Fresh Ink

January 3, 2017
Author: Christina Hagopian

2016 Best Holiday Emails

Top 10 Holiday Email Roundup

Maximizing ecommerce spending power during the holidays

Online retailers know that email marketing is big business and crucial to holiday sales success. Online sales reached almost $90 billion in Q4 2015 with email marketing driving 20% of that revenue. We expect to see higher numbers for Holiday 2016 reports as email and ecommerce sales increase year after year.

Q4 is when consumers spend more than any other time of year, showering friends and family with gifts as well as treating themselves. Every retailer knows this which is why they increase their email frequency by an average of roughly 50% during November and December. According to one study, the holiday shopping period generates 50% to 100% more revenue than shopping days during the rest of the year.

We pulled 10 of our favorite emails that broke through the clutter of our holiday inbox to share our 10 best tips for increasing engagement and sales over the holiday season. From clever copy, festive imagery, or stand-out animations, these holiday emails shined brighter than the lights on the Rockefeller Tree!

1. pottery barn

Pottery Barn’s gift countdown highlights their beautiful products, while providing a wide variety of gift suggestions. 60% of all emails during the holidays entice promotions within subject lines and most are mentioned within the first 14 characters.

See the full email here.
Subject line: Ready. Set. Gift. 20% off your order + Free Shipping ends TONIGHT

2. burberry

This Burberry email features personalized products with my unique monogram. Personalized emails receive 2.5X higher click-through rates and 6X more sales. Burberry masters this. I receive personalized monogrammed emails all the time from Burberry. They catch my attention and I always click to see more.

See the full email here.
Subject line: Personalise your Burberry gift

3. cb2

CB2 sent a flow chart to help select last minute gifts based on the recipient’s hobbies. They also highlight gift cards, the most requested gift for 9 years in a row. Many retailers use the holidays as a chance to market gift cards for easy gifting and last minute shoppers to download ecards without worrying about shipping or arrival dates.

See the full email here.
Subject line: Need a little help with last-minute gifts?

4. DSW

DSW hosted an in-store promotion with holiday giveaways. By driving foot traffic with an in-store promotion, they created a multi-channel shopping opportunity. The glasses were animated to clink together, too!

Subject line: [NAME], how about a holiday party?


This New Year’s themed Esther email animated a countdown, and promoted New Year’s attire rather than holiday gifting, which was a nice change of pace in our inbox. They also provided a secondary push for gift cards.

See the full email here.
Subject line: The final countdown ✨

Gap created a holiday click-to-reveal email with festive copy. Offering subscribers a percentage off is the most popular promotional strategy during the holidays. Gap surely saw an increase in opens, as this email entices you to click to reveal your deal.

See the full email here.
Subject line: ✂ Surprise! You scored THIS mystery offer (CODE UNLOCKED)


Tiek’s animated snowglobe email was simple, yet festive and effective. Animations quickly capture attention, and can bring life to static inboxes.

See the full email here.
Subject line: I’m Dreaming Of…

8.west elm

West Elm had an entire week of offers based on free shipping, something they rarely offer. They also highlight their holiday sale, as well as gift guides, keeping the whole email geared towards last minute holiday shopping. This is the time of year when retailers increase their email cadences significantly, often doubling the number of sends compared to the rest of the year. West Elm sent an email just about every day, often reiterating their current sales offer.

See the full email here.
Subject line: Our reindeers are on overdrive: Free shipping ends TONIGHT!

9. williams sonoma

Williams Sonoma uses product still lifes to promote holiday gift crates the week before Christmas. This email highlights pre-packaged gifts which are perfect for last-minute gifting, along with a free shipping offer.

See the full email here.
Subject line: Today Only! 30% Off GREAT GIFTS For Everyone On Your List

10. sobe

We created this twinkling holiday email for SoBe to spread a little holiday cheer. We’re anxious to see how the animation impacted the click rates!

See the full email here.
Subject line: Brighten up your holidays with a chance to win

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