May 13, 2009

Automatic inventory alerts by email

sanuk-otifyWhen I was little, kids used to tease my shoes. I always picked really weird, functional ones with hidden pockets, or folding wings or ninja shoes with that separate toe-thing, so I could climb "escape ropes." You know, just in case. After a while, ugly shoes became my trademark. My little one-finger-salute to the mainstream.

Anyway, I’ve been looking for some new ugly shoes at Zappos, and came across these babies (click the screenshot to the right). Not quite ugly enough for me, but close.

So yes, I’d love to be notified when they offer other shoes from that particular brand. Maybe their next lineup will be uglier. Therefore the little email signup box at the bottom is very useful to me, because c’mon—I’m not going to browse Zappos every day looking for shoes.

Many e-commerce shopping carts (like Magento) now come with built-in RSS feeds for inventory alerts. But who uses RSS? You’ll want a way to convert that RSS feed into email.

MailChimp users can do this easily with our RSS-to-email tool. I wouldn’t do it per-SKU. Perhaps a separate email list per brand or product category. Maybe pick only your most popular brands, at that. When people subscribe to that list, they’ll automatically receive an alert whenever the RSS feed is updated.