Strategies to Build Your Business

A Tale of Two eBlasts

There is such a thing as too much creativity. Check out these two eBlasts. Both are from MyHabit, Amazon’s flash sale website. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a flash sale, here’s a basic primer. Essentially, it’s an ecommerce version of Black Friday that happens every single morning via email and smartphone app for people who care way too much about clothes. When you sign up for a flash sale or deal-of-the-day site like MyHabit, or Gilt, or Rue La La, you wait with bated breath every morning for the daily announcement eblast that hits your inbox at the appointed time, giving you a heads-up about the brands and items on markdown that day and click-through links to each sale. These eBlasts serve a very specific purpose, and it isn’t to tell a brand story or engage the consumer with an emotional appeal about blah blah disruption. It’s to tell you what’s on sale in very specific terms so you can click through quickly and fill your virtual shopping cart with what you so desperately desire while avoiding what you don’t. This is what that looks like.

Simple, right? Brown dress shoes up to 80% off – sign me up! Ben Sherman ties? I’ll pass. The eBlast above does exactly what it needs to do. It doesn’t need finessing, wordsmithing, infusing with brand story, whatever. And this is what happens when you try to fix what isn’t broken, when you apply a marketing solution to a usability problem that doesn’t exist.

Just look at that copy. How fancy and creative. “Getting fit will be MYHABIT”? What the hell does that mean? I assume that workout clothes are on sale. But what brands? What items? Discounted by up to how much? “Taking a vacation…will be MYHABIT.” Well that’s nice. But why are rain coats grouped together with summer hats in a single sale, and more importantly, in what universe outside of a brainstorming meeting is this how actual human beings shop? I’ve just spent way too much time obsessing about the composition of two eBlasts, but there is a moral here for our industry. “Creativity” is a trait best applied with a fine-tipped brush, not a firehose. Everything doesn’t have to tell a convoluted story that ties back to some grandiose positioning statement. Sometimes, you just need to know what’s on sale.

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