Chad White from the Retail Email Blog recently spotted this email from TigerDirect that dynamically updates image files when a product sells out. This practice prevents the frustration and disappointment when one clicks to a product that's no longer available, creates urgency for other products and may prompt the recipient to open TigerDirect emails right away in the future.
The dynamic replacement is certainly cool But what if you deliberately mixed in some sold out products in your emails?
My first retail job was selling shoes in the mall. When the mall was "dead" and the store empty, we would begin to make a mess. We'd pull shoe samples off the shelf and throw them all over the floor. The idea was people browsing the mall are more likely to enter a store with activity than one where the sales girls are leaning over the counter tapping pencils and blowing bubble-gum.
In a way, using Sold Out labels in an email creates the impression the store is busy and successful. Not unlike when real estate agents list sold homes in the newspaper.
This would make a very interesting test, and I wouldn't be surprised if click through is high on sold out items -- we humans always tend to desire what we can't have.