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What is a Post Purchase Survey? (And how to use them)

Learn what the most successful DTC brands know about Post Purchase Surveys that you don't. See how you can use them to gain a competitive edge

What is a Post Purchase Survey banner image with mobile and desktop examples
What is a Post Purchase Survey?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely been hearing the phrase "Post Purchase Survey" being thrown around a lot. Marketers and DTC/eCommerce brand owners can't seem to get enough of them. But why?

While the name itself seems pretty self explanatory, there are a number of questions that arise.

For example, what is the purpose of a Post Purchase Survey? Why would anyone use one? Why have the become so popular all of a sudden? and on an on.

At PostPurchaseSurvey.com, we know a little something about Post Purchase Surveys (I mean, it's not just in our name. It is our name!).

So we decided to make a guide to answer all these questions an more. Use the navigation links below to jump to a specific section, or just scroll down to start from the beginning.

  1. What is a Post Purchase Survey?
  2. The rise in popularity of Post Purchase Surveys
  3. How to Use a Post Purchase Survey
  4. Key Things to Look for in a Great Post Purchase Survey App
  5. Wrapping it up

What is a Post Purchase Survey?

In its simplest form, a Post Purchase Survey is a short survey embedded on a store's order page to ask customers a question after they have ordered.

Example survey questions like "How Did You Hear About Us?" (HDYHAU) or "What Product Would You Like to See From Us Next?," help store owners glean insights into various aspects of their business via their most accurate source of truth – their customers.

Post Purchase Surveys are great for attributing marketing spend in tough-to-measure channels like offline or organic UGC on TikTok, finding new growth initiatives like product or category launches, and setting up more targeted messaging by connecting individual survey responses with an email marketing tool like Klaviyo to create segments and flows.

Example of a Post Purchase Survey on a Shopify Thank You page
An Example Post Purchase Survey

The rise in popularity of Post Purchase Surveys

Recently, attribution surveys (and more broadly Post Purchase Surveys) have been seeing a stratospheric rise in popularity among direct-to-consumer (DTC)/eCommerce merchants. This is happening for a few notable reasons:

Reason #1 - Apple Nuked Ad Tracking With iOS 14.5

Apple shocked the eCommerce world when they announced their iOS 14.5 privacy update. While the details are beyond the scope of this article, the summary is this:

iOS users are allowed to opt out of ad tracking which makes it much more difficult for apps like Facebook and Snapchat to provide accurate attribution data.

Marketers who rely on accurate attribution data to properly scale or kill marketing campaigns are left in the dark without knowledge on how well their ads are truly performing.

This lack of clarity around ad performance makes it significantly more difficult to scale brands profitably without wasting ad dollars on negative ROI ad units.

it's find gif
Marketers in a post iOS 14.5 world, colorized

Reason #2 - Multi-channel attribution has always been a PITA

As brands scale and start maxing out traditional paid media channels like Facebook, they are forced to look for growth in alternative mediums.

Alternate channels often include: billboards, subway ads and podcast spots. The problem is, these channels are notoriously hard to properly attribute ROI.

Times Square billboards
Billboard attribution is very hard to track

Using a coupon code to track sales is one popular method of attribution.

This may work in the short term, however, it's only a matter of time before one of these coupons finds their way onto a discount aggregator website - leading to incorrect sales being attributed to the coupons.

It thus becomes a cat and mouse game of refreshing the coupon codes as they make their way onto discount websites which leads to energy being drawn away from more important activities.

Reason #3 - Rise of No-Code Solutions

Lastly, the rise of No-Code Post Purchase Survey solutions has seen their adoption rates drastically rise.

Contrary to popular belief, Post Purchase Surveys have actually been used by the most successful brands for years.

Big direct-to-consumer brands like Brooklinen, Allbirds, and Rhone have been utilizing Post Purchase Surveys to gather valuable insights on their customers for years, but smaller DTC companies have lagged behind due to the lack of solutions available to them. With Apple's recent iOS actions regarding privacy, Google's deprecation of third party cookies, and the global regulatory environment around data sharing become more strict, it will become imperative for brands of all sizes to fill the holes in their attribution data with Post Purchase Surveys.

As no-code solutions in the form of Post Purchase Survey Shopify Apps began popping up, all merchants finally had a chance to level the playing field and start leveraging this powerful tool for themselves.

How to Use a Post Purchase Survey

Companies often run Post Purchase Surveys for collecting attribution information and customer specific data for targeting.

A good Post Purchase Survey solution allows a company to ask different types of customers certain questions (i.e. a new or returning customer) and provides the ability for a company to ask additional questions if a customer has already answered that specific question.

Companies find that it's best to try to collect one specific data point at a time (i.e. an attribution data point, competitive positioning data point, buyer behavior data point). This means structuring your survey questions and response options to accomplish this goal. The example below is a one-question survey aimed at gathering insights into why a customer made a purchase today. This survey is excellent for determining value props that resonate.

Example of the PostPurchaseSurvey.com Shopify App survey builder page
The Customer Visit Survey Template in the Survey Editor

Typically, brands that use Post Purchase Surveys see 50-60% response rates on 1 or 2 question surveys (tip: big brands have found its best to limit your surveys to 1 or two questions to maximize response rates; customers are extremely unlikely to answer after two questions).

The classic "Where/How Did You Hear About Us?" Survey is great for marketing attribution. For DTC companies struggling with IDFA's impact on Facebook Ad attribution or wondering how their influencer budgets are performing, attribution surveys are excellent tools to inform future marketing budget allocation.

Example of a Post Purchase Survey on a Shopify Thank You page
The classic Where Did You Hear About Us Survey

Key Things to Look for in a Great Post Purchase Survey App

  • Easy to Setup
    • Look for a Post Purchase Survey App that has built-in templates that can get your brand capturing insights in minutes
  • Native Integration for Better Conversion
    • Ensure you get the highest completetion rates possible with a survey provider that automatically matches to your store's theme and colors; even better, find solutions that do not degrade your brand by displaying their name (Careful, some survey providers embed code on their surveys that link customer's back to THEIR websites)
  • Fast Load Times
    • Your survey needs to load fast and shouldn't slow down your website with bulky code scripts. Make sure the solution you implement is lightweight and designed to load at lightning speeds
  • Simple Analytics & Dashboards
    • Accelerate the time it takes you to realize money-making insights by using a Post Purchase Survey solution with a clean, simple analytics page
  • Easy Export to Klaviyo
    • Harness the true power of surveys by connecting your Klaviyo for creating targeted segments and flows that greatly improve conversion rates

Wrapping it up

So there you have it. Hopefully this guide was helpful in answering some of the questions you may have had surrounding Post Purchase Surveys. You now know what they are, why they've become so popular and what to look for in a proper Post Purchase Survey solution.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below or contact us. We love talking to fellow eCommerce merchants and marketers!

Also, if you're looking to get started using the same solution 7 figure DTC brands use to run their Post Purchase Surveys, check out our free Shopify App, Easy Post Purchase Surveys. Get your surveys up and running in under a minute with easy to use templates, automatic theme and color matching, a powerful but simple dashboard, and an easy Klaviyo integration all for free.