Here at MailCharts, we continually refresh our curated collection of email examples, brands, and triggered journeys. This time, we’re sharing new examples of ecommerce emails that are essential for driving holiday engagement. We’ve also added new journeys for popular ecommerce brands, including Puma and Madewell. 

For our industry spotlight, we take a deeper dive into our Travel & Tourism industry group. Typically, travel is top of mind for everyone during the holiday season. This year, travel brands have changed their email sending and promotional behavior, along with pivoting their strategy, to adjust to the new environment.


Check out new and updated email examples

The emails in our collection below are relevant for holiday and post-holiday ecommerce email campaigns. Something new for you this year: our brand-new collection of emails for customers who need to return purchases: 

  • Purchase receipts: Sending a receipt right after purchase assures customers that the transaction went through and confirms their details or gives them a way to contact you right away to fix problems. 
  • Loyalty and rewards: Use these emails to remind shoppers about the value of buying from you, any rewards they can cash in and how close they are to the next loyalty tier.
  • Refer a friend: Word of mouth is still your best way to build business, and this list has excellent examples to inspire more sharing.
  • Black Friday: Get your first glimpse at your competitor and peer brands are sending for 2020!
  • Christmas: If you’re still building your Christmas campaign, you’ll find plenty of inspiration, especially for promoting gift guides and last-minute gifting. 
  • Returns: Returns are a fact of ecommerce life, but these emails will help you create a great customer experience that combines information, reassurance, and transparency.


Just added! New brands in the MailCharts Index

We’re constantly monitoring the ecommerce scene to round out our database and keep you on top of emerging brands. These are some of the notable brands we started curating over the last 30 days:

Journey emails updated

We subscribe to email, abandon carts, and make  purchases to trigger journey messages, which show you how brands message at key points in the customer lifecycle.  

Below are examples of triggered journeys that are key to keeping customers engaged in their holiday shopping. Each journey includes data that gives you insights into key decisions like frequency and cadence, promotion rates and timing, and message content, design and style:

  • Cart abandonment: Your customers will be leaving items in carts more than ever this time of year, so your abandoned-cart emails must encourage them to come back and finish checking out
  • Browse abandonment: A good browse-abandonment email is like a magnet that keeps your brand top of mind and draws visitors back to your site
  • Winback subscription: Use the data in this journey to see how you could tune up your customers who have either canceled their subscriptions or are showing signs that they’re about to churn out
  • Welcome and onboarding: See how these brands show new customers the value and benefit of shopping with them right from the start


Industry spotlight: Travel & Tourism 

As we head into what is normally one of the heaviest travel seasons of the year, the travel industry is still struggling to recover from the body blow dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and the resulting lockdowns, stay-at-home and quarantine mandates, and closed borders. 

Promotional rates and sending volumes declined markedly in 2020, according to data on 100 top travel brands in the MailCharts Travel & Tourism industry group, which includes hotels, airlines, cruises, and vacation rental services and other travel-related categories. 

However, travel-related brands didn’t go dark. Instead, 2020 became the year of the staycation (also called the “fam-cation” and “rejuvecation”), the road trip and the virtual tour. 

Brands spent the last eight months finding novel ways to stay in touch with their customers, communicate what they’re doing to keep travel safe and persuade travelers and tourists to think differently about hitting the road for personal or business trips.

Data points to sharp slowdowns

Our email data shows a significant decrease in Travel & Tourism brands’ promotional activity and sending volume since the pandemic started. This decrease is in line with the U.S. Travel Association’s projection that domestic travel spending will drop by 40%, from $927 billion in 2019 to $583 billion in 2020 because of the pandemic

Sending volume down: Travel & Tourism messaging bottomed out in April and remains below 2019 levels but has been recovering slowly since then. 

The chart below shows email volume fell 28.7% year over year, from an average 11.17 campaigns/month per brand through Oct. 31, 2019, to just under 8 campaigns in the same time period this year.

Emails sent by TravelTourism brands w callouts 300x185

Drop in promotion rates: The average campaign promotion rate nosedived in March when lockdowns and stay-at-home orders went into effect and cross-border travel essentially ceased. The average promotion rate per campaign from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2020, was 32.3%, down 22% from the average campaign rate of 41.4% in the same time period in 2019.

Average Promo Rate TravelTourism w callouts 300x187

How Travel & Tourism brands have pivoted their email marketing strategy

Despite the setbacks travel and tourism brands faced in 2020, they responded by creating memorable alternatives. Here’s a sample of what we found:

  • Traveling locally: With international travel restricted and even local travel discouraged, brands keyed in on consumers’ emerging pandemic fatigue and need for a change of scenery with “staycations” (also called “safecations,” “rejuvecations,” or “famcations”), such as Travelocity’s “Roam Near Home” campaigns.
  • Virtual tours: Tourists who couldn’t get to their dream destinations found brands like brought the destination to them through virtual tours, like Marriott Bonvoy‘s virtual culinary journey featuring 15 of its top hotel restaurants.
  • Dream and plan:” Cruise and package-tour brands highlighted 2021 travel to international locations. Skyscanner’s email copy urged travelers to “inspire yourself now and book whenever you’re ready.”
  • Road trips: With cruise ships in drydock and passengers skeptical about flying, many tour services went all in on car trips. Travel aggregator KAYAK, which usually focuses on flights, created Road Trip Guides – four U.S.-based cross-country trip itineraries. 
  • Work anywhere: Some travel brands piggybacked on the sudden surge in home/remote work with “work from anywhere” campaigns, with subject lines like Marriott Bonvoy’s “Why work from home when you can work anywhere?”
  • Refundable trips: Change fees virtually vanished in 2020 as hotels and airlines sought to reassure skittish travelers they could book trips without worrying about losing money if their plans changed. Travelzoo, a travel-aggregator brand, switched to promoting only trips with full refunds and no change fees through 2021.

What’s coming next in the MailCharts Index

We are constantly updating our MailCharts Index with fresh new data. Here’s what we have planned for the next few weeks:

  1. New triggered journeys: We’re always on the lookout for noteworthy abandonment journeys, including cart and browse. But we’re also watching subscription lifecycle journeys, too. 
  2. Curated lists with new email examples: We update our curated email lists almost every day to keep the messages and data you see there fresh and relevant. Add our examples to your custom lists of tracked brands, industry groups and email lists – one of the many perks of being a MailCharts subscriber!


What can we track for you?

Got a new brand or triggered journey you’d like us to track for you?  Just drop us a note. We’d love to hear from you!

Editorial photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash