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GUEST COMMENT Why brands need to prioritise post-purchase performance

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Enticing customers to buy products can be a real graft. Many retailers see locking in the purchase as the main hurdle in nailing those all-important conversion rates. With the sale secured, they can let the rest of the delivery fall into place. Sorted.

Or is it? Yes, there’s a real art to successfully converting a customer. But just as crucially, there’s also a real art to creating the optimal post-purchase customer experience, writes Dan Greenall, VP of product at Sorted.

Dan Greenall, VP of product at Sorted

Post-purchase customer experience is an area that not all give enough attention to. 63% of consumers said a poor delivery service would stop them from purchasing from a company again. While the latest findings into the retail landscape show that only 44% of retailers have made efforts to enhance their post-purchase experience. In short, this has to change.

The post-purchase experience comprises a range of elements, including customer support, product delivery, returns and exchanges, and follow-up communication. Effective post-purchase communications can play an integral role in boosting customer retention rates. And retailers are taking note of just how crucial it could be.

They ensure that conversations continue with customers even after the purchase, strengthening the connection between the brand and the consumer. If customers don’t know what’s happening with their delivery, or why promises aren’t being kept, that’s when bigger problems are going to spring up. Brand loyalty will be put to the test – and no one likes to be left in the lurch, right?

Our data found that three-quarters (75%) of businesses are now planning to invest in the post-purchase experience. They’re seeing it as a key competition ground that can make or break customer loyalty. So, as more businesses look towards this area as an opportunity to develop a competitive advantage, retailers must act quickly to keep up.

The barriers to adoption
Optimising the post-purchase experience isn’t without its challenges. Currently, only 40% of retailers believe their post-purchase process is up to the mark. With retail leaders citing a lack of technology adoption as the main reason for this.

There’s a palpable lack of awareness about the technological solutions available. Many retailers are still in the dark about software that can optimise shipment allocation, provide better delivery choices, automate rules, and more. In addition, budget constraints often restrict the implementation of such technologies, leaving retailers with outdated systems that fail to meet modern demands. Compounding this, the transition to new, more efficient systems can sometimes be challenging when the technology partner isn’t set up for smooth, personal customer support.

Despite these barriers, overcoming them is a necessity. Whether it is to reduce the costs of ‘Where Is My Order’ queries, or to boost customer loyalty and retention rates – the future of retail will be significantly impacted by retailers’ ability to provide a seamless post-purchase experience, and embracing technology is the path to achieving it.

And retail leaders are recognising this, as mentioned, our recent survey found that 75% of retail leaders are investing into the post purchase experience. This is emphasising its importance and highlights how getting ahead of the crowd will be just as important as getting it right.

The growing importance and benefits of the post-purchase experience
The post-purchase experience is no longer a mere afterthought; it’s a pivotal phase in the customer journey. In a challenging retail environment where sales are plummeting at alarming rates and high street shops are closing, the delivery experience is emerging as a great opportunity for improvement. A mismanaged delivery or problematic return can sever the relationship with a customer almost instantly. With 79% of consumers affirming that a subpar post-purchase experience would deter them from repurchasing, the gravity of this part of the customer journey is evident.

And in case you need more evidence, among retail leaders who have embraced the change, 60% already report increased sales and revenue from efforts to enhance this experience. This isn’t mere coincidence; it’s a testimony to the role of post-purchase processes in quickly fostering customer loyalty.

The connection between brand and consumer extends beyond the purchase, and smart retailers recognise that nurturing this connection will keep customers returning. A solid delivery experience, smooth returns, and efficient follow-up communication aren’t just courteous—they’re strategic and vital.

Why retailers should act now
The call to action for retailers is urgent. Modern consumers demand real-time updates, clear communication, and reliable delivery. Meeting these demands requires an infusion of technology into existing operations.

By incorporating these tools, retailers can provide customers with real-time updates to ensure they are always kept in the loop. More than mere conveniences, these capabilities are the backbone of customer satisfaction.

But it’s not just about the customer. Streamlined operations translate to improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness – important for the bottom line. In uncertain economic times, investments in technology can provide a competitive edge, enhancing customer satisfaction, fostering loyalty, and ultimately boosting retention rates.

The time to act is now. Delaying could result in losing customers to competitors who have already embraced the change.

The bottom line
Retail success in the modern era is intricately tied to the post-purchase experience. Satisfaction with a product is only part of the equation; a seamless post-purchase process can turn a one-time buyer into a loyal customer.

The statistics and trends are crystal clear. Investing in this vital area leads to growth, customer retention, and enhanced revenue. Although the path forward has its challenges, the end result is worth it.

For retail leaders, the choice should be evident: embrace technology, enhance the post-purchase experience, and stay ahead of the curve. The time for action is now, and the rewards are there for those who are able to seize them.

Dan Greenall, VP of product at Sorted

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