National department store

This iconic retail chain has brought style and value to American homes for over a century. With more than 800 brick-and-mortar locations and a healthy digital business, the company was proudly built on The Golden Rule. It still operates in this spirit, and values loyalty, passion, service and courage. Today, its commitment to responsible sourcing and environmental stewardship reflects those values.


The retailer’s direct mail and catalog marketing was rooted in the past and didn’t work anymore. Response was flat and corporate needed a better way to market the brand but didn’t have the tools, time and staffing to refresh creative. Leadership issued a mandate to improve sales through tangible, positive results from print channels. Marketing needed to act quickly to find a new way to promote the business.


Quad channel experts worked with the retailer’s corporate leadership to plan for growth. Together they identified virtual testing as a way to make DM and catalogs more effective. Quad’s Accelerated Insights platform compares thousands of creative elements and formats without printing or mailing a single piece. It connects technology with data to build personas based on a customer database. Then it surveys virtual participants who match those personas to learn how they’ll respond to hundreds of test packages online.

These results were refined further, based on what past real-world customers had responded to. Designers built two test packages each for DM and catalog. Those packages included winning offers, taglines, images and other elements for catalog covers and DM pieces. Quad printed and mailed the test packages along with a control, then measured results for three KPIs — response rate, sales value and average order size.


  • Test packages outperformed expectations for all KPIs
  • 27.5% response for catalog
  • 47.1% response for direct mail
  • Increase in average order size