Holiday email marketing trends, examples for 2021


This is the busiest time for email marketing. Retailers prepare and send their holiday campaigns. Most use tried and tested email tactics.

In this article, I’ll go over some examples of email marketing in this 2021 season from major retailers.

Eddie bauer

Eddie Bauer applies several proven email marketing practices. The first is a “cart starter” to start the shopping process, starting with the subject line: “Here’s $ 10 to start your holiday shopping!” He has a dual purpose of saving $ 10 and a booster to get started.

Consumers have endless choices for purchasing gifts. The deciding factors are usually price, convenience, availability, selection and quality. Getting shoppers to fill a cart makes it easier to get abandoned cart reminders if needed. And the automatic loading of a promo code or gift offer can close the sale.

This subject line from an email from Eddie Bauer – “Here’s $ 10 to start your vacation shopping!” – has a dual purpose of saving $ 10 and a reminder to get started.

Another proven practice is increasing the frequency of emails. So far, Eddie Bauer has gone from a few weekly emails to every day to, more recently, twice a day.

Screenshot of an email inbox showing numerous emails from Eddie Bauer.

Eddie Bauer has gone from a few weekly emails every day to, more recently, twice a day.

An Adweek survey found that 99% of consumers check their email at least once a day. Many check more than 20 times a day. A subscriber could easily miss, say, a morning email. But an afternoon message might catch his attention.

Increasing frequency requires variations on subject lines, pre-headers, and body text. Do not resend the same or a similar email more than once per day. Additionally, unique content improves deliverability. Similar (or exact) subject lines from the same sender can trigger spam algorithms to block deployment. Eddie Bauer’s emails have unique subject lines, body text, and offers.


Loft, the womenswear retailer, is emphasizing its holiday email rewards program, another proven strategy. The rewards encourage loyalty and repeat purchases. The most effective programs allow flexibility in when and where consumers access rewards offers.

Sample email from Loft for reward points.

Loft allows rewards buyers to decide when to buy and on which channel.


Buyers in 2021 are aware of inventory shortages and delivery delays. Costco and many other retailers have responded by launching advance holiday promotions. The Costco sample email below shows a variety of products, as many shoppers aren’t sure which gift to buy.

What’s more, a Deloitte survey found that 51% of consumers will buy something for themselves while shopping for others. Bundles – like buying one, getting one for free – encourage this behavior.

Screenshot of a Costco Holiday email promotion

Retailer Costco launched the holiday email promotions on November 1.


Direct physical mailing can complement email promotions and drive traffic online. I’ve seen direct mail campaigns produce a 20% increase in conversions. Holiday direct mail can also reach procrastinating buyers.

Shutterfly deploys direct mail to a 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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