Customer Success

Identity Direct optimises email marketing with Return Path.


Identity Direct is a world-leading direct marketer, selling personalized gifts, school supplies, labels and children’s products such as lunch packs and drink bottles. Identity Direct operates customer websites in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and Great Britain, uses catalogue and magazine advertising, and relies heavily on email to reach customers.


Identity Direct tightly restricts its email lists to ensure only active customers receive newsletters. It also limits email frequency, in part to minimise cost and but also to ensure responsible communication with its customers. Until recently, one thing Identity Direct didn’t do was personalise its own email newsletter. Nor did it have any visibility into what happened to those emails once the send button had been pressed.

In late 2013, in the lead-up to Christmas, the company increased its email frequency, sending a number of one-size-fits-all newsletters to customers in markets around the world. All appeared to be well until the next campaign in early New Year when the company discovered an alarming drop in response rates. To understand why this had occurred and prevent it happening again, Identity Direct called in Return Path.

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“The ramp-up to changing providers was probably one of the biggest achievements we’ve had and that was because of the advice we had from Return Path.”

Jodie Dunkley

eCommerce Director


Investigation by Return Path found Identity Direct’s marketing automation software had never been set up correctly and this had led to technical issues that were affecting email delivery. Average inbox placement rate for campaigns was only a little over 80 percent and there were problems with email tagging and feedback loops.

“Our inbox penetration rate had been down to five percent in some weeks in some countries. We probably hadn’t had any penetration into some mailbox providers, such as Yahoo for up to 18 months, but we’d never known about it because we’d been sending more mailings and this had kept revenue the same,” Dunkley said. “None of this was visible on the surface and we wouldn’t have been able to find it ourselves. We needed Return Path’s help to fix it.”


With help from Return Path, the technical issues were quickly resolved and the percentage of Identity Direct emails reaching customer inboxes has climbed above 90 percent. Ongoing monitoring using Return Path’s Email Optimization solution ensures any future problems will be rapidly identified.

Next, to further improve email marketing capabilities, Return Path assisted Identity Direct to migrate to a new, more flexible email automation platform.

Finally, to obtain preferred inbox placement at 2.5 billion global inboxes, Identity Direct applied, and received, Return Path’s Return Certification.

As a result of all these measures, within one year of starting work with Return Path, Identity Direct’s average inbox placement rate has improved from 81 percent to a consistent 98 percent of inboxes across all mailbox providers worldwide. In addition, the company has experienced significant improvements in the open rate, with year-on-year increases of over 50 percent in the UK market and more than 70 percent in the US market.

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