Read How CD Baby Turns a Mundane Email Into an “Exceptional Conversation”


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Correspondence from most members of the retail industry is reduced to little more than a form letter with a few “mail-merged” names; the letter can fit most circumstances and usually does. Isn’t it about time someone uses their imagination and creates a response that we look forward to read…and share?

cd baby shipping letter

Derek Sivers, who founded CD Baby in 1998, once the world’s largest online distributor of independent music, had a brainstorm. Initially his company sent out a standard automated e-mail with every order that let the customer know when the CD was actually shipped. At first it was just the normal “Your order has shipped today. Please let us know if it doesn’t arrive. Thank you for your business.”

But quickly, he felt he could do better. He spend 20 minutes and created an email, the shipping letter, which has since brought smiles to everyone who has read it and reportedly led to their largest increase in customers since.

Here’s the email…

From: [email protected]

To: xxxxxxxxxxxx

Sent: 5/16/2017 6:40:11 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Subj: Your CD Baby Order! SO049…….

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!

USPS tracking #: 92748901101692……….

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our world-renowned packing specialist lit a local artisan candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, May 16, 2017.

We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


We miss you already. We’ll be right here at, patiently awaiting your return.

CD Baby

The little store with the best new independent music.

Now, I must say that this order confirmation is nothing new. Copies of this email have traveled the internet for years and many have tried to copy it to little success.

What is new is Mr. Sivers’s willingness to try something new, be different; not a different business plan, but a different mindset and how to connect with his customers. He “knew” they desired something more, something personal, and something others didn’t provide.

He set out to make it happen…

Most business rely on a “tried” formula that they believe works for them. Little thought goes into “what else can we do for our customers?”

Ever hear these words…

“We haven’t heard any complaints. No news is good news, right?”

“Our satisfaction scores are consistent from months/years past. No need to make a change”.

“Our marketing department said it would cost too much to change all our correspondence and promotional documents, plus, what will the “return” be?”

Very short-sighted thinking, no?

What if Mr. Sivers thought this way? Would he have been able to sell his business 10 years later for a reported $22 million and live the life he dreamed of? Probably not.

$22 million…not bad for a man who was a local musician and created the CD Baby website to sell his own music. As a hobby, he also began to sell the CDs of local bands and friends. The rest is history.

What will YOUR “history” be?

Will it be one of robotic adherence to standard methodology and limited benefit? Or will you find a way to connect with your customers in ways that touch their humorous side, their sentimental nature or their hopeful optimism?

This is how you connect with your customers. Be different, be memorable, be special. Click To Tweet

Be like CD Baby!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve DiGioia
Steve uses his 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry to help companies and their employees improve service, increase morale and provide the experience their customers' desire. Author of "Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift...Even If You're a Bad Waiter" and named an "ICMI Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leader" and a "Top Customer Service Influencer" by CCW Digital, Steve continues his original customer service, leadership and management-based writings on his popular blog.


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