Retailers ‘need to wake up to the power of the mailshot’

catalogue2Retail chiefs are being urged to follow the likes of Marks & Spencer, Hillary’s and Morrisons who are reaping the benefits of increasing their direct mail and door drop spend, with new figures revealing the effectiveness of the channel has reached an 18-month high, and 30.5% of mail is driving positive commercial outcomes for brands.

So says the latest Jicmail report for Q2 2023, based on data captured from a panel of a thousand households every month, which also shows mail proved its effectiveness at all stages of the customer journey: from driving brand discovery through brand discussions (up to 16% of mail in Q2 2023 from 14% in Q2 2022); to customer engagement through website visits (8% of mail); through to purchase fulfilment (up to 5% from 4% last year).

The report authors point out that, given the continued challenges that the UK high street faces in the cost of living crisis, mail recorded a 30% increase in effectiveness at driving consumer footfall in store.

While there were a handful of retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Hillary’s, Morrisons, and Farmfoods who took significant advantage of the mail channel by increasing their share of doormat (i.e. share of mail volumes) in Q2, there is a clear opportunity for other retailers to boost their visibility in consumer households through the mail channel for the remainder of 2023.

The IPA’s recent Bellwether study reported that sales promotions drove record levels of growth in Q2 2023, and Jicmail’s Q2 data demonstrates that mail was a vital channel for delivering vouchers and special offers.

Overall consumer engagement with mail also continued to grow in Q2, with frequency of interaction up year-on-year across direct mail, door drops, partially addressed mail, and item reach (i.e. the number of people mail is shared with in a household) up across all mail types.

For the fourth quarter in a row, mail open, read and retention rates improved year on year, indicating the importance that consumers place on brand messages delivered by the mail channel in challenging economic times, Jicmail stressed.

Mail attention has also continued to grow, with the average piece of direct mail looked at for 122 seconds, door drops 55 seconds and business mail 159 seconds. As covered in Jicmail’s recently published “The Time We Spend With Mail” attention study, high attention mail items have a up to three times the effectiveness multiplier that advertisers should look to take significant advantage of through their creative design.

Jicmail director of data leadership and learning Ian Gibbs said: “There have continued to be mixed signals from the British high street this summer. While retail sales actually increased in June, the number of vacant stores grew.

“Either way, with budgets under significant pressure, marketers need to consider their media mix with even greater levels of scrutiny.

“With the mail channel proving its ability to drive store footfall and purchase along with a range of digital effects, it is clear that direct mail and door drops can offer advertisers the immediate returns that they are looking for.”

Jicmail engagement director Mark Cross added: “The opportunity for advertisers to present their value story in mail in a tough economic climate is unmatched.

“We now include the time spent with mail metrics as part of gold standard reporting which collectively demonstrates that as well as increased reach, readership and commercial actions, people are also spending more time with their mail than ever. Data demanding renewed attention from all planners.”

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