UFile logo

The Client

UFile, Canadian personal income tax software brand developed by Dr Tax Software, now owned by Thomson Reuters.

Business Objective

Recapture as much of the brand’s 200,000+ retail customer base as possible despite a major unexpected change in retail distribution.


UFile has long been the strong #2 brand of personal tax software in Canada. It began as an online product and Coyote had helped launch the retail version of the brand 10 years earlier. Retail sales became about half of the brand’s volume.

In October, 2013, just before shipment of the retail version of UFile software would normally have started for the 2013 tax season, the brand’s key retailer advised that only Intuit’s category-leading TurboTax brand would be listed for the coming tax year. UFile quickly signed up a number of smaller traditional and non-traditional retailers for personal accounting software, but needed a way to recapture the retail customers who had been purchasing at the former key retailer, some for as long as a decade.

Obviously, failing to recover from this major channel disruption, which represented over 90% of retail volume, would be catastrophic for the UFile brand.

The Strategy

Create three distinct target groups from the previous year’s 200,000 retail customers based on how they could be communicated with:

Group A – email addresses & valid mailing addresses from 2012 registration data

Group B – email addresses only from 2012 registration data

Group C – email addresses from pre-2012 registration data

First, take Group A customers out of the retail market by putting a special UFile 2012 CD in their hands free of charge at the beginning of January. Then create a series of communications for the duration of the tax season, specific to each of the three target groups, motivating them to do one of three things:

  1. Activate the mailed CD online
  2. Buy the 2012 tax year product direct by download
  3. Buy a 2012 CD at one of UFile’s new retail partners

The Execution

The first week in January, all Group A customers received an email acknowledging that UFile was their favourite software brand and that this year, we were simply making it easier for them to get this year’s version. This approach was used for all creative and all target groups.

Email subject line:

Skip the store: Your 2012 CD is in the mail.

Mr. Richard Pajot
175a King Street East
Toronto, ON M5A 1J4

Three days later, all Group A customers received this purpose-designed 2012 tax year CD and mailer at their home or office address. To activate and use their CD, the customer needed to purchase a product key online.

Following emails aligned to key dates in the tax filing cycle-and key dates that had nothing to do with taxes. Urgency was created with small discounts & rewards for activating early, and with the promise of an early refund.

Email subject line:

Why early filers are falling for UFile.

Email subject line:

Your UFile CD is pregnant with possibilities…

Group B & C customers, who did not receive the UFile recapture CD by mail, got a series of emails advising them of ll the new ways they could get their UFile software, including buying a CD at retail.

Email subject line:

UFile gets February filers off on the right foot.

The Results

Over 80% recapture rate in online CD activations and downloads, with many customers buying online for the first time. Customer recapture rate was 94% when new retail purchase was included, also driven by the Recapture Campaign and a new retail account store locator.

The campaign was also the successful start of a new long-term strategy of using retail as the first-purchase channel, then converting the retail customer to a direct sales customer.

UFile Customers Re-Captured
Total Customer Recapture Rate

Campaign Creative Credits

Creative Direction: Jeff Katz

Copywriting: Jeff Katz

Art Direction & Graphic Design: Jennifer Shadbolt