13 Ways to Categorize Gifts in Holiday Emails

This post was originally published in December 2008, and we’re reposting it as it will be helpful as you gear up for Holiday 2009. Remember, these ideas are also applicable to home pages. Special thanks to Anna Yeaman of Style Campaign, you can read more from Anna on her email marketing and photography blog.

Helping shoppers find the right present for everyone on their list is the priority of your holiday email campaign. Sure you need to cover the basics, like gifts by recipient and price. But a little creativity can help you stand out in a sea of uniformity.

Get inspired by the 13 gift finder emails below. Be sure to check out my favorite No.13

1. Home Depot – By Customer Review:

11/20/08 – Top-Rated Products for the Holidays


view email here

Northern tool, Home depot and Norm Thompson are a few of the retailers featuring customer reviews in their email creative.

I would love to see a video, featuring real in-store shoppers. Who are they buying gifts for? What is their budget, and why that particular item?

Edit in some holiday music, and you have a video of holiday customer reviews.

2. Neiman Marcus – By Color:

12/09/06 – Green: Gifts in the season’s hot hue + FREE Shipping & FREE Gift Wrap


view email here

I would have added a color spectrum, to expand the appeal of this email beyond the color green.

3. Urban Outfitters – By Type:

12/14/07 – Neither Naughty Nor Nice…


view email here

Organizing gifts based on the personality of the recipient is intuitive and fun. Urban Outfitters sent another this year on Cyber Monday. Links included, “The starving artist”, ” The party girl” and “The Hibernator”.

4. Neiman Marcus – By Size:

12/20/06 – Final Day: Free TWO-DAY DELIVERY + Stocking stuffers they’ll love


view email here

Like the email states, “Don’t forget the stocking stuffers”. Put together a selection of small gift items, you’ll want to include gift cards in that category.

I love the creative of the above email, if your looking for affordable holiday graphics check out istockphoto. I usually pay $3 – $14 per image.

5. REI – Eco-Friendly:

11/27/07 – Give Green this Year


view email here

Put together a green gift guide this year. Feature an array of products, made from sustainable or recycled materials. If you have none, consider switching over to recycled gift-wrap and gift bags.

6. Forzieri – By the Editor:

12/10/07 – TOP 10 Editor’s Gifts + FREE Two-Day Delivery


view email here

I love the Essentials series on the QG website. Actors, musicians and designers name the 10 things they cannot do without. It’s the human element in both these examples that interest me.

7. Neiman Marcus – Hanukkah and Kwanzaa:

12/11/06 – Free THREE-DAY SHIPPING: Order now for holiday delivery!


view email here

Many of your email subscribers will be celebrating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Be sure to include references to winter celebrations other than Christmas.

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday, beginning at sundown on Sunday December 21.

Kwanzaa is a week long, African American holiday observance held from December 26 to January 1st.

8. Crate&Barrel – By Price:

11/22/08 – 20 special gifts under $20


view email here

Shoppers are going to be more frugal this year. Most of the gift finder emails I’m receiving focus on price. Include a larger selection of lower price point items, under $25, $50 and $100.

Don’t make gifts by price the center-point of every email. Move it down to your holiday footer, to avoid becoming repetitive.

9. Forzieri – By Recipient:

11/26/08 – What MEN Really Want + Up to 50% Season SAVINGS


view email here

Along with price, shopping by recipient is the most popular way to break down gift categories.

Cashmere sweaters or scarves, is a wealthy persons version of socks and boxers. I could dedicate a whole post to holiday emails featuring cashmere, I’ve received so many. It’s a popular gift, so if you carry any now is the time to feature it in an email.

10. Brooks Brothers – Gift Cards:

12/18/07 – Hurry, Complimentary Shipping Ends Friday


view email here

In mid-December, when people are looking for last-minute gifts send out an email showcasing gift cards.

11. REI – Everything but the kitchen sink:

11/28/08 – REI Gifts to Fit Any Budget + Winter Sale Ends Monday


view email here

This REI email features gifts by price, top rated gifts, gifts for him and her and gift cards! It also features free shipping and their hassle free return policy.

It includes everything you want in a holiday email, along with a clean design and plenty of HTML.

Add a holiday gift footer to your email template like REI’s, and this one one from Land’s End.

12. Barneys – Video Gift Guide:

12/02/08 – Simon Doonan + Julie Gilhart FREAK OUT! + DESIGNER SALE: up to 50% off!


View video landing page here

Barneys is running a fabulous series of video email gift guides this year. Not only is it entertaining, it’s incredibly useful to see items in use, and from multiple angles.

Below is the landing page, you can easily access the products featured on the right-hand side.

Video can double your email click-through rates, and increase online sales. A video gift guide is a no brainer. Place it on your homepage, in emails, YouTube, Facebook and all your other social media sites.

A local video production company can work on a script with you, shoot at your place of business, arrange for a host or a model, edit your video and distribute it online – for around $600.

Speaking of retailers using online video, LK Bennet has a video of a fashion show on their homepage. Click on a product in the video, and it takes you to the landing page seen below.

Here another video of a model wearing the selected outfit does a 360 turn for you! You can click on each item she is wearing, to go to that individual product page. They also have some rather nice product photography…

13. Esquire – Behavior Dictates Price:


view larger image here

Here’s my favorite gift guide. Published in Esquire magazine, “The Big black book” 2007. The more degenerate the guy’s behavior, the more expensive the gift he needs to buy.

The title is, “Worm your way back into her good graces. And quick”. It’s an entertaining way to represent gifts by price. The copy can be adjusted to suit your audience.

Further Holiday Email Reading:

Holiday Email Marketing: 8 Tactics for Retailers
If You Make One Change This Holiday Season…
6 Holiday e-Card Ideas
Santa’s Helper – Animated GIFs in Holiday Emails


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