When you think about the ecommerce customer journey, it probably ends when the package arrives at the customer’s door — right?

It shouldn’t. Savvy brands are putting greater emphasis on the post-purchase customer experience.

Rather than thinking short-term, and simply calling it a win as soon as a shopper hits that “buy” button, retailers know that to increase customer retention, they need to make sure that customers are actually happy with their customer journey as a whole.

A customer who experiences buyer’s remorse after buying your products is more likely to leave a negative review, and will probably never make another purchase from your brand again.

That’s why it’s crucial to focus on customer satisfaction throughout the post-purchase experience as well — particularly when it comes to post-purchase evaluation.

In this blog, we’ll answer these questions:

  • What is post-purchase evaluation?
  • Why is ecommerce post-purchase evaluation important?
  • How can retailers optimize for positive post-purchase evaluation?

What is post-purchase evaluation?

Post-purchase evaluation refers to a customer’s assessment of a product after they have made a purchase.

In a post-purchase evaluation, the shopper may be considering factors such as:

  • Was your brand’s description of the product accurate and truthful?
  • Is the product easy to assemble or use?
  • Was the price worth it, compared to similar products on the market?
  • Did they have a positive experience with customer service or support?
  • Was the shipping and delivery process smooth and timely?

Particularly for more expensive purchases, a shopper may dwell on their decision and second-guess whether it was the right choice. They may pay closer attention to product reviews to see whether other customer feedback validates their initial impression — positive or negative. They might reach out to customer support for help with troubleshooting the product, and get frustrated if they don’t get the answers they’re looking for. A poor post-purchase evaluation might ultimately end with a negative review, or even a refund request.

On the other hand, if the shopper feels positively about their purchasing decision, they may be inclined to advocate for your brand by telling friends and family members about their purchase, or leaving a positive review on your website or social media. A positive post-purchase experience will improve customer loyalty, and may even inspire others to make a purchase.

Why is ecommerce post-purchase evaluation important?

Post-purchase evaluation is an essential part of the ecommerce customer journey because it can greatly impact future buying decisions and overall brand perception.

Negative post-purchase behavior can lead to critical customer feedback online, where other prospective customers will be discouraged from purchasing your products. If a customer seeks out a refund, that also results in lost profits for your brand and the added expenses of reverse logistics and restocking. And every customer who sours on their experience with your brand leads to higher customer acquisition costs, as you’ll need to invest in marketing to replace the lost customer.

A positive post-purchase evaluation, on the other hand, can result in higher customer engagement, advocacy, and customer retention. Happy customers are more likely to discuss their purchase decision with others, post positive reviews, and make referrals to new customers. Your satisfied customers will help your brand to grow more sustainably, as you’ll be able to rely more heavily on customer retention and word-of-mouth marketing.

How can retailers optimize for positive post-purchase evaluation?

Obviously, we want to steer customers towards a positive impression.

But if the product doesn’t meet the customer’s satisfaction, how is that possible?

It actually doesn’t matter that much if the customer is happy with their purchase decision. What truly impacts the customer’s perception is how your brand responds to their unhappiness.

For example, if the customer reaches out with a customer support request and you keep them on hold for 20 minutes, that’s an automatic black mark.

Then, let’s say the customer requests a refund, and your brand takes days to initiate the return request. That just cost you a customer, as they’ll be very unlikely to buy products from you in the future.

Instead of giving the customer more reasons to be dissatisfied with the post-purchase experience, you can use technology to empower your customers and help them get the results they want.

If they have a troubleshooting question, use chatbots and an online resource center to quickly route them to the right answers when possible. That will help you cut down on support requests, so that when a customer has a question that can’t be answered automatically, they’ll be able to immediately connect to a live support agent who can help them.

If they want to initiate a return, don’t try to discourage them. Instead, leverage an automated returns management solution, where customers can start their own return through a seamless self-service dashboard. By giving them instant access to their refund credit, which they can apply towards any item in your store, you’ll encourage customers to give your brand another chance and retain more revenue from the transaction. In fact, Loop merchants retain 40% of revenue on average through exchanges that would have otherwise been lost to refunds.

Optimize the pre-purchase experience, too

In order to ensure a better post-purchase evaluation for your customers, it’s important to look strategically at your problem areas during the consideration and purchase stages, too.

For instance, if you see that customers are frequently returning products because they don’t match the product description, it’s time to invest in improving your product marketing, including product descriptions, photography, and videos. Consider including user-generated content, including photos and videos within the customer feedback on your site, so that buyers have all the right information up front to decide if they’ll love a product.

Using Loop’s Insights tool can help you drill down into analytics around product returns and reasons. You’ll have the data to help you determine which products need to be marketed more accurately, and which ones should be removed from your store altogether. By ensuring that your customers have an accurate representation of your brand from the start, you’ll be able to give them a better customer experience and lower the risk of a negative post-purchase evaluation. And by optimizing for exchanges over refunds, you’ll be able to boost customer retention, helping your business plan for sustainable growth.

Want to learn how Loop can help you improve post-purchase evaluation? Get in touch for a demo.