Mail Watch: Merchandise Marketers Go All Out
Companies in the merchandise sector are facing facts: Loathe to spend money right now, consumers are putting off home repairs; cutting back on luxuries; and trying to make do with what's already in their closets, basements and garages.
In response, merchandisers are upping the ante to acquire new customers while finding ways to reward customers for continuing to do business in these tough times. A main way firms are attracting new business is with premiums, which saw steady quarter-over-quarter increases for most of 2008, topping out at more than a quarter of all efforts in the first quarter of this year.
Showing that they can be loyal to their customers, several merchandisers rolled out thank-you and rewards program mailings. Pep Boys kept it simple with a 5" x 8" personalized postcard that thanked the customer for a recent purchase and offered a $10 discount on a future purchase as well as a free tire rotation with his next oil change (Archive code #361-178636-0903).
Firestone cranked up the bells and whistles in its three-panel self-mailer welcoming a customer to its Premier Rewards Gold Membership program: a spot-glued insert presents discounts on tires and service; two peel-off cards, one for the member and one for a friend, pony up $20 off purchases of $30 or more; a peel-off window cling for the customer's car windshield; and a fold-over, peel-off membership card provides program features, various Firestone phone numbers and the customer's membership number and expiration date (Archive code #361-672720-0903B). Personalization is featured prominently in these two pieces, and its use by merchandisers has increased nearly 10 percent, comparing Q108 (28.7 percent) with Q109 (30.7 percent).
When it comes to self-mailers, merchandisers always have found value in this format. Recently, however, the sector has shown some movement toward envelope packages; the first quarter of 2009 witnessed the lowest self-mailer use (57.9 percent) in the past five quarters. These are more serious times, after all, and envelope efforts tend to look more formal and solid.