Building Retail Customer Relationships with Variable Data Printing

Building strong customer relationships has never been more critical in retail. The benefits of making connections with customers that can convert into sales are immense, especially in a time when retail marketing budgets are tightening.

One proven strategy for building valuable customer relationships is personalized variable data printing (VDP). VDP is a type of digital printing that gives marketers the ability to personalize printed materials with relevant customer information pulled from data sets.

This blog will cover the ways retailers can leverage VDP to build customer relationships and ultimately drive business growth.

The perks of personalization

We live in an age where marketing messages are everywhere. The average person sees hundreds of advertisements throughout the course of a single day. Personalization gives you the ability to reach your busy target customer through all the noise.

With VDP, you can create a much more targeted and appropriate information offer presentation for the recipient based on what you know about them. When you tailor a printed marketing product to a recipient’s unique preferences, you can deliver a relevant experience. This not only gives you a much greater chance of capturing their attention and interest, but also leads to positive brand perceptions likely to keep them coming back to your store.

VDP is also easy to utilize. You can begin with a very simple level of personalization and progress to a more robust approach, depending on the data sets you have. The marketing solution is even easier to adopt when working with an innovative, experienced printing vendor.

How to increase customer loyalty with Variable Data Printing

There are multiple ways retailers can increase customer loyalty with VDP.

First, you can create highly targeted direct mail campaigns, customizing the content and design to match each recipient’s preferences.

When people think about variable data, they often first think of customizing a product with a salutation and the recipient’s first name. While this is a good starting point, you can do so much more than that! VDP is a blank canvas to develop a fully customized, one-to-one conversation with your customer. You can use the technology to customize a print product with unique information, such as names, addresses, personal interests or even images.

Be creative! The more you can personalize a print product to a customer’s preferences, the more effective the piece will be in creating a meaningful customer experience. For example, a direct mailer promoting a Pet Week special with photos of dogs will capture the interest of a dog owner much more effectively than if the mailer featured photos of cats and birds.

Another way to increase customer loyalty is by personalizing coupons with VDP. Creating personalized coupons and offers based on a customer’s past purchases can encourage them to return to your store or website.

Retailers are using coupons and special offers a lot more to compete for consumers’ spending with today’s economic challenges. What better way to stand out than a promotion for the product your customer actually wants! VDP gives you the ability to send coupons for cleaning supplies to customers you know have bought cleaning supplies and coupons for meat to those who buy meat.

This not only creates opportunities to upsell and cross-sell to customers, but, more importantly, helps you deliver highly enticing offers that delight customers. Customers who receive offers on items they want will be excited to save money and appreciate having their desires addressed and met.

How retailers can benefit from VDP

Creating personalized marketing products using VDP is an effective way to build strong customer relationships. Here are a few unique ways VDP can benefit retailers further.

1. Improve your marketing ROI

The old concept of sending out a hundred-thousand-piece mailing for a 1% response rate just isn’t worth it. Highly targeted full color mailers yield response rates three-to-ten times greater. When you customize your mailers by age, location, interests and more, you can get the right messages in front of the right people, increasing their chance of becoming customers.

This was the case for a customer of ours who runs a major grocery chain. After evaluating their marketing methods used throughout the previous year — their circulars, emails, loyalty app — they found their personalized mailing coupons generated the greatest ROI.

2. Innovate at a low cost

VDP is a cost-effective and creative way to reach customers. Digital print is already an economical solution, which means the cost to experiment with VDP is low. Additionally, because a targeted mailing can yield a significant ROI, you can send fewer mailers out — potentially 25,000 or 50,000 rather than a hundred thousand. This enables you to lower your postal costs, while targeting customers with things that are relevant to them.

A savvy and experienced printer can also help you maximize your postage discounts. At Heeter, we work in concert with our customers to meet their goals. We help with sizing, placing and optimizing different variables that affect price, while allowing you to focus on content and messaging.

3. Leverage your data

Effective VDP campaigns also make good use of one of your most important and underutilized resources: data. Most retailers are collecting some type of data on their customers through loyalty programs, such as their personal demographics or buying habits.

It’s important to note that the data being used can be handled securely with an appropriate vendor, like Heeter. We are SOC 2 Type II audited and high trust compliant. All customer data is encrypted and protected throughout the full production process. After data is utilized, it is wiped from our servers.

4. Get to know your customer better

With VDP, you can also personalize URLs and QR codes. By utilizing these in direct mail campaigns, you can drive recipients to personalized landing pages that invite further engagement. This can be a powerful tool to help you learn more about your customers’ preferences and needs.

For example, a mailer can prompt a recipient to scan a QR code with call-to-actions, “Tell us about the brands you like” or “See more content like this.” Each customer’s visit to the landing page and actions they take there can be tracked, giving you greater insights into their preferences.

VDP also offers the ability to run tests to better understand what appeals to your customers, for only a penny more. Go beyond the traditional A/B test. You can test a variety of different scenarios to test messaging, product preferences, coupon value — you name it!

You’ll be able to track the results of these tests and the performance of campaigns more effectively by using custom coupon codes and barcodes. All of this is great news for the bottom lines of retailers.

Interested in learning more about VDP? Have any questions? Schedule a 15-minute discovery call.