- Lululemon saw a 38.5% open rate on emails with subject lines between 21 and 30 characters in 2017, according to a report by Gartner L2 provided to Mobile Marketer. That open rate outpaced the 24.4% seen by other brands using similar length subject lines in the report.
- The activewear brand kept 50% of email subject lines in that range, and 86% at 30 characters or less, making it one of the few brands that sent its largest share of emails with this best practice. The copy itself was short and snappy, with lines like "Here, just for now" and "We've reimagined a favourite," per examples cited by Gartner L2.
- Furthermore, Lululemon optimized 93% of its emails for mobile viewing, compared to 78% across the activewear sector, by featuring clear hero images above the fold and using a clean footer template with large clickable options.
Even with the rise in popularity of social media, email has remained an essential tool for marketers, including on newer channels mobile. According to a 2016 survey by the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric, email marketing had a median ROI of 122%. However, Lululemon's case shows that a successful mobile email strategy should be tailored to the channel, focused on brevity and putting media elements like well-designed imagery above the fold to immediately grab viewers' attention on smaller smartphone screens.
Between May 2016 and April 2017, 55% of emails were opened on mobile phones, according to the L2 report, highlighting the importance of optimizing emails for mobile readability. L2 found that brands are not fully prioritizing mobile optimization and have even in some cases regressed.
Lululemon also leveraged short email subject lines that were interesting enough to catch the attention of busy consumers who are often quickly scrolling through their inboxes. Mobile accounted for 67% of all brands' site traffic in 2017, according to a separate L2 report, with companies like Lululemon that design campaigns for always-on, mobile-first customers seeing the strongest results.
Lululemon has overall proved to be a strong performer in a struggling brick-and-mortar retail landscape. The company beat Wall Street analysts' expectations in first-quarter earnings reported at the end of May, with net revenue rising 25% to $649.7 million.