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Direct Mail
February 8, 2024

The State of Direct Mail Marketing in the eCommerce Industry

by 
Guest Author

Direct mail automation in the eCommerce industry is on the rise. eCommerce marketers are capitalizing on both personalized and batch direct mail campaigns. In fact, 85% of marketers in the eCommerce space agree that direct mail produces the highest ROI of any of their marketing channels.

This year, more companies will use direct mail marketing alongside other marketing channels. According to Lob's 2024 State of Direct Mail Marketing Report, only 2% of ecommerce marketers use direct mail as a standalone tactic. The 2024 report shares key insights into how marketers in the eCommerce industry use direct mail to connect with customers. Read on for key insights into how eCommerce businesses achieve success with direct mail campaigns.

Get your copy of the eCommerce industry one-pager.

Companies are integrating digital marketing data into their direct mail strategies

Customer data is the most valuable marketing tool for e-commerce businesses. Brands can supercharge their marketing campaigns by using data to personalize their campaigns. Using direct mail automation, companies leverage customer data to send messages to the right people, at the right time. They most often pull customer data into their campaigns from marketing automation platforms and customer relationship management software (CRM).

Marketers have found ways to use customer data to send direct mail campaigns that are more relevant and timely. Data is used in three main ways: personalizing mail, optimizing campaigns for better response rates, and triggering sends based on behaviors or actions.

eCommerce brands are creating personalized direct mail campaigns using website behavior and channel preferences. Taking channel preferences into account can improve response rates by sending to an audience who prefers direct mail campaigns.

For those that deploy digital marketing campaigns using marketing automation platforms, nearly 75% incorporate the data from their marketing automation tools into their direct mail campaigns. With the hyper-personalization options available to e-commerce brands, targeted images create an opportunity within direct mail campaigns. By focusing further on personalizing text, design, and imagery, companies can truly customize their campaigns to the individual reader.

Related reading: Learn how direct mail automation can use data to reduce cart abandonment rates.

Marketers are tailoring direct mail campaigns to specific business goals

Direct mail helps eCommerce companies achieve many of their marketing goals. Direct mail campaigns focus on everything from customer retention to "win-back" campaigns. It supports the customer journey lifecycle, from awareness to customer loyalty. The surveyed companies sent 27% of their campaigns to acquire new customers, while 30% of their campaigns focused on retaining existing customers. 23% of surveyed marketers use direct mail for customer referral campaigns.

Customer referral remains a key goal of direct mail marketing campaigns in the e-commerce industry. Direct mail customer referral strategies are essential for e-commerce businesses. Marketers can capitalize on a campaign that encourages customers to refer friends with an offer on a future purchase. Blending customer retention and referral goals for one campaign can cut down on overall marketing costs and capitalize on more opportunities within the same audience.

Marketers can easily calculate ROI for direct mail campaigns

Marketers can track conversions for direct mail campaigns in many ways. Marketers in the eCommerce industry can monitor ROI for their campaigns and compare it to other marketing channels. 69% of marketers believe their company can clearly calculate the ROI of their direct mail efforts.

Marketers can calculate conversions for campaigns in creative ways. Personalized URLs (PURLs) are the most popular way to measure conversions, followed by QR codes and coupon codes. Companies can also track the sales for featured products in campaigns and attribute those sales to the corresponding direct mail campaign.

Marketers favor letters and postcards for direct mail campaigns

Brands consider various mediums for sending direct mail campaigns including letters, postcards, brochures, catalogs, self-mailers, and checks. Some are more popular than others, with letters taking the top spot for most popular direct mail collateral.

Letters and postcards are the highest-ranking direct mail formats for eCommerce, with 58% of marketers surveyed sending letters and 56% sending postcards. Marketers can capitalize on the success of their campaign medium by performing A/B tests on campaigns with different font and image combinations. Marketers who send postcards can creatively alter the format to test for different campaign results. If they send letters, they may test the performance of two-page letters against mailers with one-page letters to gauge which version performs best.

Related reading: How thredUP increased ROI 128% by A/B testing intelligent direct mail

Marketers use personalization to enhance their direct mail campaigns

eCommerce marketers rely on personalization and targeting to increase their campaign performance. Direct mail is no exception.

Marketers personalize the format, fonts, and copy of the creative in their direct mail pieces. Personalization for offers, coupons, and text has seen the largest increase year-over-year for the e-commerce industry. 59% of marketers now personalize offers and coupons in their direct mail marketing campaigns.

However, images are often overlooked and could present a great targeting opportunity. For example, if an e-commerce beauty business runs a customer referral campaign, it may see higher responses if it customizes the imagery on its mailer to reflect the customer's past purchase history. Currently only 41% of direct mail marketers personalize imagery which could represent a major opportunity for growth.

Discover more insights for eCommerce businesses in Lob's 2024 State of Direct Mail

With costs continuing to rise for e-commerce businesses, it is crucial to choose marketing channels with a higher return on investment potential. Read more insights into direct mail marketing for eCommerce by downloading Lob's 2024 State of Direct Mail Report.

The 2024 State of Direct Mail Marketing report