This month, we have set our sights on the retail industry and how retail marketers can be effectively using data for variable direct mail campaigns.
In the retail world, data can mean transaction or purchase history, or it can refer to behavior or event based activities. It can be a simple spreadsheet of recent purchases or it can be a more robust collection of purchases and interests that allow for a more intricate analysis and understanding of the customer’s motivations and why they buy from you.
Either way, retailers that collect any sort of history on their customers should be using it to personalize their direct mail campaigns, because it is one of the most effective ways to deliver a message. A study from Canon Solutions America showed that adding a person’s name, full color and more sophisticated database information can increase the response rate by up to 500% vs not doing any of these things.
No matter what your level of experience collecting or analyzing data, here are 6 simple ways you can use it to increase sales:
- Reward higher-frequency spending customers for spending. This is perhaps the easiest way to get started. Take a look at who your top-spending customers are and what they are spending their money on. Thank them for their business by giving them exclusive offers and discounts that point them to cross-sell and up-sell items.
- Identify at-risk customers that may soon leave you – or already have. Are there customers that used to shop with you frequently, but have not done so in weeks, months… even years? The good news is that if it has only been a couple weeks, your brand is hopefully still fresh in their mind so a simple “Name, we miss you!” offer and discount may be enough to bring them back. The better news is that if it has been months or years since their last purchase, you have the chance to re-introduce them to your brand. Since they already have an established relationship with you, it will be easier to re-engage them than convert a brand new customer. The trick is to use your data to identify at risk customers and give them an offer to stay before they leave. It makes the win back campaign more successful and less costly.
- Encourage them to revisit their abandoned cart. This is critical for online retailers. The opportunity for a sale does not end just because a person decides not to complete their purchase. Tagging the cart with online tracking (cookie) codes will help you determine who these people are so you can deliver timely follow ups that keep them engaged until they are ready to act on their own time.
- Personalize your order confirmations. For customers that do complete an online order, a personalized email order confirmation for their order is recommended. We also recommend sending physical confirmations like a thank you postcard or printed welcome kit for first time customers.
- Find more people that look like your best customers. Take a deep look at your data to uncover who your best customers are, what their spending habits are, what their interests and motivations are. Use that information to target prospects that look just like them, and filter out those that are irrelevant or uninterested. Identifying new customers that look like your best customers will increase response rates because they’ll be more likely to agree with your value proposition and be motivated to act like your best customers.
- Send timely reminders for cyclical purchase. If your business model is set up for purchases that are more cyclical or seasonal, consider sending them timely communications that bring them into your store or onto your online storefront on a routine basis.
Following these 6 steps will help you build effective data-fueled direct mail campaigns that guide your customers through the buyer journey and ultimately add to your bottom line.