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  • March 9, 2011

Season Finale: Christmas 2010

A look back on seasonal trends, email activity and standout B2C marketing:

Start to finish: The first reference to Christmas was on June 29. The final reference was on Jan. 20. The biggest day for Christmas emails was Christmas Day itself, Dec. 25, followed by Tuesday, Dec. 21. Retailers sent the majority of their holiday-themed emails after Dec. 1.

Click to view the Christmas 2010 retail email distribution curve larger

Most interesting email: J. Jill’s Dec. 25 season’s greeting email was my favorite of its kind, using an animated gif very creatively. Rather than repeat it here, you can find it in the 2010 Design Hall of Fame.

But overall, there wasn’t lots of creativity or risk-taking this past holiday season. Retailers were pretty conservative in their approach, relying heavily on discount messaging.

Noteworthy trends: The biggest trend of the holiday season was the emergence of Black November—the promotion of Black Friday pricing and deals days to weeks before Black Friday. For more on this trend, download Retail Email Year-End Trends for 2010, a free 8-page report.

Another trend: While during the 2009 holiday season there was a lot of messaging around payment plans, layaway programs and refurbished products because of the soft economy, during the 2010 holiday season the messaging trend was around shipping options. For more on this trend, read Shipping Messaging Played Big Role in 2010 Holiday Emails.

Cross-channel tactics: In a Dec. 4 email, Harry & David ran a unique mystery deal campaign. What’s special about it was that the campaign was run in stores as well as through this email. It essentially gave subscribers a second chance; if they only got 10% or 20% off though the email, they could go to a store for a chance to get a bigger discount. And, of course, Harry & David would love to get more subscribers to come to their stores because they’ll likely make more impulse purchases. All that said, the coupon code as well as the store locator link could have been placed more prominently in the design. Those are really the two main calls-to-action and they’re buried down at the bottom of the email.

Click to view this Dec. 4, 2010 Harry & David email full-sized

Standout subject lines:
J&R, 12/17 — Free Shipping DAY? People Puhleeze, We Have Free Shipping All Holiday Season!‏
Brookstone, 11/30 — Top Gift #11: Why just kiss under the mistletoe…
Target, 12/26 — Your GiftCards + our gadgets = goodness.‏
Barnes & Noble, 10/20 — 50% Off Our Predictions For Hot Holiday Books‏
Abercrombie & Fitch, 10/24 — We're feeling naughty and sneaking Christmas in early!
Bass Pro Shops, 11/3 — FREE Photo with Santa & More‏
HSN, 11/7 — Andrew Lessman Holiday Survival Kit & Flexpay
Office Depot, 11/12 — Spread Good Cheer With 50% Off Custom Holiday Cards - 2 Days Only + Sneak Peek Our 11/14 Ad‏
Harry & David, 11/12 — Spend less time preparing, more time celebrating with tasty gifts and delicious spreads. Plus 25% off product purchase.
Oriental Trading, 11/16 — Shop like Santa, spend like Scrooge: free shipping + $10 off‏
Lands’ End, 11/17 — 100s of Gift ideas with their name on it + FREE SHIPPING‏
Tiffany & Co., 11/21 — My True Love Gave to Me
Backcountry.com, 11/30 — Stampede-Free Shopping at Any Budget‏
Cooking.com, 12/1 — Today Only - $2.99 Flat-Rate Shipping on Stocking Stuffers‏
RitzCamera, 12/4 — Great Gift Ideas Plus Photographing Holiday Lights‏
JC Whitney, 12/7 — Save 20% On Everything You Need To Travel Safely This Holiday Season‏
1-800-Flowers.com, 12/21 — Five Golden Rings? $5 Shipping/Service Charge will really make you sing!‏

Subject lines that stand out for the wrong reasons:
Avon, 12/11 — Rock'in Around the Holiday's‏
For this email about “Smooth Mineral Makeup,” Avon goes to great lengths to inject a pun into the subject line. The “rock” pun is pretty forced and the awkward punctuation looks even more like an error because of the errant apostrophe in “Holidays.”

Read previous Christmas Season Finales: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006

Explore Christmas tag.
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BROWSE... Archive / Post Categories / Selling Seasons / Topics Covered / Retailers Tracked

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