7 Tips to Drive Last Minute Christmas Sales Through Email

Christmas is practically here.And while you probably have your Christmas email campaigns going strong, this is a good time to consider tweaking things to double down on last-minute shoppers this holiday season. Here's why this is a good idea.

A recent study found that nearly 56% of Americans wait until Super Saturday — the last Saturday before Christmas — to do their holiday shopping.

On top of that, 6% leave shopping for the day before Christmas.

Now, that may not seem like a lot, but considering there are 327.2 million people living in the U.S., 6% still stacks up to nearly 2 million people waiting until literally the last possible moment to buy something.

And to add the cherry on top? More than half of those last-minute shoppers — 126+ million people — plan to do all that shopping online.

So where does this leave you?In the middle of a very lucrative opportunity IF you plan to take advantage of it.

Get More Sales From Christmas Email Campaigns for Last-Minute Shoppers

Okay, so let’s restate the above stats in easy terms.

Millions and millions of ready-to-buy shoppers plan to wait to shop until the last minute and will do a lot of that last-minute shopping online.

Now, email has the highest ROI of any marketing channel around.

Your contacts are going to be looking through their emails trying to find holiday sales and other gift ideas as they come down to the wire.

So... If you plan to send email campaigns with the knowledge that more than a few of your subscribers are going to last-minute shop, you can make a pretty penny during one of the busiest shopping times of the year.

Here are six tips to help you send campaigns that can snag sales before Christmas.

1. Kick Up the Urgency

The week before Christmas is highly competitive.

Your customers’ inboxes are flooded, not just marketing emails, but also with emails from friends and family. To stand out, you need to put extra effort into your email copy!

Use words that create a sense of urgency throughout your messages especially your subject line!

Last-minute shoppers are running out of time — you need to give them a reason to buy from you (Hint: FAST SHIPPING). Here’s how Annmarie Skin Care gets readers to buy right away:

Some other subject line options you could try:

  • The BEST gift: 20% OFF anything (TODAY ONLY!)
  • Perfect last-minute gift–a gift certificate
  • Holiday gift deadline is tomorrow!

Your target audience already knows they're working against the clock, so if you can remind them of the problem and offer a solution, you'll be well on your way to earning those sales!

2. Keep it Short (and Sweet)

People are busy this time of year.All they want to do is grab a great Christmas deal — FAST.

Keep your copy short, engaging, and to-the-point. Don’t ramble on and on in your email. Keep your offer front and center!

Here’s how De Beers does it:

We love how they fit everything into this little email.

Urgency? Check. Clear offer? Check. Prominent CTA? Check!

Zady offers another example of how to create urgency with a short, yet effective, email sent days before Christmas:

This is a perfect example of that Problem — Solution strategy we talked about earlier.

Swoop in and save the day for your contacts and they'll be forever grateful!

3. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

You have to know: You’re not the only brand offering last-minute Christmas discounts.

So forget personalized subject lines. You need to go that extra mile to make your contacts feel special!But personalization isn’t just about names.

You could also play Santa! Last-minute abandoned cart emails are a great way to save those sales.

Burberry sent this Christmas email to a contact who left a custom product in their shopping cart:

Notice the initials, “RM”, on the products. Pretty cool, right?

You can also consider the purchase history of your contacts to send out tailored discounts and offers. They’ll love you for knowing exactly what they wanted!

Especially if you give customers a discount on items that they nearly bought. It’s like making their wish come true!


4. Use a Simple, Mobile-Friendly Design

Last year, 50% of all Christmas Day shopping was done on phones!

Now, it's always important that your emails look good on mobile. But when you're trying to capture last-minute Christmas shoppers, responsive design is even more pressing.

That’s where all your last-minute shoppers and impulse buyers are! Make sure you have a responsive design with easy navigation that looks great on all devices.

Pro Tip: Use large-sized, thumb-friendly CTAs and links.

Here’s a simple, but fun Christmas reminder from J. Crew Factory:

There's not a ton of small features readers have to zoom in on or struggle to read. Plus, the entire GIF is clickable! Remember — your buyers are likely browsing for last-minute deals on-the-go.

Make it super easy for them to click through and they'll be one step closer to making a purchase!

5. Offer Free Shipping

Additional shipping charges are the biggest reason why shoppers abandon their carts.

You know what’s better than fast shipping? Fast and free shipping! Here’s how Tarte attracts last-minute holiday shoppers:

Plus, Christmas shopping is all about buying on impulse! Using a fun GIF (like the animated portion of Tarte's email) can help your offer really stand out:

Your customers want to grab the best deal in front of them — catch their attention and offer them value or they’ll switch to another brand.

6. Offer Digital Gift Cards

Yeah, it would have been nice if that perfect, highly sought after gift was still in stock at the store the day before December 25th — but most people aren't that fortunate.

And even if someone was shopping online a day or two before Christmas, that doesn't mean it's going to ship to their doorstep in time.

So how do you snag sales for your online store during the twilight hours of holiday shopping?

Offer e-gift cards. Torrid did this for their holiday campaigns, even going so far as to call out last-minute shoppers in their subject line.

You can do something similar. You can offer these e-gift cards to your subscribers and schedule these emails to go out a day or two before Christmas. And use the subject line your advantage to stand out in their inbox.

Something like,

  • Looking for a last-minute gift?
  • Still Christmas shopping?
  • Need the perfect last-minute gift? We got it!

7. Use SMS To Get Last-Minute Shopper's Attention

Did you know that SMS has a 99% open-rate? Yeah, talk about cray-cray.

But it's true. If you've been fortunate enough to collect your contacts’ phone numbers, then you should definitely consider adding SMS to your cart abandonment automations.

Many brands — like Cost Plus World Market shown below — do this and even utilize SMS-centric campaigns to take advantage of high open-rates.

If you send these, be sure to add clickable links.

Depending on the SMS integration or tool you use, you could even include a photo with your message.

If you’re using Sendlane, we have SMS built into our platform to make utilizing this marketing tactic very simple.


We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Campaign)!

Fear not, Christmas shopping isn’t over yet. You can still put your Santa cap on and celebrate with your customers!

Remember — timing is everything.Don’t bother sending out gift guides or wish lists to last-minute Christmas shoppers.  

There’s no time for that.

Focus on loud and clear offers, prominent CTA’s, and attention-grabbing copy. Get them to buy before Christmas is over!

Did you find any of these tips helpful? We’d love to know your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below.

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