Being on message at Christmas


The summer has passed and we’re heading fully into Autumn, but from spending time with our retail clients, we know that they’re already focused on delivering a strong sales performance over Christmas. One of the things that often comes up whilst chatting is wanting to know how they should be best communicating their festive offers to their customers, particularly in terms of tactical emails.

Last month, Adobe released their Consumer Email Survey Report 2017 that revealed that email was still the overwhelmingly preferred method of contact by brands (61% preferred email vs 18% for direct mail, and 5% though social media channels). But we also know that every day, people are bombarded with messages into their inbox (estimates are that 205 billion emails are sent & received worldwide every day). So, what advice would we give to our retail partners? At Trinity McQueen we decided to ask people how retailers can ensure that their emails aren’t ignored.

1. Be confident that people want to hear about your offers

Two in three people think that emails are a great way to find out about retailers’ Christmas offers. It’s the reason they’ve signed up to your database.

2. Personalise, personalise, personalise

This isn’t just about using [INSERT: FIRST NAME] but the whole content of the email. One in two people told us retailer’s emails never seem to have anything they want in them. It might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many emails still don’t provide personalised content. Make the email personally relevant to the recipient, based on their preferences (e.g. categories they browsed/ bought in the past, products that appeal to the reader’s lifestage, ‘segment’, etc).

3. Get the title right

Subjects that lead with a discount are most likely to be opened. People rate the following messages as most motivating - “£10 worth of points when you spend £50”, “Hurry: 20% off your Christmas shop ends soon”, & “Up to 30% off perfect gifts in our Christmas extravaganza”. Anything using jargon (“Chrimbo”, “Get gifty”) or asking people to “Check out our latest…” is likely to be ignored.

4. Show product prices in the email

People say they want to know in the email how much the products being showcased are. If people are tempted, but then have to click through to get the price, and then find the price is unaffordable, they get very annoyed.

5. Don't just send a large 'list' of products

They might be easy to compile, but people really don’t like receiving emails that look like a screengrab of products from a website. They can find that for themselves. You need to deliver solutions (i.e. outfits that have been put together and pictured on people on a night out, toys being played with and enjoyed by children, homewares being shown in a home setting, or make-up being put on) and inspire people.


N.B. We have reviewed emails from 22 retailers. If you wish to find out more, please email us at

Chris Handford