Proudly sharing details of a new integration into Descartes Peoplevox, we arranged this interview with the team at Penny Black, to understand exactly how merchants can profit from bespoke inserts and personalised unboxing campaigns.
Tell us about Penny Black – where are you based, what do you offer, who are some of your big-name clients?
Penny Black isn’t your typical marketing tool – we’re all about bringing digital marketing intelligence into print, adding a personal touch to the real world. Just imagine this: you place an order, eagerly wait for it to arrive and instead of being met by a boring brown package, you’re met with an unboxing experience unique to you. Creating those unexpected moments of delight is what we’re all about.
In a nutshell, we help brands bring digital personalisation into print for the first time through hyper-personalised in-package inserts. These inserts help brands turn the only remaining physical touchpoint they have with customers – the unboxing moment – into a moment that delights and converts customers again. Generally, these inserts see conversion rates as high as 1.8% (11x higher than post-purchase emails) and help brands retain customers for longer.
We’re a small but passionate, partially remote team based in London and Liverpool. We work to support ambitious brands to retain customers and improve their customer experience. To date, we’ve had the pleasure of working with DTC brands like Bird & Blend Tea Co (who also use Peoplevox), PAUL VALENTINE, Warner’s Distillery, Zooki and more to personalise their unboxing moments.
What are some of the key selling points of Penny Black? Why do customers love you?
What really sets us apart is that we offer an innovation that makes what was previously impossible, possible – the ability to effortlessly create printed material in real-time that gets added to customers’ orders.
With Penny Black, brands can create limitless hyper-personalised campaigns for their inserts that feature dynamic fields tailored to each shopper. These campaigns run concurrently, are seamlessly added to orders, and drive diverse business goals like loyalty, cross-selling and referrals. Just think of it like email marketing but in print.
For most brands, when they discover Penny Black it’s a eureka moment. They start to realise that with customer expectations reaching new heights (and classic retention channels like email and SMS now underperforming) Penny Black gives them the potential to use the only remaining physical touchpoint in the customer journey to build emotional connections and grow loyalty.
Brands also love us because we’ve created a new touchpoint that actually drives revenue. At a time when CACs are rising, ecommerce marketers seek value-driven initiatives. Our personalised inserts become revenue-generating touchpoints (unlike non-personalised inserts that drain budgets with no results to show). The results speak for themselves too: our inserts achieve a 4-6x ROI and a 1.8% conversion rate as they make the most of the customers’ instant feelings of delight when they open their order. These conversions directly boost revenue, averaging £2.20 additional revenue for every one sent out.
Tell us about the integration into Peoplevox? Why have you built it? What is the opportunity?
We decided to integrate with Peoplevox because we wanted to give brands who fulfil orders themselves the opportunity to use Penny Black to retain more customers. The integration makes this a reality all while making sure, on the ops side, Penny Black becomes a natural part of the pick-and-pack flow.
One brand that’s already using the integration is the tea brand, Bird & Blend Tea Co. Before the integration, Bird & Blend’s fulfilment team would manually write handwritten messages to customers, add in free samples and include tailored recipe cards to orders. But this approach was time-consuming, difficult to measure and would lead to excess inserts going to waste.
Now, using the Penny Black and Peoplevox integration, Bird & Blend’s marketing team have 25+ targeted campaigns set up that serve customers a different insert every time they shop. These inserts range from personalised recipes based on their order to designs that motivate referrals and community sign-ups. At the same time, the integration makes sure that the right insert is printed in real time while the fulfilment team is packing the order.
The future of the Penny Black and Peoplevox partnership is that we hope the integration empowers more ecommerce brands that fulfil their orders themselves to make the most of this underutilised touchpoint to make moments of unboxing magic!
How does the integration work and how is it supported?
To start, the Penny Black team and the brand set up together. Penny Black prepares printers and satellites at the fulfilment site while the brand configures segments, campaigns, and designs on our platform.
Once set up, behind the scenes, the Peoplevox WMS recognises Penny Black as a virtual printer. When orders are being prepared for shipping, instead of triggering a Peoplevox print on a local printer, the integration sends the order number, merchant and packaging desk to the Penny Black platform. The platform, which has already assigned the right campaign to the customer the moment the order was placed, then receives the correct, personalised PDF and triggers a print at the right packing station. The insert then gets printed as part of the pick-and-pack process and can be added to the top of the package when it’s being packed.
Where do we go if we want to learn more about Penny Black?
To see more examples of personalised inserts from leading DTC brands – including Bird & Blend Tea Co, PAUL VALENTINE and more – get our ebook full of high-performing Penny Black campaigns to inspire you. Just download it here.
Or, if you’re interested in getting set up with Penny Black, reach out to the team here. We’ll show you around the platform and explore the kinds of campaigns you could run to increase customer loyalty and LTV.