As it is such a unique segment of the mailing population, it’s no surprise that retail traffic drivers tend to differ greatly from their more traditional mail counterparts. It’s also important to note, however, that even though retailers mail differently, they do so in great numbers: Retail is only one of 200 categories in which the Who’s Mailing What! Archive gathers mail, but it accounted for 6.3 percent of 2006’s efforts. With such strong volumes, it’s no surprise that the retail sector often has the ability to drive trends within the general mailstream.
Take, for example, self-mailers. Some 90 percent of retail efforts received by the Archive in 2006 were self-mailers, and retail mailings accounted for 11.5 percent of all the self-mailers gathered by the Archive during that period. Another example can be found when looking at how retail mailings help buoy sweepstakes volume. Only 3.4 percent of 2006 retail efforts included a sweepstakes component, but the overall mailstream posted even weaker numbers—about 2.2 percent, and retailers were responsible for 9.7 percent of that. Similarly, less than 1 percent of all Archive mailings arrived in a polybag—and 6.4 percent of them came from retailers.
Retailers may be in part responsible for keeping polybags and sweepstakes active in the Archive, but the same certainly cannot be said for their impact on personalization numbers. While slightly more than 30 percent of all 2006 Archive mailings featured personalization, retail efforts accounted for just 1.3 percent of that. Overall, just 5.9 percent of all retail mailings were personalized. The same is true of freemiums: Less than half a percent of retail efforts contained freemiums in 2006, and that fraction accounted for less than a half percent of all freemiums received by the Archive in 2006.
Premiums, on the other hand, were relatively on par with the rest of the mailstream. About 13.2 percent of retailers drove foot traffic with the help of an in-store freebie, while about 19 percent of the overall mailstream featured such incentives. About 15 percent of the Archive’s 2006 premiums came at the hand of retail mailers.