Product and marketing videos have been shown to significantly improve ecommerce conversion rates, engage and entertain customers, and earn new business, all at a relatively low cost. For small and mid-sized online retailers, video content simply makes sense in the second half of 2014.
Many large multichannel retailers — including Williams-Sonoma, Advanced Auto Parts, Toys”R”Us, The Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Lane Bryant, and Office Depot — use product videos to help sell items online, and even more retailers use video as part of a content marketing strategy to increase site traffic and customer engagement.
Small business owners should follow suit and start marketing with video for at least four reasons.
1. Product Videos Boost Sales
There have been a number of studies indicating that shoppers are far more likely to convert — i.e., make a purchase — if they can watch a product video.
As an example, a recent study of 1,014 American adults, found that 96 percent of those surveyed found product video helpful when they were deciding whether or not to make a purchase. The same study, from Animoto, a video company, also found that 73 percent of consumers surveyed said that they were “more likely to purchase after watching an online video that explains the product or service.”
Separately, in 2013, David Moth of Econsultancy reported on six retailers that had used product video to increase conversions. According to Moth, Zappos saw a 6-to-30 percent increase in sales for products with demonstration videos.
This data implies that shoppers exposed to product videos are not only more likely to buy, but they are also more likely to spend more with each purchase.
2. Videos Are Easily Shared
Video content, as it is usually presented, is built to be shared. Consider the video below showing some 2013 online video statistics. It is hosted on YouTube and embedded in this page. You can just as easily embed it on your own store’s blog or share it on just about any social media network from Facebook to Pinterest.
The same can be done with ecommerce product videos. As an example the video below features Danny and Otter from Toys”R”Us describing the Animal Planet Radio-Control Flying Pterodactyl. The video appears on the Toys”R”Us site, is on YouTube, and can easily be embedded and shared.
Content marketing videos, which are created to provide customers or potential customers with excellent and valuable content, are also just as easy to embed and share. Here is an example of a beekeeping video, meant to describe some of the basics of beekeeping for consumers who may want to start a hive and purchase the necessary equipment.
As even more evidence that videos are inherently shareable checkout videos posted to Pinterest. These include how-to videos and entertainment videos that could be described as content marketing videos and even product-related videos.
3. Videos Attract Interest
Many online sellers, particularly new ones, are interested in getting new site visitors. It turns out that video content may be a powerful tool for attracting interest and traffic.
As mentioned in the previous section, videos are sharable. The implication is that with sharing comes interaction and engagement. Shoppers who have been attracted to your site because of video content are already showing an interest and very likely to buy. One might say these visitors are highly qualified prospects.
Ecommerce sites also get new visitors from search engines, and it seems that video content may be able to help with search traffic too.
Back in 2009, Nate Elliott wrote on the Forrester Blog that pages with video content were something like 50 times more likely to rank high in search results. As Elliott points out himself, these more than five-year-old findings “are almost certainly no longer accurate,” but they do help to explain an apparent consensus in the search engine community that video content helps to improve search engine rankings. Nearly everyone has seen videos appear high up on a Google search results page.
4. Video Production Costs Are Relatively Low
Relative to the return on investment, videos can be very inexpensive to produce, and generally fall into one of three video categories.
First, merchants can make and edit videos themselves. A camera, lighting, and basic video editing content can be purchased for less than $2,000. This approach can take time, and you won’t be producing masterpieces to begin with, but it can get the job done.
Merchants can also have professional videos shot and produced for as little as a few hundred dollars per video.
There are also services that help merchants create video presentations with existing photography and graphics. Examples include Treepodia and Animoto. Treepodia costs as little as $150 per month.