December 19, 2016, 3:26 PM

Email marketing to last-minute gift givers

There’s only a few days left to Christmas and Hanukkah, and marketing email should take that urgency into account.

Lead Photo

Now that Black Friday has passed and Christmas is around the corner, retailers are quickly locking down the details for the last sales push of 2016. In fact, according to research by Bluecore, last year, 16% of holiday spending was done the week before Christmas. As holiday shoppers scramble to find last-minute gifts, retailers need to use extra savvy email marketing practices to grab their attention—particularly as consumers’ inboxes begin to spill over.

What can email marketers do to seize this opportunity, with only a few days left to spare? Here are some tips:

1. Highlight that they’ll still receive it on time and offer in-store pick-up

In the final days before Christmas, receiving purchases on time is obviously incredibly important to holiday shoppers. As a best practice, update footers and headers in all email communication to include shipping deadlines for both ground and expedited shipping to ease shoppers worries of a late delivery. Include that messaging in your triggered messages as well—as the holiday draws closer, your customers want reassurance that their orders will be delivered by Christmas. Your triggered messages are a great opportunity to reinforce the urgency to order as soon as possible.

2. Shorten the time between consumer “events”

Leaving second-touch marketing messages, like triggered emails, to be sent 24-hours or more is a miss. Because merchandise moves quickly and the countdown is on for late gift givers, retailers should shorten the duration between triggered events. Doing this also increases the urgency with timely holiday sales and shipping deadlines. If a shopper added an item to their cart but was reluctant to buy, sending a timely triggered email relatively soon after (within the next 2 hours) can create a sense of urgency, or catch the shopper at a better time to buy.

3. Create unique audiences to catch last-minute shoppers when they’re active:

Retailers should create personalized campaigns for each type of late shopper and execute at the time that aligns with their behavior to capture maximum spend. One way to do this is by expanding on triggers specifically for holiday inventory. Since merchandise moves quickly and many retailers introduce a variety of sales during the holiday season, it’s a good idea to expand triggered email marketing programs to include triggers like low inventory, back-in-stock and price decreases. Send these triggers to the appropriate audience to lock-down eleventh hour holiday sales. 

Additionally, physical stores that offer omnichannel services, including in-store pickup or delivery, and those that have a good handle on their inventories, are also poised to succeed with consumers. In-store pick-up is a convenient option, and can sometimes prove to be a faster, more reliable option for shoppers worried about items arriving in time.

Even though the holiday season is quickly coming to an end, smart email campaigns can be quickly adjusted late in the game to help marketers convert those nick-of-time shoppers. Keeping communication relevant and timely is key, but promising (and keeping that promise) on shipping deadlines is crucial to creating happy, satisfied, and loyal customers.

Bluecore’s marketing automation technology analyzes customer behavior to allow automated creation of personalized email messages.

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