Royal Mail has begun trialing a new scheme in partnership with a "well-known UK retailer" which will send consumers targeted mail based on their online shopping habits.

The scheme reportedly includes mailing personalized marketing letters that encourage consumers to make a purchase with the retailers they have looked at online, according to the Daily Mail. Simply clicking on products and adding them to an online shopping basket is sufficient consumer activity to warrant for targeted mail, reports the newspaper. A pilot is said to be underway between the Royal Mail and the unnamed UK retailer, which uses cookies to track products that are being viewed online and then matches the gathered data against consumers postal addresses.

Royal Mail is then paid by the retailer to deliver any targeted marketing letters to the consumer's home within days, which encourages the consumer to purchase the items they viewed online. Jonathan Harman, managing director of Royal Mail Market Reach, revealed plans for the scheme at a recent industry talk, claiming that a mail tie-up would let retailers target "high-value prospects" with a follow-up letter in lieu of an email or online advert. However, he noted that he was also aware that consumers privacy is a "big deal" for the Royal Mail and that the program must be used sensitively.

A spokesman for Royal Mail added that they would not use their own database of addresses in the pilot scheme, and that the trial was to find out whether the firm could send the targeted mail within "a day or two … before the opportunity is lost." He added: "This will help ensure that marketing mail continues to be useful for consumers, and valued by brands."


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