Leveraging Visual Marketing in E-Commerce

In this age of digital marketing, getting your message to stand out from your competitors can prove tricky. On social media alone, there are 8 billion views of Facebook videos, 140 million tweets generated, and 3.2 billion pieces of content shared – a day

All this, and more, each day.

The human brain can only take so much, and when we can process images 60,000 faster than text, marketers are increasingly looking towards visual content. The hunger for images has driven the success of social media platforms such as Instagram.

The key to its success is understanding that people respond to information better with visuals. Content, according to Bill Gates, may be King, but it’s critical to mix the various types. In order to fully leverage the potential of content, marketers need to include images as well as text.

Only then will your e-commerce store reap the benefits of Instagram and other social media sites. At the same time, visual marketing is so much more than just looking great on social media. You need to consider your content output across all platforms and understand how design can help your brand.

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Here’s some of the reasons why and how you should be leveraging visual marketing in your emails, social accounts, and website:

Good Design Boosts Your Brand

Visuals is more than just about the products you sell. It involves your logo, website, the design of your blog, and every content you create. Essentially, visuals help to build the brand of your e-commerce store.

For example, content with visual elements get 94% more views than those that do not. It’s clear using images in the right way can help readers relate and become familiar with your brand. It’s important to take a holistic approach.

Leading travel company TripAdvisor the visual elements of its branding and content are consistent across multiple platforms:

(Source: Author’s screenshot)

I received this email which shared the top destinations around the world. As you can see, the branding is clear with the logo at the top together with the green color scheme.

What makes this email really work is that it’s consistent with the visuals on its main website:

(Source: Tripadvisor.com)

As you can see, the colors are identical and, on the landing page from the email, even the images are similar.

TripAdvisor is well aware of the value of making subscribers and site visitors familiar and comfortable with the brand. Familiarity breeds trust. And trust turns hot leads into customers.

The design of both the email and website is simple yet smart. The focus is on the content, with minimal distractions. The visuals are striking, with images of beautiful destinations around the world. With MageMail, you can design campaigns by using our easy-to-use WYSIWYG design tool to help ensure brand consistency when contacting your customers.

Now, you may say it’s easy for a travel brand to do this. After all, they can use pristine beaches, dramatic mountains, and stunning cityscapes to appeal to travelers. What about other industries that do not have this luxury? This is where marketers can be creative. Dulux, a British paint-maker, has an excellent Instagram account:

(Source: Instagram.com)

No one wants to sit down and watch paint dry and the brand is fully aware of that. . So instead of simply putting up images of its products, Dulux takes it a bit further and shows off how to use its paints in wider interior design projects. This gives an additional added value for both their brand and their followers.

The result is a series of enticing images of well-designed rooms where Dulux’s interior paint products were used.  Not only does this give ideas and inspiration to followers, it allows users to see how their products were used with a creative twist.

Visual Marketing Gets Shared

The fact is visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than text-only content. Visual content really takes the cake. It’s also important from a business perspective – because 82% of respondents from all generations trust recommendations from people they know, it’s important to get your content shared to reach their networks.

This is higher than any other form of advertising. So, you need to include images in any form of content you create and make it easy for the viewer to share.

(Source: Etsy.com)

E-commerce store, Etsy, uses social media buttons on all its product pages. This means shoppers are just two clicks away from sharing the brand’s content with their friends and family:

(Source: Etsy.com)

If I clicked on the Facebook icon, for example, this is the screen that pops up. I can then either post it straight away, or add my own message. The point is, the post is already created, complete with an image. In less than five seconds, I could share this product with my whoever I’m connected with.

Again, this is the most trusted form of marketing there is – As the average Facebook user has around 338 friends, so even if you just get ten shares, you can expect a reach of around 3,380 people.

Some of the top brands on social media also have a strategy to share user-generated content on their own channels.

Take outdoor apparel brand, North Face, for example:

(Source: Twitter.com)

Adventure and outdoor experiences are synonymous with North Face’s brand. So, this type of image will inspire its followers and add variety to its social media content. The fact it’s from a third-party can actually boost the engagement with this post, since 63% of US customers trust user-generated photos more than posts from the brand itself.

Not only is the brand able to share stunning or creative photos from their users, it helps inspire other users to do the same. This creates organic engagement in the hopes that their content is good enough to be reposted by a brand.

Email Campaigns With MageMail

Engage your list – Not every email to your customers or potential customers should be about pushing your products and services. In addition to creating great-quality visual content, get your potential customers and current customers in on the fun. Create a contest and email campaign to promote a hashtag campaign.

However, because MageMail allows you to add as many images as you’d like, you can just include entire images with text on them, just like this one. Here, retailer J.Crew uses only images in their email to promote their product as well as their #nationalstripesday campaign.

(Source: Author’s Screenshot)

J.Crew does a great job at promoting their engagement campaign within their emails, creating organic engagement on social accounts. (You can very well do this same thing with MageMail!) Now that users can now “follow” hashtags on Instagram, every user following it will see everything that’s posted under it.

(Source: Author’s Screenshot)

The power of social shines through with the help of email marketing campaigns. As an e-commerce store, “own” a hashtag and promote it throughout your website, emails, and social platforms. This will allow you to easily engage with your followers and find real pictures from real users to leverage as trust and for other marketing initiatives.

Video Content Leads the Way

There’s now widespread understanding that video is one of the most engaging forms of content. With 90% of shoppers saying videos are useful in the product purchasing process, you should be putting them at the heart of your marketing strategy – include them in your email, your product pages, and on your social stories.

People are 64% more likely to buy a product after watching a related video online.  

Brands should be taking advantage of Facebook and Instagram stories and video uploads.

A couple of years ago in 2016, Instagram raised the video length limit from 15 to 60 seconds. This was partly in response to video consumption shooting up 40% in the six months before the move.

Now, videos are as much part of the platform as images. However, you shouldn’t simply upload one and hope it will succeed. There are a number of factors you need to think about:

  • Length of engagement: Studies have shown that the run time matters. Videos less than 90 seconds long have an average retention rate of 53%. Those over 30 minutes long only retain 10%.
  • Videos are watched without sound: Up to 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Though this is specific to Facebook, we should assume other platforms have similar stats. This means you need to think about the type of videos you play and put in captions where necessary, or have the users “tap for sound” on the video.
  • Consumers want to see videos: The statistics show 53% of consumers want to see more videos. Among the younger generations, this figure rises to 65%. If you want to develop a deeper connection with your market, you need to use video marketing.

With video set to take up 82% of internet traffic by 2021, how can you use Instagram to make your brand stand out?

Ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s is a prolific publisher of video content on Instagram. It creates at least one video every 2-3 days and while its products invariably appear prominently, the messages are varied:

(Source: Instagram.com)

One of its most recent videos, for example, is campaigning about the effects of climate change on some key ingredients. In just 12 hours, it had already garnered nearly 30,000 views and countless comments. The video itself is no more than a few seconds long and due to the captions, it can be seen without sound.

Perfect for those sneaky five minute social media breaks.

Here’s an example of leading outerwear provider, Patagonia using videos on their product pages:

(Source: Patagonia.com)

In addition to clear and concise product descriptions, Patagonia offers an informed video on their product page. Within the video they were able to highlight the features of one of their most popular products while stating facts on its impact on the environment.

The video re-enforces the product description as well as carrying the brand’s stance on eco-friendly processes.

Patagonia’s video strategy helps convert visitors and helps the brand develop trust to become leaders within the market.


Visual marketing has long gone past its “up-and-coming” status. It’s now an integral part of any e-commerce marketing strategy. In one sense, it’s always been here for e-commerce stores. After all, customers need to see your products in the best possible light, and if it means getting it from real users, engage them.

But what has changed is customer expectations.

Customers now expect to see visuals in whichever content a brand generates. Take a look at any social media platform and you will notice posts with images or videos.

As we have already mentioned, visual content record higher levels of engagement, reach more people, and are easier to recall. If you are looking to develop your brand and grow your business, then you simply have to apply  visual marketing across all your marketing efforts.

Nonetheless, the golden rules of content marketing still applies. The key is to come up with imagery that’s relevant to your followers and customers. As well as creating your own content, understand the power of sharing user-generated images, as demonstrated by North Face.

Utilize video content. Brands are increasingly using Instagram and other platforms to share short but highly engaging videos. Ben & Jerry’s is a classic example of successfully harnessing the potential of creative, yet simple videos to get its message out there on Instagram. And Patagonia shows how to use video on product pages.

As for written content, that’s here to stay too. There’s no doom and gloom here for those informative and lengthy blog posts. The key is to complement text with images and videos wherever possible throughout your website, emails, and social platforms.

Visual marketing is constantly evolving. Brands are becoming ever more innovative in creating engaging content. Now is time to take advantage and get your e-commerce store ahead of your competitors.

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