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Video possesses unique social and persuasive powers. One Egyptian activist noted this power during the country's revolution in March of 2011: "We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world." People enjoy the rapid absorption of information that video provides. From an ecommerce perspective, video combines the information conveyed by photos and text with more realistic representations. It "manipulates" products to transform the online shopping experience. eCommerce video engages viewers by accessing multiple senses simultaneously. Statistics from Kissmetrics, a web analytics company, report viewers are 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a video. This should incite retailers to seize new profit opportunities with ecommerce video.

The multiple benefits of ecommerce video should attract many companies to invest the time and resources for effective implementation, including:

  • An enhanced ability to communicate product features translates into increased customer engagement and improved customer satisfaction
  • A better-informed customer base, which can decrease support costs since fewer people call with questions or complaints, and fewer items are returned
  • The ability to add movement to products which engages customers at a higher level
  • An appeal to multiple senses and in turn, multiple learning styles with the higher interest that this variety can bring

But effective ecommerce video extends beyond simple product sales, capturing a variety of innovative marketing techniques. However, before developing an ecommerce video strategy, consider the following critical issues that typically increase successful use of eCommerce video in online shopping carts.

Expand Your Definition of the Product Video

eCommerce videos can not only provide viewers with an enhanced examination of a product, they can also help convert prospects into customers in more personal ways. An ecommerce website featuring product demonstrations, creative representations of company policies, customer reviews, testimonials, interviews, or customizable content to share on social media platforms can take advantage of eCommerce video in many ways.

For example, consider creating a web series on a topic, product, technique or other aspect of your business. Serializing almost any topic builds relationships with viewers. Consumers gain familiarity with a company by regularly viewing the video content. (For instance, a series of how-to ecommerce videos could help to establish you as an expert, and customers will gain confidence in your message.) Below is an example video from Ultracart on how to add digital products to your website.

But your videos need not be product-based. For example, a kitchenware retailer might create a weekly video series on different recipes, playing off the popularity of the many cooking shows carried on network television. Your online store's products could of course be featured during this segment, but he or she could emphasize the food, not the tools creating more of a "softer sell." The same retailer might tape a series of interviews with noted chefs who reveal "tricks of the trade." Producing ecommerce video content that is immediately relevant to your customers is very likely to coax them back to your site, versus a straight product orientation which can instead just promote comparison shopping. Mentioning your brand in the video will keep viewers familiar with your business.

There are infinite creative ecommerce video options. The key is to tell a story that keeps your customer informed, engaged, and even entertained.

Don't Compromise on Your eCommerce Video Quality

eCommerce businesses compete with professional-quality videos. If possible, hire a professional company to shoot for you. This will maximize lighting features, product angles, and ensure quality audio. Viewers will not always watch a video with poor audio or lower production values. Your ecommerce video's introduction and conclusion are the most memorable, so take time to create sleek material. Keeping your videos less than five minutes long will attract more viewers. A professional company can help you edit your content for the most potent delivery. On the other hand, given the proliferation of highly professional "desktop" video editing programs, there may be good reason to start with slightly lower production values, to test which video topics create the most interest, since you can monitor their downloads through your website's analytics programs. In some segments (those with very specialized products, users will often accept less emphasis on production, as a trade-off for solid information.

Create Interactive eCommerce Videos

Viewers need not only watch eCommerce video content, but they can interact with it as well. Adding buttons associated with the video player environment that link to pages on your website increases relevancy and potential use. These product or other static information triggers must be noticeable and linked to pages associated with the content of a particular video segment. (Programs like Live Link Video even allow you to make "hot spots" within the actual video where users can click to navigate directly to a related product page. For example, users can click on a coat a model is wearing in the ecommerce video, and they will be directed to the coat's product description page on your website. They can have the option to read about the coat and/or add it to their shopping carts.)

Don't neglect a call to action while utilizing the video environment to enhance online shopping. Encourage users to visit your ecommerce website or share created videos on Facebook. Such an arrangement might even urge users to insert content before sharing, such as in the creation of an e-card that can be personalized but also utilize the video content.

Consider offering a live video chat option with a customer service representative. This adds humanity to your company's name. It creates a vulnerability that customers appreciate. Seeing the representative makes this ecommerce video personal. Viewers appreciate knowing there is a human face to a company. In less than five minutes, he is able to communicate many of his services and offer multiple ways to contact him.

Extending Your Influence

The beauty of social media lies in the ease of sharing content. People like to share things, and they look to regular sharers for pertinent, up-to-date information. Plan your ecommerce video to include sharing capabilities. This should be standard for any video posted on your website.

Consider hosting a YouTube channel that creates regular ecommerce video content. With several billion videos viewed monthly and three billion daily views registered, YouTube is a cogent marketing ground.

Video now appears in 70% of the top 100 search results, revealing the new SEO competition turf. When editing your ecommerce video to meet SEO criteria, try using a keyword twice in the video title and again in the description. Use the keywords at the beginning and not at the end. Look for video-sharing websites to post your content.

Research eCommerce Video Platforms

When choosing a platform for your ecommerce video plan, begin by defining your requirements and researching companies that meet them. Compare costs and subscription terms. Ask others about their experiences with a particular platform, or search on social media sites for news regarding customer feedback. Most companies will allow you to trial their services for free. During this period, test out their customer service to see if it meets your needs and expectations.

Conduct an eCommerce Video Evaluation

As with any marketing strategy, evaluate your ecommerce video marketing plan after a few months of implementation. You will find that quality video integration will add profits through increased website traffic, and it will save you money in support staff. So look for fewer abandoned carts, fewer product returns, an increased number of website visits, longer visit durations, or a decrease in telephone calls to support staff. All of these indicate an effective ecommerce video strategy.