Post-Purchase Behavior: Getting Repeat Purchases

April 26, 2022

The Bolt Team

Acquiring new customers is hard work. But don’t celebrate too soon. Post-purchase behavior is as important as the sale itself, maybe more so. 

This article looks at eight ways to boost repeat purchases by influencing post-purchase behavior. Let’s start by taking a minute to understand what post-purchase behavior is and why it’s so important.

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What is post-purchase behavior? 

Post-purchase behavior is a customer’s reaction or feeling after the sale. It boils down to one of two sentiments: satisfaction vs. dissatisfaction. As a retailer, it’s essential to consider the following questions:   

  • Did your customer enjoy the product?
  • Would they rebuy your products?
  • Would they refer you to others?
  • Did they regret their experience?
  • Did they leave with little desire to shop with you again? 

Your customers’ experience with your product after the sale is an essential step on the customer journey. If their experience is positive, it leads to customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and brand evangelism. 

But if the product or service doesn’t meet their expectations, they experience post-purchase dissonance. And post-purchase dissonance results in returns and bad reviews. It may even lead a customer to abandon your brand entirely.

When does post-purchase behavior begin?

Post-purchase behavior begins when the sale is completed and lasts until the end of the return window. This is when the customer either feels satisfaction or dissatisfaction. And it represents a pivotal moment for retailers to build long-term customers.

As a retailer, it’s essential to support your customers during the post-purchase behavior period. It is when the customer becomes anxious about their purchase.

During this period, your shoppers are questioning their research. For example, they may see a competing ad and wonder if they should have comparison-shopped more. And they might read more reviews to affirm their decision. 

Why is post-purchase behavior essential to know?

It’s vital to understand your customers’ post-purchase behavior because it gives you insight into how you can create a positive customer experience. With this insight, you can influence them to make the decisions you want them to make: 

  • Repeat purchases
  • Positive reviews
  • Brand evangelism

It also gives you a chance to position your brand as a trusted guide and friend. Investing in your customers after you’ve collected their money demonstrates to them you’re committing to their satisfaction. 

This level of engagement influences their post-purchase behavior, but it also positively affects your bottom line. 

According to a study by PWC, customers are willing to pay up to 13% more if they receive excellent customer service. One in three customers says they will abandon a brand they love after just one bad experience. 

Satisfied customers are loyal customers

Brand loyalty develops during the post-purchase stage of the customer journey. Up to 80% of new customers will leave a brand during the first 100 days. But, those who stay through day 101 usually remain loyal for a minimum of five years, according to Joey Coleman in his book, Never Lose a Customer Again.

That degree of loyalty can lead to repeat business. For example, increasing your customer retention rate by just 5% can increase profits by 25 to 95%.

Since post-purchase behavior is an indicator of who will become a repeat customer, engagement during this time is critical to leading future behavior. 

Repeat customers are easier to sell to

Acquiring new customers is five times more expensive than retaining existing clients. Your advertising and marketing don’t have to work as hard. 

Your existing customers already have a solid buying experience. They’re now fans of your product or service. You’ve established trust with them, and they’re confident you can deliver in a way that makes them happy.

Repeat customers are happy to spread the word

Repeat customers are much more likely to tell people about a positive experience with your company. They may recommend your products or services without hesitation, give reviews, offer suggestions, and provide valuable feedback. 

Eight ways to encourage post-purchase behavior that leads to repeat sales

This is the question every merchant should be asking. The good news is that you can take several simple steps to fine-tune your post-purchase marketing and deliver an unparalleled experience to your customers. 

1. Set clear expectations

When customers’ expectations aren’t met, they become dissatisfied. So make sure you set proper expectations before and after the sale.

Before the purchase, your website should answer these basic questions: 

  • How long will it take to ship? 
  • Which shipping carrier should they be watching for? 
  • How do they contact customer service if they have a question?

After the sale, use these simple tactics to create realistic expectations: 

  • Add new customers to an onboarding email sequence. 
  • Share testimonials or creative ideas for how to use your product. 
  • Ask them to share pictures of themselves using the product.

Build excitement and anticipation. But make sure your customer’s expectations and your ability to meet them are in sync.

2. Overdeliver whenever possible

Post-purchase dissonance occurs when the expectation doesn’t match the experience. But exceeding expectations results in the post-purchase behaviors you want to encourage.

And it doesn’t take much to do that. For example, include a surprise gift or bonus item in their shipment. It doesn’t even have to be high-value. 

A personalized thank you note can do more for their post-purchase state of mind than something of monetary value. The key is to give them something positive to share with others about their experience.

3. Be clear and upfront about your refund policy and returns process

The refund policy and returns process are often buried deep within a merchant’s website. You need to be proactive about making your refund policy clear and easy to find. 

  • Include it in your confirmation email. 
  • Be clear about how long the refund window is open.
  • Tell customers the steps they can take to get their money back.

The same idea applies to returns. If they’re happy with the product but need it in a different size or color, how should they return it? The easier you can make this process, the better.

Suppose you make customers jump through several flaming hoops to return a product. Their anxiety and dissatisfaction increase. Being clear on your returns policy helps ease that uneasiness. 

4. Show them how your product or service works

Immediate success with your product or service creates a positive experience with your brand. But, on the other hand, nothing is more frustrating to a customer than finally getting their hands on your product and having no idea how to get started using it. 

Provide instructions or tutorials that guarantee a quick win. Give them an easy way to get started or suggestions on making the most of their purchase. 

5. Make it easy to share their experience

Encourage customers to share their success and provide quick links for them to do so. Offer incentives or future discounts for posting their experience on your website or social media.

Referrals are gold when it comes to repeat business and new customers. According to Nielsen, customers are 77% more likely to purchase from you when hearing about your product from friends and family. That’s more than any of the 21 other methods of product awareness they researched.

6. Share additional product recommendations

A great way to increase a customer’s lifetime value is by suggesting additional purchases that complement their original purchase. Fashion retailers have perfected the art of complementary products by adding accessories like scarves, belts, and other items to “complete the look.”

Take a page out of their book by recommending similar or additional products that could help your customer get even more out of your product or service. 

7. Provide one-click checkout

One-click checkout isn’t a “nice-to-have” novelty anymore. Today’s consumers expect it. And why shouldn’t they? It removes friction and creates a shopping experience they want to repeat repeatedly. 

At Bolt, we’ve made it our mission to streamline standard checkouts. We work with your preferred ecommerce shopping cart to deliver a one-click checkout with no development experience needed. 

Bolt works with many of the most popular carts, including WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and more, so you don’t have to uproot your entire sales system to make this feature available to your customers. 

8. Make it easy to track their order

Shoppers want to know when their product will arrive on their doorstep. Alleviate their shopping and delivery anxiety and build anticipation by making it easy to track their package. 

Using a system like Bolt, you can give your customers online tracking information through the Bolt Dashboard. So your customers stay informed and excited every step of the way. 

Track post-purchase behavior

Merchants leave money on the table when they forget to track post-purchase behavior. But it’s not always their fault. They don’t have the data to create a post-purchase experience that turns new customers into raving fans.

That’s where Bolt can help. It gives you the shopping insights necessary to know how you can influence your customers’ post-purchase behavior. Easily track metrics like:

  • The average number of orders per shopper
  • Average spend per shopper per year
  • Repeat purchase rate

These metrics tell you about your returning customers and how they interact with your brand. And they’re readily available on the Bolt platform.

Combined with data from your email service provider, such as open rate and click rate, it’s easy to gather the insights you need about your shoppers’ habits before, during, and after their purchase to market to them at the right time with the right message. 

Combined with data from your email service provider, such as open rate and click rate, it’s easy to gather the insights you need about your shoppers’ habits before, during, and after their purchase to market to them at the right time with the right message. 

Getting repeat purchases

As you can see, post-purchase behavior boils down to this: delivering impactful, pleasant, and memorable shopping experiences to every customer. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Bolt “bolts on” to your existing ecommerce shopping cart, including custom carts, to make that experience possible.

An excellent product or service, combined with easy, hassle-free checkout and clear, concise policies, is the perfect recipe for a phenomenal customer experience that shoppers can’t help but rave about.

Contact us today for a free, 3-minute demo of how easy it is to add Bolt to your shopping cart and start taking advantage of post-purchase behavior to increase your sales!

Bolt One-Click Checkout

Start treating millions of shoppers like returning customers and make their checkout easier than ever.

Try Bolt Today
ThinkShop by Bolt does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. Contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.