Of course at Christmastime, you do see a lot of e-mails that you don't see any other time, such as those "Letter from Santa" e-mails. In my town, volunteers at the post office will actually respond to children's letters to Santa, a nice little perk for living in a small town. But I doubt Manhattan has the same service, so you can actually hire someone to send your kid (or yourself if you are feeling a little depressed around the holidays) an actual letter from old St. Nick. And most of those solicitations come through e-mail.
Clothing maven Alloy sent out reminders: last Dec. 13 the subject line was "Last chance for Christmas delivery at no extra charge!" Three days later, it was "You can still get it in time for Christmas!" On Dec. 20, the company was still going after that late shopper with "Three days left to get it by Christmas!" Alloy loves those exclamation points!!
Avon.com confined its Christmas e-mails to a blitz sent out on Dec.
12-14 with the following subject lines:
"Only Nine Days for Christmas Delivery, plus FREE Shipping on ANY Order"
"Only 8 Days of Christmas Delivery: FREE Shipping on ANY Order"
"Only 7 more Days of FREE Shipping on ANY Order with Christmas Delivery"
And a partridge in a pear tree.
Did you know that Betty Crocker had an outlet store? I didn't until I read a holiday e-mail from the Betty Crocker Catalog hawking some discounts on Christmas ornaments. But no recipes!
Carnival Cruises ran what was probably the most interesting holiday e-mail campaign. Using the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" as a model, the company sent 12 days of e-mails (from Dec. 5-16), each e-mail describing a cruise special only good for that 24-hour period. On the first day the offer was $100 off per person on a trip to the Bahamas.
The rest of the offers I checked out were variations on the theme: Last chance to get free shipping. Last chance to order and get it there by Christmas. In fact, there was a true lack of any real imagination or creative that would stand out in the pack. For the most important time of a retailer's year, you would have thought more attention would have been paid.
So how is this year going so far? Well, for one thing, a lot more players are hawking Christmas early on via e-mail.
Right now we are seeing a lot of e-mails for holiday decorations and collectibles. The PersonalizationMall.com, Collectiblestoday.com, and Waterford all have very active affiliate acquisition offers out. And of course the Thomas Kinkade kitsch is out in full force.
Horchow.com is one retailer that has dived in early to the Christmas game. But the prize has to go to Kirkland's Home, which has created a beautifully designed e-mail campaign that blends seamlessly into a specially designed Web site, created to look like you are opening, not an e-mail, but a Christmas card. Nice design. Nice campaign. And what I would expect in the future from more retailers in the space.
Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone.