It’s no secret that the world of commerce has faced extreme transformation over the last 12 months.
With everyone at home and ordering things online out of necessity, marketers trained their attention on online channels, flooding them with paid ads to drive growth. It became harder than ever to win the attention and admiration of consumers in an increasingly noisy and saturated environment.
For digital direct-to-consumer brands, the love-hate relationship with the social platforms they use to build and grow their brands reached a tipping point. As COVID-19 forced everyone online, ad costs on Facebook and Instagram rose dramatically, increasing more than 200% from January to November. E-commerce brands that relied solely on paid ads for growth were put to the test.
Out of both desire and necessity, marketers have been on the hunt for ways to diversify their customer acquisition channels. As the cost to acquire becomes increasingly unsustainable, marketers need to sell more to their existing customers to not just grow but survive.
As a result, a new trend has emerged: Retention is becoming the new acquisition.
Forrester expects marketers to increase spending on customer loyalty and retention initiatives by 30% over the next year. It’s become a strategic imperative for e-commerce marketers to drive growth from existing customers in order to maintain profitability.
While many marketers will implement traditional retention tactics like loyalty and rewards programs or aggressive discounting programs, there’s another powerful, highly effective retention channel that most marketers overlook.
Instead of looking at what led people to the “buy” button, more marketers should analyze what customers do right after they buy. My company has captured a treasure trove of data about actions consumers take right after they buy, and we’ve learned that this insight can help drive brand loyalty if used correctly.
Here are four things consumers do after they buy that typically result in brand loyalty down the road.
1. THEY ACT ON A COMPELLING OFFER
The best time to ask for the next sale is right after the first. Why? Because that’s when consumers are the most excited about your brand. Surprisingly, consumers make a substantial number of repeat purchases while they wait for their current order if they’re presented with a well-timed or well-positioned offer.
Product recommendations, secret sales, loyalty redemption, or upsells into subscriptions tend to perform exceedingly well to spur a customer into making a purchase.
On average, we’ve seen a 2%-3% purchase rate from consumers placing an order while they wait for their current order to arrive.
2. THEY JOIN THE BRAND’S ONLINE COMMUNITIES
Consumers who buy from brands that exhibit high loyalty characteristics often want to associate with like-minded people. They want to participate in the brand’s experience, so they often seek out the brand’s official or unofficial online communities to continue their experience after they buy.
We see 8% of clicks from tracking pages to social media content.
The savviest e-commerce brands build their community on social so they can retarget them without having to buy ads to drive reconversion. Many merchants do this by using their order tracking page or shipping notification emails to invite people to private Facebook groups or to share their recent purchase on social media. The brand will often feature those active customers on their feeds.
3. THEY LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BRAND OR PRODUCTS THEY PURCHASED
Educating customers on their purchases is also a great way to reinforce the value of your products in a way customers want. For example, cookware brands often highlight unique features of their products, or interesting recipes.
By making the experience utilitarian, brands drive significant engagement and keep the customer immersed in the brand experience, creating positive brand affinity to drive future purchases.
4. THEY ENGAGE WITH VIDEO
Video is a powerful tool in a brand’s arsenal. Merchants can leverage video in many ways. Some merchants use it to share messages from founders. Some expand on their mission or founding story. Others preview new products or collections dropping soon. It’s a creative way to unfold the story of your brand to your audience while they are most receptive to hearing it.
Post-purchase is a very unique time to connect with consumers in new ways. Most merchants are not activating shipment tracking as a marketing channel. We’ve found that on average, a consumer checks their order status 4.6 times per order — so a brand that’s generating 10,000 orders per month has an opportunity to activate 46,000 brand impressions to connect with their customers and grow their business. Leveraging the four tactics above, merchants can drive significant growth in their business from their existing customers.
Yaw Aning is the cofounder and CEO of Malomo, a shipment tracking platform for ecommerce merchants.