Boost Your E-commerce Sales with One Letter

By Miles Burke

I’m not sure about you, but I can tell you my household bought more online over the festive season than in any previous December in history. With three kids in the house, that’s a fair amount of toys and presents, and we used e-commerce websites way more than traditional bricks and mortar stores.

As a result, we had plenty of packages arriving in December, and there was a really interesting observation I gleaned from the experience. See, I had plenty of packages turn up with a packing slip and perhaps a receipt, either inside the box along with the products, or stuck on the outside.

That was better than a few suppliers though: I even had a few packages turn up with nothing more than a return label on the outside to give me information where the product came from.

One e-commerce company had quite a different approach, which ensured that I – along with plenty of other customers – became fans of the business. I’m amazed at how simple it was.

It was a letter. That’s right, one of those paper items you used to receive before email.

One A4 page on letterhead, with a nicely merged letter thanking me for choosing them to purchase from, and welcoming me to get in contact with them should I have any questions or feedback about the products, the purchase process or the delivery experience. Even better, it was hand signed by someone senior in the business.

It cost this company one sheet of paper, and some time. Sure, it was no doubt a generic letter that everyone who had a parcel delivered last month received, but the fact is they were the only company out of a dozen or more from which we bought who wished us season’s greetings, and invited us to get in touch.

It didn’t even cost them postage – it was inside the package already being sent – yet it had the day’s date and my name throughout, so it was personalized more than a photocopied flyer for all customers.

The packaging was pretty special too – the packing tape they used had their logo printed on it, but it was the letter that really got me thinking.

If you have an e-commerce business, how could you not afford to mail merge a letter and send it with every parcel sent? The letter could be a ‘Thanks for your first purchase’ or a ‘Great to see you again!’ for those who have bought before. The data filtering shouldn’t be too hard, and it could make all the difference to the unwrapping experience.

I look forward to seeing more of these over the coming year.

Do you have a great tip for the offline experience in e-commerce? Let me know so I can share it with others; between us, we’ll make e-commerce an even more inviting space to be in.

  • http://www.heavytshirt.com Maxanne

    Nice idea Miles, Seems like a reasonable thing to do but I have a couple of questions. Did the letter actually make you go to the company’s blog, Facebook or forum to check in with them? Better yet, did you pass on the company name to any friends, family or neighbors to encourage them to check in with that company?
    Just wondering if it actually invokes action even if you don’t have a problem with the product. Some of our customers get right to our contact page when they get our product to tell us how great it is but I would like to see more of that.

  • http://www.jkb.com.au Jacob

    It’s interesting that the actual company is not named anywhere in this article. So they’re good, but not good enough to provide a name and link?

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