Send these 4 Types of Emails for Higher Conversion During the Holidays

On average ecommerce shops send out 15.21 emails as part of their holiday campaign. But let’s face it, they can’t all be winners. In our quest to demystify holiday sending, I took a look at the top performing holiday emails from 2016 to see what specific types of emails had the best conversion rates.

As a baseline, the average conversion rate for all holiday emails sent is painfully low, at 0.14%.

Meaning that many ecommerce holiday emails don’t convert even a single sale.

As depressing as 0.14% is as an average, there were some noticeable types of holiday emails that were crushing conversion rates.

The apology email

Messing up publicly is the worst. Whether your website crashed, you had a fumble with a discount code, quality or a shipping issue, messing up sucks.

While mistakes stink, the data leads us to see that often apologizing and emailing subscribers can actually lead to a lot of sales. We saw conversion rates as high as 41% for apology emails. Which is bananas!

They outperformed every other type of email which makes sense because they typically come with a good offer or promotion. Those with a message crafted from either a business owner or individual at a company outperformed those that were a general, “we messed up.”

We’re not suggesting you should goof on purpose to increase sales, but if the situation presents itself, this type of email can actually help business and your relationships with subscribers.

Here are a few well-crafted examples:

Sample apology email from Madewell

Image via Pinterest

Apology email marketing sample from Froever 21 says Sorry

Image via Pinterest

Back in stock emails

Back in stock emails saw conversion rates up to 11%.

Back in stock emails are like shooting fish in a barrel. You know there’s demand for the products you’re back filling, why not send out targeted emails to promote further sales?

If you really wanted to get targeted, provide the option on product pages for subscribers to get notified when an item is back in stock. Notify those who have subscribed to the alert first and then create an overall campaign of everything that is back in stock to your newsletter subscribers.

Kads shoe brand back in stock email

Ne-a-Porter back in stock email

Image via Pinterest

Gift card emails


The gift that no one ever returns, always fits, and can be delivered in mere moments.

Sure some find them not personal, but for the masses who don’t know what to get their 14-year-old niece Stephanie or odd Uncle Bob, gift cards are a life saver. Top conversions rates for gift card email campaigns were around 24% in 2016.

While many ecommerce shops like to send a campaign promoting gift card sales after shipping cutoff dates, I don’t think that has to be your only attempt. Gift card emails that really shined included added promotions, like an additional gift card for the purchaser.

Nasty Gal promotional email for Gift Cards

Image via Pinterest

With a moment gift card email marketing

Image via Pinterest

Exclusive Sale for VIPs

For holiday campaigns in 2016, we saw conversion rates for VIP emails push 12%. If you don’t currently have a VIP program, learn how to identity your VIP customers.

It shouldn’t be very surprising to see an email for VIP customers ranking among the top 4 types of highly converting emails. After all, this segment consists of your most loyal, frequent customers.

for all mankind 40% off VIP code email

Image via Pinterest

Email for the Holidays with a gift code.Image via Pinterest

Final Thoughts

Not all holiday emails are created equally. By fine tuning your holiday marketing campaign with a few of these top converting emails, you can increase revenue and have a successful holiday season.

Looking for other helpful hints for your holiday marketing campaigns? Check out these resources:

How many emails should you send in your holiday campaign?

5 Ecommerce Email Marketing Tips for the Holidays

A Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce Order Confirmation Email Templates

Klaviyo Launches Abandoned Carts Features for eCommerce Stores

5 Ways Customers Can Subscribe to Your Email List

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