After a few years of uncertainty, the retail industry is regaining momentum…and then some. Sales have improved and with the economic recovery over the last decade, consumer spending is steadily growing.
In the meantime, technological advancements have come at a blistering pace, effectively changing the retail industry as a whole. The lines between brands and technology companies are blurring, and competition is fierce and growing.
While business models are adapting, so too are marketing strategies and campaigns. Email still reigns supreme as the key engagement channel for marketers, but other messaging mediums are playing a larger role in a brand’s cross-channel strategy.
As the digital noise clutters everyone’s minds, there has been a strong nostalgic push in the consumer’s daily life—a push for comfort. And no other place do we see that push more than in modern direct mail marketing.
For most, receiving an email is commonplace, but receiving a personal message in the mail? For many, that is a source of joy.
Read on to find how to best take advantage of the simplicity and joy that comes from direct mail while also utilizing behavioral insights to create the most impactful connection with your consumers. Whether you are a brick-and-mortar retailer or strictly online, these strategies can enhance your marketing efforts and form that deeper connection with your consumer base.
Today we’ll focus on a few of the most essential campaigns in a retailer’s customer journey: Welcome, Promotional, and Cart Abandonment. By following these tips, you can incorporate direct mail into all stages of the customer lifecycle from activation to re-engagement.
Welcome to Our Brand!
Congratulations—a new user just signed up for your newsletter, registered an account, downloaded your app or otherwise completed an action that said, ‘hello.’ Now what?
At this moment in the customer journey, your brand is viewed highly enough for the consumer to share their information with you. It’s time to roll out the red carpet with a warm, personalized welcome.
Surprisingly, none of the 50 major U.S. retailers observed in our latest User Engagement Report communicated with new subscribers via direct mail—even during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the busiest holiday season!
Macy’s sends a welcome email with an offer already added to your account.
A personalized postcard or mailer is a perfect welcome message to include in your cross-channel marketing strategy. Consider sending a, “Thanks for joining our community” coupon with a unique code to track responsiveness. This additional touch is not only personal and engaging, but also completes the introduction to your brand.
To welcome customers at scale, assign triggers in your workflow builder, like Iterable’s Workflow Studio, to automatically integrate personalized direct mail with your email welcome series. That way, no one is left behind and your brand stays top of mind.
Flash Sales and Hot Deals and BOGOs, Oh My!
Promotional campaigns keep your brand present and accounted for as consumers sift through their shopping options. The key is staying fresh and standing out.
There is no formula for proper promotion of products in the retail sector. In Iterable’s 2018 Benchmark Report, 80% of respondents use emails in their promotional campaigns, but the frequency widely varies.
The campaign cadence sweet spot widely varies for marketers. Chart via Iterable’s 2018 Benchmark Report.
In the same report, 20% of respondents identified direct mail as a key channel for promotional messaging. As the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) has pointed out, direct mail achieves response rates between 10-30x higher than those of digital channels.
Higher response rates means higher engagement and more tracking data. Providing unique URLs, discount codes, etc. directly ties your mailers to your growth marketing platform. One key to stellar campaigns is understanding what’s working and what’s not—and direct mailers are no exception.
We Noticed You Left Something Behind
If direct mailers procure higher response rates and cart abandonment messages are generally the most engaging emails, combining the two is guaranteed success! Right?
Okay, we can’t guarantee anything, but using direct mail in your cart abandonment campaigns would set you apart from your competition. In Iterable’s recent Retail Report, we found that only 44% of 50 leading retailers deployed cart abandonment campaigns and a measly 4% of those brands engaged cross-channel with their customers.
Helix Sleep links directly to your cart to streamline the experience.
Your cart abandonment campaign is a perfect opportunity to integrate and test email and direct mail messaging. Consumers are accustomed to an email alerting them of items left unpurchased in their cart, but rarely do they receive a postcard about it.
By this point, you likely have a fair amount of behavioral data, such as search and purchase history. If your initial email is unsuccessful, consider a direct mailer with imagery of the abandoned products and related information. A discount on the product, or even a recommendation to a similar item, might further motivate customers to complete their orders.
You can repurpose the same information from your digital messages, but be sure to reformat it so it doesn’t look like you simply mailed an email. Messaging should be short, impactful, and mimic social.
For cart abandonment, timeliness is key. Triggering direct mail offerings based on email engagement data ensures the opportunity is not lost and that you’re not leaving money on the table.
Don’t Ignore the Power of Comfort
Sometimes to stay fresh and current, you have to go back to the basics. Keep it simple and honest. With the constant innovation and changes to the way we market and operate our businesses, there is a sweet simplicity to sending a customer a nice, personal note.
Incorporating direct mail into your marketing campaigns diversifies your efforts from a cross-channel perspective and affords you the opportunity to more expressly convey your values—in particular, how you value your customers.
Further, these mailers have proven effective at increasing engagement and collecting invaluable behavioral data. When considering your marketing channels for your welcome, promotional, and cart abandonment campaigns, don’t overlook the growing desire from consumers to connect on a personal level with their preferred brands.
Interested in learning more about how leading marketers in retail are executing their campaigns? Download Iterable’s retail report, schedule a demo, or register for Activate 19 next month in San Francisco to learn from them directly.