An increasing number of UK online retailers are sending physical letters to remind customers about items left in their digital shopping carts, as “email fatigue” sets in. Companies in sectors such as healthy food delivery, fashion, estate agencies, and utilities are turning to traditional mail to encourage customers to complete their online purchases. Some letters include QR codes for easy access to digital platforms, while others display images of abandoned items in the cart. This shift comes as data shows that only 20-30% of marketing emails are opened compared to 90% of physical mail received.
Sam Heaton of Stannp.com, which provides direct mail services, believes that email open rates have plummeted due to spam overload and the plethora of communication channels available. Consumers are becoming more selective about the emails they subscribe to, with approximately 45% of emails now considered spam. QR codes are being used in mailings to direct recipients to specific webpages and track campaign performance. Businesses are discovering that physical mail can foster greater customer loyalty compared to digital-only brands. Research by Royal Mail found that 57% of people feel more valued when they receive physical mail.
Digital advertising has faced a decline in reputation over the past decade, with most UK consumers finding it “ineffective.” Email open rates have steadily decreased, particularly in the past five years. The trend towards physical reminders through mail is not unique to the UK; it is a global phenomenon.
As email inboxes continue to be inundated with spam, physical mail is becoming more appealing to consumers. Junk email has become the equivalent of junk mail for Generation Z, leading many people to create email addresses exclusively for marketing emails. While it may be more challenging to track the open rate of direct mail, tracking technology is available to monitor mail from production to delivery. On average, Stannp.com records a QR code scan rate of over 15%, showing that the call-to-action on a QR code can be as impactful as an email subject line.