Maximize Sales from In-Package Promotional Inserts

Sep 15, 2008 8:47 PM  By

The concept of promotional inserts in outgoing shipments is a basic one—maximize follow-up sales by using “free” space. You’re already shipping an order to the customer, so who wouldn’t want to maximize that contact opportunity by promoting additional items for purchase.

For most merchants this means throwing in a bounceback catalog. In 90% of cases this is merely an overrun of the most recent catalog. With the exception of new online customers who have never seen your catalog, this is usually a repeat of the book most recently received by those same buyers.

Not to ruffle any cataloger’s feathers, but this is the lazy marketers approach. Sure, it is easy. But how about we focus on maximizing sales from that inexpensive promotion opportunity instead of just taking what we can get?

Even the bounceback catalog can become more hardworking and deliver better results with some basic targeting and offers. Crate a special offer and bounceback catalog for new customers. If a special catalog version to use as new buyer bounceback is prohibitively expensive, take a regular catalog and place a wrap around it thanking new customers for their business and offering them a special deal for placing another order.

You can then do the same for repeat buyer orders. Consider putting a wrap that targets major product categories. For example, if your brand sells women’s apparel, create unique wraps for outerwear and. intimates. Then place the intimates-focused wrapper catalog in the box of those purchasing intimates. And outerwear in outwear buy boxes The wraps can offer special deals on the category this buyer is most likely to have interest in – the category he/she is purchasing in now.

Consider whether additional or alternative in-pack inserts make sense. Additional inserts and catalogs aren’t either/or propositions. You can place additional single product or service focus inserts in outgoing order cartons in addition to a bounceback catalog.

The additional in-pack inserts will be most effective with a single hero product or service focus and a great deal. Make sure the additional inserts stand out against any bounceback catalog in the box as well, so your customer visually recognizes they are making a unique offer from anything in the catalog. That means different trim sizes, graphic treatments and paper stocks.

If you offer a buyer club, loyalty program or house credit card this is a great use for the in-pack insert. Hero products can also make good us of an insert that allows you to expound on their benefits and, value and offer in ways you couldn’t within the context of the printed bounceback catalog.

The moment your customer opens the box to see that wonderful item they ordered is the perfect time to get them to recommend your brand to their friends sand family. Make a great “get-a-friend” offer giving both the current and new customer a special deal, a free item, free shipping or a discount.

In-pack insets offer a multitude of promotion opportunities for minimal expense. Take advantage of these options by targeting and creating variety and interest with what you place in there instead of just using the knee-jerk of the traditional untargeted bounceback catalog. Your bottom line will thank you for it.

Shari Altman ( is president of Altman Dedicated Direct.