How to Boost eCommerce Engagement with Personalized Visuals: Insights from Lou Mintzer

How to Boost eCommerce Engagement with Personalized Visuals: Insights from Lou Mintzer
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Welcome to another episode of Inbox Invaders! Today, we're excited to have Lou Mintzer, the CEO of Grid and Pixel, join us. Lou is a seasoned entrepreneur who previously co-founded HomeSnap, which sold for $50 million in 2020.

In this episode, we dive deep into how Grid and Pixel is revolutionizing eCommerce marketing with personalized visuals and AI. Key takeaways:

1. The Power of Personalization: Lou explains how one-to-one personalized visuals, whether static images, GIFs, or videos, can significantly boost engagement and conversion rates.
2. Seamless Shopify Integration: Learn how Grid and Pixel integrates effortlessly with Shopify, making it easy for store owners to enhance their email marketing campaigns.
3. AI Scene Generator: Discover the innovative AI scene generator that allows you to create stunning visuals tailored to your brand's aesthetics.
4. Dynamic Content in Real-Time: Lou shares how their technology renders personalized content in real-time, ensuring each recipient gets the most relevant visual experience.
5. Easy Klaviyo Integration: See how simple it is to embed Grid and Pixel visuals into your Klaviyo email flows, enhancing the overall impact of your campaigns.
6. Cost and Time Efficiency: Find out how Grid and Pixel saves time and reduces costs by automating the creation of high-quality GIFs and visuals, eliminating the need for extensive manual design work.
7. Optimized for All Devices: Lou emphasizes the importance of having visuals that look great on both desktop and mobile, ensuring a seamless experience for all users.

Wiehan Britz: Welcome to Inbox Invaders, where we talk about everything related to email and SMS marketing. Today, I have a special guest joining me. Lou Mintzer is the CEO of Grid and Pixel, a SaaS tool we're going to explore today. He also invented HomeSnap in 2012, which sold for $50 million in 2020—an excellent achievement. Thank you so much for joining me.

Lou Mintzer: Hey, Wiehan, really nice to meet you today. Thanks for having me.

Wiehan Britz: Absolutely. Let's dive into it. Tell the audience what problems you solve for eCommerce brands, email and SMS marketers, and agencies.

Lou Mintzer: Sure. Let me start by unpacking my introduction. This is my third business. My last one was HomeSnap, a vertically integrated digital marketing agency for real estate agents. It made it super easy for real estate agents to run effective social media, email, and SMS campaigns, turning it into a SaaS business. We grew it to be the largest SaaS business for real estate agents in the U.S., selling it to an S&P 500 company for $250 million in 2020. After the merger, I stayed for a couple of years and then started a new business, bringing much of my HomeSnap team with me.

We wanted to adopt the playbook we developed around personalization for the prop tech industry and apply it to eCommerce. We saw clearly how email and personalization could build a powerful product to help eCommerce brand owners connect with their audience, driving engagement, purchases, revenue, and retention. We've built a Shopify app, and I'd like to share more about it. Let me start sharing my screen.

Wiehan Britz: Sounds perfect. I love the conversation around personalization. There's a never-ending debate about how far you should push it. Too many people restrict it to email copy or dynamic text within emails. Target segmentation and the visual side of it don't happen often enough. I'm keen to see what you've got.

Lou Mintzer: Okay, cool. You're kind of giving it away here. We're delivering one-to-one personalized visuals, which could be a static image, an animated GIF, or a video that autoplays. These render at the time of email open for each recipient. You can drop it into any campaign or flow type, connecting data from your store and email sender, like Klaviyo, Omnisend, Sendlane, or Shopify Email, to create a graphic in real-time.

It's super easy to get started. We're a Shopify app, so you use Grid and Pixel inside the Shopify admin page. We've got a perfect five-star review rating, and we don't install any software or slow down your site. We also have a Klaviyo integration. When you click on integrations, you'll see us listed with other reputable companies. We personalize each image by manipulating the image URL that loads into the email. Are you following me so far?

Wiehan Britz: Yes, absolutely. Following along.

Lou Mintzer: Great. Let's look at Grid and Pixel. I'll show you what a blueprint looks like. We have popular designs, an AI creative design tool, and pre-made designs for key flows like welcome series, abandoned visits, and abandoned carts. There's a cool editor and a whole university academy to learn more. Let's create an abandoned visit graphic. Here, I'm looking at a page of pre-made, curated abandoned visit graphics. Let's customize one. It defaults to my brand colors, but I can pick a color palette I like. We can change fonts, text, and products synced from Shopify catalogs. Let's switch over to this for fun and remove the background.

Lou Mintzer: There's an AI scene generator, and I'm going with a fall theme here, so I'll switch my colors. There we go. This is what I wanted. Then, there's also the option to link to different pages depending on the flow or the user's previous history with the product. We might take them directly to the checkout page, the cart page, the product page, or the homepage. It all depends on the context, but there's a lot of AI working in the background.

Once I'm happy with the design, I can grab it and send a test email to myself, download it as a GIF, or publish it directly to Klaviyo images. The fun part is getting it over to Klaviyo as a live embed code snippet. There are a couple of ways to do this, and I'll show you both. First, you hit the "copy to clipboard" button, then go over to Klaviyo. This looks familiar, right? Here's a simple abandoned visit flow. I'll edit the email, grab a block, and paste in the code from Grid and Pixel. You can see it rendering right inside the email. There's a lot of liquid variable magic happening behind the scenes, so when you preview and test, you can see what each customer in your database will see when they open the email.

To bring the demo home, I'll send a test email from Klaviyo. If the Klaviyo gods are cooperating, we should see it render. Here it is—an email that renders in under 200 milliseconds and autoplays in 99.9% of inboxes. As you develop these graphics, they all end up living on your "My Designs" page, where you can see metrics and revenue reporting tied to them.

Just because I told you, I was going to show you a second way. This one is more experimental but very cool. We've figured out how to turn the Klaviyo integration into a full drag-and-drop experience. I'll use Klaviyo Magic Import and select an email template. I'll pick this weekend sale email, and it loads over here in Grid and Pixel. You can drag it wherever you want in the template, save it back to Klaviyo, and open Klaviyo. This part is a bit ugly on Klaviyo's side—you have to click the "save" button—but then you can create a campaign or flow. When you choose to use drag and drop, you flip over to your saved templates, and there it is, all animated and wired up.

The beauty of this is delivering one-to-one personalized graphics to every person. Let me show you one of our blueprints. Typically, when we work with a brand, we parachute into their Klaviyo account and set up all the flows and campaigns. Many Klaviyo accounts are pretty sloppy, with people using baseline templates or having hired a Fiverr guy who threw monkey wrenches around. We fix that by setting up the key flows and optimizing the revenue per recipient.

For example, we have a welcome series with three emails, an abandonment series integrated with discounts, reviews, abandoned cart, and abandoned checkout emails. We also create many campaign ideas, even though campaigns are generally less personalized than flows. Win-back is a super important flow, and we have many templates designed around that, as well as customer experience and purchase thank-you emails.

We can create look books or creative briefs for brands very quickly, modify them, pull in new designs, and kick out old ones. Once it's all running in Shopify Email, Omnisend, Klaviyo, or Sendlane, they can manage everything from their "My Designs" page. They can do revenue reporting and make changes that automatically reflect in Klaviyo or their email platform without revisiting the designs.

This approach is powerful for brand owners who need to delegate design work or for mid-market companies with a small team to stretch further and do more campaigns, automation, and A/B testing. We also work with very large brands that have in-house design teams and external creative agencies. We still play a role because it's impossible to pre-make a single hero graphic for every user who will receive an abandoned visit flow. You can't anticipate future abandonments, so this is the only way to deliver a one-to-one experience on the fly, super fast.

Our software makes these images at lightning speed, and we have over 1,000 stores using the app in production today. We help them in a great way and seek to grow by partnering with agencies. Agencies use our product, test it in one flow, roll it out across all flows for a single client, and then expand to multiple clients. We're now focusing on working productively with agencies to ensure their clients' success, making it easy for them to work with us. This way, agencies get credit for improvements in account performance and revenue, while we get our low-priced subscription in there, starting at $99 a month. This is a software play, and we're excited to continue growing.

Wiehan Britz: Beautiful. I think five stars for your presentation. Excellent work. Wow. You've covered all the nitty-gritty things. From my point of view, creating GIFs is extremely time-consuming. You also need to export them to a small enough file size so they don't screw up your email load times or experience. Pixelation of GIFs is another challenge. There are so many things to think about, and as you pointed out, creating all these different variations is a huge task, especially for larger stores with extensive SKU catalogs. It's often a waste of time.

Lou Mintzer: That's right. Knowing that you can link your Shopify backend into this and have it do the magic in the backend is pretty smart.

Wiehan Britz: Tell me something. You showed the blueprints, which I think is nice. You basically import those templates into my view as a template, right? And then push them into your flow placeholders?

Lou Mintzer: Yeah, that's right. It's kind of like a layer cake. The design or graphic goes into the email template, and the email template is the payload that goes over into Klaviyo. Then you map those to any of the emails in your flow. The really unique part about the graphics payload is that it's fully responsive. You can use the same graphic in an abandoned cart, welcome series, post-purchase, or newsletter, and it will always render the best graphic for that recipient and link them to the appropriate place.

Wiehan Britz: On both desktop and mobile, it's optimized, no problem. It's also a very light thing and won't slow down your code.

Lou Mintzer: Exactly. We use common internet languages like PNGs, SVGs, GIFs, and MP4s, which are universally compatible with almost every email client. That’s the secret. Plus, it doesn't look gross in dark mode, and Gmail doesn't mess with MP4 files.

Since you mentioned the pain of making GIFs, which many designers feel, we have pre-made designs that make it much easier. For instance, search for "ticker" on Grid and Pixel, and you'll find pre-made ticker GIF designs that are much simpler to create compared to using Figma or Photoshop.

Wiehan Britz: We know the cost of these tools. Figma and Adobe Creative Suite are expensive. I also like the importability feature. Many try to plug into the ESP to make it easy to push a template, but often those emails are flat, boring, and not personalized or dynamic. I like that you can use it as a starting template and then push it into your ESP. I didn't realize that at first. It's a massive win. How can people reach out to you? Is it through your LinkedIn profile for demos of the tool?

Lou Mintzer: Yes, search for Lou Mintzer on LinkedIn. I'd love to connect. Send me a DM—I'm super interested in learning more about your business. You can find Grid and Pixel at or in the app store by searching for Grid and Pixel. We're also in the Klaviyo integration store. We're active on Twitter and other socials too.

I'm personally building my LinkedIn presence. It's been a fun journey trying to build a personal brand in the eCommerce space. I was in prop tech for the last decade and only switched to eCommerce in the past year and a half. I still feel like an outsider but am trying to ingratiate myself with the community and bring value. If anyone sees this and wants to chat more, I'm totally up for it. I'd love to connect as I'm in a learning and connecting phase.

Wiehan Britz: Contributions to the community are valuable. You push unique content out there. I recently spoke with someone tired of the same thing being rehashed. Keep up the unique angles. We appreciate it. Thanks once again for your time today.

Lou Mintzer: Thanks, Wiehan. Bye, guys.


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