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Jan 5, 2011 | 2 minute read

A Different Way to Merchandise Retail Email

written by Linda Bustos

If you want to make your email stand out in times when customers are being barraged by promotions, you have to do something radically different. 1-800-Headsets' latest campaign is an example.

There's a lot to unpack in this email.


At first blush, it doesn't appear this letter is merchandising anything - it's all text. In fact, it opens by saying it's not trying to sell you anything. But a careful read reveals something very clever.

"Following a couple of slower growth years, 2010 has been a big year for us, most notably with the release of the OfficeRunner wireless headset, which you've undoubtedly heard all about by now, so I won't take your time going over the benefits it offers."

I may have ordered a headset a year or so ago, but I certainly don't keep up with newly released headset products. 1-800-Headsets knows very well I have no clue what the OfficeRunner headset is. This email piques curiosity that there is possibly something groundbreaking that has entered the market that would motivate me to buy again. (I'm unlikely to need another headset for several years, so this is smart tactic).

Value proposition

The email claims is Canada's number one headset seller. While this would be a stronger proposition if it was backed up by proof or clarified what number one means (number one in service, sales, selection, customer satisfaction), it still communicates a reason to stay loyal to the e-tailer.

Human face

The letter is signed off by the CEO, and includes his personal email address and phone number. This expresses that the company values the individual enough to share the head honcho's contacts. Though the letter is undoubtedly written by someone else, this is a nice gesture.

Without any calls to action or links, it's impossible to measure clicks and conversions apart from tracking sales for the OfficeRunner and matching back orders to customer account numbers that received the email. Nevertheless, trying something radically different is a good idea. This email's purpose was to build awareness and create interest in a featured product, backed up with a value proposition and a warm, we-love-the-customer tone - something the text accomplishes.

Whether this campaign was a success for 1-800-Headsets, I don't know. Amongst the pile of promotional email this season, customers may have been turned off by the long text or refreshed to find an email that doesn't oversell. What do you think of this email?