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Analysis

3 Helpful Questions to Ask eComm Customers Post-Purchase

How can you take advantage of the gray area between when customers make their purchases and when they receive them?

Ben Jacobson
July 08 2019

Most marketers know good feedback is beneficial. What we often struggle with is how to get feedback that’s actually useful.

More from PostFunnel on Customer Feedback:

How to Get More Value from Successfully Retained Customers
How to Win at Post-Purchase Marketing
So, Ever Wondered What Customers Think about Loyalty Programs?

Collecting customer feedback and market research can be awkward, discouraging, and ultimately unhelpful, especially if you don’t go about it strategically. A recent Apptentive survey found that most brands hear from fewer than 1% of their customers.

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And one of the biggest blocks holding many businesses back is understanding when to ask for feedback. Timing is half the secret sauce. You want to request feedback when customers are engaged and paying attention to you, or they’ll just ignore the request. And if you can catch them at an important moment in the customer journey, even better.

One moment that meets both of those criteria is immediately following an eCommerce purchase.

When a customer finishes placing an order, they’re in the middle of an interaction with you. These people have already engaged on your site and completed a major milestone in the customer lifecycle. Especially since the new purchase still needs to be shipped, continuing the conversation with feedback questions prolongs their excitement around your brand.

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Finally, placing your feedback requests at a moment like post-purchase takes advantage of reciprocity, one of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion. Customers are far more likely to reply to an ask like this when your business has just fulfilled a need for them – as opposed to months later, which is when most companies make the request.

But that doesn’t mean collecting useful and insightful information on your “thank you” page and in your post-purchase emails is easy. You still need to know which questions are appropriate at that moment – and that’s what this post is for.

Here are three questions to consider.

1. What convinced you to buy from us today?

First of all, consider researching why customers choose your business over other products. This can be a good question to test with a long-form text field on a purchase confirmation or thank you page.

The question is a great one to ask when you’re seeking clarity about your branding, your place in the market, and how customers view you versus your competitors. It’s definitely a must-test if you’re in any kind of competitive niche.

Asking them, “Why us?” right after they’ve actively chosen your product over other choices will tell you a lot about what differentiates you in customers’ eyes. And that information is branding and positioning gold.

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Once you know what makes customers choose you over competitors and alternative options, you can play up that positioning in:

  • Advertising copy
  • Testimonials
  • Product descriptions
  • Homepage copy

When you have a clear sense of what makes your shop and its products stand out, you’ll want to remind customers of it almost any chance you get.

2. What made you decide to seek out a solution?

The question above is especially helpful for understanding your market and knowing your standout factor in a crowded niche. But those aren’t high priorities for every business.

If competitive positioning isn’t your priority at the moment, consider asking, “Why did you decide to seek out something like this?” This is less related to your product, brand, and industry than the first question, but that’s why it’s helpful. It’s all about your customer and the situation they’re in – the pain points that prompted them to head your way.

As GetUplift founder and CRO specialist, Talia Wolf told Hotjar, “Rather than asking: ‘Why did you buy our product?’ ask ‘What was happening in your life that led you to search for this solution?’”

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In answering, customers provide insight into:

  • Their day-to-day lives
  • How they intend to use your products
  • Their feelings at the time of purchase
  • Outcomes they expect from your solution

Basically, you’ll learn about all the important context surrounding your product from them. And that context can be put to use anywhere in your marketing. From writing more empathetic and specific product description copy to giving you shoot ideas for lifestyle-focused product photography and social media post inspiration, better understanding your customers comes in handy in all marketing campaigns and areas of the funnel.

3. How was your experience on our site today?

Finally, it’s crucial to get customer feedback on your website experience. The setup can be as simple as a rating pop-up, as shown below.

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Especially after any website updates or changes to your purchase flow, this question gives you some quantitative data on your user experience, removed from your own company’s biases. But collecting ongoing feedback can help correct those biases.

For example, if you notice a declining pattern on your site’s experience ratings, you have a few different options for how to proceed. You could simply use it as a prompt to dig into your website experience and conduct your own audit.

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Or even better, if your tech stack allows it, you can follow up with the specific customers who gave your site lower ratings. Ask them what they disliked about the experience, what roadblocks they encountered, and more. It will help you improve your site and conversion flow long-term.

Make the ask

The time right after an eCommerce purchase is an otherwise grey area in the customer journey. Your customer has just bought something, so it’s not the best moment to market to them. But they also haven’t received their order yet, so it’s too soon to ask for feedback on the actual product. By digging into questions like the ones above, you can take advantage of this “quiet moment” in the journey to collect useful feedback.

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Ben Jacobson

Ben Jacobson is a marketing strategy consultant who specializes in content, social media and influencer marketing for B2B firms. He contributes regularly to publications including MarketingLand, Search Engine Journal and the Orbit Media blog.

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