Luxury Retailers Use Direct Mail

Luxury Retailers Hit Their Targets with Direct Mail

September 10, 2012 | by Allan Nahajewski
Opinion, Prospecting, Segmentation, Targeting, Trends
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Woman in a black dress and black shoes sitting ona white sofa in a white room, with a line of red shopping bags at her feet

Question: How do you sell luxury watches and some of the finest clothes in the world?

Answer: Through the mail, of course.

How about a 24-day, $66,950 private jet excursion?

Same answer.

The prestigious, exclusive travel company uses direct mail to get the message out about its luxurious trips by private jet, where consumers can travel around the world and explore ancient civilizations.

To attract high-end customers, the company mails a 20-page packet complete with vivid pictures and detailed trip information. A representative from the exclusive travel company said, “We know from our travelers that the print catalog is still a piece that is very much valued. Many of our travelers use our catalogs to browse and get ideas and then may opt to book by phone or make their reservation online, so direct mail is very much an important part of our overall strategy.”

Direct Mail’s Three Distinct Advantages

“Marketing through direct mail affords three distinct advantages,” says Kirk Swain, principal, DirectMail.com.

  • First, direct mail allows luxury retailers to specifically target buyers by income level, so they can extend offers exclusively to individuals who are financially able to accept those offers.
  • Second, commodities with a high single-transaction value are well suited to direct mail, as low response rates aren’t an issue when fewer sales are needed to offset the expense of the mailing.
  • Third, direct mail can provide access to data, allowing retailers to identify people who may have purchased the same or similar items in the past, and send them a letter.

Upscale Department Stores Choose Mail

A look at how luxury-oriented department stores incorporate direct mail into their marketing mix finds an array of techniques to pull in consumers and showcase the quality of their merchandise:

  • Direct mail serves as the focal point of a prominent depatrment store’s multichannel campaign that features barcodes, online, mobile, social media and catalog touch points. The company has placed mobile barcodes on almost every page of its women’s and men’s catalogs, which allow consumers to learn more about the new styles featured in the catalog. Additionally, underneath each QR Code, there is an SMS call to action.
  • A two-part catalog with up-and-coming design students, models, actors and musicians from New York showcases a department store’s urban, edgy spirit. The first part consists of the new crop of New Yorkers modeling collections, while the second part is purely to showcase products. The catalog is made with a thicker-weight paper and is bound. Its unique fold-out mechanism is also helpful to differentiate the catalog from other retailers.
  • Mail steers consumers to another luxury retail chain’s blog, mobile site, stores and website using touch points in its catalog. The retailer implements calls-to-action to its blog via barcodes while also drawing consumers to its store to check out the season’s newest looks. The catalog is double-sided and includes editorial, interviews and fashion analysis.
  • One luxury watchmaker mails two types of print catalogs — an 18-page catalog for women and a 150-page catalog of products and history — to convey an attitude of elegance and to engage both returning and new consumers in a way that fully showcases the brand’s diverse audience around the world.

Mail Prep

George Eddy, president of Denver-based Heinrich Marketing, tells the story of trying to convince the administrators at an exclusive private school to use direct mail to attract new students.

“At first, they looked at me as if I had a third eye,” he says.

The school had been using soft-sell radio ads for student recruitment, similar to the efforts of its primary competitor in the market. Heinrich Marketing pulled together a campaign with 3-D high-end mailers at an average cost of $8 to $10 per piece.

The mailings were targeted. One appeal reached well-to-do parents of students already enrolled in private schools. Another targeted wealthy parents with students in public schools. Each mailing included a DVD and a more direct appeal than the radio commercials offered.

“It worked,” says Eddy. “We were able to boost enrollment far beyond what the radio campaign could do.”

Looking for some advice on how to market luxury items? Read “Six Tips on Reaching the Affluent.”

Opinion, Prospecting, Segmentation, Targeting, Trends
 
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