Post Purchase Surveys - Ecommerce Best Practice on Gathering Customer Feedback

By Liam Quinn - 20 May, 2022
Liam Quinn 2021

The growth of digital has undoubtedly led to more opportunities for merchants to collect data and understand customers at a macro level, building up a picture of the average customer profile and their value. However, it has become more difficult to gain insight on a micro level of customer satisfaction, where day-to-day feedback may have naturally been given within an in-store, brick and mortar environment.

For this reason, utilising post-purchase surveys can be a key tactic in an ecommerce strategy but is commonly an underused tool. Done well, they can offer valuable insight from customers that we know have brand affinity. These customers are far more likely to leave considered feedback and are ultimately more likely to care about improvements being actioned.

Here I run through some of the areas of insight we usually target with post-purchase survey questions - what we ask and the insights we’d expect to see off the back of it.

Finding Bugs

Having worked through a large number of replatforming or rebuild projects, delivering a granular UAT process pre-launch is hugely important. But even when investing solid days and weeks of effort thoroughly testing a new site, someone somewhere will run into an issue at some point after site launch.

For this reason, one of my favourite use cases for post-purchase surveys (and potentially the best ROI you will make) is using the first 2-6 weeks of a launch to ask questions around bugs or friction in the buying journey that the customer may have encountered. You can always rely on people to find something obscure that would otherwise have gone unnoticed - or if you’ve a theory of why there might be an issue, it’s a great opportunity to validate. A couple of good examples would be:

  • Were there any barriers or obstacles during your experience that prevented you from purchasing everything that you wanted/needed today?

  • We have recently re-launched this website, did you experience any bugs or issues when shopping with us?

Customer Satisfaction

Getting a snapshot of customer satisfaction every time someone places an order is fairly simple and probably the most obvious use case. But there is a huge benefit in capturing this data day-to-day and reviewing on a weekly and monthly basis.

Product reviews are commonplace across ecommerce sites. Reviews are great trust signals to customers, but are often submitted on the back of an extreme emotion - whether positive or negative. They serve a great purpose as a testimonial, however for a brand looking to gain objective insight which they can use for incremental improvement, the right post-purchase survey is the right tool.

This can be a really broad strategy, because on top of initial satisfaction we can dig quite deep into the experience that the customer had onsite and across their buying journey. You can tailor questions based on where they landed, the path to purchase, time spent onsite, products ordered etc.

A couple of ways we would usually position this is:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your online shopping experience today?

  • On a scale of 1-10, how easy was it to navigate our website and find the right product?

  • Was there any additional product information you would have liked to see in order to help inform your purchase decision?

  • On a scale of 1-10, how easy was it for you to complete your purchase?

  • Were you able to complete your purchase using your preferred payment method? If not, which payment method would have been more preferable for you?

  • Was there anything you particularly liked/disliked about your shopping experience today?

Attribution

Attribution and acquisition feedback is the one on the list which we’ve found most interesting. Acquisition data is never completely accurate, and the method of determining attribution needs to be agreed so that there is at least a consistent set of figures to benchmark against.

attribution

Each different marketing channel, and different pixel, aim to claim as much of the attribution as possible. Asking the customer in a clean and simple way after they’ve placed an order, even at a ~50% completion rate can be extrapolated to give a clear impression of where they were obtained. This snapshot can also give an indication of which channels are leading to the highest AOV and ultimately which customers are the most valuable to you.

First Party Data

The quest to gather quality first party data is the holy grail for most brands, needed in order to improve the intelligence behind CRM and remarketing strategies. The use of a post-purchase survey can be another good tactic to gain really interesting and actionable data here.

Some examples of how we have seen this used in interesting ways would be:

  • Dynamic questions triggered only if the order was flagged as being a gift or gift wrapped - “Who are you purchasing this gift for today” , “What occasion are you purchasing for today?”.

  • If the order had come via a configurator - “Were you satisfied with the extent to which you could personalise X product today?”

  • For brands that sell in retail or wholesale, we could start learning “Have you purchased the brand from other sellers previously?” and potentially giving multi select options to understand the specifics.

Some Final Learnings

I’ve covered a lot of the common use cases for the post purchase surveys above, but while helping deploy successfully for a number of brands these are the key learnings in how to execute most effectively:

  • Considered questions - For maximum engagement without drop off, aim for 2-4 really considered questions to best capture all the information you are aiming for.

  • Try multiple question types - Either aim for broader open-ended questions for detail, or be really specific with the question and use set options for the possible answers.

  • Dynamic, personalised questions - Use dynamic questions to tailor the survey to the person or order they have placed based on what they’ve purchased, what device they’ve used, their loyalty to the brand, their payment methods etc.

  • Offer incentives - To increase the completion rates, consider offering an incentive.

  • Action any feedback - Make sure you have a process for reviewing and actioning the feedback!

To summarise, I'm a big fan of using post-purchase surveys and think it’s as close to a no-brainer as you can get across any store. Hopefully the above is a good set of actionable takeaways which can be used and built upon to good effect.

We’re always keen to hear any other good use cases that we’ve not covered, and for anyone using Shopify, we have launched Census - our own post-purchase survey app which we think is the best way to implement surveys after checkout.

Feel free to drop me any questions at [email protected] about getting up and running most effectively with our app, or if you have any questions about acquiring more customer feedback.

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