Putting ecommerce thank you emails to work to drive more sales

Thanking customers via email

Saying “thank you” to your customers, every business should do it, including ecommerce stores. Of course, when you run an online store, you can’t actually say “thank you” to your customers as they exit your store. So, the best way to do this is with a Thank you email. 

 The purpose of a thank you email to your customers is to make sure they understand you genuinely appreciate their business and relationship. Sending them thank you emails can be for anything such as a purchase, their support, subscribing to email newsletters, liking and sharing on Facebook, or an action that is meaningful to your business.  

A thank you email should be like your thank you page, and it’s a great opportunity to please your customers and drive more sales with customer retention.  

 Why you should send thank you emails 

In traditional Brick and mortar store, a customer walks away after paying for their product. They don’t have to worry that the store won’t fulfill its end of the bargain. And despite this most store clerks say “thank you” to the customer after their completed transaction.  

Of course, buying online can bring about a certain amount of anxiety. Shopping for most can be an exciting experience, but customers have to experience a delay between hitting the purchase button and then receiving and using the product. This means that they may seek or crave reassurance that they will eventually receive their reward. 

Saying “thank you” to customers helps offer them a sense of satisfaction and demonstrates that you aren’t just a faceless corporation processing a transaction. It shows that you’re a company of people who takes pride in what your business sells and its customers. By creating this image to customers, it will help them develop a connection with your brand through their inbox and more likely to open future emails. 

There are some cases where customers forward their thank you emails to friends and family often to brag about their recent purchase but also due to brand loyalty or referring them to a product, they think they could use. The means a thank you email is also a potential for you to reach new customers. 

Most important though, thank you messages are a way to being building a relationship online that is similar to the in-person relationships your customers have with brick-and-mortar brands. Customers expect a thank you when they purchase at the register, and b doing the same via a thank you email, you are tapping into the confidence customers feel when they buy in person and helping create brand loyalty and potential for re-occurring revenue. 

When to send thank you emails 

The great thing about a thank you message is that you can send it to the customer at any time throughout the customer lifecycle.  

No one is offended by gratitude, so anytime you prepare an email to your new customers it’s a good opportunity to say thank you (and also anytime your existing customers purchase).  

It’s crucial to send emails at the right times. So here are a few times when it’s especially important to say, “Thank you”.  

1 – Right after a purchase 

This is the most common time to send a thank you email to a customer new or existing is immediately after they make a purchase. Some people refer to this as a confirmation or post purchase email, but this email can also function as a “thank you” to customers. This opportunity gives you a chance to build a deeper relationship with your customers by positioning your post purchase confirmations as thank you messages rather than receipts.  

It is important to thank your customers after a purchase for the following three reasons.  

  1. It makes them feel more comfortable with their purchase – Every ecommerce transaction can come with a little anxiety. A confirmation and thank you message in their inbox to make them feel like they’ve made the right choice in choosing your products. 
  1. It gives them proof of the transaction – for peace of mind 
  1. It puts all the important information your customers might need in one place – their purchase price, shipping estimates, a link to your refund policy and a way to get a hold of your business if there is a problem, etc. 

Make sure to show genuine gratitude and try to validate your customer’s buying decision. If you sell pet toys, say something like “Thanks for your purchase! Your best friend’s new friends are on the way!”  

An example of a thank you email

 

An example of a thank you email 

Since this type of email has an average open rate of nearly five times that of bulk emails (meaning most of your customers will see it), it’s also a good place to create more value for your brand.  

 2 – After they subscribe to your email list 

It’s a good idea to send your new subscribers something as soon as they sign up to your list. Saying “thank you” is perfect for the first email in your welcome series and also lets your customers know that you appreciate their support or interest in your business.  

 

Thank you for subscribing email 

 

It’s a good idea to keep this type of thank you email short and casual. The subscriber may be interested in your products, but they haven’t made a strong commitment as of yet. Thank them for their attention and interest, educate them on the main benefits of your store or product line (your unique selling proposition) and invite them to contact you if they have any questions.  

If you promised the new subscriber anything in return for their email address (like specialty content or a coupon), this email is the time to provide that.  

At this point, it’s important not to get pushy about making a sale. Do your best to make sure you provide value and not serve up a sales pitch.  

 3 – At the end of a product life  

You can predict when your customers will finish certain products. You can turn your thank you email into a replenishment reminder to entice customers to make another purchase as well as reminding them that they could need more.  

For instance, if you sell a 30-day supply of contact lenses, it’s smart to send a quick thank you email a month after the purchase. Show your appreciate, ask for feedback, and throw them a discount to buy again.  

Naturally, this doesn’t work for every product. It’s nearly impossible to predict a customer will need a new laptop or Christmas sweater. But if you can make an educated guess at when the customer will finih using a product, a thank you email can be effective.  

4 – When you hit certain milestones  

A great time to thank your customers is when your company reaches a special milestone, anniversary, or achievement. You might thank your customers when you hit a big number of Facebook like, celebrate your company’s birthday, or achieve a charity goal.  

 

 

Since these emails aren’t triggered by a customer’s action (like a purchase or sign up), they might feel interruptive to your customers. It’s important not to send them too often—not only do you run the risk of annoying them, but you may also devalue your milestones. If you’re constantly celebrating something, it makes your celebrations less important. 

Don’t get too pushy with trying to make a sale in these emails, but if you can find opportunities to thank your customers for their support, they’ll feel like part of the team, and you’ll start to instill a sense of loyalty toward your brand. Don’t be afraid to get personal. 

 5 – After the customer hits a milestone 

Thank you emails are a great way to put a spotlight on your best customers. When customers reach shopping milestones with you—such as spending a certain amount of money, having shopped consistently with you for a certain number of years, or ordering a certain number of times—it’s a good idea to acknowledge them with a thank you email. 

You can also tie this type of thank you email to other rewards and loyalty programs. If you have a loyalty program, members are already regularly receiving emails about rewards when they reach certain milestones, but you can take it further by triggering special thank you emails for personal events, like their one-year anniversary of membership.  

Starbucks reward email

Via: Really Good Emails. 

 

6 – After the customer receives the product 

If you can track product shipping to your customers, a great time to thank your customers is a few days after you know they’ve received the product and had a few days to use it. 

This is an excellent email to offer some product support information. You might link them to a how-to guide or a video teaching them how to use, set up, or care for the products. 

Upselling and cross-selling are effective in this email as well. Include any complementary products that go well with the customer’s recent purchase, especially reusable components they’ll need to get the most value out of their original purchase. 

This is also a good email to request a product review. Thank the customer sincerely, ask them for their honest feedback, and link them to the page where they can leave their review. 

Some ways to make thank you emails more effective 

Instead of sending a quick, “Hey, thanks!” try to squeeze some extra value out of your thank you emails. Here are a few ideas to build stronger relationships with your customers and drive more sales. 

 Include personal photos of you and your team 

Gratitude is a personal gesture that should come from one person to another, but just text doesn’t feel personal. You can reinforce your gesture by including a photo of yourself or your team, so your customers know the thank you comes from real people. 

 Be transparent about resolving problems 

Some companies hide their customer service contact information and their refund/return policies because they don’t want customers to use those resources. You can please your customers by putting that information front-and-center. Customers who need it will appreciate your honest service. Customers who don’t need it will respect your transparency. 

 Promote offers and products 

If you’re sending a thank you email in response to a customer’s purchase, it’s the perfect opportunity to offer them other promotions and products. Why? Because you know they’re comfortable buying from you. 

Customer Rewards email

A word of warning about including coupons in your thank you emails: Discounts are effective at encouraging customers to make future purchases, but there’s a chance they’ll set an expectation that every email should offer a coupon. 

As it is, 70 percent of people report that they open brand email specifically looking for coupons. This effect is compounded if their initial purchase involved a coupon as well. They might be displeased if your future emails don’t include discounts. 

Prompt them to create an account 

You probably want your shoppers to create accounts on your website, but since 37 percent of shoppers abandon their carts if they’re forced to open an account, it’s best to leave this until after they’ve paid. 

Cart abandonment graph

Via: Baymard.com. 

Your thank you email is a great time to prompt them to set up their account. It helps to offer some kind of incentive here, such as the ability to track their orders or take part in your affiliate program. 

 Ask them to connect with you on social media 

If social media is a big part of your marketing strategy, ask them to follow your social media pages. If they were comfortable subscribing to your email list or buying a product, they shouldn’t have any reservations about viewing your social media posts. 

Don’t ask them to follow you on a dozen platforms, just one or two your customers are most likely to use. (Truthfully, you shouldn’t be on a dozen platforms anyway.) 

Deepen the relationship 

Entice your customers to continue to engage with your brand by sending them other things they can interact with. This might be a discount for a future purchase, a piece of specialty content designed to solve one of their problems or information about how to get more value out of the product they already purchased. 

Thank you for your purchase example

Here are some ways to get more value from your thank you emails: 

  • Ask for a product review (only if their purchase is immediately available, like something downloadable, otherwise they won’t have it yet to review). 
  • Ask them to complete a survey about their shopping experience. 
  • Ask them to fill out a form about their preferences so you can send them the right emails. 
  • Ask them to enter to join a giveaway or event. 

Don’t be afraid to get personal 

Remember, your customers want to interact with people, not brands, so make it clear that the thank you email is from a real person. You can do this by addressing the recipient by name and close the email with your real name and photo. 

It’s also important to use language that appeals to that particular customer segment. This helps them trust you and accept that you know them well. Make them laugh, smile, or awww. You could even make them sad or angry if that’s appropriate for your brand. 

Keep your thank you emails short 

Even though your customers will appreciate thank you emails, they won’t devote much time to them. Avoid writing long or complex messages. Research shows that the right email length is about 100 words. 

Furthermore, don’t go overboard with your gratitude. Saying thanks once or twice is appropriate. Saying it a dozen times and showering your customers with praise is creepy. 

Simple gestures matter to your customers 

Saying “thank you” may seem like a simple thing, but it matters to your customers. It shows them they’re more than just a transaction to you. 

Thank you emails are one of the best ways to show that gratitude. If you follow our advice, you’ll design powerful thank you emails that strengthen your customers’ loyalty and drive more sales.