3 sales-boosting holiday email tips for retailers

September 1, 2015 McKenzie Gregory

If you’re in the retail game, you know that holiday sales can either make or break your year. In fact, 40% of annual retail sales are concentrated in the holiday season (Yahoo). And e-commerce sales during November and December are projected to hit a whopping $82 billion this year – that’s a 14% growth over 2014 (Statista).

Along with all that exciting opportunity, however, comes a host of marketing challenges, especially when it comes to your email communications. Inbox competition is heaviest during the holiday season, so you have to pull out all the stops – and start strategizing now – if you want to get noticed by your recipients.

Since this critical time is quickly approaching, we’ve outlined three simple tips (+ examples for each) that will help you craft emails that sell more stuff as the weather turns colder and that warm-and-fuzzy holiday spirit begins to fill the air.

1. Get more opens with compelling subject lines.

Subject lines have one of the largest impacts on whether or not your email will get opened, so do everything you can to make yours feel personal and capture attention.

The Frye Company: Frye included the recipient’s first name in this subject line – a smart choice, since personalized subject lines like this one are 22% more likely to be opened.



Uber: There are other ways to personalize subject lines beside the “first name” tactic. This subject line from Uber inspires curiosity by promising the recipient information that’s about them – and they deliver with a year-end recap of the person’s app use.



Lyst: Subject lines that create a sense of exclusivity also inspire high open rates. This email directly speaks to the recipient and offers them a discount, mimicking language you’d see in the inbox from people you actually know.



2. Get more engagement with mobile-optimized content.

53% of all email is opened on a mobile device (Litmus). So it’s incredibly important – especially during the holidays, when people are likely traveling and on-the-go – to make sure your emails are mobile-optimized and look just as good on a small screen as they do on a large one.

Hautelook: Creating a good mobile template can be as simple as carrying over important parts of your standard desktop template. That way, you maintain a consistent brand image while still catering to individuals on all devices.



Huckberry: Don’t be afraid to embrace the scroll. Gone are the days where people avoid emails that are a little on the long side; in fact, people love to scroll on their phones and even expect that kind of interaction within their emails. 



World Market: Consider incorporating a mobile coupon in your emails that can be redeemed either in-store or online. It gives your customers options and makes redeeming the coupon easy – which is probably why mobile coupons are used 10 times as often as traditional ones (eMarketer).



3. Get them to click by inspiring action.

80% of your audience is only scanning your emails. So rather than incorporating a lot of copy, fill your messages with eye-catching, compelling imagery that will provoke action – in this case, purchases from your website.

Janie and Jack: People love pictures of other people – specifically, pictures of human faces. And studies have shown that, subconsciously, we will follow the gaze of people that we encounter. In this example, Janie and Jack used an image where the child’s gaze points directly to where the calls to action are sitting.



Kate Spade: Color helps effectively tell a story. The calls to action in this series are all pretty much the same – but the use of color evokes different emotions. Yellow promotes a slight level of anxiety that immediately gets attention. Green means go – the sale is on. And orange-red tells us that we better hurry up, because it’s over soon.



Revolve: Revolve makes holiday shopping easy on customers: They feature new arrivals in the main content, but also provide tappable links below to their stocking stuffers and gifts by price point.



Want more tips and tricks for retail emails that convert? Check out our Content Hub for useful info on all things email.

About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a content writer on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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