IWCO Direct plant closure follows drop in mail volume

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In response to a drop in acquisition direct mail volume from financial services companies, direct mail production services provider IWCO Direct said it will immediately close its facility in Elm City, NC, which employs 380 people. 

“It's becoming so much more difficult for people to become approved for credit that mail volumes have declined in some cases by as much as forty percent,” said Debora Haskel, VP marketing at IWCO Direct.

The number of credit card offers mailed to Americans has declined for the past three quarters, according to Mintel Comperemedia. Estimated acquisition mail volume for credit cards fell nearly 8% from the first to second quarter this year.

When IWCO Direct closed its Melville, NY, facility this summer and moved some equipment to the North Carolina facility, it thought the decline in mail would be short lived.

“It wasn't, and it doesn't look its going to come back in the foreseeable future,” Haskel said.

IWCO Direct acquired the North Carolina facility from Cox Target Media in 2007 to meet growing demand. Equipment and production operations from the North Carolina facility will be transferred to facilities in Minnesota.

Simultaneously, IWCO Direct is expanding its Minnesota-based AMP platform to support a shift to trigger-based loyalty and retention programs. The company's Minnesota operations will add approximately 250 new positions.

“We're seeing a shift from a focus on acquisition to retention mail, where rather than going after new business, customers are trying to get more business from existing customers,” Haskel said.

The mail volumes tend to be lower, but since these programs are complex, database-marketing-based campaigns that require a quick turnaround, the cost per piece is higher. By consolidating production in Minnesota, IWCO Direct hopes to offer the lowest postage cost per piece for retention mail.

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