Holiday Email Marketing Trends, Examples for 2021

Holiday Email Marketing Trends, Examples for 2021

It’s the busiest time for email marketing. Retailers are preparing and sending their holiday campaigns. Most use proven, tried-and-true email tactics.

In this post, I’ll review a few email marketing examples in this 2021 season from leading retailers.

Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer is applying several proven email marketing practices. First is a “cart starter” to initiate the purchase process, beginning with the subject line: “Here’s $10 To Start Your Holiday Shopping!” It has a dual purpose of a $10 savings and a reminder to get started.

Consumers have endless choices for buying gifts. Deciding factors are typically price, convenience, availability, selection, and quality. Enticing shoppers to populate a cart facilitates abandoned cart reminders if necessary. And auto-loading a coupon code or gift offer can close sales.

Screenshot of an Eddie Bauer holiday email

This subject line from an Eddie Bauer email — “Here’s $10 To Start Your Holiday Shopping!” — has a dual purpose of a $10 savings and a reminder to get started.

Upping the email frequency is another proven practice. Thus far, Eddie Bauer has gone from sending a few weekly emails to daily to, most recently, twice a day.

Screenshot of an email inbox showing many Eddie Bauer emails.

Eddie Bauer has gone from sending a few weekly emails to daily to, most recently, twice a day.

An Adweek survey found that 99% of consumers check their email at least daily. Many check upwards of 20 times per day. A subscriber could easily miss, say, a morning email. But an afternoon message could catch her attention.

Increasing the frequency requires variations on subject lines, preheaders, and body copy. Do not resend the same or similar email more than once daily. Moreover, unique content improves deliverability. Similar (or exact) subject lines from the same sender can trip spam algorithms to block the deployment. Emails from Eddie Bauer have unique subject lines, body copy, offers.

Loft

Loft, the women’s clothing retailer, emphasizes its rewards program in holiday emails, another proven strategy. Rewards encourage loyalty and repeat purchases. The most effective programs allow flexibility as to when and where consumers access the rewards offers.

Sample email from Loft for rewards points.

Loft lets rewards shoppers decide when they shop and on what channel.

Costco

Shoppers in 2021 are mindful of inventory shortages and delivery delays. Costco and many other retailers have responded by launching early holiday promotions. Costco’s example email below features a variety of products as many shoppers are unsure what gift to buy.

Plus, a Deloitte survey found that 51% of consumers will purchase something for themselves while shopping for others. Bundled offers — such as buy one, get one free — encourage this behavior.

Screenshot of a holiday email promotion from Costco

Retailer Costco started holiday email promotions on November 1.

Shutterfly

Direct physical mail can complement email promotions and drive online traffic. I’ve seen direct mail campaigns produce a 20% lift in conversions. Direct mail during the holidays can also reach procrastinating shoppers.

Shutterfly deploys direct mail to great effect, as shown in the image below of a physical postcard.

Image of a postcard reading "Holiday Cards and Gifts"

This physical postcard from Shutterfly complements email campaigns and drives traffic to the company’s website.

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