's a referral link or a special discount code.

Make it even easier for them to talk about your brand with social media share buttons.

9. Cross-sell email

After the customer has used your product for a while, consider getting back in touch with cross-sell recommendations. If there are products that complement their recent purchase or that other customers have also bought with that product, this is the time to let them know.

For example, if a customer just purchased an exercise bike, you might send an email with bike accessories like shoes or seat cushions.

Using their previous purchase information for product recommendations is a great way to promote items they're likely to enjoy rather than random bestsellers they may not be interested in.

10. Replenishment email

If you sell consumable products, like household products or food, you can send reminders when it's likely time to restock or reorder to turn one-time customers into repeat customers.

For example, if you sell laundry detergent and customers typically reorder every month, send them an email soon before they're likely to run out.

When you remind customers to buy again, you're doing them a favor, so they don't run out of something essential. And you secure a repeat purchase instead of losing it to the grocery store down the street when they realize they forgot to place another order.

11. Winback email

After all your post-purchase emails and regular email campaigns, customers may go silent without purchasing for a while. Winback emails serve to bring them back.

When you send this depends on your business. Makeup is a frequently purchased product, so you might send a winback email after around three months of no activity. On the other hand, customers may buy shoes once or twice a year, so it may only make sense to contact them after 12 months.

Look at your repurchase window to determine when customers typically fall off.

In your winback emails, you can tell customers what they've been missing out on, like new product lines or changes to the business. Or you can offer an incentive to come back, like a discount, special bundles, or a free product.

Craft an engaging post-purchase email flow for your brand

As you craft your post-purchase email flow, you may combine elements of these emails in the same message, so you don't overwhelm customers. For example, you may include information about your loyalty program in your thank you email.

The goal isn't to send your customers as many emails as possible, but to find a post-purchase flow that effectively engages customers, reduces returns, and boosts customer lifetime value.

So play around with your post-purchase emails to discover what resonates with your customers. Consider the number of messages, their order, and the timing.

Then A/B test each email campaign for maximum impact. Test subject lines, CTAs, images, and copy. Pay attention to repurchase rates, unsubscribes, click-through rates, and other metrics depending on the goal of the email, like referrals or loyalty program signups.

Add SMS to drive more engagement and sales

While post-purchase emails are a great way to engage and retain your customers, today's ecommerce brands are adding SMS to every flow to reach more customers and encourage purchases.

With a 95% open rate within three minutes, SMS reaches people nearly instantly since most people have their phones on them. So it's perfect for sending reminders and time-sensitive post-purchase updates.

For example, you could send an SMS when a customer's order ships or at other critical points in the post-purchase journey. Or you might use it to offer real-time discounts or special promotions that complement customers' recent purchases.

With the right SMS platform, you can initiate repurchases by text, gather customer feedback, and make product recommendations. That's where Emotive comes in.

Emotive is an SMS marketing platform designed for ecommerce brands that want to scale. Automated conversations enable better customer engagement and drive more sales. Build segments to personalize messages. And integrate with your email marketing platform for a seamless customer experience.

Learn more about how Emotive can make SMS your next best revenue channel. Sign up for a demo today.