Guest Post By Charlie Rall of Video Review Labs
Product videos are dead. I’m talking about the dull spinning, white backdrop glamour shots with the logo bar at the bottom of the screen. That’s the 360 degree photography made famous by late night QVC. The web has changed, of course, but brands are still throwing money at product videos and getting poor results. Marketers can be getting so much more value from their time and money.
Cue the rise of the ecommerce video, a marketing/sales tool hybrid that focuses on product features and benefits, but builds brands online as well. They’re infused with high-quality branded content that tells the story of a brand and its products. They start conversations with customers, engage them personally, and ultimately drive sales conversions.
Ecommerce creates convenience, but also leaves a void of human interaction. Customers aren’t in the store where they can touch and feel a product or question a salesmen. We as consumers thrive for some interactive element where we can demo a product for ourselves and validate our purchase. Ecommerce videos put products into human context so customers can get as close to an in-store experience as possible. In short, they make the ecommerce experience more human.
To get the most out of ecommerce videos, it’s important to focus on three things: Strategy, Production, and Deployment.
Every move you make as a marketer or business owner has a number attached to it– a focused objective. So should your eCommerce videos. Before you put pen to paper or press record on the camera, you need to identify your goals.
What are you trying to accomplish? If you are looking to increase sales conversions by 40% this quarter, or attract twice the qualified inbound traffic to your site, then you’re going the right direction. Lucky for us, ecommerce video can accomplish both those things. In addition, decide where your videos will live, whether on your ecommerce site’s own product pages or your channel partners’ sites. That way you know who you are talking to and how the videos will work with the existing UI.
Explore your current customer base and brainstorm what will turn them on. Do they need to see an in-depth explanation of a mobile tablet interface? See how the fabric of a hiking backpack holds up in the rain? From there you set out your creative plan that aligns with your brand. Remember that ecommerce videos never stand alone. They are new touchpoints for your brand and need to live up to the quality and consistency of all your other marketing efforts to truly connect with your customers.
Video production is where things start to get pretty tough for marketers. You have to step outside the realm of what you know for sure about your customers and your sales metrics. You have to put your faith in an external resource to communicate to your customers through video and uphold the integrity of your brand. You’re also dealing with strict budgets and time. The key here is to work with a video production company or ecommerce video company that specializes in scaling high-quality work. They need to understand what you are trying to accomplish, fully embrace your brand, and scale up to meet the scope of your product catalog efficiently.
But this is also the fun part. You’re setting out to show off your awesome products in the setting they were designed for. Get outside the studio and shoot outdoors, at a coffee house, or wherever your customers are really using your product. Last time I checked, no one lived in an infinite white space…
Be careful to strike that fine balance between clearly showcasing product features and benefits and telling the story of your brand. You can’t be dull, but you don’t want to over-saturate your videos with narrative. Shoot for videos between 30 and 90 seconds, depending on the complexity and price point of your products. That’s the sweet spot to hold someone’s attention online.
Now that you’ve shot your videos and have the edits in the can, deployment is where you truly maximize the value of your ecommerce videos. You want to integrate your videos into your ecommerce site seamlessly so everything feels like one organic customer experience.
YouTube is still one of the best options for video hosting and embedding, especially with its added SEO value. Depending on your software (Magneto, Volusion, Shopify, etc.) your provider may offer a video hosting platform that integrates into your site best. Feature your videos as prominently as your photo gallery. You want to drive conversions from your current web traffic, and your videos will instill the confidence and product knowledge your customers need to click that beautiful “add to cart” button.
To boost traffic, make sure your videos are well optimized for search engine results. Search engines like Google still organically favor video over all other types of online content, but they can’t really read what is actually in your video. Make sure to optimize them with the surrounding relevant information search engines like Google need to index where they are and bring viewers to you. Fill out every part of your videos’ keyword and description boxes. Be sure to include category and product level descriptions as well as long tail keywords your customers are searching, like “How to clean the Osprey 40L Camping Pack.”
We’re just scratching the surface here. However, we live in fantastic times where video production is more affordable than ever and the resources you need to really build a great ecommerce video strategy are often just a few keyboard clicks away. So get moving to build out your ecommerce video catalog. You will enhance the online shopping experience for your customers, boost sales, and build your brand online. Now for some examples…
Who is Doing it right?
Easton makes some of the best baseball and softball gear in the world. Their products carry a hefty price tag too, but they overcome new customer doubt and uncertainty with some pretty badass ecommerce videos about their products. They integrate their videos to be featured right in the middle of their product pages and they look super sleek. Below that they have a customer review section that is big and open to get conversations started about the products. Plus their videos are heavy on narrative to really sell the lifestyle behind the brand. Top notch stuff.
SKLZ is another awesome sporting equipment brand. Their site is big, beautiful, and pretty extensive with content. They have an entire video library of eCommerce videos that can be sorted and filtered to get very niche. They take an approach of Expert Advice and How-To style videos that incorporate their products, which instills a lot of confidence in their shoppers and also positions them as thought leaders in the industry. Unfortunately, SKLZ doesn’t utilize SEO for their YouTube videos very well, so they are not attracting many viewers outside of their site even though they have great, helpful content.
REI is obviously the biggest player in outdoor gear. They have a huge catalog of great products and they do an amazing job at producing videos for most of them. They have a nice balance of studio shots and incorporating lifestyle footage from the field. Viewers get an expert explaining all about the product and clearly showing its physical features, while also seeing how these products hold up in real-life situations. REI also produces tons of great video content that features their customers’ stories, expert advice, and narrative branded content. They are really on top of their strategy for building the brand through online video.
Charlie Rall is the Video Producer at Video Review Labs, a Texas based eCommerce video startup. Video Review Labs is committed to building better customer experiences through video and helping brands sell more online. Follow @videoreviewlabs on Twitter.