If you’re in the apparel industry, you’re probably living with a lot of uncertainty right now. With many storefronts being closed due to local government regulations, sales are restricted to online only. If that wasn’t enough, the supply chain has been critically affected.

We might be a little biased, but with email being a low-cost marketing channel, it’s one of the best places to invest some additional time. Luckily, with MailCharts, you don’t have to invest too much additional time to adjust and plan for your upcoming campaigns.


Overview of the Category

The biggest changes we’ve seen over the past 90 days have been in the apparel industry’s email sending behavior and promotions. These are subtle changes but are still something to note and monitor.

For details, read on. Or, if you’d prefer, watch this video recap:


Sending Behavior

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We’ve noticed apparel brands have been staying consistent with email sends (hovering around 5-6 emails per week) since the beginning of February.

Quick Tip: If you’re considering increasing email sends, monitor your deliverability and unsubscribe rates closely. Sending too many spammy-looking emails can come back to haunt you. The last thing you need right now is a poor domain reputation and emails going to the spam folder. Alternatively, consider segmenting content and creating more targeted messaging for the 5-6 emails you’re sending weekly.


Uptick in Promotions

Although it’s only a slight increase, the average promotion percentage has increased from a 41% discount in January to 50% in April.

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Recent Trends

While some brands have continued to send business-as-usual emails, brands have provided additional value to enhance the customer’s online experience during a time where many people are stuck at home. Here are some of the key trends we’re seeing in apparel.


Subject Lines

There are ways to write subject lines to fit the current times without overtly saying “Ugh, life sucks!” or mentioning COVID-19 5 times in your preview text. These brands are doing a great job in relating to their audience without being negative:


Giving Back

While there’s a lot of negativity in our world today, there’s also a lot of good. I don’t know about you, but it has been refreshing to see people giving back during this crisis. We’ve noticed a lot of apparel brands are giving back and highlighting their efforts through email:

  • Apparel brand 7 for all mankind is giving a pair of 7s to one person doing good during COVID for every 5 items sold during their current sale. Shoppers can even nominate a friend to be a recipient of the free pair.
  • Loft’s commitment to giving back to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital is highlighted toward the end of their email. Their CTA links to learn more and donate to the efforts at St. Jude’s.
  • In this Mother’s Day-centric email, Victoria’s Secret shares their $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross based on customer’s e-gift card purchases.
  • Reformation is giving back by making masks for those at-risk and essential workers. In their email, they share a photo of nurses and doctors at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center wearing their masks.


Instagram Live, anyone?

You’ve probably maintained your sanity by hopping on a Zoom call with your friends, so it makes sense that brands are hopping on the virtual party train, too! Many apparel brands are hosting Instagram Live sessions, offering virtual consultation, or videos/viewing parties. In an era of online, this is a great way for brands to stay connected and relevant to their audience. What better way to promote their virtual initiatives than through email?

  • At the bottom of their product-centric email, Lululemon is offering a video chat meeting with their educators so you can shop with their expertise without stepping foot in a store.
  • The yoga clothing company Alo has an entire email focused on getting active with your kids, which deviates from their typical product-focused emails. These bite-sized videos are a great way to stay top-of-mind for shoppers while providing some entertainment at home.
  • Free People is promoting their #movingtogether challenge toward the end of a recent email. This challenge is to support Mental Health America’s COVID-19 Response Program.


Shipping & Return Policies

Apparel brands are using email to communicate shipping delays and return policy updates to give shoppers some peace of mind and to set expectations. These communications are typically placed towards the end of the product email. Here are some brands who’ve included shipping delays and return policies to their emails:

  • J. Crew has extended their return policy for purchases made after March 1st.
  • Nike’s free return policy for purchases made within 60 days is highlighted at the bottom of their Air Jordan I Retro High OG promotion.
  • Ben Sherman shares a personal note at the end of their email highlighting their extended return policy and how to contact customer service.
  • Delayed shipping sucks, but Mother Denim is transparent about the challenges they’re facing and shares their potential shipping delays in their email.


Interested to see how your industry is performing? Within the MailCharts app, marketers have access to several industry categories including Accessories, Apparel, Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Footwear, Sports & Activities, Home, Beauty & Personal Care, Travel & Tourism, Gifts, Health & Fitness, Pet Care & Supplies, and Baby.

With MailCharts, you can track up to three companies for free — no strings attached. Sign up to get started, and happy emailing!

Editorial photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash