Much of what we write about on the Econsultancy blog focuses on driving site traffic, improving the user experience and ultimately increasing conversions.

But if you want to make sure that people are happy with the overall sales experience and turn into repeat customers then aftersales care is equally important.

I recently made my first ever purchase from ASOS and was genuinely impressed by the level of email customer service I received while awaiting delivery.

Most e-commerce companies send confirmation emails, but with a few additional messages ASOS went beyond the level of customer service you would expect to receive and really improved my perception of the brand. As a result, I’ll definitely be shopping there again.

Here’s how ASOS does it…

Order confirmation 

As mentioned, nearly all e-commerce sites send confirmation emails so this is nothing out of the ordinary.

However, ASOS doesn’t just send out a nuts and bolts confirmation that simply details the product details and cost. Instead it gives it a human touch by using a conversational style that puts the focus on the customer.

It’s really just explaining the options for cancelling or amending the order, but is a great way of maintaining the relationship with the customer. It also has a big call-to-action on the right offering help with delivery information, order tracking and the returns policy.

Order dispatched

Again, this is something that most merchants do but ASOS’s copywriting makes it stand out from the crowd.

The subject line is to the point: “Your ASOS order has been dispatched,” and the email lets you know that this is just a “quick update”.

And even though it is only a two paragraph email, ASOS doesn’t miss the opportunity to try and drive you back to the site to browse for more items.

First time treats

I may just be easily swayed, but if someone sends me an email with a flashy graphic and promo codes to welcome me after my first purchase it goes a long way to making me a loyal customer.

ASOS’s email even came with a personalised subject line: “All our first-timers get a treat, time for yours David!”

The email contained a promo code for 10% off plus free next day delivery, and the chance to shop its ‘Key Pieces’ range ahead of time. 

This is one place where the copywriting could have been tightened though, as it said I could get ahead and shop the site with my “monthly edit.” I’m not entirely sure what an ‘edit’ is?

Even so, rewarding new customers with exclusive deals is a great way of building a relationship and encouraging them to return to the site for repeat purchases.

Order is due for delivery

The day before my order was delivered I received an email telling me that it was due for delivery the following day and asking me to ensure someone would be in to sign for it.

If also offered me the chance to alter the delivery date and track the order.

While it lacked the personal touch that came with the confirmation email, it’s extremely handy to know when items will arrive so you don’t have the frustration a failed delivery when nobody is in.

Hour delivery slot

On the day of delivery, ASOS sent an email with the subject line: “Your order from ASOS is due for delivery between 14:50-15:50.”

You clearly don’t need to open the email to know what it’s telling you, but if you do you’ll even find out the name of the delivery guy as well as being offered the chance to change the delivery date.

Giving customers a one-hour timeslot for delivery is terrific service as it means you can plan your day and make sure you are there when Francis drops off the package.

Free returns

One of ASOS’s key selling points is the fact that it offers free delivery and returns, so it highlights this with an email a few days after the product has been delivered detailing its “No sweat returns”.

It may seem an odd tactic to email customers to jog their memory about returning unwanted products, but in reality if a customer wants to return an item it is best to make it as easy as possible so they aren’t put off buying from you again in future.

Though other retailers may offer free returns, this is the first time I have received an aftersales email reminding me of the service and it definitely improved my perception of ASOS as a brand.

Conclusion

ASOS’s use of email to offer aftersales customer service goes above and beyond the competition and is a great way to build and maintain a good customer relationship.

It keeps you informed of every step during the delivery process so you are never left wondering when the product will arrive. 

Furthermore ASOS has clearly taken time to draft friendly, conversational emails that fit with the brand image and don’t come across as cold and transactional. It leaves you with the impression that the emails are solely about customer service, even though they nearly all include links to encourage further sales.

But while ASOS is generally a great example of best practice, like a lot of brands it hasn’t optimised its emails for mobile.

We’ve reported stats which show that 27% of emails are opened on mobile devices and more than a third of consumers (36%) read marketing emails on mobile. Yet ASOS’s emails do not render properly on a mobile screen and require a great deal of scrolling and pinching to read them.

                         

On the positive side they tend to be quite concise so the subject lines are readable, but the content of the email can be difficult to read.

But the mobile issue aside, ASOS’s aftersales care is excellent and was a contributing factor to me making two additional purchases from them this week.