Direct mail remains an effective way for apparel marketers to send
targeted messages that drive both online and ofﬂine purchases
company “deﬁnitely see[s] bumps in both trafﬁc
: Despite rising postage and paper costs, direct and revenue whenever we drop a catalog — it’s a
mail remains an important part of apparel market- way to remind customers that we are still there.”
ers’ multichannel mix. Developments in variable Other types of direct mailings have this effect
data printing and database marketing enable these as well, notes Jay Suhr, SVP of creative services
marketers to send targeted messages to their best and account planning at agency T3, which counts
customers that feature high-quality imagery and JCPenney among its clients. The main thing, he
creative that attracts buyers. reiterates, is to ensure that marketers reach con-
The mail channel’s effectiveness has even led sumers with the most relevant message possible,
at least one “dot-com” retailer to embrace postal whether through postcard mailers or catalogs.
means as a way to reach its customers. Shop.NHL. “With fewer things being mailed, postcard
com, the e-commerce arm of the National Hockey reminders of a special sale are great,” he says.
League that sells league- and team-related apparel, “Invitations to special events that feel more like a
found that focusing on a good catalog experience personal invitation can be very strong. Anything
can spur online sales. With 30 teams and a number tied to my past purchase habits is good.”
of different apparel styles available, sifting through In addition to a targeting strategy employing
the Web site can be daunting for some consum- CRM, industry stakeholders point out that it is cru-
ers, says Joslin Warren, director of commerce and cial to leverage mail as part of a multichannel push
development for the company. involving other touchpoints, such as the Web.
Catalogs are often a more compelling way to Dawn Maire, managing director and chief retail
showcase apparel. “People like getting things in the ofﬁcer for Rapp, whose clients include Macy’s, says
mail, ﬂipping through and seeing all the options, that it’s important to integrate campaign messaging
she explains. “Sometimes, with our site, we have across different channels because consumers make
an overwhelming number of products, so to be able purchases in a number of ways. The challenge, she
to sift through all of them quickly and easily in a says, is getting retailers that have traditionally siloed
30- to 32-page catalog is easier for consumers.” print and digital marketing to cross those borders
The marketer’s catalogs are heavily customized to create the best cross-channel marketing.
based on information collected online, and Warren “Where we’re taking our fashion retailers is
notes that customizati