20 Best Retail Email Subject Lines 

Written by: Scott Cohen

Published on: 22-11-2023

Scott is the CEO at InboxArmy and has more than 20 years of experience in email marketing.

In our fast-paced digital age, where inboxes are overflowing with messages, crafting the perfect email subject line has become a critical skill to capture the recipients’ attention. The subject line is arguably the most powerful part that distinguishes your email from being read or ending up in the dreaded abyss of unread emails. 

In this article on the best retail email subject lines, we’ll explore the strategies and creative approaches that can elevate your retail email marketing, enhance your professional communication, and ultimately increase your chances of making a lasting impression in the recipient’s inbox. Whether you’re seeking to boost open rates, improve engagement, or make more sales, crafting compelling subject lines is a valuable skill that can be mastered with the right insights and techniques. 

20 Best Retail Email Subject Lines

I scream you scream… by Bored Cow

Bored Cow Email

We’re all familiar with this iconic lyric that finishes with “We all scream for ice cream.” The Bored Cow ice cream company utilizes their audience’s knowledge of this famous line and colorful designs to promote their easy 3-ingredient chocolate ice cream recipe. This subject line is an instant eye-catcher that prompts the reader to finish the lyric, so make sure to get creative.

A Best Seller for a Reason by West Bourne

West Bourne

The “best seller” hook is commonly used to draw subscribers in. It makes them curious about your business’s best products and entices them to explore more. Promote your best products with an engaging but brief tagline, and watch your click-through rates increase. 

Where is Wally? by Eastpak


Subscriber’s favorite products incorporated with a fun theme is how Eastpak’s “Where’s Wally?”  campaign thrived. The collection focuses on essential travel items that perfectly match the famous traveling cartoon. Play around with fun themes for your best products and incorporate them into your subject lines. 

Find New Airports. Find More Deals. ✈️ ✅ from Scott’s Cheap Flights 

Scott's cheap flight

Scott’s Cheap Flights, now branded as Going, consistently promotes its worldwide travel deals. This subject line emphasizes how subscribers searching for travel promotions can find more deals by exploring new airports worldwide. Readers are pulled in by the promise of finding more (or better) deals on travel, especially as prices continue to increase. Ensure your subject lines are enhancing your business’s best deals and offers.

Black Friday: 6 awesome deals FTW 🎉 by KIDLY

Kidly email

Black Friday deals are always a hit and KIDLY offers its customers six great deals that subscribers can’t pass up. This subject line is an instant “I need to know more” hook and gets your subscribers to click through to learn the details of these exclusive deals. To secure not only higher open but also click-through rates, don’t list the deal details within the email; place a CTA like “Shop Now” or “Discover More” that links to your business’s products directly to increase traffic.

Weekly Top 10 Sales Curated Just for You by Dot and Bo

Dot & Bo email

Dot and Bo highlight their extensive product sales in one email for customers to explore. By curating weekly sales and giving them a personal touch, customers are highly incentivized to click through the sales that attract them and purchase. Always highlight any sales or offers your business runs for any product so your customers know they’re getting a great deal.

Find the Golden Ticket, win $250 to Urban📍 by Frontname

Frontname gains more visibility by partnering with the famous clothing brand Urban Outfitters to sell their products. They play off the Willy Wonka golden ticket surprise to entice shoppers at top locations. With a chance at a $250 gift card, customers who love Urban are double dipping with this opportunity, all while shopping at the same store. Collaborations like this with a fun prize or incentive will significantly increase your business’s engagement and click-through rates.

Have a read of this – you could learn a latte ☕ by AO

AO Email

AO’s clever play on words makes the reader stop in their tracks and even chuckle. They don’t emphasize specifically what the customer will read just from the subject line, which is precisely what we want. This creates a sense of wonder and mystery and people will be naturally curious to learn more and click on the email. Craft your subject lines with the intent of creating a sense of wonder and mystery. The majority of people can’t resist.

8 New Patches, Just Dropped! by Hellcats

Hellcats email

The “just dropped” subject line is a great way to promote your business’s new products. Customers who already love your brand will be very interested in seeing what else you offer them, and new subscribers will be interested in learning more. 

😱 Expiring soon, [Name]: Your $10 discount! by Afterpay

afterpay email

Studies have shown that using emoticons in email subject lines increases clicks. Use these fun graphics to do A/B testing on your retail emails. Create various options with an incentive like free shipping or a discount to send to your subscribers and see how influential they can be. 

You left something behind by Molekule

Molekule email

People have a lot of things going on in their lives and can be forgetful. It happens. This is a great chance to remind them that they forgot something in their cart and even throw in a small discount to incentivize them more. Make it a deal they can’t pass up.

Final call: $60 off a year of CLEAR by CLEAR

Clear Email

Security screening for frequent travelers has never been easier. With an original annual fee of  $179, securing a $60 off deal makes enrolling in the CLEAR program even more appealing. The “final call” phrase creates a sense of urgency to the reader and encourages them to take action quickly or they’ll miss out. Phrases like “final call,” “last chance,” and “a few hours left” are several options you need to have in your subject line stock.

We’re really into these right now by Warby Parker

Warby Parker Email

The famous eyeglasses brand concisely promotes their favorite items without giving away too much information in the subject line. Be enticing but not too specific to encourage your customers to shop more. 

LIMITED EDITION D.V.L. Tote Bags 🍃 by Straightforward

Straightforward Email

“Limited edition” is a well-known hook that is proven to be effective. This phrase, similar to “final call” and “last chance,” creates a sense of urgency that your customers must act fast if they want the product or deal of the year. 

Our Virtual Frame-ists = Your Personal Stylist by Eyebobs

eyebobs email

“This = That” can create a sense of personalization between your brand and your customer. Eyebobs does a fantastic job of offering its virtual (and convenient) product to fit your customer’s aesthetic. Find a way to incorporate a personal touch in your subject line.

You Have Great Taste by Everlane 

everlane email

Everyone loves a compliment, and Everlane’s high-quality products showcase great taste. This compliment could even be more personalized by adding the customer’s name in the subject line.

Hims is now available at Target 🎯by hims

hims email

Hims is now more accessible by its partnership with Target, a widely-loved retailer. If your customers can purchase your products more easily (in any way), let them know how and where.

Epic new deals available now by Amazon

amazon email example

“New deals” and “available now” trigger the reader to immediately click through because they won’t want to miss out. 

Selling Fast: Ultra-Soft Performance Legging – 25″ Inseam by Quince

quince email

Emphasize the demand for your products from other customers. If you show the popularity of your products to your entire customer base, others will be itching to purchase. Modify this phrase to “Selling Fast: [insert name of popular product]”.

See Something You Like? By FashionNova

fashion nova

A simple question to your customers about their interests in certain products is a great way to engage them. Encourage them to scroll through your product options with a clear CTA.

You can also read our article highlighting remarkable retail email examples

About Author

Winner of the ANA Email Experience Council’s 2021 Stefan Pollard Email Marketer of the Year Award, Scott Cohen is a proven email marketing veteran with nearly 20 years of experience as both a brand-side marketer and an email marketing agency executive. He brings to our clients a unique blend of experience building and managing larger CRM and retention teams, sending millions of emails and SMS per week, and award-winning copywriting chops. For more information, follow him on Linkedin

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