Our inboxes got stuffed with Black Friday emails last week, quite a few of which compelled us to click. According to this year’s email stats, we were no exception: email marketing analyst eDataSource says there were 55.4% more retailer email campaigns this year than  in 2015. What’s more, about 20% of those emails had read rates of 20%, up from 13% last year. That’s quite a jump, highlighting consumers’ increasing receptiveness to digital marketing –specifically email.

Here are some our favorite Black Friday emails, offering creative implementations of smart strategies.

Encouraging Repeat Purchases

To start off the holiday shopping season, L. L. Bean sent a $10 gift card to Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) shoppers that spent $50 or more. The “card” comes via email, along with product recommendations to encourage an immediate repeat purchase. The company also throws in free shipping with no minimum order and “no end date.”

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Feel Good Brand Messaging

Rent the Runway sent a message from its CEO and co-founder of thanks to its customers on November 24th, expressing gratitude for being invited “into your closets and into memorable moments in your lives.” The message clearly communicates the brand’s mission  of making great fashion, and the confidence it imparts, accessible to every woman. In honor of this mission, the message  goes on to say the company will donate a Rent the Runway experience on Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday to women in need for every purchase made. This uplifting message was followed by a 25% off offer for Black Friday. Make customers feel good about your brand, and then engage them with an offer to buy. Smart!

Everlane also targeted shoppers with a feel good message about its “Black Friday Fund,” which for the third year in a row will donate all Black Friday profits to benefit factory workers. This year, the fund will purchase safety helmets for the 8000 factory workers employed in its Vietnam factory, 95% of whom ride to work on mopeds. This message underscores Everlane’s transparent manufacturing and business practices, in keeping with its ethical retailer brand image.


Fostering App Engagement

To engage its VIP app users, Sephora offered a set of app-only limited edition deals that were released throughout the day in intervals. To access all of the special deals and makeup sets on Black Friday, shoppers had to keep checking back in on the app, resulting in deep engagement over mobile and potentially several purchases in a single day.

These were followed up by Cyber Monday deals on online orders only–both smart ways to get users coming back to the app and to encourage online shopping.


Promoting Seamless Omnichannel Shopping

Whether customers wanted to shop in-store or online, Nordstrom Rack was ready, with email that promoted offers of great deals on both smartphones and the store rack. Those planning to shop in-store were encouraged to download the app and use its scan-and-shop feature to order sizes and colors not available in stores. The email included a download button and closed with a list of nearby stores to encourage shoppers to come in with their newly downloaded app.


Introducing Digital Tools for Holiday Season Shopping

Tiffany blue inspires desire, even in a digital communication. The jeweler’s Black Friday email included high-end images of new diamond designs along with instructions on how to drop a discrete digital hint for an item you want under the tree. Find what you want, click the Tiffany blue “drop a hint” icon, enter an email of who you hope will plump for the item, and Tiffany will send an email with a message and a link. The email also includes a link to an online luxury gift guide to keep consumers shopping for the duration of the holiday season.


But These Brands Aren’t the Only Ones!

Retailers have reached a new level of digital sophistication with their consumer outreach, and this is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the amazing email campaigns that went out on Black Friday. Have a favorite campaign? Tweet us at @sailthru to let us know and we’ll add it to this list!