Let’s say you’re a recreational golfer (like myself) and you’re looking for a new driver that’s going to take your game to the next level. You walk into your local golf retailer and pick up a club. You feel the grip on the handle and can’t help but admire the sound the ball makes every time you make a swing in the simulator. Then, it’s time to make a decision. Do I want to purchase this club?
Now, imagine I’m your customer. From closing the first sale to earning repeat sales, getting customers to notice your business and buy is a difficult task. But what about retailers that sell online where customers can’t test your product using any of their senses other than sound and sight?
Being an e-retailer brings its own unique set of challenges. And much of your business’s success depends on your e-commerce website’s ability to convert your site visitors to customers.
Because your customers can’t browse aisles and physically interact with products, you need to bring as much of the brand and product experience to them as possible. You need a site that’s easy to navigate with detailed product images, informative copy, and an easy way for customers to add products to the cart and check out. Simple, right? Well, if you’re like other large U.S. e-retailers, your conversion rates may be lingering around 3%, according to Monetate. Of course, conversion rates will vary by industry, but does 3% sound good to you? I think we can do better.
Enter product video
In March, Sid Bharath wrote 4 Ways Videos Can Boost Your Conversion Rates for the Crazy Egg blog. In his article, he used Zappos as a prime example of how e-commerce product videos increase conversion rates. While creating product videos isn’t anything new for Zappos (or in the e-commerce world, for that matter), when they first started adding video to product detail pages, conversions increased between 6% and 30% on their respective product pages, according to Bharath. That’s huge!
What goes into a Zappos product video?
While the actor in this video didn’t wear the shoe (some actors do in other videos), he points out finite details and benefits of the shoe. He shows how the shoe bends, hidden venting, and even pulls out the insole—features static photos can’t catch. These details are important to potential customers, too.
In addition to increased sales, everything from the background music to the actor’s quirkiness sells the Zappos brand experience. Austin Blair, former photo and video manager at Zappos, explains that the videos are meant to show their fun culture, too.
Zappos began experimenting with videos on their site’s product detail pages in 2009. While a goal of producing over 5,000 videos the first year may seem daunting, that was a small start, according to Blair. By 2011, the company set the astronomical goal of creating over 100,000 videos—and they did it (plus some!). They did this by not only continuously evaluating and refining their process, but also by hiring talent that matched their culture—an essential element in every Zappos product video.
Wondering how they kept product video production up with a constant influx of new product? They never waited for the video to be done before uploading a product online to sell. Video came later sometimes.
To this day, not every product has video, but it certainly helps the sales of those that do.
Well, I’m not Zappos. So what can I do?
Yes, we don’t all have Zappos’s team and budget. But Zappos didn’t start where they’re at today. They started small and so can you!
Test your videos
Evaluate the depth and breadth of your product lines. Then create a few select videos for different categories. Once you upload them to the site, watch your sales patterns. Also set up goal tracking in Google Analytics, annotating when videos were uploaded. This can help you follow a visitor’s journey through your site and track increased conversions by product page. If you see a better return on a specific genre of items, place additional budget there. Continue to test this periodically.
Show off your brand personality
Does your brand have a persona—something that makes your customers think: that’s so BRAND XYZ? Whether you decide to cast talent or forgo models in your product videos, think about how you can identify with your customers. While the goal of product videos is to sell product, take it up a notch like Zappos and sell your brand, too.
Leave viewers with a call to action
While your videos may be meant for your product pages, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it easy for others to share them. In Zappos’s product videos, they display a Twitter, Facebook, and a link share button. Want to post that video of those awesome sneakers on your Facebook wall? Zappos thinks that’s a great idea! You may also encourage viewers to “buy now,” “add to cart,” or leave an interactive component at the end.
Have your customers create product video
While you’re reliant on customer’s willingness to generate content, some e-retailers, such as Toys “R” Us encourage customers to upload a video with their product review.
Toys “R” Us also brings these photos and videos to the top of their product detail pages—making customer-generated content easy to find.
￼This not only shows product in action, but featuring third-party video content may give the product additional credibility. According to Search Engine Land, “88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
Get creative with product video
Maybe you want to showcase product videos someplace beside your website or create videos that feature your product, yet tell a story. Kate Spade is known for doing this really well.
Not only do they feature entertaining videos with actors wearing or using their product throughout their website, but they also post them on social, most notably YouTube. Notice how they leave a call to action to shop for products in their video description.
While this is moving beyond product video for your e-commerce site, the potential to get creative with placement and production is there. Click Rain Account Coordinator Kristina Johnson talks about many of these possibilities in her blog post on digital video.
Selling online isn’t easy. You need to make your customer feel as if they were in your brick-and-mortar store. Use product video to show features, make customer reviews more robust, show off your brand personality, and ultimately, increase conversions.