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About two years ago, the UK clothing company Charles Tyrwhitt launched its online store in Australia using printed catalogues.

I immediately became a customer. They’ve regularly mailed and emailed me and I’ve bought a couple times since. Given I work from a home office, I don’t wear as many business shirts as I used to when I commuted to an office, so am not a frequent customer. I certainly don’t have my bride’s shopping genes.

They have been so successful in Australia, they have opened a warehouse here to manage distribution – one of only a handful of countries in which they’ve done so.

Today I received a letter in the mail – in an air mail envelope. It had an English stamp postmarked last Friday. The letter was printed on a heavy stock and came from Nicholas Charles Tyrwhitt Wheeler (imagine filling out that name on an airport departure card). Nicholas is the owner.

envelope

The headline was simply “You’re absolutely marvellous“. And the letter went on to explain why, in quite a credible tongue-in-cheek manner.

You can read it here:

Charles065

There was also a silver embossed $25 voucher, valid for any online purchase until end of June.

voucher

When was the last time you mailed your customers to thank them for their business?

If you are stuck in the digi-world, you need to take note of what the successful retailers do – they use a combination of print and photons to engage their customers and increase sales.

They know they limit their profits, if they limit their channels – and given that mail has been successful longer than any other channel in history, they continue to use it. As does Ole Lynggaard, Country Road, Sportscraft, Mecca Cosmetica, Vintage Cellars, Winephoria, David Jones, Coles, Woolworths, American Express, Google – the list goes on and on and on…

There was only one problem with the mailing. On the weekend I ordered a bunch of shirts – even used the online chat for assistance. If I had the voucher in my hands then, I may have been tempted to buy a tad more. (BTW I did take up the promotion code offered on the site, though it had nothing to do with the $25 voucher)

But let’s just assume for a minute, the website did speak to me and offer an additional $25 discount – “Hey Mal, we think you’re marvellous – here’s $25!“. Would it have been a more engaging experience than receiving a letter from the owner of the company? I seriously doubt it.

The letter is far more powerful than a digital pop-up. Science proved that years ago. And it leaves a lasting impact about the brand. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy shopping on the site – it’s  one of the best retail sites in the world for user experience. A benchmark for others to follow.

So now I have to go back to the site and spend my voucher – obviously my bride’s genes are rubbing off. She can always justify how much she saves when she buys something she wasn’t going to buy, just because it is on sale.

Where’s my credit card…