Pure Play Sees Value of Direct Mail

XSportsProtective.com has been an online seller of action sports equipment since president Jim Bartlett founded the company in November 2005. But if the ROI on its two holiday season postcard mailing campaigns are as good as he thinks, Bartlett says he may go multichannel.

Bartlett says he can see spikes in site traffic activity, online orders and phone orders around the time the company dropped the two mailings. But at press time he was waiting for matchback results from consultant J. Schmid and Associates before determining if they were a success.

Both drops went to house file names, and crossed over buyer segments including seasonality and average order size. The names, segmented by recency, went to buyers who made two purchases within the past six months. In all, postcards went out to about one-third of XSportsProtective.com’s 33,000 names.

The first drop was mailed to 5,000 customers just before Thanksgiving, and offered 10% off a purchase of $50 or more with an expiration of Nov. 30. The second postcard went to 10,000 customers on Dec. 10, with a message that orders placed by Dec. 23 would arrive by Christmas.

“I can see from our analytics that the traffic to our site grew right after the postcards dropped, and that was our goal,” Bartlett says. “Our early indication is that the ROI was positive.”

If that is the verdict, Bartlett says the next step could be a test of slim-jim catalog or a pamphlet-size mailer, something that would show the diversity of action sports the company offers protective equipment for.

“My approach has been to just send e-mails to my house file, and we’ve done that forever,” Bartlett said. “Mailing postcards is more expensive, but if we achieved a positive ROI, maybe we can do a test mailing of a more robust catalog.”

XSportsProtective.com experimented in-house during holiday 2008 with two postcard drops of 2,000 each, and Bartlett said it was “not for a compelling offer.” But based on response and orders, Bartlett says he sought out J. Schmid to develop a fine-tuned sequel.

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