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How to set up an e-commerce post-purchase survey in 7 steps

September 6, 2018 by Fio Dossetto UX Design Read/Write Comments

Implementing an on-site survey right after your customers make a purchase is an easy, non-intrusive way to learn what you need to improve the buying experience and overcome potential objections.

Capturing this kind of website feedback is so valuable and simple that we recommend all our e-commerce customers do it—and we put together this quick guide to help you create a simple, post-purchase survey in just a few minutes. We’ll go over exactly what questions you should ask as well as where, when, and how to set it up.

Table of contents

1. Which questions to ask in your post-purchase survey

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Based on our experience, there are three open-ended questions to ask after a purchase that are most effective at uncovering conversion-boosting insights:

Question 1: How would you rate your overall experience?

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Answers to this question give you a quantitative pulse of the buying experience that you can then measure over time and share with the rest of your team/your clients. The question itself can be presented as a simple 1-5 or 1-7 scale:

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It’s a low-commitment question that gets your foot in the door and gives you an opportunity to ask follow- up questions. You can use the numerical responses to track whether any changes you make in the experience lead to improvements or not.

Question 2a: What can we do to improve the experience?

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Based on your customers’ response to question 1, most survey tools allow you to give a tailored follow-up question. This is where you’ll get qualitative responses that show you how to improve your customers’ buying experience.

If your customer gave you a negative rating of 1-3 in Question 1, then follow up with“What can we do to improve the experience?”

Often, answers to this question will help you discover quick fixes that can instantly boost your conversions, such as “I had to click the purchase button 3 times before it went through” or “the billing form wasn’t functioning properly.”

Question 2b: What did you love the most about the experience?

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If customers gave you a positive rating of 4-5 in question 1, then follow up with“What was it that you loved the most about the experience?”

The answers will help you identify what is working and double down on it or make it a more prominent part of the overall experience.

Question 3: What almost stopped you from completing your purchase?

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This question can help you uncover what barriers might be keeping other potential customers from buying.

The responses here might be less directly related to the experience (e.g. “the button wasn’t working”), and more along the lines of what potential objections almost kept your customers from buying.

For example:

  1. A company selling medical products discovered that their customers were worried the package might have labeling showing what they bought. That wasn’t the case, but potential customers didn’t know that.
  2. An electronics ecommerce company offered free 2-day shipping, but their customers were worried there might be hidden fees. There weren't any, but it wasn’t clearly stated anywhere on the site.
  3. A small rental car company, which also had lower-than-usual prices, learned that their customers were skeptical their service was all a scam. So the company knew they had to double down on social proof and trust elements.

Often, the insights that come from this question are totally unexpected—that’s what makes it so valuable. Plus, answering objections and/or fixing barriers is often pretty straightforward once you know where to start, which can lead to quick (but significant) wins in your conversion rate.

Set up your post-purchase survey today 🔥

Get a free Hotjar trial, set up your post-purchase survey, and boost your e-commerce sales.

Free forever. Get started!
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2. Where to place your e-commerce post-purchase survey

Ideally, this survey should show up on your post-purchase thank you page within seconds of the purchase being completed. Since there are only 3 questions, we recommended a simple on-page survey that slides in from the bottom:

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Should you offer a prize or incentive?

Because the survey is so in-the-moment and easy to answer, there’s no need to offer a prize or incentive. In our experience, many e-commerce customers are willing to be helpful and will just reply.

You also don’t need every customer to respond to get value out of the survey: even a small percentage of answers is enough to uncover things you may not have been aware of.

3. How to set up the post-purchase survey

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you do this, such as Survey Monkey or Typeform, but we’ll be showing you how to do it through Hotjar—which works with most major e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, or Prestashop.

Setting up your survey with Hotjar in 5 minutes

In general, there are two ways to survey your customers through Hotjar—you can use our Surveys tool to send a link to an external survey, or use Polls tool to create an on-page survey.  

Since we want this survey to appear on a thank-you page, we’ll be using the Polls feature. After signing up for Hotjar (it's free!) and installing the script, you're ready to start. 


Step 0: create a new Poll

  • Click on ‘Polls’ in the sidebar menu, then ‘New Poll’
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Step 1: name your Poll

We’ll call ours ‘Post-Purchase Survey’, but you can choose whatever name you like.

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Step 2: add the questions

  • For Question 1:
    • Select a ‘1-5 Rating scale’ as the question type
    • Paste ‘How would you rate your overall experience?’ in the ‘Type your question here…’ field
    • Set the Low and High Score Labels
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  • For Question 2a:
    • Click ‘Add Question’
    • Select: ‘Long text answer’ as the question type
    • Enter ‘What can we do to improve the experience?’
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  • For Question 2b:
    • Click ‘Add Question’
    • Select: ‘Long text answer’ as the question type
    • Enter ‘What did you love most about the experience?’
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To set the logic that will send your customers to the right question:

  • Click the question logic button in the Question 1 box:
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  • For ‘After this question is answered, go to:’ enter ‘Specific question based on answer’
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  • Set the ‘Negatives’ and ‘Neutrals’ to go to: ‘Question: What can we do to improve the experience?’
  • Set the ‘’Positives’ to go to: ‘Question: What did you love the most about the experience?
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  • For Question 3:
    • Click ‘Add Question’
    • Select: ‘Long text answer’ as the question type
    • Enter ‘What almost stopped you from completing your purchase?’
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  • Personalize the thank you message
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✏️NOTE:  you can generally match a survey response to a Session Recording and replay the exact experience the customer had. If you want this to happen, make sure to check the box labeled ‘Ask respondents to give their consent to connect their feedback to data stored about them.’


Step 3: set the appearance

  • Set the language, position, background color (make sure to match your site’s color scheme), and theme
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Step 4: target the Poll to appear on your post-purchase page

  • Select which devices you’ll show the poll on
  • Show the poll on your thank you page by selecting the ‘on pages I specify’ option and writing your thank you page URL in the dedicated space
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  • Select the percentage of visitors who will be shown this poll (we recommend 100% to get results quicker, but it’s up to you)
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Step 5: set the behavior to launch immediately after the page loads

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Step 6: activate your Poll!

  • Set the poll status to ‘Active’ and you’re all set!
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Final thoughts

If you don’t already have a post-purchase survey in place, stop what you’re doing and set one up right now. (Really, it only takes 5 minutes!)

Getting answers in the moment and as close to the experience as possible makes this type of survey more effective than a traditional, after-the-fact email survey (plus, it won’t get buried in your customers’ inbox).

Most importantly, the insights you’ll gain are some of the quickest wins you can have when it comes to increasing your sales and conversions.

Set up your post-purchase survey today 🔥

Get a free Hotjar trial, set up your post-purchase survey, and boost your e-commerce sales.

Free forever. Get started!
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Fio Dossetto

Fio manages editorial production at Hotjar, generally over-uses em dashes, and makes sure we publish specific, actionable pieces—with a sprinkle of our signature style on top.