Pier 1 Imports puts Neighbourhood Mail in its marketing mix for impressive customer acquisition
A recent marketing case study on retail sector’s Pier 1 Imports reviews a campaign to acquire new Canadian customers and increase the average purchase. The company used Unaddressed Admail™, now called Canada Post Neighbourhood Mail™ service, to target 5 urban markets and tracked results – they were pleased to discover that over half the resulting sales came from brand new customers.
If it’s interesting, if it’s impressive, if it’s colorful, cute and one-of-a-kind – then odds are good it’s from Pier 1 Imports. Everything you find at Pier 1 Imports has a global, artisanal feel, but the charm is always familiar – something shoppers experience every time they visit.
Since first opening its doors in San Mateo, California more than 50 years ago, highly successful Pier 1 Imports has grown into a vast retail network of hundreds of stores, including 84 across Canada.
Marketing strategy and challenge
As with any company operating in the highly competitive world of retail, Pier 1 Imports is always looking for ways to drive new business and increase sales. Although Pier 1 Imports is the destination of choice for eager shoppers looking for that perfect item for home or for gift-giving, the company’s focus on finding and attracting new customers led it to the Unaddressed Admail service from Canada Post.
In June of 2014, with the objective of reaching a broader audience and drawing new in-store business, Pier 1 Imports put the Unaddressed Admail service to the test in Canada, targeting five major urban markets: Toronto, Montréal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The 500,000-piece mailing included a three-tiered offer – savings of $50, $20 and $10, depending on how much shoppers spent in-store.
Using existing Pier 1 Imports customer data, the company’s marketing team worked with Canada Post to determine household populations where the campaign would have the greatest impact. “We looked at where our current sales come from and did some look-alike targeting through Environics Analytics PRIZM clusters,” says Susan Rodgers, Director of Marketing at Pier 1 Imports. “We were then able to target the postal codes of households where there would be a higher likelihood of coupon redemption.”
Every direct mail piece included a barcode, which Pier 1 Imports used to track coupon redemption and gauge campaign success. According to Rodgers, the mailing delivered excellent results in two major ways.
“Well over half of coupons redeemed were from brand new customers, which tells us that the Unaddressed Admail service is an extremely effective channel for customer acquisition,” says Rodgers.
Another result that spoke volumes to the effectiveness of the campaign was the increase in average customer order. “It exceeded our expectations,” says Rodgers. Will Pier 1 Imports use the Unaddressed Admail service again? “We already have.” says Rodgers. “For us, direct mail is the ideal way to get the Pier 1 Imports brand name into our customers’ hands. While other forms of marketing have tried to take the place of direct mail, they really can’t. Direct mail is an important channel for us and we will continue to invest in it for the foreseeable future.”
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