Contributions to Profit Think Inside the Box
By Jim Gilbert
Your most strategic asset is your outgoing product package. It's one of the customer touchpoints that can build a powerful brand identity, and be used to convert new customers into multibuyers. But I've often found this asset to be under-utilized — from not inserting any marketing collateral, to treating marketing materials placed inside as an afterthought.
People love to get the products they've purchased. It's like opening presents during the holidays. When an individual opens the box, the enclosed items are seen in a positive light — even the marketing materials. That's why most catalogers place bounceback catalogs in the box: to take advantage of the euphoria of opening a "present."
Some marketers ask why they should put the same catalog from which someone just ordered back in the person's hands. Because it works. Here's how you can use outbound packages strategically.
- Segment your offers. One company I worked with sold products for both men and women. We developed a powerful cross-selling program to take advantage of this company's appeal to both genders. The fulfillment staff inserted offers specific for each gender. We inventoried the inserts so items easily could be picked and packed. The 6-by-9-inch inserts included a coupon border order form.
Our simple cross-selling program helped increase return on investment and was extremely successful in building customer lifetime value. And we didn't stop at just one insert. While some inserts did better than others, we found there was no top end in how many inserts we could place in the box. We kept things fresh by continually testing new creative and swapping out products.
- Convert single buyers to multis. You also can segment what goes into an outbound shipping box by where a customer is in his or her lifecycle. For example, put a welcome letter and special offer in a new customer's first shipment.