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Using Video To Drive eCommerce

White Paper

Video has become a must-have marketing tool because of its proven abilities to drive measurable results. 76% of consumers state that video is their preferred form of branded content and marketing professionals are capitalizing on this popularity. In fact, 51.9% of marketers name it as the type of content with the best ROI. Video brings more people to your website, keeps them there for longer, and improves conversion rates—making it essential to any marketer's strategy. Video personifies your brand, allowing your audiences to connect with the values and core messages of your business on an emotional level.

Yet, when it comes to eCommerce, video is still being underutilized. Most brands are using video in some capacity to drive awareness amongst a mass audience, but few are unlocking the value of video to deliver excellent customer experiences and advance the buyer’s journey online.

In this eBook, we examine how video can be used at each stage in the buyer’s journey to enhance the customer experience and drive results.

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Awareness

Search Engine Discovery

Want your eCommerce store to attract more shoppers? First things first: you want to make your offerings come up first when potential customers search for products and solutions. Google loves video. If you’re trying to attract buyers to your site then having video content on key product pages is going to help push those pages up the search rankings where video is a best match for the searcher’s intent.

Think about creating videos that capitalize on the industry-related topics your audience actively searches for. These are called hygiene videos. These types of videos help you take advantage of common search queries and draw in visitors by using SEO friendly terms that describe each video’s value. To create a collection of successful hygiene videos, think carefully about your keyword and video metadata strategies. Also consider using video transcripts, subtitles, and captions where you can, as these all have SEO benefits. By adding these elements to your videos, you make them immensely more discoverable, both on search engines externally and internally. After integrating SEO-friendly videos throughout your eCommerce website, your site’s search function will be able to pull this information, allowing audiences to easily find videos that show how to assemble, use, and maintain your products.

Types of Video Content for Your Website

  • Hero Content - Content meant to reach as broad an audience as possible
  • Hygiene Content - Industry related content for which your audience is actively searching
  • Hub Content - Relevant content you regularly publish and push to ideal buyers

Social Video

As marketers, we know that people use social networks to stay informed, be entertained, and learn new things. Through it all, video has emerged as the most popular type of content across the board. It’s now the best way to educate and inform potential prospects. In fact, 62% of consumers discover new video content by scrolling through their news feeds, while 49% discover it when it’s shared by others on their network.

So when you consider your audience, think about what social networks they trend towards. You don’t have to be on every platform; just the ones that your buyers and their social connections are using.

Once you’ve established which social media networks are best for reaching your target audience, you then need to consider the content you’re going to create for each. Pay particular attention to the nuances of different networks. For example, videos using Facebook’s native players will auto-play, typically without sound. Adding an engaging video lead in with movement, text, and other visual cues can substitute for music or voice overs. This ensures your message doesn’t get lost in a chaotic newsfeed and keeps prospective customers from scrolling past your video.

Remember, the content that stirs emotion has the best chance at being noticed, remembered, and shared with more viewers—and additional shoppers. Research suggests that viewers are more likely to watch humorous videos, and happiness and surprise were among the top emotions that drove social sharing. Social sharing is one of the highest indicators of both engagement and sentiment from your audience. So whatever feelings you’re trying to invoke from prospective buyers, remember that emotionally-driven stories can push your eCommerce brand to top-of-mind.

In-Home Multi-Screening

Consumers are using a variety of devices to shop online. They are often multiscreening— i.e. shopping on their laptops or mobile devices while watching TV. Are two (or more) screens better than one for your brand? How can you take advantage of these numerous avenues for exposure? As we move towards a mobile-first, omniplatform future, it’s paramount that your video be accessible across all devices and destinations, delivering the high-quality experience your consumers expect.

In order to reach the largest portion of your target audience, you need to make sure that you’re tailoring your video content to the relevant device that your consumer is using. Younger generations, for example, tend to gravitate towards mobile devices while older generations prefer desktop computers. Of those young mobile users, 40% state that video increases the chance of purchasing a product on a mobile device.With each generation favoring different combinations of devices and interacting differently to marketing communications, make your eCommerce video flexible.

Digital Platform Preferences by Generation

Next-Generation Shoppers;Digital-Savvy PurchaseSeasoned Buyer
Generation ZGeneration Y/MillennialsGeneration X and Baby Boomer
Often use two or three mobile devices at oncePrefer to use mobile devices and laptopsPrefer to shop at home with few distractions
Prefer flexible, multi-platform shopping experiencesResponds well to video hat quickly visualise the productMore prone to using a single screen, usually a laptop or desktop
Enjoy short snappy videos

The consumer technology landscape changes all the time, so it’s not enough to consider just today’s devices in your multiscreening strategy. Go beyond mobile and future-proof your branded video strategy to embrace emerging technology.

Some retailers are doing just that by bringing the shopping experience into the living room. With their own apps on popular set-top-boxes such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku, these retailers are now reaching into areas previously inaccessible for online video marketers. They’ve grabbed the attention of audiences who were in a passive lean-back mode, but who can now be encouraged to sit up, interact, and shop.

Engagement

Branded Video Galleries

So you’ve drawn the shoppers’ attention and pulled them to your website where they can get to know your brand better and evaluate your merchandise. Now you need to keep their interest in order to move them into the consideration stage.

At this stage in the journey, evaluators need to spend the maximum amount of time with your brand. One great method of doing this is linking your marketing campaigns through to a video gallery or portal where you can immerse the viewer in your brand’s message through an engaging video experience. Grouping hub content into categories encourages extended viewing time. Consider offering look-books or style guides and how-to series for your prospective buyers. This type of content shows your product in action, or how it is designed and made, conveying value and allowing the viewer to take ownership. As your audience snacks on this content in a branded portal, you control the experience not only through the look and feel of your video site and player, but also through relevant and related videos on curated playlists. Some of the most successful eCommerce sites have embraced this concept of repeatable, thematic video content by producing TV-like episodes.

When curating playlists for your prospective buyers, consider the following for a superior experience:

  • Search Function:allows consumers to quickly and easily find content relevant to them
  • Contextual calls-to-action: shows a viewer what video content is coming up next, and also offers additional viewing options based upon their interests. This gives your viewer control over their viewing experience

All of these engagement techniques let your viewer know that there is more content available on-demand. A clean, unfettered user experience is important as consumers are twice as likely to purchase goods when videos are searched and viewed on an integrated, eCommerce website versus on a branded YouTube channel. While social media sites are important, you can’t control the focus. Adding in an online video platform allows you to build a superior video experience on-site that matches your brand priorities. The returns are substantial—you’ll keep audiences engaged, answer questions to build trust, and remove purchase barriers to across all fronts.

Informative Product Videos

Every brand’s engagement stage varies depending on how long it takes a prospective buyer to become comfortable with your brand’s product offering. For many eCommerce brands, product videos are the perfect way to provide your consumers with comprehensive information about your product. 69% consumers prefer video over text if both are on a product page, and branded video content wins over sales copy on the page every time because human brains are hardwired to prefer visual stimuli. So when you create a showcase video, you’re displaying the product in a highly visual fashion which makes it is easier for the customer to imagine what it would be like to own it. Retailers who utilize video have an advantage over their online competitors who utilize text or images alone. Why? Because they’ve bridged the gap between the evaluation that happens in the store and placed it online.

Video is a perfect way to keep buyers engaged in a time-sensitive, distracted world. The average time watched per video is 2.7 minutes, during which a brand can impart a substantial amount of product information. Consider making a tip series that spans this length or creating longer-form tutorial content which can be valuable for high-value purchases. A video that shows an item being worn by a model, to see how the product hangs and moves, provides a useful alternative to a fitting room and improves the customer experience. These types of video content allow the consumer to easily and confidently make a purchase decision.

Live Streaming Events

Another way to encourage consumers to spend more time with your brand is to create a live video event that feels participatory. In fact, 80% of US retail executives feel that live streaming creates more authentic interactions with audiences, and 1/5 of U.S. media decision makers are planning to invest in live video ads in the next six months.

You can live stream product launches, celebrity sponsorships, or charitable events. Anything that would drive user interest is fair game.

Keep in mind that brands aren’t the only ones who can create a live stream feed. Consider inviting customers to live stream your event on social media, building excitement in real-time. As you’ll learn about your most engaged customers, called advocates, these types of individuals like participating on a higher level, which can include representing your brand.

Conversion

One of the biggest reasons to use video, of course, is that it can help you convert shoppers into buyers. Video establishes familiarity and trust with the brand that stands behind the product. According to Comscore, 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video. We know that video shows comprehensively what a product looks like and how it works. But it also illustrates how the product aligns with the prospective buyer’s lifestyle—or the one they aspire to. So, at this point in the journey, it’s important to capitalize on this affinity and ask for further interaction.Consumers are twice as likely to buy products after watching a video that’s integrated into the purchasing process, and three times as likely to convert if the video has relevant calls to action. Add seamless and convincing CTAs to your enhanced shopping experience to turn product evaluators into product adopters.

Emails and Landing Pages

Video can also play a significant role in converting prospects through email. In fact, video is so compelling that the mere mention of the word “video” in a subject line increases click-through rates by as much as 55%. This momentum carries through to the associated landing page. Landing pages with video perform up to 86% better than pages without.

In order to maximize video’s impact in your email performance, let video’s engaging nature do the work for you. Insert a simple video screenshot or thumbnail with a “play” icon. You’re bound to see click-throughs and email conversions surge with just this simple CTA, but be sure to establish a baseline by testing this against non-video versions of the email. Later, evolve your test strategy to include various thumbnail choices for the same video or test the copy surrounding the video, such as on your email or landing page.

Align your email and landing page for a streamlined experience. Use the same language, tone, branded color scheme, and images, and design the email and landing page around your video content. On your landing page, place your video in a predominant position above the fold. This can flank your product images, or in some cases, replace them all together. As we mentioned before, consider how additional video content, such as customer reviews or testimonials, served up through playlists or contextual CTAs might be able to assist in the journey. This social proof will increase the likelihood of conversion.

Video, Email, and Landing Pages Tips

  1. Create a strong visual tie between the email and landing page for a streamlined experience moving between the two. There should be no moment of hesitation with the prospective customer wondering, “Am I in the right place?
  2. Reduce the need for additional action. When the prospective customer clicks on the thumbnail with the play button in the email, they should be brought to a landing page where the video is set to auto-play
  3. Keep the video central to your communications, reducing distractions, though make sure to communicate any next steps. Keep sales oriented CTAs like “add to cart” or “contact sales” flanking this video, or add a playlist if they’re still in consideration mode and need to learn more

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Interactive Video

Speaking of a great user experience on your site that guides and assists the prospective buyer, interactive videos can take the eCommerce customer experience to a whole new level. Removing the passive element of “watching video” and putting the user in control can create a wealth of opportunities. Creating interactive content that engages viewers ensures a higher chance of conversion and sales success, both on your website and in physical retail stores.

Some Examples of Interactivity Types Include:

  • Branching - Click or tap to control the flow of information. Similar to how we seek out the information we desire while browsing websites, branching allows your viewer to navigate their options in-video
  • Hot Spots - Mouse over visual elements (like a jacket, table, or dishwasher) in a video to receive additional information. Allow audiences to go directly from watching to buying. A great eCommerce use case is allowing viewers to purchase products directly from the video utilizing hot spots
  • Text Annotations - Emphasize your point, or let your viewer select his or her next steps with visually interesting in-video calls-to-action (CTAs) that link to related content
  • Chapterization - Divide your video into chapters, allowing viewers to jump between content interests. This can work well for fashion editorial videos and seasonal look-books. Again, your viewer is deciding which information is most relevant to them and removing the passiveness from a typical video experience, ensuring less drop-off
  • Calculators - Illustrate or guide your audience by providing in-video budgeting and calculation tools. This is particularly useful for high-value products or services

Why is interactivity so important to the future of the eCommerce experience? Interactive features create an active two-way conversation by asking for the consumer’s participation and feedback. It’s a win-win scenario. The buyer can direct their own experience through the video, and since all these interactions can be tracked (much like that of the analytics on your web page), the brand can now learn more about the individual consumer’s interests by gathering valuable data through audience participation and exploration.

Interactive elements can be added to videos post-production as simply another layer on top of existing content. However, when you’re creating your video strategy, consider what type of information you’d like to derive from your prospective buyers (or later, customers) and how you’d like to use it to help shape their brand experiences. This will help you to develop video content that can be used with or without interactivity, which can be seamlessly layered in at a later time, extending the life of your video investment.

Purchase On The Spot: Shoppable Videos

Shoppable videos are a perfect example of interactive content. In the past, product videos used CTAs to compel a purchase, but now shopping can take place right in the video module. In shoppable videos, a hotspot can be created around the product currently on-screen that, when moused over, provides more information about the product. The product can also be highlighted in a sidebar. Shoppers watching a runway show can click on the sidebar to find out more about the product or add it to their cart.

Another example would be an online appliance retailer designing an interactive, virtual space for their products, which can be customized to match the prospective buyer’s home. This interactive, online evaluation allows prospects to see which large appliances could fit into their current living spaces and lifestyle. This creativity with interactive, shoppable video is immensely valuable to those undergoing evaluation on their site. After all, prospective buyers can essentially “bring home” the product. What a brilliant CTA! For one online retailer, this strategy opened up cross-sell and upsell opportunities as customers continued to customize their interactive living space, looking for products that matched their selection. The result? Increased basket size per transaction.

Retention

Online retailers not only need to stand out from a sea of other eCommerce outlets to win an initial purchase, they need to continue to do so again and again. Staying top of mind with great customer service and making customers successful is paramount because it makes them want to do more business with you! After all, apparel shoppers purchase 67% more per order after shopping with the same company for more than 30 months. In managing online conversations with customers, video should be at the center of this strategy. While written how-to guides can be effective, videos demonstrating how a product is assembled, used, and maintained are more easily understood with sound, images, and motion; literally “filling in the gaps.”

Home-improvement stores, for instance, have enthusiastically adopted online video as a way of providing customers with everything they need to know to improve their space, whether it be planting a tree or building a deck. By doing this, their customers are more likely to continue looking to the brand as a trusted resource. This trust fosters loyalty and the belief that the brand is their best option for all future needs. Video has the potential to provide more information and context and reduce customer churn.

Marketing Automation: What is Personalization?

One of the surest ways to build brand loyalty is to make customers feel like you know them—because you do! Depending on the activity of the customer across your branded marketing channels, you can piece together a digital body language to discern where their interests lie. From there, eCommerce brands can tailor content to engage customers, paying attention to the preferences customers demonstrate by interacting with the brand. These insights, combined with others gathered through continued marketing efforts, create a core testament of the buyer’s journey, opening up the ability to welcome, remind, reward, retarget, and win back customers with automated messaging.21 Pairing personalization with video, you can boost current video efforts while markedly increasing the affinity customers feel towards your brand.

Using historical and real-time engagement metrics, you can set up marketing automation logic that will determine the next likely interaction the viewer will have with your brand. You can direct your customer to this interaction by cueing up your video-marketing platform to serve the most contextually relevant content. The distribution of personalized content can be done in a variety of ways, whether by email, dynamic websites, or ad retargeting. Regardless, always keep it personable and build on the familiarity your customer will expect from you.

Personalization Types:

Hyper-Personalization

Hyper-personalized videos insert information—such as a person’s name—into the content itself. This can be a great way of catching a customer’s attention as you start this new phase of your relationship. Another tactic? Try adding dynamic CTAs for your video content. These smart callsto- action leverage everything you know about each individual and their interactions with your brand. Dynamic CTAs can be configured to serve different prompts based on where the viewer is in the buyer’s journey, and in this case, furthering the customer relationship with relevant information. Based off the products your customer has purchased and which content they’re interacting with, you can create custom shortcuts to help them pivot to the FAQs they need answered or suggest accompanying products.

Website Personalization

Video-rich websites have a lot to offer buyers, but it can be difficult to present all the options that would most appeal to each consumer. With website personalization, every experience is different and tailored to the individual. Customers love it. How does it work? The website CMS reacts to the visitor’s viewing history and preferences to show the products that would interest them, similar to Amazon’s recommendation engine. In this case, the more videos your customer watches, the more accurate the content and buying suggestions will be.

Curated Content

Curated video content can be outbound— knowing what to send and when—but it can also be inbound: video galleries or playlists that serve as collections of content picked specifically for the viewer. This can be achieved through a mix of thorough meta-tagging and automated logic. These two elements can create a truly immersive video experience for the customer. Remember, branded video galleries, or portals, lift brand authority and aid in customer satisfaction with their superior user experience. After all, 67% of users are able to find relevant content in a properly integrated portal, compared to only 13% when using a branded YouTube channel.

Advocacy

Foster Brand Champions

As you continue to take care of your customers with integrated and personalized video experiences, you encourage them to become increasingly dedicated and vocal champions of your brand. Every brand wants advocates. In fact, according to Nielsen, 83% of shoppers place the most trust in the recommendations of friends and family, and 66% of consumers trust the opinions of other consumers online.23 Integrating your video with social campaigns also gives customers an easy way to share their love of your brand.

Multi-Channel Customer Marketing

Interact With Customers Through A Video Email Series

If you’re selling a complicated product on your eCommerce site, a great way to make a customer fall in love with your brand is to create a memorable onboarding experience. Even better than being memorable? Being effective. Allow customers to get up and running quickly and easily with powerful video content rather than boring old manuals. This immediately sets you apart from other products they’ll have bought and gets them talking about your brand.

You can take your advocacy efforts even further by implementing a loyalty program that rewards repeat purchases or continued positive interactions with the brand. Make signing up fun. Instead of producing an FAQ document, create a video portal specific to customers with a video detailing each element of the loyalty program. Once you’ve secured advocates for your loyalty program, consider creating a set of videos featuring loyalty program members explaining the benefits and their own personal experiences. Be personable, fun, and maybe even quirky.

Solicit Video Reviews From Customers For Your Site

Encourage the customer to play an active role in your video marketing. User generated video content could see them starring in their own product review. Keep it simple with video recorded on a mobile device. Or, if you find yourself craving high-production values, offer to send a production crew to your most vocal advocates’ homes and showcase them using the product in the context of their daily lives. User-generated video content is a powerful advocacy tool, and goes a long way to making your brand more approachable and engaging. It delights other advocates while stimulating interest from those just beginning the buyer’s journey in the awareness stage.

Run Competitions Featuring User Generated Content On Social

Another way to leverage user-generated content while building buzz is by holding competitions. Consumers send videos to the brand in exchange for being entered in a competition. It’s a win-win scenario: The brand gets authentic video content to use, and the consumer gets a shot at winning a prize. The prize can be anything from loyalty purchasing points, discounts, or even a free product. Have contest entrants post their social videos to their favorite social media site under a specific hashtag. Always be sure to re-engage with winners, asking them to create more video for social media after receiving their prize. Travel companies are particularly astute at taking the buzz from social media campaigns and moving advocacy to awareness quickly.

Champion Causes With A Community Channel

If your business is associated with a particular charity, movement, or cause, you can certainly use videos to promote your cause. The rapid growth of conscious companies (many of which begin with an online retail model first) tells us that standing for something is more important to consumers than ever. These brands use video channels to align with their community, leaving any mention of their merchandise behind. In this type of forum, brands are aligning with their customers' core values and non-commercial interests. Advocates appreciate the thought that goes into these videos, choosing to engage, enjoy, and share. Brands have the ability to be more than just e-retailers and use video to connect on a deeper level, moving their focus beyond sales into the realm of a magazine-like content.

How to Measure Success Across the Customer Journey

In online retail, everything is tracked and measured—particularly how the buyer gets to the point of purchase and what happens during the customer experience. Analytics are crucial to success, especially in eCommerce. Video analytics are far superior to text-based content because they tell us more about buyer behavior.

Constantly tracking and analyzing the performance of your content strategy is vital to ensuring that content is effective and, if it isn’t, pinpoints where to evolve your strategy. Though website visits and click-through rates are useful, video is a particularly powerful tool for tracking audience attention and engagement, allowing marketers to produce video content that converts potential customers into tangible sales.

Macro-level analytics:Total views, Play rates, Device types and Referral sources

Micro-level analytics:Engagement rates and Time viewed

How to Use Your Video Analytics

The peaks and valleys of your engagement rates will tell you which segments of your videos were most viewed, or which resulted in a “drop-off.” Reviewing video engagement can help you in determining which content is resonating with your viewers, and thus, which should be repeated or scaled. Conversely, you’ll learn which content might have turned off viewers, which means you haven’t cracked the code quite yet. Perhaps this can be remedied through editing of existing video content, or the video may be retired for a different approach to marketing this same product.

Conclusion

The top online retailers and most beloved brands know eCommerce success is determined by a seamless, frictionless, and enjoyable user experience.

Video is now a vital part of any marketer’s strategy because it enhances the customer experience, increases overall cart size, and lowers cart-abandonment rates. Creating an easier and more engaging online shopping experience through video reaps dividends. Shoppers will reward this attention to detail with more repeat sales, greater brand loyalty, and stronger brand advocacy.

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