How to Create a Post-Purchase Email Sequence (Plus, Inspiring Examples!)

How to Create a Post-Purchase Email Sequence (Plus, Inspiring Examples!)
Charlene Boutin Charlene Boutin Feb 10, 2022 —  9 min read

Do you get the butterflies when you receive an email confirmation about an exciting new order you’ve just completed online? I know I do! There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of knowing an item you’ve long wished for is finally making its way to you.

But post-purchase emails don’t magically appear in your inbox — or your customers’ inboxes — on their own. The best post-purchase emails have a lot of thought behind them. They’re the ideal marketing tool to get your customers even more hyped up about buying from you.

Let’s explore what post-purchase emails can do, when you should send them, and what examples to get inspired from.

What is a post-purchase email?

A post-purchase email is an email — or a sequence of emails — your customer receives after they’ve made a purchase. These emails can be sent right away, or they can be sent with a delay.

Post-purchase emails can vary wildly in length and style. You can make them simple and to the point, or you can turn them into a captivating saga that your customers can’t stop reading.

It’s important to note that a post-purchase email isn’t the same thing as a receipt email. While they can be very simple, they’re still a different email.

Here’s what you can typically expect as a receipt email:

An example of a simple receipt email

Now compare this with a super simple post-purchase email:

An example of a simple post-purchase email

Many payment-processing tools will automatically send a receipt when someone buys something from your online store. For example, if you have a Shopify store, they automatically take care of sending receipts, and it will usually be via their own servers.

Post-purchase emails are different. You’ll usually need to set them up yourself using your email marketing platform of choice. Many business owners choose to send these emails via the same platform they use for their other promotional emails and newsletters.

When you choose to do that, you can use the info you already have from your email marketing data to make your emails even better.

Why are post-purchase emails so important?

Post-purchase emails are a vital ingredient in your relationship with your customers. They’ve just bought something from you, but if you want to build a sustainable business, it’s important to continue building that relationship beyond the purchase.

Post-purchase emails are perfect for this. Yes, you can use them to confirm an order or give your customers info on what’s happening with their products… but you can also use them to:

  • Entertain your customers
  • Inform customers about what’s going to happen with their products
  • Provide some insight about your brand mission and how your customer is now part of that mission
  • Suggest related products by upselling and cross-selling
  • Ask for feedback or reviews
  • Give customers ideas on how to use their new products

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Remember that it’s much easier (and cheaper) to get repeat customers instead of putting all your effort towards generating new customers. In fact, getting a new customer can cost as much as five times more than retaining an existing customer. And increasing customer retention by only 5% can help you boost your profits by a whopping 25-95%.

Sending post-purchase emails can also help avoid any frustration around shipping and order status. When someone spends their hard-earned money to purchase something from your business, they’re excited to receive what they just bought. And they also want to know what’s up with their order.

If they don’t know what’s happening, they might just end up emailing you in frustration anyway.

Post-purchase emails are a proactive way to solve this issue. You can let your customers know when:

  • Their order is confirmed
  • The package has just shipped
  • Their item is out for delivery
  • There’s a delay in shipping

Not only are post-purchase emails important, but they’re so simple to write and set up that there’s no reason not to have them. Because they’re automated based on customer purchases, you only have to create and set up your emails once.

When should you send a post-purchase email?

Post-purchase emails come in various shapes and sizes. Therefore, there isn’t a single perfect moment at which to send them. It all depends on your email’s purpose.

Plus, you can send an entire post-purchase email sequence depending on your intent.

Let’s take a look at what Holo Taco does with its post-purchase sequence. It’s a perfect example because they showcase nearly every type of post-purchase email in a single sequence. So you’ll have a good idea of the possible moments at which you can send your own emails.

The first email you receive when you order from Holo Taco, apart from your automated receipt, is your order confirmation. You should send an email confirmation as soon as your ecommerce system detects a confirmed order.

In the post-purchase email sequence from Holo Taco, the first email is purchase confirmation

Holo Taco’s order confirmation email showcases every item ordered, along with the shipping address and customer information. The brand also lets you know that you can expect more emails in the future when your order ships.

This is great because customers don’t have to wonder when they’ll get updates next. They know that their order hasn’t shipped as long as they don’t receive an email.

As promised, the next email in the sequence is the shipping confirmation email. You should send a shipping confirmation email as soon as the product leaves your warehouse.

Shipping confirmation is a typical example of a post-purchase email

If you offer tracking information, make sure to include it in this email, just like Holo Taco does above. You can also provide a way for customers to reach out to you if they have any issues.

I like that Holo Taco adds a disclaimer about the tracking information. Because it can take some time for that info to be updated, it could be frustrating for customers who don’t know about that.

Depending on how much visibility you have with package tracking, you could also send an email when your customer’s package is out for delivery. Holo Taco sends a simple notification email for this below.

Holo Taco informs customers when the purchased product is out for delivery

For customers, knowing that an item is out for delivery is exciting. But beyond that, it can help them plan their day. Some delivery companies need customers to be home to deliver the packages. Knowing that a package is out for delivery can let customers know what to expect that day.

Of course, nothing stops your customers from tracking this themselves if you’ve provided them with a tracking number. But sending them a reminder email is a friendly way to be helpful.

In that same vein, post-purchase emails can also be sent when a delivery is complete. At this point, customers should know their package is available if they’re home. But this reminder email can be helpful if something goes wrong with the delivery.

Your customer will know right away if the package was delivered to the wrong address. If they’re away from home, they’ll also be able to ask someone to pick up the package from their porch to keep it safe. But delivery confirmation emails can serve another purpose. As you can see with Holo Taco, they can provide an opportunity to engage with your customers in fun ways.

Holo Taco includes shipment delivery notification to their post-purchase email sequence

Asking your customers to share what they’re doing with your products is a great way to generate amazing content for your social media accounts. It’s also an effective way to get your customers to use their purchase right away.

A post-purchase email can also have another important mission: asking for customer reviews.

There’s no specific time that’s set in stone for when you should send this type of post-purchase email. It all depends on how long it typically takes for your customers to get value from your products.

For example, Holo Taco sent this email about a week after delivery confirmation:

Feedback survey example from the Holo Taco’s post-purchase email

A week makes sense because that’s how long it takes not only to apply nail polish, but also to test its durability. If you sell apparel, you may not have to wait as long. But if you sell smartwatches, it may take longer for customers to try out all the features and decide how much they like your products.

Finally, a post-purchase email can be a great way to measure your net promoter score. In short, your net promoter score describes how likely your customers are to recommend your business to someone they know.

Just like the review email, make sure to send a net promoter score survey email after enough time has passed for customers to judge your products.

Use post-purchase emails to conduct the net promoter score survey, as Holo Taco does

You can keep this type of post-purchase email very simple. All you need to do is ask how likely your customer would be to recommend you to a friend. The answer should be a number from 1 to 10.

Additionally, you can do like Holo Taco does above and add a field for any extra comments your customers could want to add. While this won’t change the net promoter score, it could give you more insight into why they gave a certain score.

How do you write a post-purchase email?

The way you’ll write a post-purchase email depends on your intent. But there are a few guidelines you should follow no matter which type you want to send.

First, remember that a post-purchase email is a yet another opportunity for you to build a relationship with your customers. With that in mind, your email copy should reflect your branding and tone of voice.

Just take a look at Lovevery’s post-purchase email that confirms your order:

Lovevery starts their post-purchase email sequence with an order confirmation

The tone of this email fits perfectly well with their friendly, approachable brand identity.

Make sure you also include all the necessary information in your email. It’s okay to have fun with the wording, but you shouldn’t get carried away with it and forget to state what’s important. Lovevery’s email above specifies that customers can expect tracking information within a view days. They also include a button to view order status, and the order number is available just below.

You can also decide to display this information visually. Take a look at Bath and Bodywork’s icons in their confirmation email:

Bath & Bodyworks use visuals to show the current order processing stage

Each subsequent email uses the same visual cue to let customers know what’s happening with their order. For instance, here’s the next email I received when my order was finished processing:

Order finished processing post-purchase email - example by Bath & Bodyworks

In addition to updates on their package, you can use your post-purchase emails to educate customers on what they’ve just purchased. If there’s nothing to educate them on, maybe you can use the email to hype them up before they receive their item.

Post-purchase email ideas

Now you know how to write your own post-purchase emails and what to include in them. But if you feel intimidated to start from scratch, it can help to take inspiration from existing content.

Let’s look at some post-purchase email examples to inspire your own campaign.

1. Post-purchase rewards with Gap

Do you use a rewards system to incentivize your customers to purchase from your store? If so, you can use your post-purchase email to let them know how many points they’ve accumulated so far.

Below, the user has accumulated 73 Honey Gold by shopping at The Gap. The email provides all the necessary information without being too overwhelming, including:

  • The value of the points
  • How much time it will take for the points to get confirmed
  • How you can redeem your points

Plus, the bright call-to-action button makes it easy for customers to log in and check the status of their order.

Gap post-purchase email includes the information on rewards earned with the purchase

2. Message from the founder with Ilia

I like this post-purchase email because it’s not just an order confirmation. It’s a warm and welcoming message to the brand.

In just a few short sentences, this email showcases the brand’s ethos and how the customer can benefit from purchasing and using its products. We get a personal, friendly vibe from this message. It feels like the founder is taking a moment to welcome you to the family.

If you’re going to take a similar approach, make sure to keep it brief just like Ilia does. You can go longer and tell a story, but make sure your email is easily digestible and easy to read on every device.

The Ilia founder talks about the brand story in their post-purchase email

3. Cross-selling with Ilia

Here’s another example from Ilia. After your customer receives your product, it can be a good idea to upsell and cross-sell them with other items you sell, especially if they pair well together.

This is exactly what Ilia does with the email below. It’s a warm invitation to grow your beauty collection by checking out products that compliment the original order.

Ilia uses their post-purchase email sequence to cross-sell products

4. Asking for feedback with Target

This email from Target is very simple, but it accomplishes its job well. It asks recent customers to leave a review if they’re happy with their purchase.

I also like the addition of the copy at the bottom. If customers have an issue, they’re invited to reach out for support before they leave a negative review. By doing this, Target gives customers a chance to get what they need instead of venting their frustrations in a review.

Feedback request example in a post-purchase sequence from Target

5. New customer promotion with KiwiCo

If you have any promotions that you offer to new customers who’ve just made their first purchase, post-purchase emails are perfect for this purpose.

It’s another great way to increase your average order value and retain customers for longer. In the example below, KiwiCo offers to add a curated book to their customers’ next monthly crate — completely free of charge.

It’s a great incentive to keep customers subscribed for another month.

KiwiCo features a new customer promotion in a post-purchase email

Build a happy customer base with post-purchase emails

Post-purchase emails seem like a small detail when compared to everything else you should be doing to grow your Ecommerce business. But they can make a world of difference in how your customers perceive your brand. Attention to detail matters a lot for several customers!

These are all great reasons to implement a post-purchase email for your online store as soon as you can. Try it out and see how it changes your customer relationships!

Charlene Boutin is a freelance content writer & email marketing strategist for hire specializing in helping Ecommerce and SaaS businesses increase conversions by growing authentic relationships with their audience. She loves helping business owners tell their unique stories to capture the hearts of more customers.

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