Award winning direct mail campaigns by online retailers to inspire you

19 May, 2023

E-Commerce Mail

Even leading native digital brands are choosing to add direct mail to their marketing mix.

Direct mail campaigns have proven to be a highly effective marketing tool for online retailers, providing a tangible connection to potential customers in an increasingly digital world. 

The best practices highlighted by these award-winning direct mail campaigns can serve as valuable lessons for online retailers looking to maximize the impact of their own direct mail efforts.

From personalized messaging to innovative packaging and unique offers, these campaigns have demonstrated the power of creative and strategic direct mail marketing in driving customer engagement and sales.


Notonthehighstreet, an online gift marketplace, wanted to enhance the connection between customers' online and offline experiences.

Introducing an AI and image recognition feature on their mobile app, Notonthehightstreet enhanced the shopping experience of their Christmas 2019 catalogue.

According to Richard Zubrik, the chief technology officer at notonthehightstreet, this feature made shopping easier for their customers, with discoverability being a key focus area for the company.

Customers could easily find and purchase products by holding their phone over an image in the catalogue, eliminating the need to search for product numbers or scan barcodes.

The new feature made it possible to instantly find the perfect gift, removing the hassle of product code searches.


Who Gives a Crap

Who Gives A Crap isn't just any toilet paper. They donate 50% of their profits to improve sanitation and build toilets in developing countries with every purchase.

The challenge was to raise awareness, drive sales, increase sign-ups online, and become the top brand for recycled toilet paper.

Utilising door drops to deliver its unique messaging and strong offer directly to potential customers in their homes, Who Gives A Crap created a targeting model that identified key postcode sectors with a high propensity of potential customers based on medium to higher income and a preference for quality FMCG products.

This data helped them create three location types and identify the best 200,000 households across these types with the highest penetration of environmentally conscious consumers.

They printed four eye-catching postcards on recycled paper stock and delivered them in each area to test the response per creative version per area.

The postcards appealed to various customer archetypes such as Straight Shooter, Environmentalist, and Cherry Picker. A digital campaign also ran simultaneously to increase awareness and search.

The campaign's laser focus led to sales surpassing their goal and achieved an increase of 140%, bringing Who Gives A Crap closer to their mission of improving the world. This achievement is credited to the clever use of targeting, humour, and above-the-line advertising.

During lockdown, a combination of digital ads and home-delivered, premium eco-friendly toilet paper leaflets made a strong impact by amplifying the brand's message and offer.



Swoon designs affordable, long-lasting furniture with unique styles. With Mailbird, its print agency, they analyzed mail's potential to engage Swoon's target audience.

In 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown, Swoon required a new customer strategy due to the increased spending on household goods.

Mailbird, was confident in the power of direct mail and instructed Swoon to find their top prospects.

Rather than quantity, Mailbird focused on quality by using advanced profiling techniques, statistical modelling, and insight analytics to identify 25,000 affluent prospects who were more likely to respond to Swoon's 32-page A5 catalogue.

Swoon's initial mail campaign surpassed expectations, generating over double the expected results based on the JICMAIL data analysis.

The targeted catalogue achieved a response rate of 2.1% and a return-on-advertising spend of more than 22, resulting in revenue of over £300,000 and high product demand.

These impressive outcomes have convinced Swoon to integrate mail into their long-term marketing approach.



IKEA had a problem: low store visits due to economic worries and COVID-19 fears. Even their spend-threshold promotions weren't working. To boost short-term sales by over £1 million, they needed a fresh approach to attract customers beyond discounts.

IKEA partnered with RAPP to target their most valuable customers, IKEA Family members. These loyal customers spend 24% more than others, making them crucial to recouping lost sales.

Rather than offering discounts, IKEA aimed to stand out from the sea of wellness messaging by promoting play.

They used direct mail to deliver a dot-to-dot game to IKEA Family members' homes, offering a money-off threshold discount once completed.

The mailer could even be recycled as an origami paper airplane. By encouraging play and offering a unique incentive, IKEA hoped to entice customers back to their stores.

In August and September 2022, one million IKEA Family members received the mailing. In just three weeks, 19,000 customers redeemed the voucher in-store.

The campaign's ROI of 4.5:1 outperformed the best-performing mailing earlier that year, making it IKEA's most successful mailer of 2022.



myLakeland, Lakeland's loyalty program, provides its members with exclusive competitions, hand-picked partner offers, and special discounts.

To enhance member experience and increase revenue growth, myLakeland aimed to create a personalized experience for each member using the data gathered in the first year since its launch.

Lakeland's test and learn program revolved around data analysis and measurement to deliver a personalised myLakeland experience for each member.

The brand, together with their agency Go Inspire, conducted analyses of past-purchase behaviour and multichannel interactions with myLakeland to identify 26 behaviour-driven segments.

Every element of the Offer Mail Pack was personalised according to the segment and past behaviour, resulting in the creation of five different 'boiler plate' content versions.

Each version was designed for specific customer behaviour, such as introducing the myLakeland Club, encouraging multichannel shopping, reactivating lapsed customers, and more.

The Offer Mail Pack comprised six variable offers or money-off vouchers, including spend and save vouchers and product vouchers assigned based on propensity to buy certain products, brand affinity, and category cross-sell.

The fully variable digital print capabilities allowed endless possibilities for personalising each pack, and additional tailored offers, products, and content were included in each customer mail pack based on 'next best' predictive analytics recommendations.

To refine targeting and personalisation, over 50 tests were conducted, with the results analysed and applied to the next pack. As a result, the last offer pack sent in the 12-month period had more than doubled in its number of possible permutations, from 3.8k to 7.7k.

This highly personalised approach led to:

  • Targeted product offers resulted in a 10-fold increase in redemption compared to the control group.
  • An increase in permutations from 3.8k to 7.7k led to a 9% increase in incremental spend per person.
  • There was a 21% growth in the average customer value (ACV) from 2020 to 2021.
  • The Customer Mail Offer Packs generated £3.2 million in incremental revenue.
  • The total incremental revenue for year 2 amounted to £14.5 million.

A real-world direct mail campaign, often coupled with a digital campaign, can really boost your customer base, and grow your business.

But you’ll need a trusted mail partner to make sure your campaign hits doormats exactly when you want them to, and at a price that maximises your ROI.

Asendia has already saved companies tens of thousands of pounds with their extensive experience and global network, making sure that even if they’re online, they reach every potential customer possible.

To find out more about how Asendia could help you grow your business through direct mail marketing, get in touch.



  • DMA Award Entry 2021
  • DMA Award Entry 2022 (Best use of Mail)
  • DMA Awards 2021 Bronze Best Use of Unaddressed Print
  • SMP Awards


To find out more about how Asendia's leading international mail and parcel services could help your business, get in touch.

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