Soft Sale Hero

The Soft Sale

Rather than going for the hard sale, these emails offer advice ranging from what’s trending in fashion, different ways to keep warm, and a summer bucket list. Contrary to the norm, the designs don’t have product names or prices, but instead support their theme with product imagery.

From: Maurices
Date: 9/06/15
Subject Line: Five fall finds just for you

Maurices offers fall advice from their “trend expert,” Angela. By including her picture, the email is instantly given a more personal, less salesy vibe. They did a great job keeping Angela’s quotes short and to the point. The fashion tips are generalized enough to be viewed as advice rather than a specific product recommendation. I love the incorporation of the product images; the large, staggered, drop-shadowed cut-outs really have a lot of presence.


From: LOFT
Date: 9/04/15
Subject Line: 6 things to do before summer’s over…

LOFT really stands out as the softest sale of the bunch. Taking the angle of a “summer bucket list,” the email highlights an astonishing number of non-product related to-do’s. The first two on the list (the two that appear above the fold I might add) aren’t related to products at all, but rather brunch and books. A bold move. However, they subliminally throw a product into the mix by featuring an image of a woman in LOFT clothing eating brunch. A very low pressure and creative technique that I love. I also enjoy the staggered images, numbered list, and easily-digestible copy. In fact, the wordiest part of the email is the headline and sub-header. My only suggestion would be to shorten those a bit and tighten it up on height.


From: LOFT
Date: 8/27/15
Subject Line: How to layer right now

This email from LOFT suggests different ways to layer clothing for changing climates. By making general statements about scarves, cardigans, and jackets, it feels more like a suggestion and less like a push. I like the overlaying images, again, staggered for flow. My only problem is with the sale banner at the top. It has been given prime real estate, yet doesn’t go with the design, theme, or subject line. I would suggest moving it to the bottom of the email. If it MUST stay at the top, I suggest finding a way to tie it in with the rest of the message. Something like: Layer on These Savings.


From: Gap
Date: 8/25/15
Subject Line: guide to fall style: overalls, tunics…

Gap takes the angle of “your guide to fall,” suggesting general clothing like denim, overalls and stripes. I have to say I LOVE the numbered-list treatment on this email – very unique and fun. Again, nice job staggering the information for flow. You may be tired of hearing me say that, but it’s important to remember when dealing with a long, narrow design. I like that each product is shown at full length for context, as well as cropped in to focus on the tip being featured. My gripe on this one, again, is the banner at the top. It distracts from the design, pushes the message down, and completely negates the soft sale approach. My suggestion is the same as the LOFT layering email.


My take-away: Sending out an occasional soft-sale message is a great idea. It’s a perfect opportunity to add-value by offering helpful advice to your subscribers. No one wants to be told what they need to buy all the time. Give enough information to keep them informed and let them find their way to your trend-setting stash.