It’s a world where everyone’s inbox is bursting with information and overloaded with offers, promotions and all the latest happenings! So what exactly is it that makes us open up a retail online newsletter and read through it versus sending it straight to the trash?
To answer this question, we signed up to 50 retail newsletters and collected the results over a period of two months to see what we could find. With a mix of womenswear, menswear, unisex, sportswear and footwear retail newsletters, the following attributes acted as some of the key criteria for whether a newsletter was make or break for us:
- Written Content
- Call to Actions/Navigation
With a mix of higher-end and high street retailers, we wanted to share with you the findings of this project and therefore have put together an exclusive list of the top 25 email newsletters from retailers that you’ll actually want in your inbox… Enjoy!
Great for: DesignKicking off our top 25 list, J.Crew know how to mix things up and keep it interesting. With timelessness at their side and style over fashion when it comes to their brand image, classic and uniformed isn’t what you get when it comes to the online newsletters. Each newsletter design/layout is different (at least for the emails which we’ve had come through anyway) and compliments the tailored content nicely. Even the product-focused newsletters have an aesthetically pleasing layout.
About J.Crew“We side with style over fashion, think timelessness is underrated and find that clothes look best when they’re lived in. We love color-blocking and pattern mixing and temper tomboy with heels. We’re fans of tousled hair and think everything’s right when something’s left just a little imperfect. We wear sneakers with suits, wing tips with jeans and chambray on chambray. We don’t believe there’s such a thing as overdressed – and we don’t rent tuxedos. We’re an American brand, but we source fabrics from around the world: Japanese seersucker, Irish linen and Italian wool. We don’t believe there’s just one way to wear an outfit, but we do have a few ideas on how to pull one together. For us, the magic is in the mix.”
Great for: CreativityFrom intricately placed illustrations to fonts which seem to perfectly match the aesthetic of the images, the Anthropologie online newsletter is a creative piece which fuses the art world with the fashion world. It’s all in the details, whether that be the overlaying text, varied content boxes or sketch-like borders and backgrounds, the creative touches added to the design of the Anthropologie newsletter results in a carefree, elegant and well thought-out piece.
About Anthropologie“Founded in 1992 in Wayne, Pennsylvania, Anthropologie has grown into a one-of-a-kind destination for those seeking a curated mix of clothing, accessories, gifts and home décor to reflect their personal style and fuel their lives’ passions. Taking inspiration from the worlds of fashion, art and entertaining, we are committed to offering our customers signature products and unmatched service; both online and in our stores throughout the UK and North America. We are passionate about collaboration and are proud to nurture partnerships with both established and upcoming artists to bring our customers unique, covetable pieces to treasure. Our buyers and designers travel the world to uncover special products and to collaborate with talented artists. The result? A unique assortment that includes clothing, accessories, beauty, found objects, gifts and more, with influences ranging from vintage to global. Our teams have a commitment to creativity, passion, and entrepreneurship but hope our success lies at keeping the customer at the heart of everything we do.”
Great for: Call to Actions/NavigationTopshop know style and they do it incredibly well. This of course comes across in the newsletters, however something in particular which caught our attention was the clear call to actions and effortless navigation. When you become a regular shopper of a certain retailer, then you might find yourself often skipping most of the newsletter content and scrolling straight to what you know you like. Therefore quick and effortless navigation is required. Whether it’s browsing the latest collection, the sale or checking on what’s happening on the social media channels, Topshop have a way of being there right when you need them to be.
About Topshop“You know Topshop as the style setter and star of your wardrobe, but over the years we’ve become so much more! From the charities we sponsor to our work at London Fashion Week, our love of everything fashion knows no bounds! We started out life way back in 1964. Since those humble beginnings in the basement of a department store we’ve grown up and now have over 300 stores in the UK alone! We ship to more than 100 countries and our eclectic British style is known all over the world. Our Oxford Circus flagship is a mecca for cool girls, whether they’re holidaying in London or living in the capital, and we’ve spread the love across the pond with flagships in Chicago and New York!”
4) FREE PEOPLE
Great for: Written Content
The Free People email newsletter has the whole package when it comes to written content, therefore why it’s made our top 25 retail newsletter list.
The written content is informative and trend-focused whilst being playful at the same time, whilst all being nicely placed over imagery with stylish fonts. Catchy titles and compelling subject lines seem to be their thing.
About Free People
“And that’s just who we wanted to reach: a 26-year-old girl, smart, creative, confident and comfortable in all aspects of her being, free and adventurous, sweet to tough to tomboy to romantic. A girl who likes to keep busy and push life to its limits, with traveling and hanging out and everything in between. Who loves Donovan as much as she loves The Dears, and can’t resist petting any dog that passes her by on the street.
Today we draw, design, sew and buy for her. We offer her countless options within our own Free People collection, so that even if she takes her best pal shopping, they won’t come out looking at all alike. And if she wants her colours and patterns all mixed up, that’s even better, picking through our sweaters, knits and skirts. And our design team is expecting to offer even greater variety in our intimates and accessories business.”
5) NEW LOOK
Great for: Design
With style at the forefront of the New Look brand, it’s no surprise that the newsletter made our top 25 list for impeccable and on-trend design.
Featuring a nice collection of layouts which resemble a collage-like moodboard, perfect for the targeted fashionista, the New Look email content is consistently visually stimulating. Showing up some other fast-fashion brands out there, New Look are great at referencing celebrity, blogger and street style influences into the content. This results in an accessible fast-fashion brand becoming desirable and more sought-after.
About New Look
“The New Look story began in 1969 as a single fashion store in the UK. From there, we’ve grown to become a leading fast-fashion brand, with 578 stores in the UK and over 270 across Europe, China and Asia.
Our transactional website newlook.com now ships to around 120 countries world-wide generating 13% of sales (FY16).
We’ve a significant presence in social media, over 3.3 million Facebook fans, over 390,000 following us on Twitter and over 1.5 million following us on Instagram.”
Great for: CreativityWith iconic branding and statement-making products, the Black Milk newsletter has high expectations to live up to. With themed product collections, each collection is creatively designed into a consumer-friendly email which may form an animated image, a collection of imagery or even getting the communities involved wherever possible; especially since Black Milk have such a strong online presence.
About Black Milk
“We have a fantastic team who create all your Black Milk pieces – and yes, we make all our pieces ourselves, right here in Australia. Instead of trying to get our clothes into ‘real’ shops, we’re online – and loving it. Instead of selling to a few girls at the markets, we now have a community of the most amazing girls you could hope for who are passionate about the brand (understatement of the year).” – James Lillis
Great for: Call to Actions/NavigationMissguided have mastered the art of persuasive content. Each piece of content; from the images to the titles is mirrored in the call to actions and no-fuss navigation. This results in a clear message where the reader can instantly decide whether that week’s content is for them or not. With trend-driven content all packaged nicely into shoppable call to actions, the Missguided newsletter is one for the list if you’re after an overall attractive newsletter which translates into hassle-free shopping.
About Missguided“We are Missguided. We are an empowering, bold and forward thinking online fashion brand, inspired by real life. We design and create product informed by you, our customers, our friends and global influences: Catwalk, celebrity, social media, bloggers and street style, creating an online fashion destination that encompasses and celebrates everything it means to be a girl in a digitally immersed world today. With thousands of styles live at one time and fresh new threads hitting down every single day, We’re not just fast fashion, we’re rapid fashion. Our pieces are exclusive and created by our very own design talent who strive to create killer garms for the dreamers, believers and night lovers, taking the risks no one else dares to take.”
Great for: DesignWith the Nordstrom newsletter encompassing both style and practicality, the design as a whole is well put together and great for enhancing a consumer-friendly shopping experience. Nordstrom often design their content in collections with a mix of product choices, which tends to make online shopping easier as the reader can visualise what those jeans or those boots will look like when paired with other items. This therefore is why we’ve classed the design as both stylish and practical, especially since the imagery is very appealing and the collections are very shoppable. Everyday items such as jeans and socks are made to appear luxury, thanks to the Nordstrom newsletter.
About Nordstrom“An unerring eye for what’s next in fashion. A relentless drive to exceed expectations. For more than 100 years, Nordstrom has worked to deliver the best possible shopping experience, helping customers possess style—not just buy fashion. Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion speciality retailer offering compelling clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children. Since 1901, we’ve been committed to providing our customers with the best possible service—and to improving it every day. We believe fashion is a business of optimism, and in that spirit we continue to grow and evolve. Free shipping and free returns, mobile shopping and exciting new retail partnerships offer us continued opportunities to serve more customers in more ways with a fresh, relevant shopping experience and inspiring style. Fashion changes. Shopping changes. Our commitment to happy customers doesn’t.”
9) MR PORTER
Great for: ResponsivenessResponsiveness is something which most companies take for granted and quite often overlook as a key newsletter feature. With people constantly on the move, being able to access information everywhere and anywhere is an attractive quality to a consumer. Within the responsive world of newsletters, Mr Porter is definitely at the top for representing the retail industry. Not only do the newsletters feature quality and actionable content but the content adapts in seamless ways for numerous devices. This is why the Mr Porter newsletter has made it to our top 25 list.
About Mr Porter“MR PORTER is the award-winning global retail destination for men’s style, combining the best international menswear with editorial content. The site sells over 300 leading international brands, with content and new products added weekly. MR PORTER offers express worldwide shipping to 170 countries (with same day service in London and New York) and a free collection service for returns and exchanges. Designers available include Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Raf Simons, Lanvin, Loro Piana, Maison Kitsune, Boglioli, A.P.C, Beams Plus, J.Crew, Church’s and Common Projects.”
Great for: DesignSimplistic and conservative with a dash of cool is how to describe the Mango Man newsletter. The design is quite minimalist and not overpowering, resulting in an inviting shopping experience. Featuring a pleasant mix of product and model imagery, the product newsletters are quite often arranged in outfit choices, making it easier and more accessible to shop. The written content is very sparing and seems to be featured only when required. With clean lines and sharp imagery to form the design, it’s no wonder that Mango made it to our top 25 retail newsletters list.
About Mango“MANGO is an internationally famous multinational which designs, manufactures and markets women’s and men’s clothing and accessories. At present, MANGO has over 13,456 employees, 1,800 of whom work at the Hangar Design Centre and at its Headquarters in Palau Solità i Plegamans (Barcelona). However, beyond the statistics, it is made up a young and enthusiastic team, with an average age of 29, and 86% of which is female. Hangar Design Centre, the biggest design centre in Europe, has a total surface area of 10,000 m2 and houses more than 550 professionals dedicated to creating fashion garments and accessories for women. The Design, Purchasing and Quality departments are located there. MANGO currently has a total of 2,731 stores in 105 countries worldwide. Our expansion continues with the recent openings have taken place in cities of the stature of Tokyo, Beijing, Erlangen or Verona. The keys to our success can be summarised in three points: Concept, Team and Logistics System.”
Great for: Written Content
For the style-conscious modern gent, Topman is the place to go for the latest trends and up-to-date fashion. After gathering Topman newsletters for a couple of months, it wasn’t just the fashion that caught our eye, the tone of voice was consistent and always in keeping with the brand.
The written content has an appealing balance between trend-driven copy whilst also being informative. So whether you’re after the latest street style or you simply want a plain t-shirt, Topman have mastered the art of persuasive writing.
“From British high street phenomenon to worldwide dominator, Topman has come a long way since its inception in 1978 with over 250 stores in the UK and a further 154 stores internationally across 31 countries.
Topman stores are in over 60 cities worldwide, stretching across 20 countries with boutiques in China and Japan even stocking the brand. America is also getting a healthy dose of Topman love, with stores in LA, Vegas and New York (check out our second biggest store on Fifth Avenue), as well as over 40 Nordstrom stores housing the brand.
At Topman we launch 100s of new product every week! As you might suspect, its fashion forwardness continues into cyberspace with our transactional website Topman.com seeing millions of visitors a week, which currently ships to the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, Thailand, Singapore & lots more.”
12) FRED PERRY
Great for: Design
In the case of Fred Perry newsletters, less certainly isn’t boring. With the focus of each newsletter an eye-catching image, the Fred Perry newsletter is a newsletter of little words but those words certainly do count.
To accompany the bold imagery, the rest of the newsletter design can be described in three words; simple, structured and seamless.
About Fred Perry
“Fred Perry was the son of a Stockport cotton spinner… who went on to become world table tennis champion at 19, before switching to lawn tennis and winning Wimbledon three times with a killer forehand. He played the Middle England establishment from the inside before leaping across the pond and working the Hollywood circuit.
Oh, and he created an instantly recognisable and enduring piece of British clothing.”
13) ORIGINAL PENGUIN
Great for: Written ContentOriginal Penguin have managed to format a writing style that is welcoming and friendly yet also quite commanding and authoritative. Whether it’s the subject line, the titles, call to actions or the product listings, the written content stands on its own in the emails. With the written content being the centre of attention, the imagery enhances the shopping experience to create a well thought-out newsletter. The writing is bold and straight to the point, whilst in a minimal format with a stylish undertone.
About Original Penguin“If a 100-year-old underwear factory in Minnesota seems an unconventional starting point for a fashion icon that has represented Americana since 1955 and is still worn all over the world today, blame Pete the Penguin. And perhaps a whiskey or two. Today, with Original Penguin stores dotting the globe and placement in exclusive luxury retailers, Pete is back — bigger and better than ever, presiding over a full lifestyle brand that now includes suits, watches, bags, belts, hats, shoes, and women’s and kids’ collections.”
Great for: Creativity
With so many email newsletters flying in and out of our inboxes daily, innovation and creativity is something that will catch our eye and keep our attention. The Vans newsletter has made it to our top 25 list for creativity and interactiveness for readers.
Just like Vans is constantly re-inventing their iconic and classic footwear designs to appeal to both old and new audiences, they are re-inventing the everyday email newsletter to shake things up and keep things creative.
“In 1966, the Van Doren Rubber Company opened up for business in California. Within a few years, the whole skate culture adopted Vans shoe as their favourite brand and today Vans still represents a look that epitomizes the Southern California.
With more than 40 years of history – and now offering a complete range of footwear, apparel, accessories, snowboard boots and outerwear and Pro-Tec protective equipment – Vans has risen to become a worldwide dominant force in the action sports industry and the genuine brand of choice for the contemporary lifestyle consumer.”
15) DR. MARTENS
Great for: Design
The Dr. Martens design is in a league of its own. With recognisable colour schemes, fearless fonts and statement backgrounds running the show, we’d expect nothing more than standout design from such an iconic brand.
Shaking up the traditional newsletter design, Dr. Martens will add some rebelliousness to your inbox. Even though there’s often quite a lot going on in the newsletters, the information is streamlined and product-focused.
About Dr. Martens
“The first pair of Dr. Martens 1460 boots rolled of our production line on the 1st April 1960 and we’ve been making them ever since. We make boots and shoes like no other company on earth, and Dr. Martens have become a design classic, adopted by a succession of sub-cultures as a symbol of personal self-expression, individuality and standing for something.”
Great for: Responsiveness
After monitoring the Toms newsletter for a couple of months, responsiveness appears to be the winner, although the overall design is very nice as well.
Although not really anything new, we found that the desktop newsletter and mobile newsletter versions were always consistent and mirrored the same clear content, which is very appealing to a regular email subscriber.
The image and written content placements are well thought out for responsiveness and with a very clear brand message; the Toms newsletter has a way of reflecting that brand message but in a friendly and warm tone.
“In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS®, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One™.
Realizing this movement could serve other basic needs, TOMS® Eyewear was launched. With every pair purchased, TOMS® will help give sight to a person in need. One for One™.
“I was so overwhelmed by the spirit of the South American people, especially those who had so little, and I was instantly struck with the desire — the responsibility — to do more.” — Blake Mycoskie
17) OLIVER SWEENEY
Great for: Design
The Oliver Sweeney newsletter is tailoring at its finest. The sleek smartness of the brand’s products is reflected in the design, images and layout of the email newsletter.
Each newsletter is refined to the highest quality in every detail, from crystal clear imagery and minimalist layout to the cleverly-crafted content boxes. The Oliver Sweeney newsletter is one to watch out for…
About Oliver Sweeney
“At Oliver Sweeney, we don’t just design and make shoes; we’re obsessed with every single aspect of them. Whether it’s sourcing the finest Italian leathers for our uppers, or deciding what colour hand-stitching to feature on our luxury trainers.
We’re obsessed with style, quality and detail. Mixing traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design to create shoes that challenge convention without compromising on comfort.
Our obsession is infectious and our customers have grown to expect the same high level of craftsmanship, originality and detail in everything we do. Which is why they’re as eager to try on one of our super-lightweight cotton polo shirts as they are to slip into a pair of our hand made brogues.
Everyone should have a healthy obsession in life. We’re happy to be yours!”
Great for: Creativity
The Footasylum newsletter will add some impact to your inbox, well it certainly did when we tested it out over a couple of months.
When pinpointing the key strength of the emails, it would have to be creativity. All the visuals, fonts and call to actions make a bold statement. Less is definitely more when it comes to the finer creative details, such as banners, content boxes and animated visuals.
With a strong social presence, the Footasylum hub is always promoted on the newsletters as well.
“Footasylum was established in 2005 and now trades from over 40 high street stores across the UK. Footasylum has made a name for itself as one of the leading retailers of fashion street wear and sportswear. At Footasylum we have our finger on the pulse of the street and sports fashion scene and are always on the lookout for new and up and coming brands. If there is something worth talking about in the sports and street wear scene, we will be the first to shout about it.”
Great for: Call to Actions/Navigation
When it comes to call to actions and navigation for email content, Uniqlo know what they’re doing. The call to actions aren’t too overpowering but the reader also will know where they are when needed, as well as the product prices being visible but again not too overpowering.
Grabbing the attention and making an initial impact with the imagery, the newsletter then goes into more description about the key products and trends, for those that want to read more detail. The Uniqlo newsletter isn’t a show-off kind, it’s informative in all the right places, very inviting and very easy to navigate. There is also a nice balance between model and product images.
“UNIQLO clothes offer unique value to everyone, everywhere. UNIQLO negotiates directly with materials suppliers around the world, placing large orders to ensure steady access to world-class natural materials. We also work with top synthetic fiber manufacturers to develop new functional materials. UNIQLO is known and loved by consumers worldwide for its ability to challenge the conventional wisdom of clothing.”
Great for: Design
The Swedish design of modern minimalism that Cos show through the clothes, is shown through the emails as well. The simplicity and functionality shines through with the clean focused photoshoots, providing fantastically striking imagery that is iconic to Cos.
With lots of white space for a refreshing feel, the classic style which has been morphed to reflect modern times is reflected in the newsletter. There is a unified feel within the imagery, not too over bearing and with clear creative direction within both the photoshoots and architectural influences within the email design.
“COS is a fashion brand for women and men who want modern, functional, considered design.
Offering reinvented classics and wardrobe essentials, we create pieces that are made to last beyond the season. Traditional methods and new techniques merge to form timeless, understated collections.
Since launching in 2007, we have opened stores worldwide in carefully considered locations, applying an architectural design concept that preserves buildings’ original features whilst creating a modern, welcoming space.”
Great for: Design
Adding some pizzazz into the art of present-buying, Not On The High Street infuse their content with beautifully photographed gifts and homeware, encompassed by great design. The images let the products speak for themselves but the bold fonts also add character to each piece.
Each newsletter is often themed for different events, adding some creativity to the simplest of ideas. The themes are usually categorised at the end of the email with fun and clickable icons. The email subject lines can be great too, such as ‘Get ready to Christmassify your home’ and ‘For perfectly imperfect bakes.’
About Not On The High Street
“10 years ago, from around a little kitchen table, came a big idea that would inspire the nation — to bring together the most unique, stylish and never-before-seen products that are hard to find anywhere else.That’s why we’re home to more than 5,000 of the UK’s best small creative businesses that we’re proud to call our Partners, here to do what they do best — surprise us with thoughtful gifts, original homeware, unforgettable experiences and more.”
Great for: Written Content
Boden have a way with words. Consistently captivating their digital audience with the written word, the Boden newsletter should be given the time it deserves.
With a lighter attitude to content writing, expect for a fun and playful approach to newsletters when you see Boden pop up in your inbox, as well as a plentiful and pleasant dose of British heritage.
“After five burglaries, one office dog, nine Christmas quizzes, twelve nights spent in the warehouse, one consignment of refugees arriving with a clothes delivery, four office moves, quite a few sense of humour failures, a few sackings (but thankfully not many), 2 venture capitalists, 6 awards, about twenty fantastically annoying customers (mostly related to me), a couple of crooks, 520 King Pizzas (“Continental” medium thin crust with extra anchovies for me), a great team spirit, one incredibly tolerant wife, bucket loads of sweat and even more laughs, we’re still here!”
23) SWEATY BETTY
Great for: Creativity
Sportswear newsletters need to offer inspiring and motivational content for the reader to be able to connect, and that Sweaty Betty does.
With creativity being at the heart of the Sweaty Betty newsletters (which we’ve come across), signing up to the online newsletter means gaining access to an active lifestyle. Featuring a variety of designs/layouts, the Sweaty Betty digital content is a mix of really nice imagery, contemporary fonts and motivational information.
About Sweaty Betty
“Sweaty Betty is a personal calling born in London in 1998. Inspired by the things she loves best – fitness, adventure, fashion – Tamara Hill-Norton felt an overwhelming sense of purpose to make an active lifestyle accessible and attractive to others. With an aim to reinvent the masculine sportswear of the time, Tamara teamed up with her husband Simon to open a boutique in the cool Notting Hill filled with multi-sport styles for active, fashion-forward women.
Despite a few hiccups including an unreliable first assistant, the Evening Standard named Sweaty Betty as ‘one to watch’ two weeks after it opened. Eighteen years later with over 50 stores from Notting Hill to Los Angeles, Sweaty Betty has collaborated with top London designers, appeared on the catwalk, won countless awards for retail interiors design and opened concessions in top department stores, and can we mention Tamara is now a Mum of three?”
Great for: Written Content
Surfwear is quite a niche market and the consumer tends to know what they’re after in terms of quality and performance, which makes it quite tricky when it comes to presenting both creative yet informative content.
Focusing purely on the written content of the Ripcurl emails, it’s cleverly written to reflect the latest trends in surfwear whilst also providing the technical details needed. The written content is also straight to the point with a touch of trend-driven copy.
“What started in 1969 as a vision, or Search, of two surfers has evolved into a way of life for surfers and board sport enthusiasts worldwide. Rip Curl remains a private company committed to the mission of being regarded as The Ultimate Surfing Company.
Now designing, producing, and distributing a variety of highly innovative clothing, wetsuits, boardshorts, watches, mountainwear, footwear, eyewear, accessories, and other equipment for the range of board sports through more than 60 countries around the globe, Rip Curl prides itself on its world class roster of athletes and the simple objective to Live The Search.”
25) THE NORTH FACE
Great for: Call to Actions/Navigation
Just like the performance apparel, equipment and footwear, The North Face newsletter is designed with results in mind. The call to actions and navigation is particularly impressive and very consumer-friendly.
Each piece of inbox content features clear call to actions which are tailored to match the action-packed imagery. The North Face know what their reader wants and they provide the most convenient shopping journey to go with it.
About The North Face
“Now, more than 40 years after its humble grand opening, The North Face delivers an extensive line of performance apparel, equipment, and footwear. We push the boundaries of innovation so that you can push the boundaries of exploration. We remain deeply proud to be the first choice of the world’s most accomplished climbers, mountaineers, extreme skiers, snowboarders, endurance runners, and explorers.
There’s little telling what the next 40 years hold for us. However, there is one bedrock certainty: The North Face will maintain an unwavering commitment to pushing the limits of design, so that you can push your limits outdoors. Never Stop Exploring.”