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Maximizing the Power of Product Photos in Email

Post contributed by Rebecca Deno, Channel Marketing Manager for Listrak, an Olapic partner.

Consumer attention spans are vanishing. The number of retailers vying for share of wallet are increasing. And email inboxes are overflowing. So how do marketers drive engagement and influence action? At Listrak, we are constantly working to extract insights from email campaigns and translate them into learnings. One thing is for certain; by ensuring content is authentic and relevant, email marketers are positioning themselves for more success.

Olapic recently joined us to lead a webinar to explore this challenge. Gaining a true understanding of consumer behavior and identifying what influences a customer to make a purchase is something that all retailers strive to achieve – regardless of the channel. In the email realm, incorporating product photos into campaigns is a crucial component that has the potential to sway a customer to click and eventually make a purchase. One of the most common questions we are asked by retailers is regarding the most impactful way to incorporate product photos into an email campaign to generate the highest open and conversion rates.

The truth is there is no magic formula. Variables like company industry, audience demographics, and the type of email message strongly influence results, making it difficult to establish a best practice. The number of photos, type of imagery, style of the content, and the way it’s laid out, all impact customer response too.

The Value of Split-Testing

Retailers have been split-testing email campaigns for years with the goal of determining what version of an email generates higher open and conversion rates – testing subject lines, calls-to-action, offers, and more. A/B testing is a valuable tool to identify what resonates with customers; the number and types of product photos that will generate maximum engagement.

With an unmatched volume of content now available to retailers, the opportunity to utilize content assets as a variable in email tests has never been greater. A robust content library comprised of stock photos, brand-created photos, and now, the rapidly-growing, socially-driven source of visual user-generated content allows for stronger, more varied tests, which in turn provides more accurate customer knowledge.

Form a Hypothesis

Using the customer knowledge you already have, consider your customer demographics, the kind of email message you are sending, and how strong your content library is. Ask yourself questions like, “are your customers used to scrolling down through pages of content in other places like social media or news sites?” “Are your products displayed best when in use, or shown stationery?” “Are most products sold individually or do they complement each other?” “Are your photos engaging enough to make a customer want to keep scrolling and see what’s next?”

For example, a cosmetics company with engaging user-generated images, lots of complementary SKUs, and a core demographic of females under the age of 30 is more likely to do better with a larger number of product photos in an email than a health and wellness company with less engaging images and an older core demographic.

Test, Learn, and Refine!

Continuously gathering new information, refining your hypothesis, and testing it out is the best way to maximize the effectiveness of photos in your email campaigns. Remember, you’re not just trying to figure out what works best for a single email campaign. You should be trying to gather customer insights that you can use to drive business decisions and inform future campaigns.

When leveraged properly, product photos are a valuable tool to increase email open and conversion rates. Although there is no set best practice, growing your content library and experimenting is the best way to maximize the power of your company’s product photos in email.

About Listrak

Designed distinctively for online and omni-channel retailers, Listrak helps digital marketers create personalized interactions to reach, engage and convert shoppers across email, mobile, social, display, web and store. The Listrak platform boasts a comprehensive set of retail-specific solutions including shopping cart and browse abandonment solutions, post-purchase solutions, and product recommendations. For more information, visit