Industry giants back first UK programmatic mail service

digital direct mail 2Royal Mail and GI Solutions are backing a tech start-up which claims to offer the first programmatic direct mail service in the UK, enabling brands to automatically send highly personalised mailshots to online customers who have visited ecommerce sites but not followed through to make a purchase.
The launch of Paperplanes comes nearly two years after Royal Mail started testing its own programmatic service, which linked online cookies with postal data to target consumers with mailshots rather than through online display or email.
The new scheme, which is claimed to be the only one available in the UK, works in a similar way, by identifying the online behaviour of a customers, but with the addition of GI Solutions’ industrial scale print capability. The firm claims that campaigns can be initiated within hours of a customer visiting a website and delivered within 48 hours.
Founder Daniel Dunn said: “What we are launching enables businesses to send the kind of mail their customers want to receive. Imagine a letter that you know your customer would want to read. Imagine if it could write and send itself, at the very moment you know they want to read it. That’s programmatic direct mail. And that’s what we deliver.”
Paperplanes insists campaigns can tackle everything from abandoned baskets and improving conversion rates, to attracting new customers and retaining loyal ones.
GI Solutions Group chief executive Patrick Headley added: “We’ve always believed in the power of direct mail. Placing a tangible asset into your customer’s hands is incredibly effective but currently not possible via digital channels. Now Paperplanes will change this. It harnesses the best of digital marketing with the delivery power of direct mail. This is going to evolve the way people are marketed to.”
The company does not officially launch until next week (February 23), however, it has already started working with a number of clients, including fashion brand JD Williams.
Tapping into the brand’s existing successful abandoned bag email programme, Paperplanes targeted the non-responding customers with highly personalised mail, acting as a nudge to encourage them to complete their orders.
It created a highly targeted daily mailing, using digital print, to present a visual reminder of the abandoned products, as well as using online behavioural data to dynamically show personalised ‘most browsed’ product categories.
JD Williams head of marketing Dara O’Malley said: “Paperplanes delivered mail that our customers actually wanted. We know this because we got a 14% basket recovery rate uplift that would not have happened without the personalised letters and postcards Paperplanes delivered. We are programmatic direct mail believers.”

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