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Nice Touch: ModCloth Reels You Back In

A friend of mine loves scarves. So when she saw a beautiful scarf on ModCloth, she immediately added it to her Loved Items list (their version of favorites). But it was summer and she didn’t need a new scarf right away, so she left. By the time scarf season started again, she’d forgotten about it. One day months later, the scarf went on sale at ModCloth and, because she’d added it to her Loved Items list, she got an email about the sale.

ModCloth sent an email to my friend to let her know that an item she'd saved was on sale.

Excited for a deal, she added it to her cart immediately. But, well, life happens. Do you ever go shopping online and add something to your cart, only to get distracted by one thing or another and forget to check out? A couple days later, she got a reminder in her email. It was a small gesture, but it led her to finish her purchase.

Sometimes you forget about items you left in the cart. ModCloth sends a helpful reminder.

Tons of companies send email all the time. Why is this particular instance a delightful touch? Unlike the vast majority of brand emails, this one was targeted to my friend’s specific interest and intent. She expressed an interest in a specific item by adding it to her favorites list and ModCloth took the time to let her know when that item was on sale, i.e. when she would be even more interested in buying it.

She then expressed an even more clear intent by adding the scarf to her cart. Most people only add items to their cart when they intend to buy it. (Let’s ignore the dark pattern of forcing people to add an item to the cart to see a reduced price.) ModCloth gave her some time to finish the transaction on her own, then they gently nudged her (with a single, short email). Notice that the copy isn’t implying she has to buy the item - the call to action is simply to see what’s in her bag.


It’s easy to think of all company emails as fluff or spam, but when you tie email directly to your customer journey, you can find opportunities to add targeted value. Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider email for your re-engagement strategy.

  • Identify real customer interests and intents. Many sites send reminders or even create ads based on products you’ve viewed once. If they’re constantly notifying you about every item you may have looked at, any delight will be lost in the noise. Notifying customers based on wishlists (or even previous purchases) is a much stronger proposition.
  • Don’t be aggressively pushy. A gentle nudge one time is more convincing. If the emails above had come more than once, it’s likely my friend would have unsubscribed.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe from similar emails. Some customers simply don’t have time for extra noise. It’s far better to respect their wish for peace and keep them as a customer than to continue shouting blindly until they leave for good.
  • Add incentives but use them wisely. For instance, the sale email above could have included an end date for the sale to add a sense of scarcity. The cart reminder email could have tacked on a small additional discount to add further incentive. Consider using the second discount sparingly - if it becomes a common practice, your customers may wise up and start expecting discounts for not checking out completely.

Have you seen a nice touch on a website or app? Let me know about it, and what made it delightful for you.

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