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What is Post Purchase Behavior, & Why Should You Care?

Are you leaving money on the table by ignoring the post purchase behavior of your customers? Read on to find out.


Post purchase behavior

By now, it is clear that the idea that “the sale ends with the sale” is no longer relevant, considering the current business climate. Especially in retail, whether or not the customer walks away feeling satisfied or dissatisfied plays a large role in your relationship with them.

Post purchase behavior is really just the battle between cognitive dissonance and customer satisfaction. We’ll see why you shouldn’t ignore post purchase behavior before diving into the benefits of a positive experience.

Post purchase Post purchase behavior WISMO Ringbehavior

Post purchase behavior: everything you need to know

First, what is the definition of post purchase behavior? It is the final stage in the customer journey. This is where they assess whether or not they are satisfied with their purchase or experience with your brand. Any future action by this customer will ultimately be determined by one of two attributes; satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Keep in mind that negative feedback is at least just as important as positive responses. In fact, it can teach you a lot about post purchase behavior and how to turn your business’s flaws into strong points and increase consumer satisfaction in the long run.

How do your customers’ post-purchase actions affect your business?

Once a consumer has made a purchase, what they do afterward falls into one of the following categories:

1. The post-purchase behaviors you want:
✔️ Repeat purchases
✔️ Positive Reviews
✔️ Customer Evangelists

2. And the post-purchase behaviors you certainly don’t want:

❌ Product Refunds
❌ Negative Reviews
❌ One-off purchases

How to handle your post purchase interactions?

The answer to this is understanding how the Customer Support Funnel works and what needs to be done during each stage for the best results. Here is a short but comprehensive breakdown of the concept with clear example to help you get started:

1. Offer proactive support solutions to grow your positive post-purchase interactions

Effectively answer known questions and inquiries that can be anticipated, and get ahead of known problems before customers reach out. In this regard, try using solutions such as pre-purchase estimated delivery dates and shipping notifications.

2. Self-service support to boost customer experience

Inquiries that can be solved via help center articles will save you a considerable amount of time. Customers can find answers to their questions much more easily, leading to a reduced support volume. The main solutions you can consider are self-service returns, order tracking, and estimated delivery date.

3. Human support to handle your negative experiences

In order to resolve complex questions, manage technical problems, or handle emotionally charged conversations, you will need to rely on your support team. Try to provide your people with the right tools for them to do a great job in creating a positive post-purchase experience for the customer. This includes support tickets that can be resolved via live chat or phone calls for a better, more human experience.

Post purchase behavior

Therefore, this is the stage that serves as the deciding factor between profitable customer advocacy and retention or disloyalty. Their level of satisfaction plays a direct role in your business “surviving or thriving”.

Post Purchase Dissonance, or buyer’s remorse, is the result of customer dissatisfaction. It occurs when the customer experiences feelings of psychological tension or anxiety after shopping with you.

Post purchase behavior

This has numerous causes but ultimately boils down to their pre-purchase evaluation not lining up with the actual outcome.

They are forced to ask “Did I make the right decision buying this particular product?”

Obviously, this can be based solely on the quality of your items. However, sometimes it could be that the customer was exposed to the marketing of a competing set of products or brands. When this happens, they believe that their previous information search didn’t justify the product purchase like they thought it would. It is also possible that the customer has reconsidered how immediate their original need for the item was.

Understanding post purchase dissonance and customer satisfaction

Dissonance leads to a lack of trust and loyalty, and customers who experience this are less likely to return. You can understand your customers and their opinion about your online store by sending out post purchase emails to help consumers evaluate their experience making business with you and the motivations behind the decision-making process.

That being said, what are the benefits of a successful post purchase experience? When the customer’s expectations are met and their purchase decision is validated, you can look forward to three big increases.

You can read more about the concept of Post Purchase Dissonance (and how to avoid it) in a prior blog article.

Increased Customer Retention

Ideally, brands attract new patrons through superior value (and good marketing) while continuing to grow them by delivering customer satisfaction. Following this process leads to increased profits and customer equity.

For example, acquiring a new customer can actually be up to 5x more expensive than retaining one who has already shopped with you. Even just a small bump in customer retention can make a huge difference to your bottom line. In fact, even…

Post purchase behavior

Marketing to new customers is still an essential part of running a business, but data shows retention is at least just as important. The likelihood of selling to a new customer sits somewhere between 5-10%. Compare that with the 60%-70% chance you have of selling to existing customers.

A recent study conducted by American Express revealed the effect of customer satisfaction on retention. It stated that customers were 33% more likely to switch companies after just ONE bad customer service interaction. Without a good post purchase experience, you will likely lose your customers’ business in the future. Even if a consumer buys a product they absolutely love, they might be evaluating alternatives which then might affect the final purchase decision.

On the other hand, customers who have a great experience with you are 81% more likely to come back! Post purchase behavior marketing at its finest. Creating a positive post purchase customer experience means understanding how a customer feels, pinpointing the factors that can affect their decision-making process for future purchases, and focusing your efforts on improving the quality of your sales services, but also those of your support team.

Post purchase behavior

Increased Brand Advocates

After you’ve succeeded in retaining a customer, the next step is to turn them into a brand advocate. These are influencers in social and cultural circles, with the ability to get more eyes on you: their friends, family, and more! Considering that 80% of businesses are not using advocates to their advantage, it means less eyes on your competition as well!

Post purchase behavior

If this number seems unrealistic, consider that 92% of consumers are looking to social recommendations before making a purchase. Putting this into context, search engines were the closest discovery tool (59%), with everything else very far behind.

How does (electronic) word-of-mouth work?

How does word-of-mouth marketing have such a strong ability to influence the decision process of a new customer? The answer is simple, passion. Brand advocates are low maintenance and very effective in organically growing your visibility. They provide free marketing based on their genuine love for your brand, not a pay off, providing an unbeatable ROI.

New customers place a much higher value on Earned Media, or that which has been generated by “real” people. 76% say they prefer this over Paid Media, which they see as a thinly veiled attempt at advertising. This provides credibility to help you stand out against the competition and convert customers.

Brand advocates also broaden your reach: they achieve this by connecting you with their own social network.

Post purchase behavior
Post purchase behavior

Keep your customers engaged during the delivery experience

Later, as your audience grows, the general public will begin to pick up on you as well. Brick by brick you build a loyal following by delighting your customers enough to advocate for you, being ready to refer your brand to their friends through (electronic) word-of-mouth once they’re satisfied with your services and products.

In other words, this entire process helps marketers to learn more about the buyer personas they’re working with, their interests, on what basis they make their purchasing decisions, and how to get them from dissatisfied customers to satisfied customers.

Increased Internal Productivity

Taking care of unhappy customers is hard work for your team, especially those in the service department. That’s why our final point doesn’t focus on your customers per se, but your staff. Engineering a good, thoughtful post purchase experience keeps your employees happy while freeing them up to work on other things!

Team morale and retention are directly related to the customer experience. Zendesk, a leader in customer service software, directly ties patron satisfaction to that of your agents. They call this concept ASAT, or Agent Satisfaction.

They recommend measuring the ASAT metric alongside CSAT in equal parts. Doing so will provide a more complete picture and reveal potential internal problems and reduce employee turnover. By creating a positive environment for your agents you enable them to delight customers with an excellent experience.

A proper post purchase experience proactively notifies customers about key events and empowers them to solve issues effortlessly through self-service. Doing this avoids the recurrence of common customer service phone calls such as, “Where is my order?

Post purchase behavior

Ways to win a positive post-purchase behavior

  • Shipping confirmation emails
  • A good refund policy 
  • Self Service Return Process (printerless returns)
  • Complementary product recommendations
  • Product satisfaction feedback
  • Loyalty program
  • Instant Credit For Returns

Besides transactional emails and complementary product recommendations, there are so many things you can do for your customers in order to create a better experience!

For instance, using WeSupply, you can enable your customers to choose instant credit for returns. What does this mean? Imagine that your customer needs to size up, but wants the exact same product. With instant credits you spare them the trouble of waiting for their money to be refunded so that they can purchase the item again and, instead, they can use the instant store credit to order the same product in the right size in a matter of minutes.


There’s a lot to be gained by analyzing the post purchase behavior of consumers. Studies show that profitability can be negatively affected by treating the point of sale as the end of the customer journey. Between increased marketing and operational costs, it really starts to add up fast. By putting your customers first you will reap the rewards of loyalty, retention, and advocacy.

See how WeSupply’s solution can help you engineer this experience today!

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