This Year's Best Black Friday & Cyber Monday Emails

This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and as expected both days broke record numbers, with sales reaching the billions. According to Adobe, Black Friday saw over $5.03 billion in online sales while Cyber Monday generated $6.59 billion, both up close to 17 percent from the year prior. Not surprisingly, we also saw new mobile records, with more and more consumers making purchases straight from their phones, which accounted for 20 percent of all online sales during Cyber Monday.

Most marketers are anxious to stand out in the inbox during this peak time of year, but breaking through the increased holiday volume can be challenging. Here are a few of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails that caught the eye of Return Path’s Email Strategists…

Stephanie Colleton
Sender: Perigold
Subject Line: Black (and gold) Friday has arrived

Perigold, the new luxury furnishings brand launched by Wayfair in September, made a gorgeous Black Friday debut. The email, sent on November 24th, combined the retail holiday with the brand’s name. The subject line was “Black (and gold) Friday has arrived” with a headline of “Black & Gold Rush.” The content featured stunning black and gold furnishings along with tempting but concise product descriptions and clear Shop Now links. For those not into black and gold, the bottom half of the email featured product categories. Time to redecorate!

Beth Mockler
Sender: Home Depot
Subject Line:
TODAY ONLY ? SNEAK PEEK ? Exclusive Black Friday Savings Inside

During the holiday season, your inbox is taken over with holiday offers and varying expiration dates. Home Depot made it easy for recipients to quickly know if offers were still in effect with their Black Friday Sneak Peek email. Once the offer period had passed, the hero image was updated with info on the next Sneak Peek Day, and the individual offer images were updated to include an “Expired” banner.

Laura Christensen
Sender: Old Navy

Old Navy starts off on the wrong foot with an all-caps subject line but finds redemption in their smart use of preview pane real estate. Within this space, pre-header text complements the subject line while promoting a free gift; free shipping is called out, and a real-time countdown timer creates a sense of urgency. Next, a gif is used to feature a variety of products and visually reinforce the “1000s of new arrivals & markdowns are live” message. Convenience is offered with a store locator link and an option to receive mobile text alerts. Linkable logos for other members of the brand family are also included.



Alexandra Braunstein 
Sender: Nordstrom
Subject Line: Cyber Monday deals on shoes in your size

On Cyber Monday Nordstrom targeted me with an email promoting shoes, a product category I’ve browsed and purchased many times in the past on their website. The subject line, specifically promoting this category caught my attention while I loved that the email itself made it easy for me to search for shoes in my specific size. The message also contained product recommendations based on my past browse behavior, making this a highly personalized message during this busy online shopping day where many other messages I received lacked this type of relevancy.

Henry Gutierrez
Sender: Best Buy
Subject Line: Your Pass to Black Friday doorbusters has arrived >>>

For the most part, Best Buy sends messages with “Best Buy” as their “From:” name. This specific message came from “My Best Buy Early Access”, sent on 11/20/17, and gave members a chance to access deals earlier. It’s a good practice to start preparing your subscribers for the great deals coming their way. It also seems like you’re giving subscribers a chance to beat the rest, and that’s what it’s all about! You’ll also notice in the creative that your closest shopping location is mapped out.


Casey Swanton 
Sender: Etsy
Subject Line: Be Original

Buried within the Cyber Monday barrage, Etsy’s simple but effective subject line stood out. Rather than ALL-CAPPING or bombarding us with yet another “amazing discount,” Etsy reminded us that we don’t have to buy into all the hype as we buy our gifts. While Etsy may not be able to (or want to) compete with the aggressive sales of big box stores, their Cyber Monday approach appealed to the consumers who may choose to look beyond the sale and find a gift that is unique and unexpected. The messaging within the email body takes their alternative stance further. The use of a GIF keeps things interesting while their simple messaging reminds consumers that purchases through Etsy are supporting creative individuals.


While these email examples specifically promoted Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many concepts seen within the messages, such as Old Navy’s countdown timer, Nordstrom’s product targeting, and Perigold’s sleek design, are tactics that can be applied to all your emails, giving your 2018 email strategy a boost over the competition.

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