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Andy Young

Parcel Delivery and Direct Marketing: An Evolving Customer Communications Channel

Nested experiences that drive brand engagement

Mar 6, 2023 8:30:16 AM


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The unboxing experience is well documented. We delight in the prospect of seeing a package delivered to our doorstep and wonder “what arrived today?” For many of us, parcels are delivered several times per week; for others, it is a daily occurrence. As delivery trucks zoom though our neighborhoods morning to night (and even on the weekends), what does this mean for the future of customer communications?


What Do You Open First?

In late 2022, Keypoint Intelligence conducted a web-based survey of 1,500 consumer respondents and asked about their engagement with receiving communications. While the trends towards the use of digital communications continue, physically printed direct mail marketing remains a highly engaging means of contact—and the preferred channel for learning about new products and services.


With the changing patterns in daily mail collection, the increasing frequency of parcel deliveries, and the use of parcel lockers, however, the lines between communications received in regular mail delivery and those arriving inside a parcel could be blurring. There is no question consumers prefer to open a parcel or package before opening their mail.


When you receive a parcel or package delivery,
which do you normally open or review first?


Many times, when a parcel or package is received, it will contain only the item that was expected. But when additional communications are included with the item, like a special offer of coupon, consumers are giving these extra communications at least the same attention as their mail. In some cases, they are giving these additions more attention than their regular mail.


How are extra communications in parcels treated?



Like a PO box, parcel lockers are third-party offsite locations where consumers can retrieve their deliveries. Users of parcel lockers are typically affluent consumers that value their convenience and security. They often only utilize one when a delivery is expected. The confluence of increased parcel delivery; messaging within parcels, such as mini catalogs or magazines promoting a brand; and even using parcel lockers can have the effect of adding to the excitement of getting a delivery.

Consumer brands are increasingly incorporating messaging within delivered packages to enhance the unboxing experience and, of course, to cross-sell additional products. To this, parcel lockers offer a feel of a destination. You must open the locker to see what is inside, which can evoke a sense of anticipation. Certainly, consumer brands that incorporate an added touch or message to the unboxing experience are trying to capitalize on this feeling. It is not too hard to imagine that an increase in the use of parcel lockers may add a little extra “anticipation” and, by doing so, trigger a consumer to engage a bit more.


Keypoint Intelligence Opinion

Direct marketing is about engagement. The excitement evoked by an impending parcel delivery presents an opportunity for marketers. Let’s face it, most people are excited to open the packages they receive. While many Amazon parcels may simply contain laundry detergent or other mundane items, other parcels may contain items purchased for various hobbies, impending adventures, a new look, or other creative things. That drives excitement which, in turn, is a perfect moment to elicit engagement with a direct marketing piece that extends brand engagement. Then, if you add in a destination of a parcel locker, this package now has its own opening experience. It’s a bit like Russian Nesting Dolls. Why do they exist? Because it’s fun to keep opening each one to see what is coming next.


Printed communications contained inside parcels and the extra attention they receive—combined with the security of parcel lockers and changing patterns of daily mail collection—could indicate that consumers are beginning to consider receiving printed communications in new ways that fit with changing lifestyles and expectations.


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