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The 3-Email Purchase Follow-Up Sequence You Should Launch Today

confirmation-email-conceptThe follow up to a customer order is absolutely critical when it comes to growing your ecommerce brand. Let's stop and think about it for a moment. The customer has chosen to purchase from your company — not Amazon, or a big box retailer. That in itself is a major win!

Of course, you've set up your system to send a confirmation email immediately — that's a no-brainer. But you can't stop there. Defaulting to a boring confirmation email, and nothing else, won't differentiate you from Amazon. It won't make the customer want to do business with you again. Basically: it won't grow your brand. Period.

So what's the solution? It's simple: a follow-up sequence of 3 distinct emails that are memorable, on-brand, and engage your customer. And you can automate all of them, so after you put in the effort up front, you’ll be driving repeat business while you sleep.

Fayettechill is a great example. They sell durable, eco-conscious apparel out of Fayetteville, Arkansas. This 3-email purchase follow up series has helped them generate over $12,000 in repeat sales.

Let's dive into each of the 3 emails, one by one. You can also listen here.👇

Email #1: The Purchase Confirmation & Summary

You might be thinking, "But didn't you just say the purchase confirmation email isn't enough?" It’s more that a boring confirmation email isn't enough. The truth is, your automated purchase confirmation and summary is a wonderful opportunity to humanize your brand, and add a touch of personalization to the customer experience.

Obviously, this email should be sent immediately after the order is placed. Include the order summary/receipt. Let the customer know that the order went through, both in the subject line and the body. For instance, Fayettechill's subject line reads: "Your order has flown the coop!" It's simple, on-brand, and gets the point across.

For the email's body, they weave in a snippet of text: "Howdy, your order has flown through the interwebs into our secret hideout, and we're on it. You'll soon be jumping, hiking, climbing, floating, or just reveling in your new #goodsforthewoods." Isn't that a lot better than saying: "Your order has been received?"

Email #2: The Anticipation Builder

Okay, so you've sent out your personalized, on-brand confirmation email. Next step: about 24 hours after the order is placed, send out an email to keep your product top-of-mind, and build anticipation in the mind of the customer.

Why send this email out at all? There are a couple of good reasons:

1. Awareness is often key to repeat business. When customers think of your brand first and foremost, they're more likely to buy your product. A big chunk of this level of awareness comes from repeated exposure to the brand. Your "anticipation builder" email feeds into that.
2. Anticipation warps our sense of time. Your customer's order is going to arrive when it arrives, no matter what. But if you can build a sense of anticipation within the customer, then he/she will likely perceive that it's taking longer for their product to come. By gently "teasing" the customer in this way, you're actually promoting an association of higher value with your product: "It's taking a long time to arrive, so it must be worth the wait!"

For Fayettechill, their 2nd email starts with the phrase "your goods were made for..." and features a gif that cycles through a handful of action shots with customers using the products in the wild. Then they transition into the "why" of their company. They mention their founding story, talk about how they source their fabrics, and briefly touch on their commitment to transparency in the end-to-end production of their products. Basically, they're weaving a narrative into the email to build up anticipation before the order arrives.

Email #3: The Supportive Follow-Up

For your 3rd and final email in this sequence, wait until the product has been delivered. This email is designed first and foremost to show the customer that your company truly cares about their experience. For example, Fayettechill's email includes questions like: "How is the product working? Does it fit? Do you have any questions?" You could also ask for a product review.

The point of this email is to reinforce how positive the customer's experience with your brand truly was. Think of it as offering your figurative hand to support the customer in any way needed. If there was an issue with the order, then you're letting them know that you want to make things right. If everything went through perfectly and the customer loves the product, then you're showing how proactive your brand is at providing customer support.

Nowadays, customers are more likely than ever to leave a business because of a bad experience. Price and quality matter, of course. But if you can provide a world-class experience to your customers, then you won't have any problems getting repeat business. This 3rd email will help.

A quick summary of this 3-email sequence

  • First, you need to send the order confirmation immediately after the customer places the order.
  • Your second email should build anticipation for the product's arrival. It's usually sent 24 hours or so after the confirmation email.
  • Your third and final email should be sent after the order's been delivered. It is 100% about customer support. You want to make sure everything about the order is good for the customer, and reinforce how pleasant his/her experience has been.

Granted, you can make this simple sequence much more detailed if you so desire. Maybe one day you'll add segmented follow-up emails, based on the product that was ordered. Or you could incorporate cross-selling emails into the sequence. But the key takeaway from this discussion is: You've got to go beyond a single order confirmation email to grow your brand. At the very least, use this 3-email sequence to generate repeat business.

If you follow this template, we can guarantee you won't go back. And your ecommerce brand will be that much better for it. 

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Written by Lauren Hall

Lauren is a Brand Marketing Associate at Privy. She's the brains behind all things content. When she's offline, she's obsessing over her Bernedoodle pup, Monster, and plotting ways to being a full-time Vermonter ASAP.

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