Crate and Barrel Inspires With Seasonal Welcome Email

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First and foremost — Happy Holidays! Here at Litmus we wish you, your family and friends a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season. Best wishes for 2013!

Now let’s get to the good stuff — the final post for our “25 Days of Inspirational Emails!” Ironically, I’ve decided to end this series with a welcome email. After signing up for Crate & Barrel’s emails, I was really impressed with their welcome email, especially since I received it within moments of subscribing!


Since 64% of consumers expect to receive a welcome email within 15 minutes of subscribing (and 100% within 2 hours!), I was really impressed with the immediacy of Crate & Barrel’s email. While I don’t know the exact time that lapsed between signing up and receiving the email, it was definitely under 5 minutes. By sending the welcome email so quickly, it engages the customer while the brand is top of mind, making the sender seem very organized and reliable.


The content of the email also makes it a very successful welcome email. For starters, the from name is easily recognizable and trustworthy — it’s “Crate and Barrel.” Playing off the ampersand frequently used in their brand name, the subject line is “Welcome&Home.” The subject line isn’t simply, “Welcome to Crate & Barrel.” Rather, it’s unique to the brand and shows a little personality.

However, since some email clients (Gmail, Outlook, iPhone, Windows Mobile 7) will display a portion of your preheader text as “preview” or “snippet” text, I wish Crate & Barrel had used these few lines of text to their advantage. It’s the perfect place to get their subscribers’ attention, sum up the email and include the call to action, yet the first lines of text are “View text only” and “View with images” — not exciting or intriguing at all! Crate & Barrel could have optimized this a bit more!

The header, “Welcome&Home,” is the most prominent aspect of the email, further emphasizing that this is a welcome email. The warm language makes the subscriber feel that this is the beginning of a relationship with Crate & Barrel. Underneath the header, Crate & Barrel thanks the subscriber for signing up for their emails. It’s a nice personal touch!

Other links in the email are also helpful for first time subscribers. The navigation bar at the top of the email contains links to different areas of the Crate & Barrel site, such as furniture and sale items. There is also a large red button that encourages subscribers to explore Crate & Barrel. Imagery in the email showcase Crate & Barrel products being used by happy-looking people and families. This type of emotional imagery can be a powerful motivator and psychological driver for customers.

Additional helpful links in the email include a link to find a brick-and-mortar store near you, as well as links to their social media pages and other brands, such as CB2 and The Land of Nod. Crate & Barrel also provides numerous ways for customers to get in touch (in store, Twitter, etc.). While the content is great, I do wish they included information about the approximate frequency that I will be receiving emails from them. In addition, it would have been nice if they included a specific shopping incentive or deal!


Footers are usually the aspect of an email that I typically ignore (unless, of course, I’m unsubscribing), but I was really impressed with the information in Crate & Barrel’s footer. While it’s not exactly sexy — it’s in plain text — it includes some really relevant links.

Many companies deal with the issue of the silent unsubscribe—when the recipient of a forwarded email clicks the unsubscribe link and unknowingly removes the original subscriber. Not so ideal if you’re the original subscriber (or the company!). To combat this issue, Crate & Barrel includes some clever text: “Did someone forward you this message? Skip the grapevine. Opt in to receive Crate and Barrel email. Click here and hear it first.” Not only does it help prevent silent unsubscribes, but it enables list growth by giving “forwardees” a way to easily subscribe to Crate & Barrel’s emails.

In addition, another helpful line of text in the footer asks subscribers to add to their Address Book. The practice of asking subscribers to add your from address to their whitelist or address book isn’t a new one, but recommendations in recent years emphasize the benefits of placing this request prominently on opt-in pages and welcome emails. The idea here is that the subscriber is more likely to take this action while still new to your marketing program. “Safe senders” added to subscribers’ address books typically enjoy immediate delivery (no chance of being caught in a spam filter!) and automatic display of images in any emails sent from that address. A win for both you and them!

Other content in the footer include an unsubscribe link, link to the privacy policy and Crate & Barrel’s address — all valuable!


What’s my favorite aspect of this email? It’s not the typical “set-it-and-forget-it” transactional email—which frequently suffer from outdated imagery, broken links and rendering isssues. This welcome email from Crate & Barrel appears to be (literally!) spruced up for the season; since I signed up for their emails in December, the welcome email includes holiday imagery and a link to holiday products in the navigation bar.

However, after running this email through our new landing page testing tool (you should try it out!), I discovered that their Pinterest link is broken. In order to keep transactional emails up-to-date, companies must constantly monitor links and rendering to be sure everything is working correctly.


We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our 25 days of inspirational emails as much as we’ve enjoyed writing about them. You can see all 25 posts here: they cover a range of emails—from B2B, B2C, transactional, commercial, holiday, everyday and stuff in between!

We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming in January: that is, just one inspiration post a week, rather than one a day. You can still email emails you’d like to see featured to