Even as texting and social media claim increasing amounts of time and attention, email remains a highly effective marketing channel. Half of US consumers say email is their preferred method of contact from brands. However, not all emails are equally effective, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Fashion Global.

Brands at all price points are moving away from discount emails as inboxes become inundated with sales and promotions. Contemporary brands have taken the biggest step back from discount emails, cutting them from a third of email campaigns last year to just a fifth in 2018. This is a smart choice as open rates for discount emails currently hover around 18%, down from 20% last year.

Open rates

Meanwhile, product discovery emails are becoming more frequent. A staggering 90% of emails sent by prestige brands this year followed this format, going hand-in-hand with consumer demand for less promotional and more informative emails.

Loyalty and VIP-related emails have the highest open rates, averaging 25% across all price points. However, these types of emails are sent least often, as brands adopt a more selective strategy to match the aura of exclusivity required by this topic.

Mulberry effectively communicated exclusivity to UK consumers about its sample sale in London, achieving a 60% open rate. Two different emails detailed the sample sale event in London, each sent to about 12% of the brand’s list. Though the body of the email was the exact same, the subject lines, date sent, and recipient list varied.


One email emphasized VIP status and called for the recipient’s attention with the subject line: “You’re invited”. This was sent on September 20, 2017. The second email, sent two days later, highlighted “further reductions” at the sample sale. Though both held the same message, the split tactic proves that Mulberry is capitalizing on VIP-related content, even if the content itself centers around discounts at the brand’s own sample sale.

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