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Field Survey on the Effectiveness of Cross-Channel Sales Promotions Using Direct Mailouts (DM) and E-mail in the Field of E-Commerce Finds that Conversion Rates (CVR) Increased by 2.5 Times, While Sales Turnover Increased by 1.9 Times

February 13, 2018

DigitalHybrid company TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD. (“TOPPAN FORMS,” hereafter) has conducted a field survey in cooperation with the e-commerce division of AOKI Inc. brand ORIHICA to validate the effectiveness of sales promotions due to differences in promotional methods utilizing direct mailouts (DMs) and e-mail.
In the survey it was found that notifying customers of promotion content using both DMs and e-mail was 2.5 times more effective in terms of sale conversion rates (CVR) and 1.9 times more effective in terms of sales turnover in comparison with customer demographics who were notified by e-mail alone; thereby proving the effectiveness of cross-channel marketing promotions in the field of e-commerce.

Outline of Survey Findings

  • 1.It was found that, when using a combination of both DMs and e-mail, CVR increased by 2.5 times and sales turnover increased by 1.9 times in comparison with customer demographics who were notified by e-mail alone due to cross-channel marketing effects.
  • 2.While the sales promotion effects of e-mail weaken after the date of sending, the effectiveness of DMs (in which a paper-based medium remains) was sustained, proving the long-term effectiveness of DMs.
  • 3.Even with the DM + e-mail method of promotion, profits secured exceeded the cost of DM mailouts, proving that sufficient cost-effectiveness can be attained with DMs.

The following is a comment issued by a member of staff responsible for e-commerce at ORIHICA (AOKI Inc.), which cooperated in conducting the field survey.
■ Comment from a member of staff responsible for e-commerce at ORIHICA (AOKI Inc.)
“Although we have been conducting massive DM-based sales promotions at our real-life stores for quite some time, this was our first attempt at using DM sales promotions in the e-commerce business field. The reason for this was that we had tended to avoid using DMs because they are costly in comparison with e-mail promotions. However, this field survey proved the high-level effectiveness of cross-channel promotions using a combination of both DMs and e-mail, and also showed us that the profits secured are commensurate with the cost of issuing DMs. While low-cost digital sales promotions will of course remain the mainstream approach in e-commerce business operations, in the future we would also like to go on to incorporate sales promotion measures for increasing sales turnover through cross-channel promotions with DMs.”

■About ORIHICA
AOKI Inc. launched the ORIHICA brand in 2004. ORIHICA plans and develops its own apparel products for both men and women to match all manner of occasions, from business to casual wear. Not content at being constrained merely to the business category, ORIHICA offers new style with highly general-purpose items to bring enrichment and enjoyment to customer lifestyles, at 145 stores nationwide. In the same way, AOKI also operates an online (e-commerce) store for the ORIHICA brand.

Outline of the Field Survey Conducted

  • Survey period:
    Approximately one month (Sunday, October 1 to Sunday, October 29, 2017)
  • Subjects:
    13,200 ORIHICA online store members (*selected from the total membership)
  • Details of survey:
    The subject members were divided into three segments based on their previous purchasing histories. A sales promotion campaign was then carried out utilizing DMs and e-mail. The same numbers of customers were selected at random from amongst each segment and sent notifications using DMs + e-mail, DMs only and e-mail only. Indicators such as CVR and sales turnover for ORIHICA’s e-commerce site were then measured, and the relationship between the method of notification and sales promotion effects was assessed. DMs were sent out once at the beginning of the campaign. E-mails were sent a total of three times: on the day before the first day of the campaign to notifiy the subjects of the campaign content, midway through the campaign as a reminder, and just before the end of the campign to notify the subjects that the campaign was ending soon.

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Summary of Survey Results

■ Subject segments
Because cost per customer acquisition (CPA) for DMs is generally higher than for e-mail, e-mail is the mainstream means of customer relationship management (CRM) in the e-commerce industry. In this survey, subjects were selected from demographics for which it was considered acceptable to use DM-based sales promotions despite their poor response rate and high CPA (i.e. low-loyalty demographics).

Operation flow after installation of the data analysis system upgrade solution
  • 1. Due to cross-channel marketing effects, it was found that CVR increased by 2.5 times and sales turnover increased by 1.9 times when using a combination of DMs and e-mail, in comparison with e-mail alone.

As a result of the field survey, it was found that CVR increased by 2.5 times and sales turnover increased by 1.9 times when notifying customers using a combination of DMs and e-mail rather than simply e-mail alone.

「Eメールのみ」と「DM+Eメール」の比較

A notable effect was observed for the estranged customer demographic, for which e-mail arrival rates are particularly low. CVR when using a combination of DMs and e-mail reached 3.9 times that for e-mail alone, with sales turnover increasing by 2.9 times.

離反顧客層のCVRと売上額


  • 2. It was found that while the sales promotion effects of e-mail are poor other than directly after the date of sending, the effectiveness of DMs (in which a paper-based medium remains) was sustained, proving the long-term effectiveness of DMs.

各施策の実施日と1日あたりの売上額の推移

In the survey, e-mail notifications were sent on a total of three occasions: (1) notification at the beginning of the campaign, (2) interim reminder, and (3) notification just prior to the end of the campaign. Although sales for customers receiving e-mails only (i.e. no DMs) increased on the days that the e-mails were sent, the effect did not continue during other times, and the results were poor. Meanwhile, in the case of customers who were sent both DMs and e-mails, the sales promotion effects continued during other times, not only on the days when the e-mails were sent, and sales figures remained strong, with a primary focus around holidays. In particular, the highest daily sales turnover was recorded on the final day of the campaign. This proved the long term effectiveness of customers having a DM in their possession that they look at again at any time, coupled with the high-level synergy effects of digital and analog cross-channel marketing.

  • 3. Profits secured exceeded the cost of DM mailouts

Although e-mail remains the mainstream means of customer relationship management (CRM) in the e-commerce industry, open rates (the percentage of customers actually opening e-mail that are sent to them) and sales promotion effects of e-mail are declining in recent times due to excessive sending of e-mails to customers. In particular, many defected customers handle such e-mails as spam or junk mail, and it is said that their capabilities as a means of sales promotion are being extremely degraded. Also, under the Act on Regulation of Transmission of Specified Electronic Mail, senders are required to obtain the consent of customers to opt-in when sending such e-mails. The actual state of affairs is that typically, almost half of e-commerce store customers refuse to accept promotional e-mails. Due to conditions such as these, in recent times, the use of DMs is beginning to be reevaluated.
In this survey, in addition to sales turnover, the cost of DM promotions was also verified. Validation of advertising effectiveness was carried out using various effectiveness indicators, including ROAS (return on advertising spend) and ROI (return on investment). As a result, an ROAS value of 4.4. and an ROI value of 1.6 were obtained for the overall subject group (including the estranged customer demographic, for which sales promotion efficiency was the poorest); proving that, through effective utilization of cross-channel marketing using both digital and analog sales promotion tools, DMs are a means of sales promotion that not only contribute to an increase in sales turnover, but also enable a sufficiently high level of cost-effectiveness to be attained.

  • * “DigitalHybrid” is a registered trademark of TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD.
  • * Other product names, etc., stated elsewhere are the registered trademarks or brands of each company.
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