Top 50 retail email marketing subject lines by Janine Popick @janinepopick

VerticalResponse is always being asked for examples of great email marketing subject lines, so I thought I’d offer some really great and proven-to-work subject lines that you can test out for your email marketing campaigns.

First of all, I’m assuming at this point that your recipients will recognize you from your “From Label”. I’ve written why your from Label is very important in your email marketing campaigns. If they are familiar with who the email is coming from, you’ll have better luck getting your email opened with a catchy subject line.

As a retailer your email marketing campaigns are probably all about selling. If you sell your own products or products from other manufacturers, you’ll be trying to announce new products, new seasons or discounts and sales. You’ll want your recipients to act fast, so you may want to try expiration dates in your subject line. At VerticalResponse, we even see businesses using hours in the day in their expiration time periods.

You’ll see that some of these subject lines are a bit vague like “An Exclusive Offer for You”, however sometimes that might get more opens than if you talk about a specific product. That’s something that you need to test for yourself in your own campaigns.


Subject Lines that are base on offers:

Enjoy this Special Offer at Our New Location

25-40% off – Email-Only Offer – Today Only

Invitation-Only 2 Hour Event Starts 11:30 AM CT

Ends Today! 20% Off Friends & Family

Top 10 under $10

Free shipping – offer ends in 3 days

Free product with purchase of “Product Name”

[New Product] has arrived. Order now before we run out.

Earn double points for [insert product or action].

Last Chance: Get up to $25 now

Save 10% on your next order

Enjoy [season] with rates from $65

Service Notice: Exciting new changes at [your company]

An Exclusive Offer for You

[Your company] October Specials

Last minute deals, special offers, and new “Product Name”

Act Now to renew your [subscription name]

Online only: 25% off friends and family

Introducing our latest…”Product Name”

“Product Name” Promotion week. Save 25%

Extended for a day! Get Free shipping through Friday

Stock up and save 15%

Limited Supply: Limit 2 “Product Name” per customer

Ho-ho-ho: The [your company] holiday catalog is here!

Email subscriber exclusive: “Product Name” sale is here

Ends Today: Take 20% off your entire order

Private Sale Ends Today

Your choice of amazing items $50 + under

Great gifts for [Dad, Mom, etc]

Best Sellers every [girl, boy, man, woman, dog, etc.]

Everything you need when the temperatures [rise, fall]

Free Shipping–Limited Time Offer


Catchy & Creative subject lines examples:

Sometimes all you need is a little vase lift  (retailer selling vase’s)

We’ve got you covered from head to toe (retailer selling hats, shirts, pants and boots)

How La Perla got its name (retailer selling lingerie, telling a story inside the email)

Temperatures Fall, Style Rises (retailer selling coats)

Celebrity Favorites (selling accessories that Hollywood is wearing)

Did you remember to get a gift? It’s ok, we did. (retailer wanting to get people to register for gift reminders)

10 Gift Ideas for your little ones (retailer listing top 10 suggestions for kids)

Manhattan View for a Song in the Shower (retailer selling shower curtain with Manhattan skyline on it)

Take your pick: Our 9 Favorite Dresses (retailer suggesting by popularity)

Coolest modern desk on the job…for $149 (retailer including price in the subject line)

Score Great Savings on Game-Time Gear: HDTVs, Furniture & More (retailer selling TV’s with a sports slant)

Party Like it’s 1999 Aged Cabernet Special (wine retailer)

In our store: Last minute Mother’s Day combo ready to go (retailer getting the last minute shoppers with a catch “combo to go”.)

Adorn Your Home Now & Through the Holidays (Home decor retailer)

Mind-Blowing Grenache (wine retailer)

Bring this email to a Gap store and win! (retailer trying to get store traffic)

I hope this gets your creative juices flowing. You can also find some great holiday-specific subject lines here.


Meet the author:

Janine Popick

Janine Popick

Janine is co-founder and CMO of Dasheroo, because every business in the world needs a business dashboard! As former CEO and founder, Janine grew VerticalResponse (acquired by DLX), a leading email marketing and social media marketing provider, to over 1 million small businesses strong. She is an active Inc. contributor on all things marketing, customer service, sales and leadership. Languages: English and no bullsh*t. Life's too short. Janine loves helping small businesses, she advises several startups and is an active investor.

Connect with: Janine Popick

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  • Chief eMail Officer
    November 13, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Hey Janine….happy to have you aboard. This post is great. I think I will try a few of these subject lines myself.

    I especially like this one: Ends Today: Take 20% off your entire order Great call to action! Timing is everything.

  • Jim Ducharme
    November 13, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Welcome Janine!

    Love the first post and glad to have you with us!


  • jinan alrawi
    March 12, 2010 at 5:22 am

    hi janine – do you have the same for b2b?



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