Boost Conversion Rates with Online Video

PART 1: Video Commerce: Don’t Forget the Commerce Part!
Using online video to drive site conversion.

E-commerce video, when done correctly and approached strategically, can and does boost on-site product conversion rates. Leading online retailers like Circuit City, QVC, Ebags, ShopNBC, Tiger Direct, and HSN already know this. These retailers use video to educate the consumer and tip the mind of the buyer toward purchasing, while they also remain careful not to erode the number of coveted transactions through sloppy user experiences.

Videos on Product Pages:

In general, videos placed on product pages boost conversion rates more than videos placed elsewhere on your site. This makes logical sense, because the shopper is usually further along in the conversion funnel by the time he or she reaches the product page than when on the home page, search results page, brand pages, category pages, blog pages, etc. Well-done and well-placed videos on product pages boost conversion rates for a few reasons:

1. People are busy. Video draws the viewer in and makes it easier to consume product information.

2. Video can provide that “last bit” of persuasion to get someone to buy. The kind of powerful behavior change that we marketers love to incite in our shoppers simply isn’t attainable with standard product descriptions and imagery, or even zoom/rotate/3D views. Why? With video, a human voice reassures the shopper they are about to make the right decision. Detailed commentary and realistic views of the product in action help the shopper feel confident he or she is making “the smart choice.”

3. People understand video. I was speaking with a close colleague the other day about why RSS hasn’t taken off in the online marketing world as much as some thought it would have by now. His rationale: “It’s too hard to understand – it doesn’t pass the ‘Mom’ test.” Meaning – if your mom doesn’t know how to use it, then it’s not ready for prime-time. I don’t know about your mom, but my mom has no clue what RSS is. But, my mom does watch QVC – a LOT of it. Video passes the “mom” test. People are both used to video and are comfortable shopping through video. It’s no surprise that shop-from-home TV stations are among the most advanced practitioners of video commerce in the online retail world today.

Example 1:

Over 50% of the products on ShopNBC.com feature video. Videos are accessed via a simple tab above the product. The video tab is highlighted and draws the viewer’s eye, without distracting from the standard product photos or creating an unexpected shopping experience. There is limited conversion enhancing functionality within the player; for example, a “buy” option/link to shopping cart page is not supported within the player itself. The content is from ShopNBC’s live TV broadcasts. The content is produced professionally and is promotional in nature, with detailed product description in the commentary.

Conversion rate lesson 1: Let the shopper know video is available, but be careful about impacting the expected shopping experience. Video can be used to ‘tip’ the purchase, but may distract from the purchase if you don’t do your research.

Conversion rate lesson 2: Watch your conversion funnels.

Example 2:

Tiger Direct offers videos on product pages as well as on its own destination video site and through a YouTube channel. Videos are promotional in nature but highly educational, with a host explaining the nuances of each product for sale. The player here is more advanced than the one on ShopNBC, supporting sharing functionality, but buy functionality is not supported and placement of the video 1/3 down the page would likely only be viewed by someone seriously considering purchasing the item. Fortunately, many of the products sold by Tiger Direct carry with them a heavier purchase consideration: computers, electronics, etc. Again, we see video as the ‘tipping point’ for a purchase. After someone has seen the photos and read through a detailed product description, what else do they need? The answer: video. People want that extra bit of reassurance that only a moving image and detailed commentary can provide.

Conversion rate lesson 3: if you’re selling a complex product that requires a considered purchase decision, provide technical information in the video so that the prospective buyer feels a sense of comfort with the buying decision.

Example 3:

eBags has taken a unique approach to video commerce: creating “video product pages” on a destination video site. The videos in these pages are featured more prominently along with dynamic cross-sell based on the video and some interactive functions. In this example, eBags is leveraging professionally made promotional video from a supplier, Nike. The advantage of this type of video is low cost to produce (zero) and the ability to access professional quality content. The video player itself contains a “Buy” option as well as embedded links that direct the user to the product page.

Conversion rate lesson 4: Use interactive video elements such as links and player functionality to entice the “buy.”

And last but not least, I have to leave some stats!

Happy selling!

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