Retail marketers have their work cut out for them as we quickly approach a holiday shopping season that remains full of question marks. Advanced personalization that uses dynamic content and moment-of-open technology will be even more essential in this challenging year to bring value to email campaigns and help marketers keep up in an uncertain, constantly-changing retail environment.

It’s never too early to start planning, especially this year when marketers will pull every available lever to drive traffic, sales and revenue without relying on deep discounts or margin-eating incentives. 

Research from the National Retail Federation shows nearly 1 in 4 consumers say they start shopping in October or earlier. This year, you need to get ahead of these early birds to serve their needs and wants and retool campaigns quickly if conditions change. 

Need some help to get started on your strategic holiday plan? Find it in the Liveclicker 2020 Holiday Lookbook, packed full of tips and tactics for sending emails that will get your customers excited about shopping this holiday season.

Early holiday numbers predict ecommerce will boom again 

U.S. retail sales, including holiday, will fall 14% in 2020, eMarketer predicts, while ecommerce should rise 18%, bolstered by shoppers who discovered the convenience of curbside/home delivery and in-store pickup. 

No matter what happens, retailers are in a stronger position today than they were in the early weeks of the pandemic. They have learned how to survive shutdowns and manage around product shortages and day-to-day changes. 

With the holidays looming, marketers can put that knowledge to work by using dynamic content and moment of open technology to create high-value email campaigns that roll with uncertainties and get customers excited about shopping again.

Tactic 1: Create up-to-date regional campaigns with moment-of-open location data. 

Different parts of the country will be at different stages of recovery this year, from full reopening to partial or total shutdown. Your email campaigns must reflect these variations, especially if your company relies on physical stores for sales and customer service. 

One email, many variations: Save time, money and resources by replacing all of your regional email campaigns with a single email template that includes dynamic content modules. These let you blend standard content for all shoppers with content that’s right for different regions.

A map of your nearby locations can update automatically based on where your customers open the email. Copy can list regional store hours or shopping policies. No worries about sending customers to closed stores or posting inaccurate information!

Tactic 2: Show customers how click-and-collect solves the need for speed. 

Many consumers are adamant that they won’t join the usual holiday throngs this year. Show shoppers you care about their health and safety by offering click-and-collect or “buy online, pick up in store” services that let them shop but stay socially distant.

Create a fun animation or short video that walks new users through the steps so they understand how the process works and gives them confidence to use the service, like this example from Tractor Supply Company.

Then, add it to a special promotional campaign or to purchase-confirmation emails if they choose the service at checkout. 

Remember to add location data and dynamic content to the mix! With these you can target the locations where you offer the service and swap in substitute content for emails opened in regions where you don’t offer it yet.

Tactic 3. Keep buyers in the know with refreshed shipping and delivery information.

Whether your online shoppers choose regular delivery or click-and-collect from a local store, keep them updated (and off your customer-service lines) with shipping updates that track delivery dates and times. 

Add this content to a dynamic module in your regular or triggered emails, or send a stand-alone email they can refer to whenever they want an update.

Want to know more? Get the guide!

Your copy of the Liveclicker 2020 Holiday Lookbook is as close as a click. It’s free and filled with great tips to help you leverage the power of dynamic content and moment of open technology for more relevant and engaging email. Learn more about these cool tools, too:

Download your free copy now!

The holiday season is a critical make-or-break point for brands in a variety of industries; especially retail, CPG, ecommerce and similar verticals. In most retail sectors, the holiday season drives over 20% of annual spending. It’s a huge opportunity to build your brand, develop customer relationships, and drive revenue. 

Email’s role in holiday marketing and communications can not be overstated. That’s why we’re creating the ultimate resource for holiday retail email marketing: a guide and reference to inspire and craft your holiday email campaign from beginning to end.


Get it now: 9 Solutions (With Real-Life Examples!) to Retailers’ Biggest Holiday Email Headaches


One of the best ways to inform a strategy for the future is to take lessons from the recent past. Last year’s holiday season provides marketers a bounty of valuable results and lessons to bring your customers—and your brand—happy holidays this year.

The Big Picture

It’s no secret the holiday season is a huge opportunity to make an impact on your bottom line. But just how important is it really? 

Here’s some context from last year.

In 2018, holiday retail sales finally crossed the $1 trillion mark. Yes, trillion with a T: one million millions. That’s a mind-boggling amount of potential revenue, and competition has never been higher to get a slice of the pie.

To bring that figure down to scale, the average American shopper spent $846 on gifts in 2018a substantial 14% increase YoY,

There are several factors driving this growth. One of the largest (and perhaps most significant for email marketers) is ecommerce: US retail ecommerce spending hit $123.73 billion last holiday season (up 16.6% YoY).

In total, about 65% of holiday purchases are influenced by sales and promotions. As one of the most direct, personal, and flexible channels in the marketing toolkit, email a critical way to deliver the right sales and promotional content at just the right time before, during, and after the holidays.

Holiday Email Trends and Strategy

Unsurprisingly, email is consistently a top performer for holiday marketing.

Email was the third-highest 2018 Cyber Monday revenue driver, contributing 24.2% of sales. It was just behind direct website traffic (25.3%) and paid search (25.1%). Email led the pack in conversion rate by referral source in 2017 and 2018 for BFCM (over direct visits, organic search, and social).

Subject line optimization remains a key part of any email strategy. The top 5 subject line terms for holiday emails with the highest open and click rates are:

The window for holiday shopping is opening earlier and earlier in the year, presenting a unique opportunity to email marketers who are able to get their strategy in place on time.

40% of consumers started their holiday shopping by November 1 last year. 12% started before September. Compared to later in the season, competition to reach these audiences through the inbox is relatively low. It’s the perfect time to get a head start on your holiday numbers and to begin earning your subscribers’ attention and loyalty.

BFCM Email Statistics

The Black Friday/Cyber Monday period is a crucial point for most retailers, and email is capable of tipping the scales during the peak of holiday shopping. Retailers sent over 3.5 billion emails on Black Friday, and another 4.1 billion on Cyber Monday in 2018 

Over 50% of shoppers during the Thanksgiving period believe the best deals of the holiday season are on Black Friday, so make sure your email campaigns are ready to deliver your customers what they expect.

In 2018, Cyber Monday generated $7.9 billion in online sales—the biggest online sales day in US ecommerce history. 

54% of shoppers went both online and in-store over Thanksgiving weekend. These tend to be the most valuable customers of all; email programs that serve customers online and in-person work best.

On the Move: Holiday Mobile Marketing

It’s impossible to consider a strong email or ecommerce strategy without factoring in mobile behavior and experiences.

Mobile’s share of total digital commerce reached 40% on Thanksgiving 2018, which was the ‘most-mobile’ of the three big BFCM days. An impressive 28% of Cyber Monday sales were also via smartphones.

2 in 3 shoppers over Thanksgiving weekend turned to their mobile devices to research products and make purchases. When they open their phones this year to do the same, you would do well to have a helpful email awaiting them.

Last year mobile shopping also came with a huge missed opportunity. Studies show that shopping cart abandonment on smartphones is as high as 85%. Meanwhile, only 1 in 3 major US retailers sends emails to shopping cart abandoners. Consider setting up some special email workflows for your cart abandoners this holiday season.

Make Your 2019 Holiday Email Campaigns the Best Yet

Innovative brands have the potential to make 2019 a banner year for driving email ROI and connecting with holiday shoppers. Find out how top email marketers are already hacking the holidays in our exclusive lookbook complete with real examples that delivered impressive results. Download it now!

 

Got your holiday email marketing plans locked down yet? No shame if you still need to get back to school and Halloween campaigns out the dooryou’re not alone. 

A 2018 workflow study by Litmus found only 17% of brands start planning more than three months out for peak holiday, and between 30% and 40% don’t start until a month ahead, or even less.

If your company is one of the roughly 10% that plan six months or more, congratulations! If not, there’s still time to lay the foundation for some incredible holiday email campaigns. Check our holiday email marketing checklist to see if you have covered all the bases for the best holiday season ever.

  1. Know your goals for the season, and share them with your team.

Make sure everything in your marketing plan supports your strategies for achieving your goals; whether you need to hit a revenue amount, increase your market share, add new customers, retain more of your current customer base or recover more potential lost sales.

When your goal and strategies guide your email execution, you’re less likely to resort to less ideal measures like drastically increasing frequency if business conditions change.

  1. Test all email templates, integrations and automations.

Stress-testing everything now will save you time, frustration and lost sales later in the year when the going gets really crazy. It’s a must if you plan to introduce new templates, new automations and new technology.   

One of the things you can test is a new way to engage with your customers. For instance, you could try embedding video in your emails to help you tell your product story within your email messages. Customers then arrive on your landing pages knowing more about your products and closer to a purchase.

Embedded video in email has been a difficult issue in the past, but more email clients today can render it the way you intend. Test it in your promotional emails using RealTime Email and use Adaptive Testing in your triggered and automated messaging to send the winning version every time. 

  1. Tune up acquisition.

The holiday shopping season is already under way for many shoppers. Is your email program ready to welcome all the new customers who will find your website when they click on your search listings, find you in their social media channels or see an ad on TV?

Check all of your landing pages to ensure you have a friendly invitation to join your email program. Don’t just say “Opt in for our emails.” Tell your newbies what they’ll get in exchange for sharing their email addresses. 

Bonus tip: Add real-time verification if you don’t have it already to make sure those addresses are valid!

  1. Grab newbies at the start with onboarding.

Holiday shopping brings streams of new shoppers to your sites. Your onboarding email series can help you bring them into your fold, guide them through your site and start collecting data that you can use to personalize your future emails and web experience.

You could cross your fingers and hope they click the link to your preference center. Or, you could just ask them right in your onboarding email. Embedding an interactive poll lets you set up a fun interactive quiz in your first email to start the data-gathering process.  

  1. Find new ways to use data to enrich broadcast emails.

Gift-guide emails are a great campaign promotion because you can show off a range of products at different prices, all tied to a theme, your customer personas, the data you have on your customers or whatever makes sense for your campaign. 

There’s one problem: length. You need enough items to make them useful. But if they run on too long, you could lose viewers. Or, your email could get snipped or not render properly in Gmail and other email clients.

A slideshow functionality creates a smoothly moving collection of images in a single module, allowing you to do more with less real estate. You’ll avoid the user-experience failures that can happen with traditional image carousels or truncated messages and deliver plenty of inspirational content. And now, you can even incorporate dynamic personalization into your slideshows!

  1. Make shopping as engaging as possible.

Open the email. See the offer. Click the call to action. Buy. 

If only it were that easy to make a sale!

What do your emails do to nudge shoppers buy from you and keep your brand and offers in front of them? Three elements can make your emails more imperative for customers to act on:

  1. Bring social media and mobile apps into the email marketing mix.

Does your email plan include cross-promotion with your other digital channels? One great advantage of email is that it works well with social media and apps. 

One tactic is to cross-post your email content on your social channels and reward your top social influencers in your email content. (Do you promote opting in to email on your social About pages?)

With mobile, tap-to-text functionality can grab customers’ eyes on their phones and drive attention to your email.

  1. Track engagement across all messages, and watch for drop-off signs.

Open and click rates aren’t always the greatest metrics for measuring email value. When you view them over time, however, they’ll show whether engagement is trending up or down. Add a plan for coverage if campaign reports begin to show signs of subscriber rebellion (lower opens and clicks, higher unsubscribes or spam-complaint spikes).

Jump into action immediately if you see spam complaints increase. Analyze the numbers – how many, who they’re coming from, if they spike or come from a specific acquisition source.

  1. Create a strong repeat-purchase plan.

The old saying goes that a customer isn’t really a customer until the third purchase. The first purchase is easy. The second is a step in the right direction, but the third purchase means you’ve moved to the top of the brand consideration set.

A repeat-purchase plan to develop loyalty and drive up-sells and cross-sells can take several forms. See which combination brings the most shoppers back:

  1. Solidify customer relationships with a year-end recap.

This isn’t the time of year to try to tackle all of your win-back and inactive issues. (Put that on your January “to-do” list instead.) But a year-end reminder about everything your customers did with their brands is a subtle way of reminding them about you. Include an offer to bring them back to your site one more time before the year ends.

If you have the data capability, you can send this to every customer who has bought, opened or clicked on emails, joined your VIP program or browsed products. We love this example from Ulta, who was able to make a great personal connection with loyalty members and triple time of open with this campaign.

If you can’t get that granular with your copy, try a year-end recap of your own company’s milestones. Frame it as what your teams were able to accomplish with your customers’ help so they feel as if they were able to contribute to your accomplishments.

Get inspired this holiday season!

Make sure your email program is ready for anything this holiday season. Find out how some of the world’s most dynamic brands are hacking the holiday inbox with innovative, results driving ideas in our exclusive lookbook. Download it now in time to prepare your campaigns!

July has come and gone, August is here and before you know it September will be over, and Holiday commercials and emails will start dropping left and right. 

This is a busy time of the year for email marketers as they plan their holiday campaigns and end-of-year strategy. Spending countless hours preparing layouts, messaging, subject lines, etc. it’s easy for a very important part of the process to get lost in the chaos – email list hygiene.


Get all the inspiration you need to sleigh your holiday revenue goals. Download our lookbook: 9 Solutions (With Real-Life Examples!) to Retailers’ Biggest Holiday Email Headaches!


We’d like to focus on steps that are sometimes overlooked when planning holiday marketing campaigns. Take these measures to make sure your messages reach the inbox during the busiest time of the year. 

1. Start Growing Your List Early

If you’ve waited to grow your email lists for the holiday season, you’re already behind. If your goal is to drive the maximum sales at the end of the year, you should have started to grow your data months ago; you have some ground to catch up on! But avoid the temptation to cheat the system and buy email lists; nothing good comes out of a bought list. There could be hidden threats such as honeypots, spam traps, bots, screamers and much more in that data you just purchased.  (Read: 7 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy An Email List

2. Clean Your Data 

It’s imperative that you run your email data through email hygiene processes. Why?  Because email hygiene detects more harmful threats in your data, unlike verification. According to a report from The Relevancy Group, “ Real-time email verification is a necessary tactic to ensure that email addresses are valid, but it is an incomplete defense. To improve deliverability and suppress against multiple threats, marketers need to adopt verification and email hygiene.” 

Email verification is a great solution to detect bounces but it does little to guard against those threats such as spam traps, honeypots, moles, bots and much more that can tarnish your sender reputation and deliverability right as the holiday season ramps up.

3. Enrich Your Data

Today’s consumers expect personalized, relevant experiences. And to provide those, you need relevant data – usually lots of it. 

Research indicates 3% or more  of customer data becomes obsolete due to changing conditions. Customers move, get married, change names, and adapt to new lifestyles. 

Marketers are always in need of updated and accurate customer profile information. They can either obtain this information by searching for supplementary data or purchasing new data from other parties. The reliability of these options varies greatly, and it’s hard to guarantee that the information you have purchased is valid. If you need to enrich your data to fill in the missing or outdated consumer information, consider data appending

Data Appending is simply filling in the missing pieces of your data, completing the puzzle you’ve already started. As long as you have some sort of information such as an email, phone number, or name, there can be more added. This reveals the complete customer picture and essentially saves data that might otherwise have been lost or set aside.  

More About Data Appends and How They Affect Email Success

4.  Target Audience & List Segmentation 

Without segmentation, your engagement rates tend to suffer. Open rates usually decline, while unsubscribes tick up. It’s hard to keep emails relevant and engaging if you’re sending the same thing to everyone.

Segmenting your list based on demographics, behavioral history, and transactional history helps maximize with your content relevancy. According to Mailchimp, “segmenting your lists had open rates that were 14.37% higher, clicks that were 64.78% higher, and unsubscribe rates were 8.89% lower than people who don’t segment their lists”. 

List segmentation can drastically improve your email marketing campaigns. Your audience is not all the same, and you know that. So why target them all the same, if they’re completely different? 

If you want your email campaigns to be successful this holiday season, one of your first priorities should be email list hygiene. Clean, reliable data truly is one of the most important components of email marketing!


About the Author 

Jenna Devinney has been the Marketing Specialist at Webbula for 2 years. Her key responsibilities are social media, and content marketing, and has written dozens of articles in the data solutions space. Check out Webbula’s Intelligence report page to learn more about what Webbula has to offer. 

About Webbula 

Webbula is the undisputed industry leader in data quality technology. Our emailHygiene and Data Appending services mitigate delivery threats, enhance data lists for email campaigns and create actionable audiences for online ad serving. Webbula has a proven track record of helping our customers navigate hazardous data quality obstacles and increase their return on investment.

Our passion remains what it has been since day one, to provide the confidence and reliability that our customers have come to depend on. Webbula pioneered and perfected email hygiene, the ability to detect Spam Traps, and much more – all in pursuit of truth in data. We look forward to another decade of leading the way and of helping all of our customers succeed.

The winter holidays bring tremendous opportunities, along with a set of challenges that are greater this year than ever. The traditional Thanksgiving-Christmas Day shopping season is six days shorter.  Customer expectations keep rising. Competition is heating up, as is the pressure  to hit ROI and sales goals.

How can you capitalize on the opportunities and stay ahead of the challenges? An email marketing strategy tune-up that uses four engagement-building tactics.

Make your emails more action-worthy

You don’t have to overhaul your email program to create standout email messages. Instead, build on what you already have with an email engagement strategy.

Use your data in creative new ways to make your messages more relevant and valuable to your customers. That gets your emails noticed, opened and acted on!

1. Target and engage inactive customers in your loyalty program.

These aren’t your garden-variety inactive customers. They cared enough about your brand to join your loyalty program, but they haven’t purchased lately or opened or clicked on your emails. They need more than a garden-variety “We missed you” email message.

The typical inactive-engagement strategy usually segments out non-responders, sends an incentive to lure them back, and lops off anybody who doesn’t act. Your VIPs deserve better because you have more data on them, like behavior, preferences, purchases and demographics.

Use that data to spotlight loyalty members who haven’t purchased or redeemed rewards during a logical time cycle based on your customers’ typical buying habits. Personalize the email with points earned, points needed to move up to a higher membership level or rewards waiting to be redeemed.

Sears sends this notification to shoppers in its Freecash Rewards program. It covers all the bases needed to prompt lapsing customers to return and shop again – how much customers have to spend, the different reward tiers and how to use the reward.


Like what you see? Find more real-life examples of innovative revenue-driving tactics in our holiday email lookbook!

2. Add package-tracking data to promotional emails.

Customers value shipping notifications because they want to know where their packages are and when to expect delivery. But most brands send only one notification email, and that message usually diverts customers to a third-party shipping site to find the information.

Real-time tracking information in a promotional email keeps customers up to date and in your email (and gives them a reason to come back to it time and again!). Add a special marketing message that moves them back to your site. The more personalized the offer, the better!

This Evine shipping notice includes the company’s web navigation in the message, which can spur the customer to click on a tab that catches their attention.

email engagement during the holidays

3. Use email to help customers succeed.

How will you hit your sales goal for the year? Not just by pounding your customers with the same offers everyone else is sending. (And what are they sending? Lots of 20% and 50% discounts during the holidays, according to email database MailCharts.)

Put the customers at the center of your emails instead, and give them information that will help them shop successfully.

“Customer Experience Email Marketing helps you navigate the delicate balancing act between customer and company goals,” email expert Kath Pay says in Customer Experience Email Marketing: Getting Ahead of the Consumer, a research paper produced with Liveclicker.

“You achieve your goals by helping your customers to achieve theirs. The result is a mutually beneficial relationship with the potential to endure into loyalty.”

What do your customers want to know?

Put all that information into a special holiday planning guide, and send it just before your first major email campaign launches. Then, repeat it one topic at a time – return/exchange policies in one message, shipping deadlines in another – in your promotional emails.

This email from Online Shoes appeals to last-minute shoppers with shipping deadlines and shop-by-category links that let shoppers zero in on what they want. The countdown timer prompts customers to act, and the 25% discount sweetens the deal.

4. Nail down the basics – and don’t forget to say “Thanks for a great year!”

If you’re like most retail marketers, your email program is about to head into the most stressful time of the year. These four steps will help you shore up your foundations:

Some brands send their holiday greetings without an offer or any other path to purchase. Others include subtle ways to convert.

The email below, from American Eagle, combines several tactics: a prominent holiday greeting, links to popular spots on the website and an invitation to join the loyalty program below the greeting.

You also could include a link to your preference center, invite subscribers to create or update a profile and emphasize the benefit as AE does with its loyalty program invite:

Want more ideas to build engagement that drives sales during the holidays? Download our newest guide: 9 Solutions (With Real-Life Examples!) to Retailers’ Biggest Holiday Email Headaches (there’s a UK version too!).

When used at the right place and the right time, even relatively simple application of real-time personalization can deliver impressive improvements to your email program and holiday marketing metrics. 

As we count down to the start of the holiday season, find out how one ecommerce company grew revenue 110% along with click throughs and site visits in their holiday campaigns by using real-time personalization effectively.

3… 2…1… GO!

Holiday ecommerce sales reached a record $122 billion last year; a 16% YoY increase. And this year is poised to be even bigger.

That kind of growth presents huge opportunities for brands with the right strategy. By incorporating real-time content into their emails, One Click Ventures was able to increase holiday email revenues by more than 110%! 

Here’s how:

One Click Ventures sets ambitious holiday targets for all its ecommerce brands, including site like Readers.com, Sunglass Warehouse and felix + iris. 

The company aims to deliver tailored and engaging customer experiences through digital communications to drive conversions and increase revenue through personalized email marketing efforts. 

But, historically the organization faced familiar obstacles. Their consistent, standardized email design lacked impact and was unable to connect with target audiences in a unique and individually relevant manner. And they had few tools with which to create a sense of urgency and convert short-term sales.

A Real Solution in Real Time

To update its ecommerce email marketing strategy and drive better holiday results, One Click Ventures turned to dynamic, real-time personalization. 

One tactic that was particularly successful was the incorporation of countdown timers to generate interest for important holiday sales and events.

From ticking down to a big Black Friday sale to chanting away the last seconds of the year on New Years’ Eve, the holidays are full of events worth counting down to. Countdown timers are the perfect tool to build anticipation for special occasions and put fuel to the FOMO fire.


Read More: How easyJet, Verizon, and Hertz Use Countdown Timers to Turn Their Emails into FOMO Factories


As the holiday season warmed up, One Click Started using countdown timers to promote flash sales, ‘last day of deal’ notifications, and major discounts around events like Cyber Monday.

This simple addition delivered major impact. The substantial 110% email revenue growth was powered by 12%+ bump in conversion rate and a 90% increase in site visits.

The countdown timers also brought something to subscribers that they hadn’t had before: a reason to come back and open emails time and again to check on the ticking clocks.

“When we used a countdown timer in our Cyber Monday campaign we saw 43% of subscribers that opened the email actually re-open it later,” said Stephanie Cox, Director of Digital Marketing.

More opens on a key Cyber Monday email meant more exposure to the ecommerce brands’ offers and more opportunities to convert sales. Last year’s Cyber Monday generated $7.9 billion in online sales by itself, and email was responsible for about 1/4th of it. Imagine the kind of results your own Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails could drive if they had a 43% re-open rate!

Ecommerce Email Marketing Best Practices for Using Countdown Timers

Something as straightforward as adding a custom real-time countdown timer in your holiday emails can translate to 14% higher click-to-open rates, 59% higher transaction-to-click rates, and twice as high transaction rates compared to your average marketing emails.

If you’re considering adding this tool to your arsenal, or want to use it better, keep the following in mind.

Avoid overuse. 

The occasional strategically placed timer is a surprising, compelling email feature that incites immediate action. But including one in every campaign can have the ‘crying wolf effect,’ causing openers to glaze over them. Save countdown timers for when you really need to make an impact and when they make thematic sense with the rest of your creative and offers.

Use seconds or smaller units of time when appropriate. 

Part of what ignites that excitement and FOMO is seeing the constant, inevitable ticking of the clock. But subscribers won’t get that effect as strongly if you’re using larger minimum time units like minutes or hours! Check out this eye-catching sample ticking away the seconds from Dunhill London:

Test, optimize, and test again. Most audiences respond positively to real-time content like countdown timers, but there’s no guarantee that yours does. And even if your subscribers love your timers, there’s always room for improvement in layout, time increments, design and more. 

Use a real-time personalization platform to design your timers. 

When using a countdown timer in email, a simple gif isn’t going to cut it. Basic moving images don’t have the capability to adapt to time or location of open, and they may display inaccurate information—especially once the timer runs out. A real-time email personalization platform will send a personalized timer to each opener and allows you to swap in new content once the timer has run out. For example, here’s an example of an email with a timer from Pier 1 Imports:

And here’s the cheery image that was swapped in once the timer expired:

You’re On the Clock

The holidays are fast approaching, and time is limited to start incorporating those big difference-making tactics and tools into your holiday ecommerce email marketing strategy.

That’s why many leading ecommerce and retail brands are already making extensive use of countdown timers and other real-time content to create a sense of urgency and convert more shoppers throughout the holiday season. 

See for yourself how the most innovative email marketers combine countdown clocks with advanced personalization and interactive features to drive more results and gain more holiday revenue. We feature great examples like this in our holiday lookbook:

Consider it an early gift from us to you as you look for ways to improve your holiday ecommerce email marketing strategy.

Summer months represent the peak season for companies in the travel and hospitality industries, especially as so many of us travel, take vacations, rent a car, and (hopefully) get the chance to unwind.

Yet marketing teams in these industries realize that the traditional holiday season also represents a significant opportunity to help them increase their “heads-in-beds” and other utilization metrics, and ultimately, maximize revenues. 

So if you’re looking for a little inspiration, or an idea to turbocharge your marketing efforts this year, here are some proven holiday email marketing tips, tricks, and best practices from two of the world’s leading travel and hospitality brands: Celebrity Cruises and Hertz. 

Celebrity Cruises increases revenues by 3X with email personalization

Celebrity Cruises recently needed a new approach to its standard emails in order to increase click-through rates, engagement metrics, and generate higher revenues. The brand also hoped to move away from using too many promotion-based emails—a standard approach in the industry—to further maximize profitability.

Celebrity Cruises partnered with Liveclicker to design and deploy highly personalized, highly engaging email campaigns for loyal guests, one of the company’s most profitable segments. The objective was to use each customers’ data in creative ways to relive their past experience or their overall journey as a loyal guest.

The emails accomplished this goal—and so much more.

For example, using innovative real-time personalization strategies, Celebrity Cruises’ marketing team came up with fun new ways to display significant milestones in each guest’s sail history. For example, different emails featured personalized content to highlight key details such as:

By all accounts, the entire campaign was a success. Celebrity Cruise developed engaging emails its customers loved, and in doing so, generated revenues three times higher than its standard “business-as-usual” emails. 


Holiday marketing tip: Use customer information to personalize holiday email marketing campaigns in ways your audience may not expect. You’ll foster long-term relationships and create a first-class experience that is bound to pay off!


Hertz creates an engaging new experience

Hertz needed a better approach for its reservation confirmation emails. Specifically, the company was looking to delight its customers by providing as much helpful information into these emails as possible.

In working with Liveclicker, the Hertz marketing team realized that it could display maps and clickable directions that would help its customers find their specific rental locations to pick up their cars.

travel marketing holiday email

Hertz used an API link to a native map application to successfully automate the process of adding and updating maps on a regular basis. This new capability enabled Hertz to create dynamic reservation confirmation emails that included a map and detailed directions to the exact location. 

Additionally, to provide more information and deliver an even better experience, Hertz also incorporated weather details, forecasts, and local activities to help customers plan ahead. The brand even created a specific poll to ask interactive questions for follow-up emails. This capability helped Hertz quickly gather valuable feedback about customers’ rental experiences.

In addition, Hertz used Liveclicker’s LivePoll feature to ask interactive questions in follow-up emails. This capability helped the rental car companies quickly gather valuable feedback about customers’ rental experiences. 

These emails exceeded expectations. Not only did they increase click-through rates and reduce production times, but they generated impressive customer response.


Holiday marketing tip: Leave no stone unturned in your search to find new ways to communicate with customers and deliver engaging new experiences. Reservation confirmations and even order-tracking emails can now be used to communicate valuable information and continue to market your products or services.


All the holiday inspiration you need, all in one ebook

Looking for even more holiday email marketing ideas, you can download our new guide, “9 Solutions (With Real-Life Examples!) to Retailers’ Biggest Headaches,” now!

If you’re looking for some holiday inspiration, here are three real-life holiday email examples of brands driving significant results through their holiday email campaigns.

Example 1: MS Society increases year-end donations by 75%

MS Society needed its email to do a better job driving donations during the year-end holiday-donations timeframe. In the past, email had been viewed and used as a workman-like tool. MS Society wanted to test more engaging content to see if that approach would help them meet business goals. 

MS Society had already produced an interactive video for its annual “Christmas Appeal” holiday campaign. They repurposed this video to use directly in the email, with no additional production needed. The video highlighted the most compelling reasons why recipients should contribute, and even included a “donate now” link at the end to make it easy for recipients to give.

Not only was the Christmas Appeal email campaign much more engaging and inspirational, but it led to a 75% uplift in total donations over the previous year.

ms society email

Bonus tip: Embedding video in email was once considered to be a difficult technical feat. But with some creativity and innovative technology, it’s easier than you think


For the latest real-world ideas you can put into practice now, download our new guide, “9 Solutions (With Real-Life Examples!) to Retailers’ Biggest Headaches,” today!


Example 2: Ulta Beauty increases customers’ engagement with “Year in Review” emails

Ulta Beauty executives challenged their email team to promote customer loyalty and generate higher sales through the channel. The team needed to simplify their processes in order to meet this challenge. With Liveclicker’s help, they were able to accomplish both goals. 

They started with the Ulta Beauty “Year in Review” emails. These used to be a complex, labor-intensive effort. Now with Liveclicker, these emails are automatically populated with customers’ specific data. Streamlining the process helped both the team and the results. Ulta Beauty’s guests continued to open and engage with this email days after it was deployed and spent more time looking at it than other emails.

Ulta Beauty credits the sales success to elements in the email that show customers how much they shopped last year and the points they earned toward free products and services. Animation in the email, along with email personalization, creates a fun and engaging experience which customers love enough to open multiple times.

Bonus tip: You can use data, rendering and animated technology to show customers’ account balances and distance to the next reward or loyalty point level. Customers often respond to “you’re almost there” messages with additional purchases to reach the new threshold.


For the latest real-world ideas you can put into practice now, download our new guide, “9 Solutions (With Real-Life Examples!) to Retailers’ Biggest Headaches,” today!


Example 3: Sun Tan City pushes engagement to 31.5%

Sun Tan City knows that engagement helps drive sales, so it is a strong measure of success for the brand’s email efforts. They frequently use polls, surveys, and other interactive elements to drive engagement that translates into sales. 

For their Thanksgiving email, the team featured four different offers by creating a “scratch to reveal” promotion. Customers could have fun with the digital scratch-off, then link to the site to make purchases. Engagement rates were as high as 31.5% for this and similar interactive emails. Download the Sun Tan City case study to learn about their interactive poll success. 

Sun Tan City

Bonus tip: Scratch-offs, polls, and other interactive elements help drive engagement and purchases. By mixing and matching elements, you can meet holiday revenue goals for your email program. 

This week, the industry is buzzing with news about Amazon Prime Day 2019. While it’s too early to calculate the actual results, some early estimates show that Amazon will generate sales of $6.1 billion, which would be a $2 billion improvement over last year.

Not only are these numbers impressive, but they are more signs that the upcoming holiday season will probably be the biggest one yet. As you plan your 2019 holiday campaigns, check our blog for a series of posts with real life examples to inspire your own success.  

To your holiday success

Download our brand new holiday ebook for more real-life examples and ideas to help you maximize your revenues this holiday season.

The holiday season presents an enormous revenue opportunity for retail brands. Sailthru found that 58% of retail marketers expect between 21-50% of annual revenues to be generated from holiday shopping.

But with that opportunity comes a long list of logistical, competitive, and technical marketing challenges that stand between you and your targets for the year. Left unaddressed, those obstacles hobble marketing effectiveness and threaten crucial revenue flows during the most critical time of the year.


Don’t let anything stand between you and your holiday revenue goals. Download the Guide: 9 Solutions (With Real-Life Examples!) to Retailers’ Biggest Holiday Email Headaches now!


Email to the Rescue…Or Not?

Email is a vital part of the holiday marketing mix for retailers. After all, it’s one of the only channels that enables 1:1 communication with your audience at the volume and scale of a broad, elaborate holiday campaign. There’s a reason it consistently ranks among the highest ROI drivers of all marketing tactics.

Image from Campaign Monitor

Retail email marketing remedies a lot of problems for marketers, but it comes with its own difficulties. As one of the oldest digital marketing channels, email UX and flexibility hasn’t always kept up with its younger, flashier cousins. 

The intensity and hubbub of the holiday season only exaggerates those difficulties. Some examples:

Drive More Revenue This Holiday Season

Fortunately there are answers to these and many other related retail holiday headaches. Combining dynamic content with real-time personalization, retailers can make email more powerful, and more effective, than ever–just in time for your holiday campaign planning.

Our latest ebook explains how you can overcome nine of retailers’ biggest holiday email challenges. It comes with real-life examples showing how other leading retailers combine creativity and innovative technology to make the most of their holiday season. 

Download it now so you can identify and work around obstacles before they happen!

With the right strategy and technology, email can drive unprecedented revenue in a very short amount of time.

That’s the happy holiday news that fashion retailer Torrid received following one very successful holiday email campaign. A data-driven strategy and the addition of real-time technology came together at just the right time to deliver the highest revenue hour in the company’s history.

If that sounds like a gift your brand could use this holiday season, see how Torrid outperformed its holiday email goals and adapt these lessons for your own campaigns.

Finding Success During the Most Competitive Time of Year

Torrid delivers sophisticated email campaigns throughout the holiday season. But like many retailers it puts a special focus on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping period.

The company had ambitious goals and set specific targets related to increasing traffic (both to the site as well as its online store), driving incremental revenue, and achieving other aggressive goals for the holiday season.

We all know how big these shopping days are, but their growth rates—and the opportunity they represent—can still come as a surprise. In 2018, an estimated 164 million people were planning holiday shopping sometime during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. Black Friday was the single busiest day, with 116 million people reporting that they planned to shop that day. 

In 2018, Cyber Monday hit nearly $8B in total sales, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history, and topping even Black Friday ($6.2B) in terms of online sales. Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday demonstrated significant year-over-year growth (20% and 23.6%, respectively), leading many analysts and retailers to think that 2019 will be even bigger.

Email Innovations Pay Off with Increased Traffic, Sales, and Revenues

Torrid wanted to create an engaging new Black Friday/Cyber Monday email experience to achieve its goals of maximizing campaigns sales and overall revenues.

The retailer’s marketing team came up with an innovative approach: to build emails that displayed a countdown timer that counted down to the end of each one of the company’s special live (limited time) promotions. 

Using the RealTime Email platform, Torrid designed highly personalized, extremely relevant content using customized messages and open-time data. When a specific promotion expired, the hero image disappeared, but it was replaced by a brief message telling the customer to visit the Torrid site to view the latest promotions and deals.

holiday retail email examples

Click here to see the complete email

Torrid found that these new emails led to new levels of customer engagement and urgency, both of which increased sales—from the email promotion as well as the site—as well as total traffic. Most importantly, customers paid attention to the countdown timer and made their purchases before the promotion expired. 

Swapping in dynamic content as offers changed over time enabled the brand to update its emails with the latest, most relevant messaging even after they were already sent and opened. This helped Torrid gain incremental revenue from campaigns sent days, even weeks, earlier. 

holiday retail email strategy

Even expired promotions led to revenue spikes and new traffic to the retailer’s site, with 37% of opens and a 3.6% click-through rate occurring after the sale ended. An updated image and CTA after the sale had expired created a large and long tail of continued site visits and sales well into the holiday season.

holiday retail email examples

Counting Down to the Greatest Hour in Company History

Torrid’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns were a success by any conventional measure. Traffic numbers increased over company and industry benchmarks. Total clicks, total opens, click-through rates, and conversions surged. 

But most important, Torrid hit the single highest revenue hour in company history and significantly exceeded its revenue goals. With Liveclicker, Torrid was able to achieve goals where they matter most: top-line revenue growth and a stronger bottom line. 

For more details on Torrid’s holiday strategy and results, download the complete case study here.

Have a Happy, Historic Holiday

The Torrid case study is just one example of how email marketing innovation can make this holiday season your most productive yet. For even more ways to drive greater revenue and overcome traditional holiday headaches, be sure to check out our ebook: Real-Time Solutions to 9 of Retail Marketers’ Biggest Holiday Email Headaches.

More than our gift to you, it’s your way to find other tips, tricks, and effective examples from leading retailers to reach customers throughout the holiday cycle!