Live From IRWD: Video Helps Onlineshoes.com Convert Customers

Orlando – The use of videos by i-merchants on product and category pages grew in 2009. According to e-tailing group’s annual fourth-quarter mystery shopping survey, 61% of E-tailing Group 100 merchants use video guides at the category level, up from 49% in fourth-quarter 2008, and 55% have video demos at the product page point of purchase.

Footwear seller Onlineshoes.com proved the video revolution is not for ornamental reasons. Speaking on Tuesday at the Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference, Onlineshoes.com product marketing manager Jimmy Healey said the company has seen higher conversion rates on pages that include video – whether or not the customer actually watches the video.

Healey didn’t indicate how higher the conversion rate was on pages that include video but were not viewed. But in 2009, customers who watched video converted 45% higher than the site’s average. Onlineshoes.com also had a 359% year-over-year increase in monthly video views, and 750,000 incremental touches through video SEO (videos placed offsite).

“We are able to use that (offsite) content to drive consumers back to the product page,” Healey said. “That’s an additional bonus.”

Healey likened his company’s use of video to a Swiss Army knife, in that there are many types of videos merchants can create to educate the consumer, and several ways to test and implement them on the Internet. Most of Onlineshoes.com’s video (75%) is shot inhouse, but the company will use video from its vendors if it’s educational in nature.

When Healey took on the video project in 2008, he didn’t realize what an impact it would have on Onlineshoes.com’s sales. Healey was the company’s entire video department in 2008, and shot all footage with a Sony Handycam.

“We’d just take over a conference room, grab a bunch of products and talk about them,” Healey said. “It was unscripted. I would try to learn about as many products as possible. In the end, we’d just cut parts that were usable and post that – no pre-rolls or post-rolls.”

Onlineshoes.com has produced 300 videos for use on its site. The company will soon add a fourth full-time employee to its video team to help beef up its online library.

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