Online retailers go offline to capture attention

Today’s mail contained a promotional piece that caught my attention – from  The direct mail piece was a tri-fold that opened and highlighted five of their upcoming flash sales, showcasing products and listing out the dates the sales will be live. It didn’t feel particularly relevant or personalized (I am not a pet person and explicitly opted out of their “Pets” editions), but I am guessing they are targeting their existing mail file. Rather than the messaging being explanatory about what is (targeting new members), it seems they are going after re-activating members who have made past purchases but whose activity has lessened recently, trying to intrigue them by reminding them of’s existence and array of product offerings.


I was intrigued that this online start-up is testing or experimenting with direct mail, and am curious what their return on investment for a piece like this is.  I’ve been impressed with throughout the year, particularly with the operational focus and gains they have made in reducing their delivery times.  While I didn’t expect to see a direct mail piece like this from them, it did catch my eye and stand out, felt true to the essence of quirkiness and sleek design, and likely achieved their goal of making them more top-of-mind for me as a shopper.

Seems that a handful of online-only sites are taking holiday season efforts to reach customers through non-online ways. One Kings Lane debuted television advertisements two weeks ago, and Piperlime and Shopbop have each had major print ads in fashion magazines like Vogue and InStyle recently.  All of these strike me as engagement plays trying to remind their current customers of their existence, rather than user acquisition moves.

I’ll be paying attention throughout the holiday season at who else in the online world is taking offline efforts to capture consumer attention.



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