When to Send Your Post-Purchase Emails
It may seem counterintuitive to discuss when you should send you post-purchase emails. The timing is in the description, after all — they’re supposed to be sent after a customer makes a purchase.
However, when exactly you send your post-purchase emails matters. As I’ve already discussed, there are three main types of post-purchase emails: “thank you,” product review, and product recommendation. In this post, I’m going to outline the timing separately, since each email serves a different purpose.
“Thank you” emails can sometimes be consolidated into transactional emails, like shipping or order confirmations. You may, however, send an entirely separate email to thank your customers. If so, make sure you send your “thank you” email after your transactional emails to eliminate any potential opportunity for confusion. When thanking your customers, you don’t want them to think that you are also confirming that their order has shipped.
The timing of product review emails is very important, since it falls within a fairly narrow window of opportunity. It’s absolutely essential that you don’t send your product review emails before a customer has received their purchase. So, when you send your product review emails should be contingent on how long it will take purchases to be delivered.
Typically, this is around ten days after a product has shipped. Err on the later side rather than the earlier side, since it’s better if a customer receives a product review email a couple of days after their purchase has been delivered rather than a couple of days before. Plus, this will give your customers an opportunity to become familiar with their purchase before writing a review, and thus offer more informed feedback.
Product recommendation emails can be sent immediately after a customer makes a purchase. Leverage the fact that a customer has just bought by showing them complementary products. If you catch customers while they’re still at their computers, they will me more apt to buy since they’ve just made a purchase. In fact, psychological studies have shown that there are elements of excitement and anticipation involved in the buying process, and that these two factors increase a person’s likeliness to take an action (buying). Use customers’ excitement over a recent purchase to upsell or cross-sell other items.
Let’s continue our sketchbook example from my last post. If a customer — let’s call her Jenny — just bought a sketchbook, she’s probably looking forward to filling it with a number of drawings, paintings, doodles, etc. What better time to show her a set of watercolor paints she can use to with her new sketchbook? If you send Jenny a product recommendation email featuring these watercolor paints three days after she purchases, she won’t be as likely to purchase because the new sketchbook won’t be fresh on her mind anymore. But, if you show her these watercolor paints right after she buys the sketchbook, she’ll still be thinking about all the beautiful landscapes she wants to paint and will be more inclined to purchase.
When you send your post-purchase email depends a lot on the type of post-purchase email you’re sending. For “thank you” and product recommendation emails, the sooner you send them the better. Product review emails, on the other hand, should be sent after a customer has already received their purchase.