Got a cat, dog, or horse? is a great source for online medication. Recently, one of our team members had to buy a prescription for their cat Jake. fully met their expectations (bonus: Jake got free catnip), but they also did something really interesting that most e-commerce vendors don’t do. They sent a direct mail letter in addition to their regular emails. Throwback or what?

The most effective e-commerce marketing programs use email as a core tactic for conversion and retention, but snail mail is frequently ignored. Once thought to be archaic, direct mail marketing is making a comeback. 1800petmeds does a great job of blending both online and offline tactics.

Take a look at the direct mail letter that 1800petmeds sent:

Nowadays, everyone is so inundated with spam, that email promotions often get ignored or deleted.’s marketing program works because they send coupons by both email and direct mail.

Their email/direct mail program is highly structured and about 6 emails were sent over about two months, including emails for:
* Confirming an order
* Special promotion emails
* Follow-up “come back and buy” email
* Refill your prescription emails

What was particularly interesting, was the “refill your prescription” email. About the time the original prescription was finished, and the next one was due, they sent a refill email, and unlike most e-commerce companies, also sent a hard copy mailer. The mailer had all the characteristics of a well developed direct mail piece:
* It was personalized and well written
* Had a strong branded message
* It was time sensitive and included an expiration code
* Included a trackable redemption code
* Had offline to online (go to the site) and offline to offline purchase options (call the 1800 number)
All in all an excellent execution. is a perfect example of why thinking outside the inbox is so important to generating e-commerce revenues. So, don’t just think about communicating with emails. Everyone gets so many. Break out of the inbox. Try the litterbox mailbox.

The Bottom Line
Email needs to be an important part of every e-commerce site’s conversion and retention tactics, but don’t overlook direct mail offers and promotions. They can be very effective. Need help developing on-line/off-line conversion and retention programs? Let’s chat.