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After the Purchase Is Before the Purchase: Successful After-Sales Measures for Strong Customer Loyalty in E-commerce

08. Jun 2020 08:00 | Boosting Traffic Rate | Increasing Repurchase Rate

Once a customer has made a purchase in the online shop, the primary goal has been achieved. Does this mean that shop operators can sit back and relax from this point on? Clear answer: No! Because the customer relationship does not end with the conclusion of a transaction, but really gets going from this point on. So if you forego after-sales measures and thus the chance to keep the customer satisfied even after the purchase, you are giving away the enormous potential that lies behind the customer you have already won. In this article, we will tell you which options are available to you and how you can use them to bind customers to your shop in the long term.


This content awaits you in this blog article:

Integration of after-sales into the business processes
After sales and after-sales management – What is it exactly?
After-sales management as part of customer relationship management
After-sales as part of the customer journey

After-sales measures
Classic after-sales measures
Needs-oriented after-sales measures

Tips for your after-sales measures

Conclusion: Build trust and win loyal customers through care, service and appreciation


Integration of after-sales into the business processes

There are many reasons to address the issue of after-sales. After-sales processes open up additional economic and strategic advantages by leaving a lasting impression on your customers and winning them as existing customers who will be happy to buy from you again. Instead, if you neglect your buyers or don’t show them enough appreciation, they may choose another supplier for their next purchase. You should therefore not miss the chance to gain loyal customers and take after-sales measures to generate additional sales.

In order to get an overview of the topic of after-sales, we would first like to clarify some terminology and classify after-sales in the business processes.


After-sales and after-sales management – What is it exactly?

If you translate “after-sales” into German, the meaning becomes immediately clear: after the sale. After-sales is therefore the phase in which a customer has already bought or commissioned something and now experiences the product or service.

Accordingly, “after-sales management” includes all measures that companies take after they have sold the product. On HubSpot, this is quite aptly described as a kind of “sales aftercare”. In the past, the now familiar term “after-sales” was mainly understood to mean customer service. But there is clearly more to it than that. Digitalisation in particular has created many new opportunities in this area. Overall, it is about looking after the customer even after his purchase and establishing a connection with him. In addition, especially in today’s digital age, another need is gaining in importance: customers want to be entertained beyond the conclusion of the purchase. They like to browse through their own product and brand world and always want to discover something new.


After-sales management as part of customer relationship management

Customer Relationship Management, or CRM for short, encompasses the entire customer relationship management. It therefore includes all measures for shaping and maintaining all relationships and interactions with your customers. This includes for example

  • Acquiring new customers
  • Analysis and management of customer data
  • Contact with existing customers
  • Public relations and press work
  • Customer loyalty measures after the sale

The customer and his or her needs are the focus of all processes. All company activities are consistently geared to these. After-sales describes the part of CRM after a sale has been made. After-sales measures are thus directed at those customers who have just purchased a product.


After-sales as part of the customer journey

The phases of the customer journey after the purchase are more precisely the two phases of customer loyalty and customer confidence. These two phases thus fall into the area of after-sales.

In the customer loyalty phase, the aim is to maintain satisfied customers beyond the conclusion of the purchase and to enable them to browse through their own product and brand world.

The customer confidence stage is about using and building on your customers’ trust by keeping in touch with them and keeping them informed of new offers etc.

The graphic shows the customer journey of shop customers, with the after-sales phases highlighted.

After-sales measures

This means that the customer relationship does not end with the conclusion of the purchase. Even after a purchase, numerous points of contact can arise between the buyer and the shop. For example, a customer may not be satisfied with the delivery or the goods themselves, resulting in complaints or returns.

As a shop operator, you should handle these and all other possible contacts between the customer and the company professionally and act to the customer’s satisfaction. The performance and handling of enquiries of this kind are, like the purchase process, decisive for a successful customer relationship. In order to implement this, the use of after-sales measures is suitable.

These pursue the goal of binding customers to the company or the online shop, the products, the service or the brand in the long term and to achieve repeat sales with the help of good service. Therefore, it is of great importance to get to know the customers, to respond to their needs and to provide them with suitable content even after the purchase.


Classic after-sales measures

As a shop operator, you have many different possibilities to accompany your customers beyond the conclusion of the purchase, to be present and to bind them to your company through various measures. You can, among other things

  • provide information material and customer magazines to keep customers up to date.
  • offer shoppers access to an exclusive customer area on the website and membership of the customer club.
  • enable networking to connect customers with each other and build a connected community as a strong community.
  • reward loyal customers, in the form of discounts, exclusive reductions, small goodies or competitions.
  • invite regular customers to specific events, such as a factory tour.
  • offer training to help customers use the product or service.
  • create special unpacking moments, e.g. with small package inserts or personalised flyers and brochures.


Needs-oriented after-sales measures

In order to address customers even more specifically, you can gear your after-sales measures to the needs of your shop customers in the respective phase within the customer journey. As already explained, the phases of customer loyalty and customer confidence can be assigned to after-sales. This means that the two phases mentioned address the needs of entertaining and connecting. We will show you how you can specifically address these needs in order to bind your customers, achieve repeat sales and increase the traffic in your online shop.

A distinction can be made between so-called push and pull measures. Most after-sales measures are ways in which the retailer approaches the customer in a targeted and active manner and “pushes” its products and services into the market. In marketing, the term push is also used for this. These measures are effective in binding customers to the shop and motivating them to buy again.

But it would be even better if customers would visit the online shop regularly all by themselves. Such a measure, which creates a natural customer loyalty effect, would fall under pull – the interest now comes from the target person, the products or services are actively demanded by the customer.

The graphic shows the customer journey of shop customers, with the after-sales phases highlighted.

Personalised shopping area to increase customer loyalty (pull)

To meet the need for entertainment and thus create customer loyalty, the personalised shopping area is a special after-sales measure.


Personal favourite articles at a glance

Such a natural customer loyalty effect is created with the help of a personalised shopping area. This is an area in the online shop that is dynamically and individually displayed for each individual customer, in terms of layout and design as well as content. Users find products of their favourite brands and categories in this area without having to search for them specifically and filter them manually. They are also inspired by new products and can keep up to date with shopping news.


Content and interactive elements for a mix of service and entertainment

Relevant content suggestions create further added value. The constant new impulses and the playful possibility of interactivity – for example, online shoppers can put together a suitable product set with just a few clicks – offer customers a mixture of service and entertainment. This encourages them to visit the shop regularly to keep up to date with new products, trends and topics.

This after-sales measure thus creates a natural customer loyalty effect, ensures loyal customers who enjoy shopping with you and thus an increased repurchase rate.

The picture shows three different streams in the online shop of OUTLETCITY METZINGEN as an example. The personalised shopping area is one of the needs-oriented after-sales measures.
Three possible streams in the online shop of OUTLETCITY METZINGEN as an example

Personalised emails for targeted traffic increase (push)

Emailings and newsletters are a well-known tool for maintaining contact even after a purchase. If customers are satisfied with your products and service, they will gladly connect with you. By letting them hear from you, you can build customer trust and bring your customers back to your online shop. It is important that you send personalised emails and adapt the content to the interests and needs of your customers.


Use occasions and themes

You can use transactions, for example, as occasions for your emails. Afterwards, your customer’s birthday or seasonal events and holidays such as Easter, the start of the swimming season, etc. are also suitable. Here you can also offer small gifts in the form of discounts or voucher codes to create incentives for your customers to visit your shop again.
Depending on the occasion, newsletters on certain topics are also suitable. In this way, you offer your customers added value in the form of content and thematically appropriate and relevant product recommendations.


Play out personalised product recommendations

You can also use your emails to present new products or services to your recipients and recommend similar or additional items. With the learned behaviour of your customers, you can tailor the product recommendations in your emails. Thus, personalised emails with individual product recommendations have a particularly high relevance for your customers.
For example, you can refer to your customer’s last purchase and recommend matching and complementary articles to the last product purchased or, as in the example of hagebaumarkt, play out product recommendations in the context of a themed newsletter, tailored to the preferences of the respective customer.

The picture shows an example of a newsletter on the topic of pet supplies. In addition to topic-specific content, recipients will also find personalised recommendations tailored to their preferences. Personalised emails belong to the need-oriented after-sales measures.
Newsletter on the subject of pet supplies with personalised product recommendations tailored to the preferences of the recipient from hagebaumarkt
Communicate news and collect feedback

You can also inform about upcoming events and share news. Opinion polls are also suitable as an after-sales measure. Messages like “Your feedback is important to us” show your online shoppers that you value them. At the same time, such surveys provide you with valuable information and feedback on your products and services. You can use this in turn to optimise your processes, etc.
Through personalised emails with relevant product recommendations, you can build trust with your shoppers and increase traffic in your online shop.

What is your situation? Do you already use after-sales measures and if so, which ones? Share your experiences with us! 


Tips for your after-sales measures

Now you’ve got a lot of ideas on what after-sales measures you can take to build up a strong bond with your customers and to constantly promote it. Finally, we would like to give you a few tips to make your after-sales measures a success.

  • Don’t overwhelm your customers with a flood of contacts and offers. Instead, use them in a targeted manner and, for example, use specific occasions that are suitable for establishing contact.
  • Demonstrate tact and communicate at eye level. Be sensitive in dealing with your customers and never be condescending or pushy.
  • The more unusual the measures, the more effective they usually are. Come up with something special for your customers to express your appreciation. Be creative, try out different options and see how they go down with your customers.
  • Evaluate the measures you use and constantly monitor their success. This will help you to find out which measures have had the greatest impact. This will make it easier for you to determine which measures you want to invest in more.

Can you think of any other useful tips that contribute to the success of after-sales measures? Then feel free to tell us about it!


Conclusion: Build trust and win loyal customers through care, service and appreciation

Good prices alone are not enough in most cases these days. Customers value good service and a feeling of appreciation. In order to bind customers to your shop and win them as regular customers in the long term, after-sales measures offer you the chance to leave a lasting positive impression on your buyers even after the purchase. Needs-oriented measures are particularly suitable for addressing customers in a targeted manner and responding to their individual needs. With a personalised shopping area, you can entertain your customers and create a natural customer loyalty effect, and with personalised emails with individual product recommendations, you build customer confidence and bring your buyers back to your shop. If you also follow our tips for the measures, they are guaranteed to be a success. The result: satisfaction on the part of your customers and, for you as a shop operator, an increased repurchase rate and increased traffic through loyal customers who trust you.



Find out how babymarkt.de increased the click rate in the category-related newsletter by 85%.
Read the case study now!

More information about email personalisation >>

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Sarah Birk

Online Marketing Manager - Content & SEO

Sarah works as Online Marketing Manager - Content & SEO at epoq and is responsible for the content area. Her field of activity ranges from content planning and conception to analysis and optimisation of the various content formats, taking into account important SEO aspects.

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