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Unlock repeat sales with your post-purchase behavior

Mariluz Sampalo
Mariluz Sampalo
Sep 12, 2023
Post purchase behavior

In the dynamic realm of eCommerce, the journey doesn't end at the "Buy Now" button. The interaction between a customer and the retailer goes far beyond the point of transaction. 

Post-purchase behavior, a pivotal phase often overlooked, holds the key to establishing lasting connections and cultivating brand success.

The post-purchase behavior depends on the emotions, actions, and reflections that unfold once a customer's eagerly awaited package arrives at their doorstep. It's a critical juncture that reveals insights into customer satisfaction, loyalty, and the overall health of an eCommerce business.

What is post-purchase behavior?

Post-purchase behavior refers to the actions, thoughts, and emotions that a customer experiences after they have made a purchase from an online store or marketplace.

It's the phase that comes after a customer has completed a transaction and received the product they ordered. This stage is crucial because it provides valuable insights into how satisfied the customer is with the shopping and post-purchase experiences.

 To break it down further.

Why is post-purchase behavior important?

Behind every purchase and money investment or spending, there’s a concept that we haven’t touched upon so far: cognitive dissonance.

This psychological phenomenon occurs due to the inherent desire for consistency and the need to justify one's decisions, like those surrounding money.

Consumers may experience conflicting thoughts and emotions after making a purchase. When someone buys a product, especially if it's a significant purchase or involves some degree of choice or uncertainty, they may experience cognitive dissonance if they start to doubt whether their choice was the right one.

customer thinks whether she made the right decision with her purchase

This dissonance arises from the inconsistency between their positive feelings toward the product (since they bought it) and any negative thoughts, doubts, or regrets they might have about the purchase (such as concerns about price, functionality, the shipping experience, or a difficult not-straight-forward return process).

The key to increased repeat sales and positive post-purchase behavior is, altogether, the minimization or elimination of any kind of cognitive dissonance.

Some of the points consumers will evaluate after the purchase that has an impact on post-purchase behavior are:

1. Their level of satisfaction

Once they have purchased an item, customers will still evaluate the price and functionality of such a product, even if they haven’t yet received it.

Positive experiences lead to less friction and doubts in the customer. Offering personalized and updated tracking information at all times is one of the ways to reduce cognitive dissonance and improve post-purchase behavior in order to increase repeat purchases.

2. Feedback and consumers’ reviews

Customers often share their opinions and experiences by leaving reviews or ratings for the product and the seller. These reviews are essential for other buyers to reduce the purchase anxiety.

Moreover, they help the retailer to improve their offerings based on feedback and past consumers’ experiences.

3. Their repurchase intention

A customer will evaluate the brand and the overall shopping experience to decide whether to buy again from that same commerce.

The post-purchase behavior can indicate whether a customer is likely to buy from the same store again in the future.

A positive experience increases the chances of repeat business, while negative experiences might deter customers from coming back to that same eCommerce company.

This is one of the main eCommerce challenges to overcome in the industry.

4. Word of mouth and referrals

Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend the product or the store to their friends and family.

This positive word-of-mouth can significantly impact an eCommerce business's reputation and customer base, hence it’s importance to the eCommerce and to the quality of the shopping experience for the customer.

5. Returns and customer support

If customers face issues with the product, shipping, or any other aspect of their purchase, their post-purchase behavior might involve seeking help from customer support or potentially returning the product.

How these issues are handled can greatly influence a customer's perception of the brand. This is the reason why eCommerce businesses should provide world-class customer service and straightforward returns and exchanges policies.

6. Brand perception

One of the main points of relevance of the post-purchase behavior is the effect it has on the overall perception of the brand in consumers’ minds.

If customers consistently have positive experiences, the brand's reputation improves, and it becomes associated with quality and reliability. This increases repeat purchases and new potential customers.

Post-purchase behavior is a crucial aspect of eCommerce. It goes beyond the moment of purchase; it revolves around building long-term relationships with customers.

By paying attention to how customers feel after their purchase, eCommerce businesses can enhance customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and overall success.

2 Post-purchase behavior examples

Example 1: The example of Alice

Alice buys a dress from an online clothing store. She completes the transaction, receives an order confirmation email, and eagerly awaits her purchase.

A few days later, the dress arrives at Alice's doorstep. She opens the package and finds the dress neatly wrapped with a personalized "thank you" note. The packaging is eco-friendly and includes care instructions for the dress.

Alice tries on the dress and finds that it fits perfectly and matches the description and images provided on the website. She feels satisfied with her purchase and appreciates the attention to detail in the packaging. Overall, it was a good post-purchase behaviour.

Impressed by the entire experience, Alice decides to share a picture of her with the dress on on her social media profiles. She tags the online store and includes a caption about her new favorite dress and the great shopping experience she had. This is already part and proof of a good post-purchase behaviour, but the story continues.

Alice makes a selfie with her new dress and posts it online

The store has its own mechanisms of interacting with its customers and Alice receives an email from the online store a few weeks after the sale.

The email thanks her for her purchase, offers her a discount on her next order as a loyal customer, and suggests other items she might like based on her previous order history.

This time Alice decides not to shop again, but maybe in the future one of these emails enables the shop to make another sale, and for Alice, to discover another gorgeous piece for her wardrobe.

Example 2: Paul wants to return a pair of shoes

Paul bought a pair of shoes some days ago. The order finally came yesterday, but unfortunately, they are too big for him. He checks the website of the store and it seems like he has two weeks to return the shoes. He decides to leave it for the weekend.

On Saturday, the store sent him a follow-up email and Paul decides to click on the return button.

Luckily, this store has a system to automate returns and exchanges, an easy-to-follow process, and a portal where Paul can process his own product without having to talk to someone in customer service.

The store chose to trust a software company like Outvio and now Paul and other customers can process an exchange instantly and have the new item shipped immediately. In other words, if the store decides so, they don’t even need to return the old item before the new one is shipped out.

Paul is positively surprised and will definitely consider buying again from this brand in the future. In the meantime, his new pair of shoes are getting shipped out. This time, they will fit him perfectly.

This demonstrates how post-purchase behavior can impact an eCommerce business's success and reputation.

Steps to improve post-purchase behavior in eCommerce

Improving post-purchase behavior in eCommerce involves a combination of strategies aimed at enhancing customer satisfaction, encouraging repeat purchases, and building brand loyalty. Here are some of the steps you can take:

1. Provide clear product information

Ensure that your product descriptions are accurate, detailed, and informative.

High-quality images and videos that showcase the product from various angles are a must when it comes to preventing future doubts and claims, as they help the customer to have a closer experience to the physical product and make an informed decision.

In this way, you can reduce cognitive dissonance and prevent possible post-purchase dissatisfaction.

2. Set an approximate delivery date

Clearly communicating shipping times and delivery estimates is extremely beneficial to building a post-purchase behaviour that fuels new sales.

Appart from setting a realistic delivery date that you can fulfill, it’s important to communicate any possible delays and to provide regular updates on the status of the orders.

Customers appreciate the transparency and care, and will likely not only come back to your  business, but also promote it.

3. Personalize post-purchase communication

Send personalized post-purchase emails or messages to thank customers for their purchase. Include order details, tracking information, and contact details for support.

Personalization and communication after the purchase show that you value them and that you want to build a long-term relationship where both parties benefit.

4. Create a loyalty programs or give discounts

A good post-purchase behaviour from the side of the retailer should always include some kind of strategy to increase customer retention.

One of the most common ways of doing so is through the implementation of loyalty programs and/or discounts.

Exclusive offers, points for each purchase, gifts… These incentivize customers to come back and make future purchases, while having a minimal cost for the eCommerce business.

5. Focus on packaging and presentation

The physical experience still matters. Even when we talk eCommerce. Toughtful and aesthetically pleasing packaging adds to the overall purchasing experience, creating a positive impression that contributes to customer satisfaction.

6. Ease the returns and refunds process

Make sure that your return, exchange and refund policies are clear, straightforward, and easy on the customer side –and your own– should be one of your top priorities when exploring ways to improve the post-purchase behavior.

Customers often research certain aspects before making an online purchase. The ease to return or exchange a product, the cost and speed and any other bonus plays a huge role in the selling process. This is the reason why it shouldn’t be left to chance.

Outvio is the platform to centralize all post-purchase operations and give the most value to the post-purchase behavior phase.

7. Engage on social media platforms

Maintain an active presence on social media platforms, engage with customers, respond to their comments and messages, and share user-generated content. This fosters a sense of community and connection, and an omnipresent brand that is hard to forget.

By focusing on these steps, you can enhance the post-purchase experience for your customers, ultimately leading to higher customer satisfaction, increased loyalty, and improved overall business success in the world of eCommerce.


Post-purchase behavior extends beyond the moment of transaction completion. It encompasses the customer's feelings, actions, and interactions with the brand after they've received their purchase.

Positive post-purchase experiences lead to increased customer satisfaction and repeat sales. Moreover, satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal buyers and brand ambassadors.

Post-purchase experiences contribute to a brand’s reputation. In essence, it’s a pivotal phase in the eCommerce journey that holds the potential to transform a one-time transaction into a long-term customer relationship and one experience, into potential new customers.

By prioritizing customer satisfaction, engagement, and continuous improvement, eCommerce businesses can harness the power of post-purchase behavior to drive success in a competitive online market.

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