Video Tips: Preparing for the Holiday Shopping Season

Oct 16, 2012 1:15 AM  By

While marketers have been preparing for the holidays since July, consumers generally begin shopping in November, so there is still a small window to enhance holiday marketing initiatives. The most engaging and effective media for doing so is video.

Retailers can leverage smart application of video across all channels, including a website, email communications, advertising campaigns and more. Here are five tips for smarter use of video to make the most of this holiday season.

Don’t forget mobile shoppers
Mobile and tablet compatibility are crucial during this time of year. Consumers will be shopping on-the-go and from their sofas via tablets, and even in stores with kiosks and sales associates sharing information via tablets. Mobile accessibility is a sure-fire expectation. Making your videos HTML5 compatible will ensure they work for both Android and iOS devices.

Be festive
’Tis the season to be jolly, so may your video be merry and light, even humorous. The holiday season presents an opportunity to refresh your brand’s personality. Infuse videos with seasonal messages that engage customers in new ways.

For example, last year, Starbucks introduced a new holiday theme into its communications: “Let’s merry.” Another great example from last year is Overstock.com’s holiday video ad, which not only conveys holiday spirit, but also showcases the brand’s core value, namely superior customer service.

This year, West Elm’s on-site videos, available through the company’s product catalog, will have a seasonal theme for the holiday shopping period. Likewise, a top U.S. family vacation destination applies seasonal creativity to refresh its year-round video program that welcomes visitors to their vacations. Seasonal treatment is applied to each frame, park imagery includes festive decor, and holiday-specific merchandise is promoted.

Keep videos updated
As ever, retailers will offer an abundance of promotions, door-busters and “act now” events this season. While time-sensitive promotions are great motivators, they also put added pressure on brands to ensure communications across channels are timely and up to date.

Office Depot supports fluctuating price points, holiday deals and last-minute offers with videos that are generated in real time on an automated basis. These videos are generated for every product in the company’s online catalog, as well as in the form of pre-roll ads.

Convenience can be equally as motivating as price. Forty percent of the top 50 online retailers offer “buy online, pick up in-store” programs. Even pure-play retailers such as Amazon.com are pursuing pick-up programs. “Pick up at a store near you” is convenient year-round, but even more so during the holidays, when shipping delays and out-of-stock notices are most common. Promote this option in your video ads and video-based email campaigns.

Likewise, use personalized video – whether in email, on-site or via pre-roll ads – to recognize your most loyal customers and encourage them to take advantage of the convenience of shopping with rewards points. “You’ve earned ‘em. What better time to use ‘em?”

Create video content that supports your customers
Consider what sort of content would be helpful to your customer during the holiday mayhem. Video content that is useful and educates consumers is another great way to drive brand engagement and loyalty.

For instance, a few years ago Target partnered with YouTube and created a “Holiday Solutions” video channel that shared holiday recipes, party tips, and gift ideas. This type of video content also conveys an understanding of customer interests, needs and lifestyles. Personalization can take this approach a step further by presenting tips and ideas that are relevant to each customer’s purchase history and demographics.

Luxury, specialty and mass merchants alike are embracing online video as not only a marketing tactic, but also a strategic customer engagement tool that boosts sales, brand impact and loyalty. The holiday season is an ideal time to maximize the power of video, and it’s not too late to enhance your marketing initiatives with video today.

Kelly Ford is vice president of marketing at SundaySky.