Soap.com turns to direct mail in launch strategy

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Soap.com turns to direct mail in launch strategy
Soap.com turns to direct mail in launch strategy

Soap.com, the three-month-old e-commerce site from venture capital-backed Quidsi, launched a direct mail campaign to raise brand awareness and recruit new customers. 

Over the weekend, the company mailed out 1 million over-sized postcards to the New York area with an offer to take 20% off a first order at Soap.com, as well as same-day delivery, a special perk for Manhattan residents. A national mailer to 2 million that went out in September contained a similar offer for free overnight delivery.

“We explored a lot of different creatives,” said Teju Prabhakar, associate director, marketing at Soap.com. “Its clean look and feel meshes well with our bright airy feel that the soap.com site has.”

Part of the marketing campaign's goal is to make shopping for your toiletries seem fun.

It's agency of record, the Ad Store, aided the overall marketing campaign and creative, along with an in-house team and freelancers. Stolze Printing handled the New York mailing, while IWCO Direct worked on the national direct mail piece.

“Direct mail is a great vehicle for us to do smart, targeted marketing,” added David Zhang, director of marketing for Soap.com, which carries 25,000 products, focusing on household items, such as toilet paper, detergent, vitamins and other products.

The new e-commerce site is also leveraging the customer file of its successful sister site, Diapers.com, through e-mail, as well as Soap.com inserts in purchases.  "Diapers.com has been around for years; our ability to reach into that base is really helping us to get off to a great start," said Zhang. "Because they are loyal customers it's a tremendous plus."

The company views New York as a potentially lucrative market given the residents' lack of cars, big box stores that tend to carry cheap toiletries and time. The ongoing campaign for New York includes subway advertisements, PR, radio, select print media buys, such as with the Village Voice, a Groupon placement and guerilla marketing.

Soap.com plans to roll out similar strategies in other major metropolitan regions in the future, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Washington, DC.

Although parent company Quidsi is testing a toy catalog with the Diapers.com brand, there are no plans to introduce a catalog for Soap.com yet. Its online marketing strategy, however, includes paid and organic search, affiliate marketing, re-targeting, social media marketing and some limited tests of banner ads.

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