The Anatomy of a Perfect Post Purchase Campaign



Thank you.

Two simple little words, but oh-so-powerful. Our parents taught us the importance of good manners growing up, and to always show our appreciation with a timely “thanks”.

Why should business and eCommerce be any different?

As a business owner, you’ve got a lot of balls in the air: marketing, finding new prospects, nurturing and converting leads, customer service, and more.

Quick question: what is widely considered the most essential element to long-term business success?

Short answer: retention. Repeat business. Return customers.

Repeat customers cost less and bring in more than new customers. It’s really that straightforward. Acquisition is good. Retention is better.

And post purchase campaigns are one of the easiest and most effective tactics for improving your retention.  

If you’re not using them, start. And if you are using them, expand.  

A post purchase email campaign is a series of transactional email messages that commence when someone buys something from your eCommerce platform. Done right, they can virtually guarantee a happy, appreciated customer, and increase both loyalty and engagement.  

It’s a no-brainer. The sale or conversion is not the end goal. It’s just the beginning of the relationship.

Start it right with a humble thank you email. And take it from there. 


An effective thank you email can be just that: thanks. This example from Abercrombie & Fitch is simplicity itself. Thanks, and we hope to see you again soon.

Sometimes that’s all you need to say.

Post Purchase Campaigns Work

Here’s the insider information: triggered emails – those that are sent after an event such as subscribing or purchasing – are the most powerful emails you can send. People are expecting them. They get opened. They get clicked. They get results.

In fact, triggered post purchase and thank you emails get some of the highest open and click-through rates of any email marketing.  

Consider: eCommerce email marketing sees an average open rate of 16.75% and a click-through rate (CTR) of 2.32% (source: MailChimp). Not bad. Other sources have similar figures.

But thank you emails? They experience an average open rate of 42.51%, a CTR of 18.27% CTR, and a conversion rate (CVR) of 10.34% (source: Remarkety). That’s 2.5x better open and 7.9x better click rates than the industry average.

A post purchase email gets through because the intended audience is ready and willing to receive it. They want it.

The customer has just purchased something from you. They are at their most receptive to you and your brand. Take advantage of those warm, fuzzy feelings and reach out. Give thanks.

But don’t stop there. There are plenty of other post purchase email ideas you could slide into your campaigns.

Post Purchase Campaign Email Types

You have the thank you email, of course. It’s your workhorse. Your stalwart. Send it within an hour at the most.

Order Confirmation

Your “thank you” might be combined with your order confirmation or digital receipt. Most online shoppers expect and want that to arrive in their inbox very quickly. Many, however, only include the order details: what items were purchased, order total, and expected delivery date.

But digital receipts could be so much more. There is perhaps no greater virtual invitation from them to you: digital receipts see a 65% open rate, 10.4% CTR, and 1.4% CVR (source: ConversionXL). Use that.

Order confirmations and digital receipts might contain a coupon or discount code for their next order. Or a few recommendations for other products. Or a request to rate their shopping experience. Or social sharing buttons. Or a quick customer survey and prize draw. Conversio saw a 2200% increase in conversions by adding just one of these additional elements to their thank you/confirmation emails.

They’ve invited you in. Make sure you have something to say.



Send out: immediately after purchase.

Shipping Confirmation

A top-tier post purchase campaign should include a shipping confirmation email to let customers know their order is on the way, how they can track it (if applicable), the expected delivery date, and often the return policy and conditions. It’s a great opportunity to touch base again, and drum up a little excitement for their purchase.

Send out: once the order is en route.

New call-to-action

The Follow-Up

This one is more a jack-of-all-trades type email. There is no one standard template or content.

Within it, you might ask whether they’ve received their order or for feedback on their buying experience or for a review for the product itself. Include the relevant links to make it ridiculously easy for them to comply. Easy for them, good for you.

You could inquire about their experience with the product so far. Is everything going smoothly? Do they have any problems or questions?

The follow-up can also offer a coupon or discount to get them back as soon as possible.



Linking to or including some FAQs on the product at this stage would be well received and appreciated, as would recommending useful resources – blog posts, video guides, and so forth – to help them get the most out of their purchase. It also reduces the likelihood of a product being returned.

The follow-up email can also just thank them again, and invite them to follow you on social media, with a reminder to contact you should they have any questions or concerns. Link to your profiles and communication options.  

Send out: shortly after the order has been received.



The Cross-sell and Upsell

Amazon is the undisputed heavyweight champ of this. A McKinsey study discovered that 35% of their revenue comes from onsite and email recommendations for other products.  

A cross-sell is a recommendation for an appropriate accessory or complementary item. An upsell is a suggestion to look at other, higher quality items within the same category. You’ve likely noticed the “customers who bought this also purchased/looked at” or “You May Also Like” boxes on digital receipts and thank you emails.



Send out: as part of your follow-up email or series.

Post Purchase Campaign Stats

Everyone wants to see the proof that something is worth their time and effort. To that end:

  • Customers that have a fantastic experience with a brand spend 140% more compared to those who feel they had a poor experience (HBR). Post purchase engagement is an excellent way to increase overall satisfaction.
  • Follow-up emails experienced open rates of 40.5%, CTR of 6.4%, and CVR of 0.7%, while digital receipts saw a 65% open rate, 10.4% CTR, and 1.4% CVR (ConversionXL)
  • Average probability of conversion for a new prospect is roughly 1% but jumps to 9% for a return customer, and they spend 5x as much (Adobe)
  • Companies generate an average of $0.25 additional revenue for every digital receipt sent with upsell or cross-sell suggestions, and 96% of the feedback received when asking on receipt and confirmation emails is positive (Conversio)

So, are they worth it? Yes.

Best Practices for Post Purchase Campaigns

Don’t overthink them. Keep them brief, concise, and clear. Test what works for you, your brand, and your customers.

  • A discount coupon (15% seems to be the sweet spot) with a 30 day validity is a powerful incentive to return and buy again
  • Consider creating a multi-tiered rewards program – based on amount spend, items purchased, number of orders – and providing updates on their current level and what they need to do to reach the next one.
  • Ask for feedback. Link to the short survey.
  • Don’t play hard to get. Thank you emails should go out immediately.
  • Let your brand personality shine through (Goofy? Picture of you giving a thumbs up. Luxurious? Beautiful living room featuring your products)
  • Strengthen your brand identity

Post Purchase Campaign Subject Lines

They need to be engaging and attention grabbing. Not clever.

  1. Thank you for your order (with [brand])
  2. Order Confirmation (with or without the order number)
  3. Thanks!
  4. Thanks for your purchase
  5. Let us return the favor (for an email with a coupon or discount)
  6. You’re the best/awesome/wonderful
  7. How was your shopping experience with us today?
  8. Our gift to you (for an email with a free gift or coupon)
  9. Saying thanks just isn’t enough
  10. Thanks for stopping by/being you/visiting
  11. A special thanks from us to you
  12. A little treat for you to say thanks
  13. Your order has shipped
  14. Your order is on the way
  15. Can we ask you a question about your purchase?
  16. We’re nothing without you
  17. A big thanks on your purchase today

A subject line should make it clear what it is and why they should open it.

If you’re not sending out thank you and post purchase emails, you’re not really doing your job as a savvy eCommerce merchant. They’re expected, effective, multifunctional, and part of a dynamic email marketing strategy.

Not sure where to start? SmartMail can get you up and running in no time. Let’s talk. 


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