September 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

UPS delivers marketing materials along with retail packages

In a pilot project announced this week, customers of online and catalog retailers including Williams-Sonoma, Omaha Steaks and Zappos will receive packs of up to 12 product offers and samples along with orders delivered by UPS.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

In a pilot project announced this week, customers of online and catalog retailers, including Williams-Sonoma Inc., Omaha Steaks.com Inc. and Zappos.com Inc., will receive packs of up to 12 product offers and samples along with orders delivered by UPS.

The new service, UPS Direct to Door, is designed to provide direct-to-consumer retailers with a new marketing channel that directly connects with their active customers. Although UPS hasn’t publicized the fees charged to retailers for inserting packs of marketing materials and samples in customers’ parcels, a spokesman indicated the cost to retailers would be comparable or less than what they would pay under common direct-mail cost-per-thousand or CPM rates, which cover the cost of reaching 1,000 consumers.

“As marketing channels evolve and consumer choices increase, we need new touchpoints to connect with customers,” says Pat Connolly, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Williams-Sonoma. “With a UPS Direct to Door delivery, we’re reaching an active consumer, an important factor for increased response rates.”

Other retailers participating in the pilot program include Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc., Boca Java Corp., FTD Group Inc., The Finish Line Inc., The Men’s Warehouse Inc., Mikasa Inc., Newegg Inc. and Sephora U.S.A. Inc.

The Direct to Door service is being tested in select ZIP codes in Chicago, the Dallas-Forth Worth, TX, metropolitan area, Miami, Phoenix and Washington, DC.

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