Email is far from being dead: almost three-quarters of consumers list email as their preferred marketing channel. But with many shoppers also annoyed by too many messages from brands, what strategy works on this channel?

Targeted emails enjoy a particularly strong open rate lift: over six percentage points, according to Gartner L2’s latest report on Data & Targeting. Among the different types of targeting emails, abandoned cart and retargeting emails achieve some of the highest average open rates.

Open rates

Unsurprisingly, in addition to having the highest average open rate, abandoned cart emails also have considerable open rate lifts. In Q1, activewear and fashion brands enjoyed an average open rate lift of over 20 percentage points with abandoned cart emails. The big box and department stores retail sectors led in adoption of abandoned cart emails at 76% and 73%, respectively. Meanwhile, specialty retail brands more than doubled their share of abandoned cart emails over the study period.

Retargeting emails are a powerful way to bring consumers back into the purchase funnel. While most brands struggle with retargeting email techniques, Nordstrom’s retargeting emails maintain an average open rate of 38%. Instead of just mentioning brands that consumers have browsed, Nordstrom takes it a step further by adding discounts to their retargeting email subject lines (e.g., “New Markdowns on [Brand]”), further enticing consumers back to their website.


While reports in the media might hype up different marketing channels such as programmatic or social, email still remains an important channel to conquer. Brands looking to increase their ROI on this channel must focus efforts to targeted and more personalized emails.

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