Let’s get physical: Mailshots drive retail sector recovery

shopping mall 2Direct mail is continuing to play a key role in the UK business sector’s pandemic recovery plans, with many of the country’s top retailers – including Tesco, Boden, Matalan, Boots and Specsavers – sending millions of mailshots in Q2, reflecting the increased effectiveness of mail in driving consumers both online and to the high street.

So says the latest data from Jicmail, based on information captured from a panel 1,000 households every month, revealing that the effectiveness of mail at driving consumers in to bricks and mortar retail stores increased by 71% year on year in Q2 2021.

Confidence in the mail ad market also continued to rebound, with direct mail volumes received by Jicmail panellists increasing by 51% year on year, and door drops by 181%.

The May local government elections played their part in driving political party volumes, as did continued Covid related messaging from the NHS but the travel and home shopping retail sectors also featured strongly in the recovery of the retail market.

Mail played a crucial role in driving consumers in to stores, with the 1.4% of all mail having a footfall effect, nearly double the figure for Q2 2020. Meanwhile, door drops played their part in prompting consumers to retail visit stores with 2.1% of all mail prompting a voucher redemption, compared to 1.6% in the same period last year.

While mail helped increase physical store traffic, it also continued to boost consumer traffic to advertiser websites. This figure was sustained at a level nearly six times greater than its footfall effects. In Q1, 9% of mail (direct mail, door-drops and business mail combined) prompted a visit to an advertiser website, representing a 32% growth in effectiveness year on year.

The average piece of mail was interacted with 4.4 times in Q2, and shared with 1.14 people per household – boosting mail campaign reach by 14% and generating ad impressions over four times greater than the mail volumes delivered. Door drops recorded an average frequency of 2.99 and item reach of 1.06.

Mail interactions captured by Jicmail panellists take many forms and range from opening and reading mail, to passing it on to someone else, putting it in the usual place, putting aside to look at later or taking it out of home (among a list of many other actions). In addition, Jicmail captures the industry category and advertiser details of almost every mail item in its 190,000+ mail item database.

An analysis of key advertiser activity reveals that local election activity saw four of the top ten door drop advertiser spots being occupied by the major UK political parties.

Meanwhile, the NHS continues to dominate the direct mail and business mail rankings with the continued roll-out of key Covid and vaccination communications.

The release of the Jicmail Q2 results coincide with the launch of a suite of new competitive insight tools to help advertisers measure their visibility on the doormat compared to competitors; understand their mail performance against other industry leaders; and draw out key insights into which consumer segments different brands are targeting with mail.

Jicmail engagement director Mark Cross said: “The pronounced uplift in Jicmail panel volumes is striking, with the multiple effects of mail continuing to impact both media and consumer behaviours over this period.

“The new normal of heightened digital effects from mail are evident again, and across this quarter, the effects of driving much needed store traffic and consumer value through vouchers a particular stand-out.

“The commercial activity generated by mail, as captured by Jicmail, demonstrates the channel’s clear relevance to the recovery effort in the economy.”

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