Email Olympics: Nordstrom vs Neiman Marcus

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For this next post in our Email Olympics series, we’ll take a look at two luxury department stores: Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. Both companies target a similar demographic, offer a wide range of designer products, and have strong online and brick-and-mortar presences. So, how do they stack up when it comes to email?



First, let’s take a look at how often each company sends emails. Both companies distribute at least daily, but Neiman Marcus almost always sends 2 (or even 3) emails per day, while Nordstrom usually sends just 1. In the last 30 days, Neiman Marcus sent 46 emails, compared to 32 by Nordstrom.


Subject Lines

Believe it or not, Neiman Marcus (which is typically considered higher-end than Nordstrom) sent more emails with subject lines focused on sales and savings. 38% of Nordstrom’s subject lines referenced sales or discounts, compared to 46% of Neiman Marcus’. Of those subject lines, all of Neiman Marcus’ were for sales of at least 70% off, while Nordstrom’s were 40% off or less. Additionally, another 28% of Neiman Marcus’ subject lines promoted rebates, which puts nearly three-quarters of the retailer’s total emails about some form of savings or discount.

Other fun facts: Since the new year, 37% of Nordstrom’s subject lines referenced shoes, 16% mentioned Winter, 13% mentioned Spring, and only 6% mentioned a specific brand name. Neiman Marcus only referenced specific product types (shoes, dresses, etc.) in 9% of their subject lines, but 15% included a brand name.



Both companies use a combination of text and professional photography in their email designs. As far as layout goes, almost all of Nordstrom’s content above the fold includes product photography, while Neiman Marcus chooses to highlight the deal at hand...take a look:



As you can see above, Nordstrom also includes a condensed site navigation in their emails, while Neiman Marcus elects for a more minimalistic header design. Additionally, Neiman Marcus occasionally uses GIFs, while Nordstrom only uses static images:



Perhaps the most impressive feature of either company’s email designs, however, is Nordstrom’s use of true mobile responsiveness. Take a look at their navigation layout on desktop and mobile:




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Overall, both companies do a great job with their email marketing. Each brand clearly has a large and talented staff of marketers and designers, as evidenced by their ability to distribute one, two, or even three well-designed emails per day. We were surprised by Neiman Marcus’ focus on deals and savings, as well as Nordstrom’s creative choice to lead with photography and not deal details.

Want help creating emails that look just as good as Nordstrom’s and Neiman Marcus’? Get in touch and we’ll help you out.

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