ARC X_Media has upgraded single-seat XMPie operations into the enterprise version of the software as it expands its unique print based advertising product for online retailers.
The Enterprise Cross Media version will be used to power SmartSlip and Smart Returns, the first offerings from the business that aims to improve the online shopping experience for consumers and to deliver greater impact for retailers.
The core idea is that as an online purchase is packaged up for dispatch a personalised communication, perhaps to encourage further purchases, is slipped on top. This is printed at the point of dispatch from files that are managed by ARC X_Media, working under the RetainMe brand.
With the unwrapping experience becoming increasingly important, the inclusion of relevant messaging using print is an opportunity for retailers to differentiate themselves from the vast online retailers like Amazon.
The young business has spent three years developing the document compassion application, working out which print engines to use and marketing the service to a number of retailers. “It’s about increasing sales engagement, driving repeat purchases and so. The concept is relatively simple, the delivery less so,” says director Andrew Curran.
The company has attracted investment from 30 funders in two rounds of fund raising, indicating how investors view the opportunity of something that has not been available before.
Until now some online retailers have slipped a standard catalogue or set of vouchers in with a delivery; a wine business has tried a personalised booklet of tasting notes for each wine in a case. “But this has to be printed beforehand and results in waste if the order is cancelled or changed at the last minute,” says Curran.
RetainMe avoids this by printing on demand at the point of dispatch, using pre-scored, perforated templated materials that “are manufactured to our bespoke requirements”. Printing is triggered automatically, keeping manual intervention to a minimum. The company has tested numerous machines that can offer duplex four-colour A4 or A3 printing, settling on a selection from Xerox, Lexmark, Toshiba, Ricoh and Oki, depending on the customer requirements. It has also worked with Prime Group on programmatic delivery of personalised communications.
The company will run A/B tests, some packages with the personalised message, some without, for customers to demonstrate that the concept works. “They prove for themselves that it works,” says Curran. “Everybody that has tested it has continued to use it.”
Home accessories retailer Amara Living reported a 13.1% increase in second purchase rate and a 23.3% increase in existing customer purchases having used RetainMe.
The next phase will be to introduce RemarketMe, an advertising platform that will allow advertisers to bid for space on the flyers, provided they are not competing with the main retailer. This will launch next year, he says.
At the same time, the company is expanding beyond the UK with clients in the US and Middle East. “Our eventual goal is to have it as a self serve platform that retailers can sign up to and start using the solution to create their own messages via the content portal."
RetainMe allows retailers to keep greater control over their brand experience through engaging with customers purchasing through their online stores, something that is not possible through Amazon for example. Leaflets, offers and personalised communication are produced at the point of dispatch.