Many vendors are missing a goldmine in personalizing customer experience because they are not thinking “inside the box.” A proprietary combination of software and on-demand printers from marketing automation firm UnDigital personalizes the unboxing experience.
This relatively new technology is turning e-commerce delivery packages into a marketing channel. A growing number of direct-to-consumer retail brands now use this innovative marketing strategy to box in their competition.
These enlightened retailers are gaining unrealized benefits from using the inside of their packages as a fully automated, targeted, measurable marketing channel.
With the digital ad landscape so competitive, plus new privacy regulations making customer targeting difficult, along with tight budgets, UnDigital gives retailers a unique marketing solution.
Custom Package Inserts
The trick is providing retailers with custom-printed inserts for every customer that opens a package. Retailers do this at their own fulfillment centers with no extra work.
The printing on-demand approach lets retailers measure the results, use those insights to improve marketing, drive incremental revenue, and build loyalty. Their CRM platforms connect to UnDigital’s cloud to provide an integrated instant turnaround that prints out focused pages about the specific products shipped to the customer’s address.
The process is simple and cost-effective. UnDigital supplies however many color printers the retailers’ facilities require. These printers have embedded software that automatically connects with UnDigital’s cloud.
“It is really like the next great marketing channel. There are 37 billion packages being shipped out globally a year. What UnDigital is doing is helping the e-commerce brands unlock the value of that touchpoint, which is really powerful from a customer perspective,” Ryan Millman, founder and CEO of UnDigital, told CRM Buyer.
UnDigital’s personalized unboxing marketing
Inside the product, boxing is a perfect opportunity for retailers to present marketing content that gives customers help, is personalized, has the proper call to action, and either drives that next step or provides value to the customer, he explained.
UnDigital developed an approach that enables customer retailers to assess daily which marketing campaigns are working. Every package shipped to a retailer’s customer gets something unique and very personalized based on the customer data.
This high-tech level of personalizing information took UnDigital years to develop. The company has worked with brand marketing since 1999.
Building the software from scratch was expensive and time-consuming. The company created the concept and is the innovator of this personal process of enhancing the customer experience.
“This had never been done before because it is complicated,” Millman said. “We have been developing this technology for well over three years.”
Until UnDigital debuted its new platform two years ago, the closest that retailers could come to including messaging delivered with the product was pre-print messaging, he offered.
Retailers just pre-print 100,000 duplicate pages and give everybody the same thing in the shipping box. That one-size-fits-all tactic fails to deliver much worthwhile information to consumers.
Plus, that batch and blast approach to printing marketing materials is very expensive. Then, there is the added cost of moving the paper pallets around the fulfillment facility. All the while, the mass-produced mailer sheets of paper are not very relevant, suggested Millman.
“This channel now — for the first time — is being moved to a one-to-one marketing channel with our technology. So it is really the best way and most efficient way to market your customers, driving incredible returns for our e-commerce brands,” he said.
How It Works
UnDigital’s software lives in the cloud. The company creates rulesets just like the setup for email marketing. Those rulesets are paired with printers that are internet of things (IoT) devices that live at the fulfillment center.
In essence, UnDigital’s process brings to a retailer’s delivery packages the kind of online personalization developed for customer relations platforms. Depending on the merchandise and the customer’s background, each in-the-box printout is specific to enhancing the customer’s shopping experience with each purchase. That customer data is fed into UnDigital’s cloud-based CRM platform.
The packaged marketing sheet comes directly from the retailer’s printers in the fulfillment center. UnDigital has nothing to do with the sales process, the customer, or the shipping process.
“A printed paper insert could be a single sheet or as a postcard. It could be a mini catalog. We have different types of outputs, but it is all printed on paper,” Millman explained.
The complicated process takes mere seconds to complete. The printing is done on-demand as each package label is scanned. The printer talks to the cloud server to retrieve the rulesets and the customer data. The on-site printer spews out the personalized pages, and the processing center’s assembly line deposits the printed pages into the shipping box.
An Up-Close Look
Let’s say you ordered from a shoe retailer and are not in their loyalty program. The marketing message might say, “You’re not yet experiencing our loyalty program. These are all the benefits. This is how you wash them. This is how you use them.”
The customer is invited to scan the printed QR code to activate a loyalty membership. Other pages might also suggest additional retail sites and shoes that the customer will love to buy, Millman offered as an example.
“We are taking all this information and providing helpful information, recommending products, and building brand affinity by printing on demand. The content is something that is really meaningful and relevant to you. When you open the box, it is the first thing you see,” he noted.
UnDigital handles the printing and stitching together the assets in milliseconds. The cloud serves it all down to the dedicated printer in real time.
The retailer could have one location or multiple outlets. The software is scalable.
Customer Service Relief
Retailers using UnDigital can set up and schedule different types of campaigns that they want to run. All live in UnDigital’s cloud, along with all the user data and company-related graphics the retailer provides.
“We are bringing in the CRM data, and that is what we use to target the proper marketing collateral,” said Millman. “We are basically personalizing in real time the assets the brand provides and printing it at the moment that your [shipping] box is open.”
For example, Millman described a beauty products retailer using UnDigital’s marketing platform. The store, in the first month, reduced customer service calls by 23 percent.
“They took the reasons why people were calling based on certain products and provided helpful information on how to get the best out of it. So we can decrease customer service calls,” he said.