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Master transactional messaging for better customer loyalty

Illustration of a large browser showing a product page with a rating request. Above is the Wonderment logo.

This is an excerpt from our latest ebook “Brand-building during a downturn: How merchants grow loyalty in a recession” by Wonderment, a Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash partner specializing in order tracking and transactional email management.

Transactional messages are a superpower that shows up at the stage when customer loyalty is influenced the most: post-purchase. Here’s how it works. 

When a customer places an order, a short window opens where their appetite for engagement skyrockets. Transactional messages (updates and information related to their order) are exactly what they want.

How badly do they want these updates? According to an Attentive study, 97% of consumers surveyed wanted order updates via SMS. Furthermore, engagement with transactional message flows is over 10 times higher than conventional marketing campaigns. Flows that get this level of performance include:

  • Order confirmation
  • Shipment picked up
  • Shipment stalled
  • Out for delivery
  • Shipment delivered

Order tracking might be the core of transactional flows, but these updates open the door to building loyalty by creating new surface areas to shape customer experiences. 

This goes beyond the content inside of transactional messages. The same boost seen in open rates is present with click-through rates too. Customers look up their order status an average of 4.6 times every single order, usually by clicking the links inside of transactional messages.

Without your own tracking page, your most engaging campaign is sending customers to the parcel carrier’s site. Having your own tracking page lets you design and control the journey, whether the focus is to be informational or upselling.

As for fostering loyalty, these tools couldn’t come at a better time. Consider how much pressure is on the post-purchase experience – specifically the time between ‘order confirmation’ and ‘package delivered’. 

In addition to keeping customers happy with their current order experience, it’s also the moment when they can start being influenced on whether or not they’ll buy again. 

That might feel like a lot to get right in one go, but it boils down to two manageable jobs:

  1. Diffuse the risks that threaten the customer’s experience.
  2. Capture the opportunity to create great brand moments.

Thankfully, transactional messages do these jobs really well.

Start with your risks. The main two that need your attention are what everyone has felt at some point as a shopper: buyer’s remorse and WISMO (where is my order).

Transactional messages and tracking pages are great places to curb that feeling and build confidence in a customer’s purchase decision. They remind a customer of what they ordered, highlight your return policy, share social proof of happy customers, and invite questions. All of which are proven to help a customer’s mind at ease.

WISMO tickets, on the other hand, can inundate your CX team’s inbox. The overwhelming majority of online shoppers hold merchants accountable for shipping delays that are out of their control. What is under your control? Keeping your customers in the loop.

Proactively communicating with customers reduces WISMO tickets by 40% on average. Less time spent putting out fires means your CX team gets more time to plant flowers!

Solving the WISMO issue isn’t magic – it’s just a matter of taking the time to set up the flows mentioned earlier. Extra attention to flows like ‘Shipment Stalled’ go a long way to let customers know you’re keeping an eye on their package and there’s nothing to worry about.

Defusing these risks with proactive problem-solving goes a long way toward creating the kind of experience that drives loyalty, but keep that momentum going and start capturing the opportunity! 

The first opportunity is to deepen your brand connection. After all, this forms the identity that a customer is loyal to. Make the investment – spend time on your messages and tracking page to make them extensions of your brand. A disjointed communication or landing page can quickly make a customer feel lost – keep it tight! 

Secondly, know your goal. The most common goal is to sell more. Tracking pages see a conversion rate of around 1%, an ROI that quickly dwarfs the cost to the tune of 10x or in some cases, over 60x.

This is where you shine. Want more zero-party data? Host a survey. Want to raise awareness about your loyalty program? Promote it. The only limit is your creativity, so take the time to think about what you want.

The best way to grow a future loyal customer is to make sure a new customer is delighted by their post-purchase experience. Transactional messages are how you do it. Make your customers feel taken care of when they want to be taken care of most!
Enjoyed this excerpt? Check out the rest of our ebook on how e-commerce brands and retailers can future-proof their success against downturns in the economic landscape:

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