How to Create Post-Purchase Email Flows in DTC Marketing

How to Create Post-Purchase Email Flows in DTC Marketing
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Most DTC brands don't get their post-purchase emails flows correctly. In fact, post-purchase email flows are crucial for enhancing customer experience and driving repeat business. In this blog, our Head of Strategy Innovation, Bogdan Birtom delves into the key elements of an effective post-purchase email flow, the optimal timing for sending these emails, and the common challenges faced by DTC brands.

He explains the need to include the importance of order confirmations, reducing buyer's remorse, educating customers, gathering reviews, and leveraging cross-sell opportunities.

What is a Post-Purchase Email Flow in DTC?

A post-purchase flow is a sequence of emails aimed at eliminating buyer's remorse, educating customers, reducing returns, and increasing retention. To achieve these objectives, there are five critical touchpoints you need to include in your post-purchase flow.

1. Order Confirmation

The first email is a simple order confirmation email. This email sets the tone and expectations for the customer by providing all the necessary details related to their purchase, such as the invoice and tracking URL.

2. Eliminate Buyer’s Remorse

The second email aims to eliminate buyer's remorse by building excitement about the product. This email helps minimize returns by reinforcing the customer's decision to purchase and reminding them of the benefits they can expect from the product.

3. Product Education

The third email focuses on product education. It is crucial to ensure that customers are using the product correctly. Providing clear instructions and educational content can significantly reduce the likelihood of returns and increase customer satisfaction.

4. Review Requests

The fourth email should be a review request. By this point, customers have received and used the product. Requesting a review not only gathers valuable feedback but also provides social proof that can be leveraged in future marketing efforts.

5. Time-Sensitive Cross-Sell Offers

The final email in the sequence should introduce a time-sensitive offer for a cross-sell. After customers are happy with their purchase, it’s an excellent opportunity to introduce them to other products that complement their initial purchase.

What is the Best Time to Send a Post-Purchase Email Sequence?

A post-purchase flow is a great opportunity to introduce your entire brand to a new customer. Timing is crucial for the success of this sequence. There are two main strategies for timing:

  • Immediate Bounce-Back: Send an immediate bounce-back email with a time-sensitive offer for an upsell or cross-sell right after the first purchase.
  • Sequential Timing: Spread out the emails over a period, starting with the order confirmation and ending with a time-sensitive offer after the customer has had time to use the product and provide feedback.

Challenges DTC Brands Face with Post-Purchase Email Flows

1. Timing and Frequency

One of the primary challenges DTC brands face with post-purchase flows is determining the optimal timing and frequency for sending emails. Questions like "When should I send the first email?" and "What email should I send and when?" don't have a one-size-fits-all answer. Brands need to consider their specific circumstances, such as delivery times and whether they ship domestically or internationally.

If you send review request emails timed for domestic deliveries to international customers who haven’t received their product yet, it could lead to frustration. Therefore, it's essential to tailor your timing based on your delivery logistics.

2. Consistency Across Channels

Another challenge is maintaining consistency across all channels. Brands often fail to put equal effort into all communication channels, leading to confusion among customers. It’s vital to ensure that the content and tone of your emails are consistent with your other marketing channels, such as social media and SMS. This consistency helps customers recognize and trust your communications.

3. Personalization vs. Overthinking

Personalization can be a double-edged sword. While it’s essential to personalize emails, overpersonalization can be cumbersome, especially for brands with thousands of SKUs and hundreds of collections. Instead of trying to personalize every single email, focus on your hero products and use more generic messaging for other items. This approach saves resources and ensures that the flow is manageable.

Creating Content for the Post-Purchase Flow

When creating content for a post-purchase flow, always prioritize the customer. Here are some tips:

  • Set Expectations: Teach customers when they should expect to see results from your product. If customers expect immediate results but your product takes two weeks to show effects, they might become dissatisfied and leave negative reviews. Clear communication about what to expect and when helps manage customer expectations and improves retention.
  • Provide Instructions: Ensure that customers know how to use the product correctly. Even if the product seems straightforward to you, first-time users might need detailed instructions. Consider creating instructional videos and directing customers to a landing page on your website with comprehensive usage guides.

Ideal Post-Purchase Email Sequences for a Skincare Brand

For a skincare brand, an effective post-purchase email sequence might look like this:

1. Order Confirmation

Send a transactional email that includes all the details related to the purchase, such as the invoice and tracking information.

2. Eliminate Buyer’s Remorse

The second email should build excitement about the product and provide answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to minimize returns.

3. Product Education

The third email should educate customers on how to use the product correctly. This is crucial for skincare products to ensure customers achieve the desired results and to reduce returns.

4. Review Requests

Send a review request email to gather feedback and social proof. This helps your product stand out from the competition.

5. Social Media Engagement

Encourage customers to share their results on social media. Redirect them to your social media pages and encourage them to tag your brand. This creates a community around your brand and provides free social proof.

6. Time-Sensitive Cross-Sell Offers

Introduce a time-sensitive cross-sell offer. For example, if the customer purchased an SPF product, suggest complementary products like a mask or conditioner.

Ideal Frequency of a Post-Purchase Email Flow

The frequency of post-purchase emails depends on your delivery times and the nature of your product. Here is a general guideline:

1. Immediate Order Confirmation

The first email, an order confirmation, should be sent immediately after the purchase.

2. Eliminate Buyer’s Remorse

Send the second email three to four days after the initial email. This should be timed between when the order is placed and when the customer receives the product. The goal is to build excitement and reassure the customer about their purchase.

3. Product Education

Send the product education email around the time the customer receives the product. By this time, they should already know how to use the product to achieve the best results.

4. Review Requests

The review request email should be sent a few days after the customer has received the product. For skincare brands, wait about a week to ensure customers have had enough time to use the product and see some initial results. For clothing brands, this email can be sent two to three days after delivery, as customers can wear and experience the product immediately.

5. Time-Sensitive Offers

The time-sensitive offer email can be sent three to four days after the review request email. Ensure you exclude customers who left a bad review to avoid further dissatisfaction.

6. Social Media Engagement

Send an email encouraging social media engagement after the review request email. Make sure the customer has enjoyed the product and is likely to share positive feedback on social media.

Tips for Creating a Post-Purchase Flow in Klaviyo

If you’re wondering how to create a post-purchase flow in Klaviyo, here are some practical tips:

1. Setting Up Triggers

Depending on your brand and the software you use, your first email trigger could be based on shipment delivery using a tracking app like Wonderment. If you don’t have a tracking app, you can use Shopify metrics, such as placed order or order fulfilled, depending on the purpose of your first email.

2. Excluding Regular Campaigns

Ensure that customers in your post-purchase flow are excluded from regular campaigns. This prevents diluting the goal of the post-purchase flow, which is to retain and educate customers.

3. Redirecting to Landing Pages

For products with complex usage instructions, create a landing page on your website and redirect customers there from a generic email. This approach allows you to provide detailed information without overwhelming the email content.

4. Setting Expectations

The second email, sent one day after the product has been delivered, should set expectations about when customers should see results. Clear communication about the expected timeline helps manage customer expectations and reduces the risk of dissatisfaction.

5. Enhancing Brand Trust

The third email, sent one day after the second, should enhance and build trust in your brand. Highlight the unique selling points (USPs) of your product and explain why it is effective.

6. Time-Sensitive Cross-Sell Offers

The fourth email should include a time-sensitive cross-sell offer, sent one day after the third email. Use scarcity and urgency to drive action.

By following these guidelines and focusing on customer-centric content, DTC brands can create effective post-purchase email flows that enhance the customer experience, reduce returns, and drive repeat purchases. A well-crafted post-purchase flow is a powerful tool for building customer loyalty and growing your brand.


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