Adnymics: personalized printed parcel inserts as an aid to customer retention

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Print marketing is more effective than e-mail marketing, especially if it involves customer-specific product recommendations that liven up the unpacking experience. What can this Munich-based start-up’s solution do?

In the next few weeks I shall increasingly be focusing on web-to-packaging. The provider that I am profiling here is neither an online print provider nor a packaging customizer. Adnymics provides a customized sales approach using brochures that are enclosed with products ordered in parcels. Parcel inserts – be they leaflets with voucher codes or more extensive brochures – are an important promotional channel in the eCommerce business, especially as very few products ordered online (from non-online print providers) are delivered to the buyer without additional inserts. I have had the Adnymics principle on my radar for a while now. But ever since I conducted that interview with Martin Groß-Albenhausen, the deputy CEO of the bevh eCommerce association, in which he mentioned Adnymics more than once, I am thinking that the time has now come for me to take a closer look at this topic. Before I go any further – you don’t have to be a shipper to be a client of Adnymics – placing advertising in the parcel inserts of other shippers is also feasible. But this blog post is primarily about the all-in-one solution that this Munich-based start-up, established at the end of 2014, markets successfully.

Customized parcel inserts that dovetail both with the provider‘s product portfolio and the customer’s needs are taken much more notice of than coupons, which are not of interest to the buyer; Source: adnymics.com

At that key unpacking moment everything other than the products ordered, including any enclosed leaflets and vouchers for products that don’t match the product(s) ordered or are not of interest to the recipient, are put to one side. So no added value for either shipper or customer! This is exactly where Adnymics comes into play and its system aims to reduce the probability of products being returned, to turn first-time buyers into repeat buyers and in general to help customers  feel better about the brand in question through the use of smart print. Personalization is – as is so often the case – the keyword. Impersonal inserts can be replaced by this all-in-one print retargeting/target packaging solution using personalized brochures with tailored product recommendations and editorial content. The personal approach can be incorporated on the cover and in the editorial. Search and buying behavior data determine what other products are offered on the inside pages of the insert. How does the brochure find its way into the parcel? The relevant order code is scanned in during order picking and recorded customer data as well as data collected by the software is communicated to the print system via automatic data transfer, triggering production of the insert.

It’s a well-known eCommerce fact that customers are much more receptive to a well-crafted marketing message in print at that moment when they associate other offerings with the one they have just unpacked than they are to after-sales e-mails. Adnymics’ all-in-one solution incorporates its digital print system, which is set up in its logistics area, recommendation software to determine and process the relevant print data as well as the server used to store this data plus technical support for store integration issues and for the brochures and leaflets print system including consumables. There is no information available about what this whole shebang is supposed to cost. A one-off set-up fee and a basic monthly charge as well as the variable costs for the quantity of printed inserts are most probably billed. A customized 8-page stapled brochure is said to cost around 20 Eurocents. The system is a lucrative one for retailers that ship at least a 4-digit quantity of parcels a month. In order to help monitor how successful these customer-specific inserts are, Adnymics can also install its back-end Dashboard. This facilitates realtime monitoring and adjustment of campaign activities, of campaign KPIs such as increased shopping basket values, rebuys and the number of parcel inserts sent. Insert layouts can be edited to take account of customer specifics, which includes voucher-code generation with adjustment functions for different types of customer (also known as dynamic couponing). Brochures can therefore feature language-, season- or event-related designs – and the inserts do not need to be restricted just to other offerings but can also contain buyer-profile-matching tips or recipes, depending on the particular sector. And if the buyer again finds a product in the brochure that takes their fancy, they can make their next purchase using a mobile device to scan in a QR code.

“Instead of getting paid to include other providers’ ineffective promotional inserts in their parcels, some store operators should promote their own offerings and turn the customer’s unpacking experience into a personal brand touchpoint.” – Bernd Zipper

The principle works really well, otherwise Adnymics wouldn’t have any clients, who according to current information achieve 10-percent-plus higher conversion rates and up to 90 percent higher shopping basket totals using this system compared to average store figures. Adnymics’ system is already in use, for example, at the Berlin-based premium footwear provider, Shoepassion. Shoepassion customers, who receive a personalized insert accompanying their handmade shoes, tend to buy roughly 25 percent more frequently than those who do not receive such an insert. If you also consider that repeat buyers’ shopping basket totals are considerably higher than those of the reference group, then you can definitely say that investing in this system makes sense. The working relationship between the Munich-based business and Galeria Kaufhof, which has achieved double-digit-percentage increases in sales through online retailing in the last few years despite being better known as a bricks-and-mortar retailer, is in its infancy. And Kaufhof wants to achieve even higher conversion rates using personalized inserts to accompany orders.

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Voucher codes, search terms used and products similar to the one(s) purchased are used here to provide content for the multipage brochure. Online print providers could also promote their portfolios this way and turn first-time buyers into repeat buyers; Source: adnymics.com

That’s all very well, but where does online print come into all of this? Quite honestly, most of the orders that my team and I placed during the last 12 months were shipped without or to some extent with completely pointless inserts. Printed promotional materials should not be a problem for print providers; big data should not just be used for digital communication but also to liven up the experience of when the purchase is completed, i.e. when it is unpacked. That’s because online print providers also need to ensure customer satisfaction, which is associated with brand loyalty – that’s the only way to prevent customers, especially those in the market for commodity-type products, from migrating when they get their hands on the first available offer from the competition.

My take: a solution of this kind will enable smaller and mid-sized eCommerce providers to deliver profitable proprietary marketing to customers and achieve customer loyalty by applying more customization. Using the software, the shipper can decide themselves if offerings and what offerings are placed in inserts and adapt the inserts as described above. For many online print providers these inserts would be a sensible complement to mailshots and after-sales e-mails, and one most providers should be able to afford, given that they themselves can determine how many customer-specific inserts are sent out. The bookable ads in inserts (Target Conversion), which Adnymics offers in addition to Target Packaging, should however not be considered by larger providers as an alternative, because that way they either reincorporate “third-party advertising” into their processes or they advertise on “away ground” at other providers.

Founder and CEO of zipcon consulting GmbH, one of the leading consulting companies for the print and media industry in Central Europe. The technology and strategy consultant and his team actively support practical implementation in a wide variety of customer projects. His work involves developing visions, concepts and strategies for the players active in the print production process across a wide range of industries. His areas of expertise include online print, mass customization, strategy and technological assessment for print, and the development of new strategies in the print and media environment. Bernd Zipper is the creator and chairman of Initiative Online Print e.V. and, in addition to his consulting activities, is an author, lecturer and sought-after speaker, orator and moderator. His visionary lectures are regarded worldwide as trend-setting management recommendations for the print and media industry. (Profiles also in Xing, LinkedIn).

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