By Sam Upton
Parcel inserts have been around for a while now, but new tracking technology has the potential to make them a major marketing channel.
One of the curious – and sometimes infuriating – things about marketing is the way it’s able to insert itself into almost every area of daily life. Aside from the thousands of daily advertising messages through traditional channels such as TV, digital, newspapers, magazines, direct mail and billboards, there’s a constant stream of new ways for a brand to grab your attention.
Stare down at your feet when walking up a staircase at a train station and you’re faced with an advert, walk through a busy town centre and there’s an experiential ‘pop-up’, watch your favourite soap and there’s a carefully placed coffee cup. Now marketers have cottoned onto the positive feelings associated with opening a parcel.
Of course, package inserts have been around for a while now – usually for boxes of wine or meal subscriptions – but the one thing that’s stopped them gaining traction in marketing circles is their inability to be assessed. Inserts are packed, parcels are sent out, and whether the consumer takes action is a complete unknown.
However, a company in America has recently developed the technology to track these inserts, making it simpler for marketers to monitor their impact and get a true picture of the performance of this relatively new channel.
Delivering Marketing Value
What the WRAP study shows is that, while there is certainly an enthusiasm among the public for UnDigital, an ad tech platform, has created a personalised unboxing marketing platform that they claim increases customer retention rates by 5% to 15%, as well as increasing order frequency and customer LTV (lifetime value). The company offers personalised print-on-demand inserts that can be tracked and used to measure campaign revenue, impression count and the action taken by each customer.
“Package inserts were once static and pre-printed, and until now, did not provide the personalized brand experience that today’s consumers expect,” says Ryan Millman, founder and CEO of UnDigital. “Our technology takes something fairly old school to the digital age and allows brands to take advantage of the millions of packages being shipped out daily.”
The Good Mood Moment
When you consider the positive feelings associated with receiving and opening a parcel, it’s a surprise it’s taken marketers so long to use them as a way to engage with consumers. Even though the consumer knows exactly what they are getting, the sense of anticipation when the parcel arrives combined with the excitement of opening the packaging puts them in exactly the right mood to be sold to – especially if the brand knows just what they like.
Then there’s the 100% open rate, the inability to delete or ignore the message (unlike, say, emails), and the sheer volume of parcels the average consumer receives. Ecommerce now accounts for more than a quarter of all retail sales in the UK, and is expected to reach one-third by 2024 (Statista, 2021). By far the most popular product bought online is fashion, with 55% of the UK population regularly getting their new clothes delivered. Taken with home accessories (28%), electronic devices (24%), and cosmetics and beauty products (22%), that’s a lot of opportunities to reach the consumer with targeted messages.
The Opportunity For Print Marketing
What this means for the print industry is the emergence of a new trackable channel open for companies to dive into. As the targeting, tracking and data management technology develops and the channel becomes more popular with brands, the print industry should be ready to take advantage with personalised insert solutions of its own.
As one of the early adopters of UnDigital insert platform, Unilever found using the system increased customer retention by 9%. Vasiliki Petrou, Executive Vice President of Unilever Prestige, said: “Using a box as a digital screen is a storytelling opportunity that a lot of brands miss.”