The adoption continues of product videos on ecommerce sites, and most every merchant, seemingly, can benefit from them. We recently discussed product videos with Craig Wax, CEO of Invodo, a company that provides video solutions for ecommerce merchants.
PEC: What factors can determine whether the use of product videos will actually increase conversations?
Craig Wax: “There are a couple of things that really drive video effectiveness. The first one would be making sure that the majority of the video is really focused on the product itself. Oftentimes, people can get carried away focusing on the presenter, and if that’s the case, then you’re going to lose the consumer because the consumer is really there to learn about the product itself.
“Next, you really need to explain the features and benefits of that specific product and go into detail. As you’re describing the product, talk about what makes it unique. If there are certain things about the product that make it for some people but perhaps not for others, it’s okay to highlight that as well, because one of the things that good product videos do is prevent someone from mistakenly purchasing an item.”
PEC: Is there a length that you advise merchants not to exceed on a product video?
Wax: “Length really varies depending upon the type of product that you’re creating the video for. Typically, a video is going to be somewhere between 60 and 90 seconds. But in some cases, like jewelry, you can have a video that’s 30 seconds, and in other cases for a complex product, like a smartphone, you’re going to go two-and-a-half or three minutes, depending upon how many specific features you want to highlight in the video. Length is less important than quality content. If you’ve got really important features and benefits to communicate, the viewer will stay with you because they’re pretty far down in the purchase funnel if they’re watching a product video in a product page.”
PEC: For merchants that want to produce their own product videos, what points should they consider?
Wax: “There is a lot of concealed complexity in trying to do product videos on your own and there are on a number of things that you really need to figure out in advance of turning on the camera. Getting the right talent, writing the script and finding somebody who is comfortable in front of the camera, are all key things, not to mention what takes place in post-production.
“Writing a script is very important if you’re going to have somebody who is only somewhat familiar with the product and not comfortable being in front of the camera. If you are the product expert–perhaps you designed the product yourself and you’re very comfortable speaking in front of the camera and you’re not going to stammer or stutter–then you may not need a script; but in most cases we’ve found that without a script, the majority of the content is choppy, a little bit disjointed sometimes, and people also tend to stutter and will throw in ‘ums’ and ‘you knows,’ and that doesn’t make for the best presentation.”
PEC: What are the most common mistakes you see in product videos?
Wax: “I’ll start with videos that are done in-house. It is really tough to get good quality lighting and sound. There’s a lot of complexity around setting up the lighting so you can see the product clearly. That’s a mistake that a lot of people make just because lighting is an art in and of itself.
“Then you need audio clarity. You need to make sure you have the right equipment to fully capture the audio so your viewers can easily hear what you’re trying to communicate. Another thing is being able to incorporate what I describe as ‘see and say,’ which is, you’re talking about a product feature. You then need to shoot some B roll and get in tight on that feature so the viewer can make the connection between what they’re hearing and associating that with the product features. Those are all components that are important if you’re trying to do it yourself.
“Now, if you’re outsourcing it, some video production companies tend to lose sight of video’s objective. We’re not trying to create Oscar award-winning videos here, we’re trying to clearly and effectively communicate product features and benefits. So, a lot of special effects and graphics really don’t have a place in these videos. Sometimes, people can’t resist the desire to infuse those into the video and make it flashier than it really needs to be.”
PEC: Could you give us an example of the range of conversion-rate increase merchants could achieve by implementing video?
Wax: “Well, we’re working with a sporting goods manufacturer that did some pretty specific testing of product videos, and they saw a conversion lift upwards of 60 percent with the products that they ran videos for. That’s not uncommon. There are a number of product categories where people have some very significant conversion lifts. We work across any number consumer categories, whether it’s jewelry, electronics, apparel, furniture, large appliances—you name it—and video works across all categories. There’s plenty of information published on the Internet that describes the conversion lift. You can even go to the ‘Resources’ section on Invodo where we’ve listed a number of different retailers who’ve seen conversion improvement based on the use of video.”
PEC: How would a merchant track the conversion rate?
Wax: “You’re going to need to use some type of analytics program. You can track it through that. If you’re using the Invodo technology platform, we have A/B testing built into our technology and we can run those tests and report the information back to you.”
PEC: Tell us a little bit about Invodo and what it does.
Wax: “Invodo offers a full service solution that includes all three components that you need in order to successfully do online video: creating the video itself; providing the technology to host, stream and deliver a player on the retailer’s site; and then being able to syndicate or distribute that video out to wherever consumers might want to see it, whether it’s on the retailer’s site itself or on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.
“Most companies typically do either video production or the technology. What’s unique about Invodo is we put those two things together and we offer a full solution for our client.”
PEC: Give us some examples of ecommerce merchants that you think do a good job with their product videos.
Wax: “A number of companies out there are doing a terrific job. Golfsmith is a good example. Toys ‘R’ Us, Verizon Wireless, Moosejaw, Lenovo, and RedEnvelope are all companies that are integrating product video into the consumer shopping experience and delivering information to their customers that you just can’t get across as still images or text.
“In a lot of cases, you want to see how a product functions. Shooting a real video (and I’m not talking about static images that you put motion graphics around, I’m talking about real video showing how the product works) really adds a lot to that experience, not to mention the fact that consumers typically are not interested in reading a lot or putting a lot of effort into consuming information. Video is a very easy way for consumers to digest information.”
PEC: Anything else on your mind today for our readers?
Wax: “Yes. Consumers are watching more and more video, whether it’s just for general entertainment or helping them to make purchase decisions. They are actually watching about 40 percent more video on retail sites than they were a year ago. They’ve come to expect that they’re going to be able to learn about products through video, and it is quite important for retailers to deliver on that expectation. Ultimately, how well consumers are able to learn about the products and make decisions will determine whether or not consumers stick with a retailer’s site, and those retailers with videos on their site are going to win those customers’ business.”