A few months ago, Seth Godin put the word “seamless” into a better context.
…seams are important.
Try throwing a baseball or a football without seams.
Wear clothes without seams and you look like you’re on Star Trek.
Seams make it possible to get a grip.
The goal, it seems to me, is not to create things that are seamless. It’s to put the seams in places where they are actually useful.
That’s exactly what Threadless.com does for its customers. If you’ve done business with them before and have selected an item that’s running low in their inventory, and you abandon the checkout process before buying, they’ll send you a follow-up email like this:
Their shirts come with seams, as does their marketing. The copy is spot-on without being pushy. They seem to be doing us a favor. Threadless knows that their customers know that the t-shirt designs they print sell out fast. They don’t shout “buy now!” when we’re just browsing the products. Nope. This message is tailored for people who’ve shown genuine interest. And despite the exclamation points, it reads something like this: “Sorry to bother you, but here’s what you should know about our inventory. If you really do want to buy this item, you should probably do it soon-ish.”