The direct mail industry has thrown its weight behind Royal Mail’s decision to renew Covid-19 initiatives designed to reinvigorate the market following a wipe-out of activity in the first half of last year.
The Strategic Mailing Partnership, the industry body that represents mailing houses across the UK, claims the move should help kick-start the economy, which is now under further pressure following this week’s implementation of the Britain’s third national lockdown.
The first incentive, Back to Business, was launched in May and gives a preferential rate for customers looking to post a minimum of 50,000 additional mail items per quarter.
The second, Back to Business Extra, unveiled in August, is aimed at larger customers who want to send at least 2.5 million extra mail items at an even lower rate.
Both schemes are being renewed for a further 12 months while fixed percentage discounts are being introduced to simplify the offering.
Royal Mail claims the incentives enjoyed an impressive pick-up rate, with 680 applications approved and £9.2m accrued in credits to be offset against postage costs.
A number of discounts are offered for advertising mail, business mail and publishing mail. Royal Mail is also seeking to work with wholesale customers and the wider mail industry to promote growth and retention within the letters division.
A first-time user discount will provide a discount for customers who have never used advertising mail or have not done so in the past two years.
In October, Royal Mail reported that in the first half of 2020 direct mail volumes were down 49% as customer marketing campaigns were delayed or cancelled, with revenues plummeting 47.8% to £160m as a result.
However, the market was boosted by Jicmail’s Q3 results – gathered from a panel of 1,000 households – which revealed 8.7% of all advertising mail (including direct mail, door drops and business mail) drove traffic to advertiser websites during the period, up from 6.5% a year ago and representing a 33% increase year on year.
Furthermore, 5.8% of ad mail has driven people online generally to find out more information about advertising content: up from 4.1% a year ago and representing a 41% increase year on year.
SMP chair Judith Donovan CBE said: “These schemes help ensure mail remains a cost-effective method of communication at this challenging time. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted trading at all levels and these incentives will go some way towards supporting businesses across the board.
“The news that the portfolio is being extended into 2021 will come as a boost for our members as a means of generating work and to help kickstart the economy. Considering the latest Jicmail data, this is clearly a great time to make the most of the power of mail.”
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