August 25, 2010

Integrating Video into Ecommerce Sites


Hostway Team

By Joanna Fletcher

The popularity of using video on ecommerce sites has increased dramatically. As noted in eMarketer, the percentage of the US top 50 online retailers using video in 2009 was more than triple the 2008 baseline. The majority of retailers planning a website redesign will include video on their new website.

Real ROI

While eMarketer's research shows that video is far down the list when customers are asked what they use to make a decision to buy, retailers have noticed that videos increase conversion rates and reduce the number of customers abandoning a purchase before checkout by up to 30%. As video production tools become increasingly affordable and easier to use while providing professional quality, even the smallest business can make good use of this tool.

Demo Delights

Product demonstrations by online video are a vast improvement on instructions. Showing someone how easy it is to use your product holds far more weight than any amount of text about its clean, simple design. Similarly, video testimonials and real people actually using and enjoying your products say far more than anything that comes from the business itself. Kids and pets reacting to a product are always popular.

Expand Your Customer Base

Markets you have never targeted before suddenly open up when you deliver video on your ecommerce website. Those frightening statistics about the number of graduates who can't read mean that even the best copy can't attract some consumers. For them, or people whose first language is not English, or those who just find reading a time-wasting chore, watching a quick video clip is a much easier way to get product information.

Make It Count

Pay attention to the first frame, which will show as a still on your website. If it is attractive and intriguing, you will get more people to play the video, giving you more chance to make your sale. Make sure the video will be large enough to see well on most screens. Include the top benefit in the first 10 seconds, focus on the motivation your consumers have to buy the product, and point out why it is better to buy it from you. Include a clear statement about how to buy the product from this Web site, and if your technical skill allows, insert hot buttons or links right on the video window.

Assessing the Impact

If you use YouTube to upload then embed your video, you will be able to track some basic statistics on video viewing. Keep a close eye on conversion rates and make it simple for customers to give you feedback. Any information, good or bad, is valuable. Try out some angles until you get a feel for the medium—or hire a student to shoot a few options for you. Once you have the basic hardware and software, video on ecommerce sites is limited only by your investment of time and imagination, and can give your sales a significant boost.

About the Author

Joanna Fletcher is a netizen has lived, worked, and played online for most of her life. Her entrepreneurial drive is surpassed only by her tolerance for failure.

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