Meet us at Drupa 24. Dusseldorf/Germany. May. 28 - Jun 7. Learn more

Integrating a powerful and user-friendly editor into the direct mail marketing service

24 August 2020
Integrating a powerful and user-friendly editor into the direct mail marketing service
In this case study, you will learn how a direct mail service utilized Customer's Canvas to do the designing part and concentrate on other essential tasks.

The idea: Apply web-to-print tools for direct mail

PostPilot makes it delightfully simple to create, send, and track personalized postcard campaigns. This is a team of engineers, creators, and marketers that are passionate about helping entrepreneurs and businesses achieve greater success.

Matt Bertino is the founder of PostPilot. His family has been in the direct mail business for over 30 years. But it was only after years of using email tools to create dynamic, personalized campaigns that he realized how powerful the same tools would be if marketers leveraged them with direct mail. 

About the Company

PostPilot helps online storeowners cultivate and improve customer loyalty while increasing revenue and profits using automated postcard marketing campaigns. PostPilot integrates seamlessly with Shopify and other e-commerce platforms. It was created to help businesses grow with direct mail as easily and intelligently as other digital tools like email

The challenge: Develop a powerful and user-friendly editor

PostPilot initially decided to try and create this editor on their own, but soon realized that it takes much more effort than they thought. At the end of the day, such an ambitious in-house project was distracting them from developing their core business.

Developing a web-to-print editor from scratch is not an easy task at all. Especially when you have limited resources, yet want to deliver the best experience possible for your clients.
Matt Bertino, Founder & CTO at PostPilot

The PostPilot team built four versions of their own web-to-print solution – no small undertaking to say the least. So, the decision was made to find a reliable partner that would relieve the PostPilot team from this daunting task and help them concentrate on other essential tasks.

Creating custom direct mail campaigns
Creating custom direct mail campaigns

The solution: Find the right web-to-print editor to integrate into their system

Personalization was key for the PostPilot team. In an environment where marketing is everywhere, personalization helps messages stand out. They needed an editor that could handle creating messages specific to individual recipients.

They also needed an editor with functionality that matched that of desktop graphics software – drag-and-drop, layers, snap lines, and multiple shapes are just a few of the tools that they required.

I couldn’t really find any competitors that were anywhere close to the level of service and features that you all provided. So we started the conversation and decided to give you all a shot. From your willingness to do some custom features for us as well as the excellent level of customer support, the team at Customer’s Canvas hit all of our checkboxes
Matt Bertino, Founder & CTO at PostPilot

Lastly, they wanted a partner that could handle their volume at a reasonable price. Their send volume continues to grow and Matt didn’t want a service that wouldn’t scale with them.

Editing direct mail campaigns with Customer's Canvas
Editing direct mail campaigns with Customer's Canvas

The integration: An app connected to the Shopify storefont 

PostPilot is an application that connects to a Shopify storefront and loads user data to help their users organize triggered or bulk direct mail campaigns to whichever segment they want.

For example, their clients may set up a trigger to send a postcard with a promo right after a purchase is made, or send a Christmas promotion to all users who made a purchase last year. PostPilot essentially created an automated workaround that was already common in email marketing, but for direct mail.

These are some of the remarkable Customer’s Canvas features that made this integration possible:

API. Automation is the key to creating an easy and intuitive service. Customer’s Canvas uses a powerful API to ensure that the data flow from the Shopify database to the editor is seamless for users.

Adobe templates support. Merchants aren’t necessarily the best designers. At the same time, the quality of the design could make all the difference between a good and bad campaign, seriously impacting the ROI. In order to help their users send out stunning mail pieces, the PostPilot team prepared a gallery of predesigned templates for almost any imaginable occasion. All those templates were created using Adobe software, which was much easier for designers than learning a new proprietary format.

Image galleries support.  The PostPilot team also created image galleries with high-quality backgrounds and clipart sorted into separate thematic folders. Together with design templates, these assets provide users with all the necessary tools to create stunning campaigns that will hit their marketing and sales marks.

Variable data printing.  This technology was the centerpiece of the project. PostPilot’s developers took advantage of the Customer’s Canvas feature that enables you to insert variable data fields inline to make creating direct mail campaigns as easy as creating personalized emails. Those merge tags are then filled with data loaded from Shopify, and after the campaign is approved, Customer’s Canvas renders a pixel-perfect print-ready file for each piece of mail.

Print-ready files.  After submitting the campaign, the next step is generating print-ready files. PostPilot’s goal was to ensure that all those PDFs are good to go to print without any additional touchups that could cause delays in order fulfillment. The Customer’s Canvas image processing engine is purpose-built to achieve just that.

Easy integration.  Businesses can seamlessly integrate Customer’s Canvas as a personalization module into any third-party application. The PostPilot team was able to work with this flexibility and modular architecture to successfully integrate the editor into their software. The painlessness of the experience also significantly reduced their time to market.

Overall, the integration process was pretty standard. We were able to push the integration to production within a month or two
Matt Bertino, Founder & CTO at PostPilot

The results: Less code to maintain, more time to focus on the product

When PostPilot made the switch, they were immediately able to reduce their codebase by orders of magnitude. This alone was a huge win. No more random bugs with the editor. No more feature requests. This mountain of avoidable issues is something they no longer have to deal with.

But that wasn’t all. The support at Customer’s Canvas has been top-notch and responsive the entire time we’ve been here. Trust me, I’ve had lots of questions throughout our journey. The dev team pushes new features regularly and are very quick to fix any bugs that pop up. All that said, Customer’s Canvas has been great over the last 2 years and will continue to be our go-to web-to-print solution for our business
Matt Bertino, Founder & CTO at PostPilot
Read the story in PDF

Boost your business with web-to-print