7 Keys for a Successful Video Program

Sep 10, 2012 12:38 AM  By

You’ve seen the compelling benefits that video can offer to merchants, and you’re ready to start using videos to help sell more products in your catalog. But there’s just one problem. You have tens of thousands of products, and you’d like to make a smart investment in, say, about 100 product videos.

How do you choose which SKUs are the best fit for video so that you can quickly deliver ROI and show the business case for video?

To get the biggest bang for your buck, consider these seven tips as you are launching a video program:

Start slowly
The best way to get a rapid, but statistically significant, assessment on whether videos are impacting your business in a positive way is to start with a small and targeted group of product categories.

Consider categories that are highly popular with your consumers and are complex enough that they require explanation, such as tablet computers. Your goal should be to get a large enough sample size of views and visits so that you can make a decision as soon as possible whether videos are helping meet your business goals.

Don’t disperse videos widely across your product catalog in many different categories when you’re just beginning. If you do this, it’s less likely that consumers will see multiple videos and the overall impact on their shopping experience may be blunted.

Address multiple points in the purchase funnel
Product videos are for people who already know specifically the type of product they want.

For example, a consumer who is deciding whether or not to buy a specific pair of running shoes will rely on product videos to help make a decision. But a consumer who is just starting an exercise program is likely at a higher point in the funnel.

A category overview or buying guide video for running shoes may help that consumer narrow the range of choices and move closer to purchase. A great example of how to have a good mix of product and category videos is Office Depot. If you’re shopping for paper on Office Depot’s website, you can find a category video that explains the best uses of each type of paper, and as you drill down further, videos that explain the benefits of each particular paper product.

Choose products with “show me” features
One of the biggest reasons consumers watch product videos is that they want to understand the product in ways that text or static images can’t describe, including viewing a demonstration of the product.

For example, maybe the consumer wants to see how easily a laptop bag goes through a security scanner at an airport checkpoint. Or perhaps they want to see how it helps keep accessories organized. A survey of US consumers conducted by the e-tailing group in partnership with Invodo, released earlier this year, found that one-third of consumers will spend more than three minutes watching a product video that educates or demonstrates.

It stands to reason that you don’t need to add a video to products that your customers are highly familiar with and are easier to understand.

Pick products that require assembly
One of the biggest reasons consumers return items is that they didn’t understand the assembly instructions.

You can make it more likely they will be comfortable with putting an item together before they make a purchase, as well as improve the post-sale experience, by providing videos that show how to assemble something.

A great example of this is toy manufacturers selling items that may seem daunting to put together in an instructional manual.

Prioritize items that get higher traffic
You should focus on the products that get the most views and the most searches. This includes products that you anticipate heavier traffic from other marketing campaigns, such as through email or products highlighted on your home page.

If you focus on these higher-traffic items, you will achieve statistically valid results faster, and all things being equal, you’ll get the best return on investment. Pareto’s “80/20 rule” is certainly in full effect here.

Choose higher margin products
The fastest way to generate a great return on your investment in video is to add videos to higher margin products. Multiple retailers and brands have reported higher sales conversion rates with products that have videos compared to those that don’t.

Many of your higher margin products are also more complex and are priced higher, meaning consumers will likely spend more time in research mode, often returning to your site multiple times. You can help consumers feel more confident in a potential purchase if you offer a video that eliminates a nagging question or educates them.

Add videos in high-traffic areas
Analyze your site traffic and place videos in high-traffic areas where visitors are most likely to see them.

For example, if you’ve just launched a promotion, put videos on the special landing page. If your home page includes a product rotator, add videos to those products. If one of the first impressions of your brand or store is a helpful and educational video, you’re increasing the chances that a shopper will make the connection that this will be an easier, user friendly place to shop.

Craig Wax is the CEO of Invodo.