August 7th, 2021

Empathizing and relating to clients is an art which DSW recently perfected on a direct mail campaign. DSW is short for Designer Shoe Warehouse, a chain of over 500 retail stores plus an online division. Full disclosure: I am a DSW fan – their stores carry many different brands and there are always store personnel available to help or order something online if it is not available in the store. Let’s take a closer look at the mailing.

Format: The outer envelope was 5.5” x 10”. Inside were two cards, both the same size: 5” x 8”. There was a business card sized piece tipped on to one of the cards.

Design: One of the more interesting features of this mailer was the outer envelope. It was designed with a black background and was covered in gold stars on both sides of the envelope. The inside of the envelope was also printed which is more unusual. The inside was white with gold ink, imprinted with “The good stuff is inside”. Very clever! One of the cards was a letter, mostly white with imprinting in black and gold. The second card was mostly black on one side with a gold band highlighting the middle and the back side was a full color photo with the same gold band in the middle.


Printing & Paper: There weren’t any special techniques used, the stock was a little heavier than a normal envelope and it arrived in good condition.

Presentation: The envelope rocked the mailbox. Larger than standard envelopes plus the design really stood out. I was very curious what was inside so had to open the envelope. Oversized mail typically has a higher open rate.


Purpose: DSW is using this piece to drive store and internet traffic and increase/reward brand loyalty. One of the cards had a letter from the CEO letting the recipient know how much they are appreciated, how his team came together to adapt to new ways of shopping to protect everyone and that DSW hopes to see more of them. He closed with: “Please enjoy this gift to ship with us. We can’t wait to see you.” I feel the sincerity in his words and thought it was a well-crafted letter.

Offer and Call to Action: The offer was $25 off an order, either in-store or online. The tipped on gift card said “A Gift for You - $25 and pertinent information on the back side. The call to action was informing the consumer how safe and easy it is to shop with DSW. They offer online shopping with free shipping on anything all the time. Also offer fast and free in-store pickup and returns as well as in-store shopping with added safety precautions.


Digital technology integration: None but none was needed.

Personalization: None but none was needed. The mailing was sent to members of DSW’s VIP Club so it was targeted to existing customers.

Beyond the nice design and engaging envelope, my takeaway from this mailer is how well the CEO of DSW related to me as a consumer and made me feel valued. Bingo! When you succeed in doing that, companies create long-term clients.