How to Turn Browsers into Buyers with Video

Thinking about using online video to help sell your products? When it comes to e-commerce video, there are several best practices that anyone in retail should know about. They all have one thing in common, though, and that’s focusing on driving conversion (i.e., getting people to make a decision to buy your product).  You don’t want to get derailed by a misguided focus on technology, going viral, or getting things done cheaply. In order to maintain a focus on driving conversion, ask yourself these three key questions:

  • Who is your customer?
  • How does your product benefit that customer?
  • What’s the most powerful way to communicate that benefit?

At Invodo, we’ve learned best practices by working with Internet 500 retailers and producing over 25,000 e-commerce videos. Follow these principles to get the most out of your video efforts”

1. Make the Product the Star

A common mistake in e-commerce video is focusing too much on the spokesperson and not enough on the product. “Show me the thingy” is our phrase for avoiding that pitfall. It reminds us that consumers want to see the product (the “thingy”). Viewers clicked on that video because text and images didn’t tell them the full story, so do your best to put the product right in their hands. Highlight the features that are going to help your audience make a buying decision. Stick to offering 90 percent product, and only 10 percent presenter.

Golfsmith does a great job of keeping the spotlight on the product in this example.

2. Start with the Right Products

How much of your catalog can you cover? For retailers that have large catalogs in multiple categories, where to start a video campaign is a tough decision. Start with products that are at the intersection of high profit margin and popularity. That maximizes margin contribution while presenting enough volume to prove the value of the program.

If you can’t cover an entire category at once, at least cover the top sellers in that category. Those products will most likely be first on a search results or category page.

Consistent use of video within a category gives customers a more valuable comparison shopping experience. They’ll rely on your videos more and in turn buy more.

3. Avoid the Cost of “Free”

One common misconception is that do-it-yourself video is cheaper and more efficient than working with a video production company. After all, anyone can work a Flip camera, right? But do the math on the actual time investment in production and content management. If your video is successful, your internal team will struggle to scale delivery. And you may leave money on the table by not having quality video that’s optimized to drive conversion.

Focus on the ROI and you’ll likely find that working with a full-service e-commerce video partner drives higher results more cost-effectively. That partner should be able to cover 500 products or more in as little as 10 days.

4. Not all Platforms Are Created Equal

Two common mistakes keep e-commerce campaigns from realizing their full potential. The first is assuming that the player doesn’t matter. Companies that make this mistake often simply embed videos from YouTube or other free hosting sites onto their product pages. They may not realize that, in addition to giving up branding options, they’re giving up traffic and SEO benefits to YouTube.

The second mistake is focusing on the wrong features. Ad network integration isn’t useful for a retailer, for example. Shoppers on a retail site rarely look for full-screen playback. So buying your player based on feature/function matrixes can lead you down the wrong road.

Instead, make a short list of what you think your customers will want from your videos. Mostly they’ll want to view your products in a clean, simple presentation. An “Add to Cart” button is a nice touch for a retail site, as are features that enable up-sell and cross-sell. The player should be standards-based or otherwise designed to minimize impact on page load time, since that impacts both SEO rankings and bounce rate.

This video from Swimwear Boutique is a good example of a player that was customized specifically to highlight apparel products, which are easier to show in a vertical window.

5. Front and Center

If your video implementation is an afterthought, the impact of your video will be, too. Placement is important, and the video should be front and center for your customers. Video above the fold will be viewed more often and help drive more sales.  Placing a video player in the hero position, the main spot typically reserved for a static image of the product, means content that’s more dynamic will be in the spotlight. Keep in mind that that video can’t help you make a sale if your customers never see it. If space on the page is tight, consider adding “view video” icons above the fold.

This Stacks and Stacks video is placed where it can’t be missed.

Over the course of creating 25,000 product videos we’ve learned more than we have space for in this short article. But the five principles above represent the basics of driving conversion with e-commerce video. If you’re launching a video program, these will help you get off to the right start. If you’re already using video, try these best practices to fine-tune your program for maximum results.

[Note: This is a vendor-supplied article. occasionally accepts vendor-supplied articles when we believe they provide valuable information to our readers.]


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