Post-purchase pain points

6 Post-Purchase Pain Points & Solutions for E-commerce Customers6 min read

If you’re an e-commerce merchant who wants their business to become successful, you need to become the customers’ favorite (offer them a great experience, stay ahead of the competition, improve profit margins, and whatnot).

However, a customer’s journey with your e-commerce business is filled with multiple issues regarding the website, payment, checkout, and much more…

But our focus is not on these issues. Of course, not dismissing them as trivial but when you think about it the hurdles or pain points on your customers’ pre and purchase phase of the journey account for minimal damage and are easily rectifiable since most of it is under your control. Post-purchase issues, on the other hand, are an even tougher challenge.

Pain Points in Other Phases Vs Post-Purchase Pain Points

Here’s a comparison of pain points in the post-purchase phase to other phases of e-commerce to begin with. 

  • Pre-purchase or the familiarity stage: Product discovery, website usability, and concerns around trusting your website. 
  • Purchase or the decisive stage: Payment errors, sudden costs, product being out of stock, or a lengthy checkout process. 

Such issues can deter customers from completing their purchases and lead to abandoned carts. 

But think about it, worst case scenario: what do you think happens when a customer abandons their cart

  • There is a lost opportunity to convert a potential sale
  • There is a lower return on investment (ROI) for marketing efforts

The priority of resolving post-purchase pain points

Now let’s do a little time jump. Assuming the issues get resolved and you convert the sale, the customer makes the ‘purchase’ and awaits the product  — what do you think happens when they face an issue at this ‘post-purchase’ phase of their customer journey?

Here’s a chronology of the events that might follow: 

  • They stop shopping with the brand, leading to a drop in loyalty and revenue and a rise in acquisition costs, shipping costs (returns/ cancellations), product costs (loss and damages), etc. 
  • Their frustration doesn’t end there as they vent their frustrations on social media, thereby demotivating their friends and family (your potential customers) from shopping with you, leading to a poor brand reputation. 

You can compare things for yourself — the worst-case scenario for a pain point in the pre and purchase phases comes at the earliest stage in the post-purchase phase, putting the stakes much higher. 

It’s not just all doom and gloom. Let’s take a look at some positives as well. Assuming there are no post-purchase pain points or they’ve been resolved timely, the verdict is a great post-purchase experience, and here’s what it can bring to your business. 

6 Pain Points For E-Commerce Customers In The Post-Purchase Phase And How You Can Fix Them

1. Lack of order updates

The first and foremost point of frustration for your customers is when they’ve placed their order but become uncertain about its status as time goes by. This can be problematic for your business, as customers often feel anxious when they can’t track their orders, leading to increased support inquiries and a decrease in trust and satisfaction. 

Solution: Keep customers informed about their order status at all times. However, manually notifying all customers throughout the delivery lifecycle can be difficult. To make things easy, you can make use of a real-time tracking solution that monitors all your shipments and also enables you to send shipping updates via email or SMS.

2. Shipping issues (Delays, loss, and damage)

A shipper and a customer’s worst nightmare — a package facing an issue while en route from the former to the latter. Unfortunately, for both, delivery issues are inevitable and common occurrences in shipping as even with today’s technology, 1-in-5 parcels shipped face delivery issues on average. To make things worse, delivery issues cause high customer frustration, negative shopping experiences, bad reviews, and ultimately decreased loyalty. 

Solution: Proactively communicate shipping issues such as delays and offer solutions like expedited shipping or refunds. This helps you demonstrate commitment towards customer satisfaction and thereby retains customer trust.

3. Difficulty contacting customer support

Delivery issues might have scared you a little but what if I told you there are actually not the worst of the worst? TBH, customers are indeed somewhat forgiving and are willing to offer you a chance to fix their bad experience. However, imagine them having difficulty reaching out to customer support or not receiving timely assistance. This can infuriate them even further to the extent that you never hear back from them. 

Solution: Offer multiple support channels like chatbots that are active 24/7 and offer minimum support to customers such as catering to WISMO calls and other common post-purchase inquiries. You can make things convenient by clearly displaying options for them to reach your support team on your website and tracking assets. However, the best part lies in making use of a post-purchase solution that sends alerts for critical delivery failures and proactively notifies customers from within your help desk.  

4. Damaged shipments

7% to 11% of customers’ online orders arrive broken or damaged, making us emphasize the focus of businesses tending to them more than preemptively notifying customers. Additionally, sending out replacements for each damage can cost you valuable dollars. With real-time tracking effectively helping you fight late deliveries and lost packages, what is that you can do to reduce damage?

Solution: Ensure products are securely packaged to prevent damage during transit. You can use appropriate and effective packaging materials and padding to protect fragile items. Additionally, you can consider using branded packaging as an opportunity to enhance the unboxing experience and reinforce your brand identity.

5. Lack of personalization

The missing piece in the puzzle of great post-purchase experiences is exceeding your customers’ high expectations, being tailor-made experiences that cater to them and treat them as more valuable customers than just someone without an identity. Remember, failure to meet these expectations can result in reduced engagement and loyalty.

Solution: Implement personalized communication strategies while engaging with them, i.e., send them a ‘thank you’ note, product usage information, etc. You can also drive repeat purchases through personalized product recommendations and targeted promotions, based on customer preferences and behavior.

6. Complicated returns process

Even merchants who decide “Okay, I’ve got to do something about improving my delivery experiences” unwillingly ignore extending their efforts in the returns phases. This happens primarily due to misconceptions of them seeing returns as a burden and cost center. However, the truth is far from it. 

Solution: Streamline your returns process to change the perception of your brand, create a positive reputation, and gain higher retention rates. For instance, simplify return procedures with prepaid return labels, clear instructions, and multiple return options to make it easy for customers to initiate returns.

What's next?

Pain points and frustrations are a small but valuable part of your customers’ post-purchase experiences. On one hand, merchants have realized that they are inevitable and want to ensure customer satisfaction despite bad delivery experiences. On the other hand, some merchants like to turn the tide and are looking for ways to keep customers happy throughout the order journey. 

For every kind of merchant, who’d like to optimize their post-purchase efforts, we have more exciting content coming up to answer all of your questions. Stay tuned and keep implementing these strategies for your business to improve loyalty and reduce costs.

Sashank Ravindranath

A writer by passion, currently exploring creativity by writing new forms of content. Enjoys weekends by watching or reading Sci-fi/ Superhero/ Thriller stuff.