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Cardstore.com Launches Direct Mail Service

Cardstore.com recently launched a direct marketing/mail printing service for corporate and individual consumers.

The company will print customized direct mail for businesses announcing corporate events, broadcasting new product announcements and special offers, and welcoming new customers. For individual consumers, the company will print customized greeting cards and mail announcing parties and events.

Consumers using Cardstore’s services will be able to create and personalize custom cards via the Web site. They can create the message and choose various generic rich media full-color images from Cardstore’s menu, or they can download their own images.

For a more customized piece of mail, consumers can establish a business service account with Cardstore. For this service, Cardstore will create a custom image and template containing the company logo and personal identifiers associated with the recipient. Cardstore can mail the cards to a desired audience within five days.

Cardstore.com, San Francisco, has established alliances with Chipshot.com, a golfing Web site; Greatentertaining.com, an event planning site; and Myprimetime.com, a content site targeted to baby boomers. Customers can access Cardstore services via co-branded links on these sites or can visit the Cardstore site. Jinee Tao, CEO and co-founder, said the company has aggressive plans to add partnerships throughout the year. She declined to be more specific.

Tao said Cardstore was created in response to the increasing need for personalized direct mail.

“We are addressing businesses’ needs to create customer loyalty and improve retention through acknowledgement of the consumer via high-end personalized mail,” she said.

She cited a recent study conducted by Deloitte & Touche LLP, in which 52 percent of consumers surveyed said that acknowledgment of customer loyalty is the most attractive aspect of a business-to-consumer organization.

“Companies spend high amounts of money on acquisition but forget that retention is equally as important,” she said.

Cardstore charges up to $2.50 per card and $1.10 for every card exceeding 1,000. For the highly customized business services card, the company charges $3 per card and $1.25 for every card exceeding 1,000. The marketer focuses primarily on Fortune 50 companies but will service requests from smaller organizations. The company already has run beta tests with the San Francisco Symphony, AskJeeves.com, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Reflect.com.

Tao claimed that Cardstore is the first of its kind in the direct marketing space.

“American Greeting and Hallmark cannot perform mass mailings and only do Web greetings, while larger direct mailing houses have minimum volume requirements,” she said. “We view these other players as potential partners rather than competition.”

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