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Case study: VistaPrint offers ‘opt-down’ option

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Online graphic design and custom printing company VistaPrint has more than 13 million customers worldwide. In its third fiscal quarter, which ended March 31, the company reported $105.8 million in revenue, a 53% year-over-year increase. Today, about 60% of the company’s overall business comes from repeat customers, which means remarketing is extremely important to VistaPrint, said Todd McClain, director of VistaPrint’s North America retention marketing.

“Retention is our largest and most profitable revenue source, and e-mail marketing is the ... most profitable way to reach current customers,” he said.

As a result, growing and maintaining e-mail lists is very important to the company. So earlier this year, VistaPrint turned to its e-mail service provider, Experian CheetahMail, to help reduce the number of opt-outs it received from its customer base.

At the time, customers were receiving one to five e-mail messages per week from the company, depending on their segment. Some customers received e-mail messages about new product offerings, such as VistaPrint’s new window decals or T-shirts, while others got multiproduct campaign messages. Some customers got both types of e-mails.

Although opt-outs weren’t a problem, McClain said, it was something the marketing group wanted to address. “It’s something we always have to be thinking about,” he said.

Experian CheetahMail suggested offering customers the option of opting down—choosing to receive a single e-mail message instead of multiple messages each week. The results were extremely favorable, McClain said.

“The program enables us to save 5% of the customers who were going to opt out completely by keeping them on our opt-in list,” he said.

Those customers who choose the once-a-week option get the company’s most successful campaign of the week sent to them based on conversion analytics.

The program was so successful it’s been rolled out country by country on a worldwide basis, McClain said. VistaPrint is also proactively making changes to its e-mail frequency by limiting the number of e-mails that go out to new customers—those who purchased for the first time in the past 90 days.

Today, VistaPrint is looking at taking the program one step further by allowing those customers who are opting down to select the specific day of the week they’d like to receive e-mail messages as well as how many messages they’d like to receive.

“The results speak for themselves,” McClain said. “Customers are happier and we have more customers to market to.”

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