Google+ Pages Video Opportunities for E-Commerce
I interviewed Google’s spokesperson Andrea Faville to learn more about the video features available on Google+ (Plus) Pages. Andrea shared examples of e-commerce and retail businesses across the web taking advantage of the newest video features and shared some tips for how you can do the same!
First, what is Google+ Pages?
Google+ Pages is Google’s latest platform for expanding and enhancing social relationships with business stakeholders – consumers, investors, colleagues, media, and the public at large.
The heavy role of video in Google+ Pages
“With Google+ Pages, we wanted businesses to build relationships online with their customers the same way they do offline. Video is clearly a huge part of that. The ability to give a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your business, or connect with customers face-to-face is something that can benefit businesses of all sizes,” said Google Spokesperson, Andrea Faville.
Video examples in Google+ Pages
“We’ve already seen a number of retail and e-commerce businesses do great things with video on their Google+ Pages,” says Andrea. Examples:
- Intros – Burberry created a custom video introduction welcoming people to their Google+ Page. (Notice the long chat stream of individual Google Page users on the right of the page.)
- Shop tours – Zen Bikes, a bike shop in NYC, features a video tour of their store. Watch “Zen Bikes In The Beginning.”
- YouTube feed – This example would make the most sense for any business with a YouTube account because it can be setup so that any newly posted videos from the YouTube channel can be included in your Google+ feed.
Hangouts is the video chat and conferencing program available for all Google+ Page owners. Each Hangout can include up to 10 people. Andrea mentioned the fashion retailer H&M as a good example of how e-commerce businesses use Hangouts. “They’ve posted quite a bit of video content around their new Versace collection. Retailers can use video and Hangouts to showcase and have conversations with customers about their products, as well as answer questions.”
Here are some suggestions Andrea gave along with some of my own tips for how e-commerce businesses can make good use of Hangouts:
- Have an open conversation with customers. “This can be as simple as holding an ‘open Hangout’ and letting customers join and leave as they’d like,” said Andrea. “Hangouts can also be used to answer customer questions in real time or solicit feedback on a new product.”
- Create a unique experience. “A restaurant could host a Hangout with the chef showing off his latest recipe. A bookstore could host a Hangout with an author that visits the store,” she said.
- Showcase new products. Just like Zappos.com has its staff announce new items in stock, you can do the same with Google+ hangouts. The difference is that you can also offer an exciting “live chat” feel, where up to 9 other selected people (which could be a mix of journalists, personalities, colleagues, sponsors, and the public at large) can be part of the video chat room while the product is being released and demonstrated live.
- Customer support. You can post an advance schedule of Hangout sessions, which could feature an individual customer specialist on any product/topic/issue, and include up to 9 other individuals who are in your “customer” Circle.
- Check out the new “Hangouts with Extras.” Andrea mentioned that these new features are in preview mode for users. Currently, they allow you do screen share, sketch and share notes, and include Google docs with your live and recorded video chat in Hangouts.
For more on setting up, featuring, or being part of Google Hangouts, check out the Google+ help page, “Start a Hangout,” or you can check out all the available Hangouts over at Where to hangout at Google+.
Video Commerce Features I Would Like to See with Google+ Pages
- Actual e-commerce features! Currently there isn’t any ability to shop and order from a Google+ Page or video, but Andrea said that it’s something Google is looking into.
- Include other video platforms. Right now Google+ Page users are limited to using YouTube for uploading and embedding a video. (While you are able to include a text link to videos on other video sharing sites, their video player won’t show up in your page.) YouTube embeds also don’t enable all the interactive video features other video commerce platforms can provide for retailers and brands. If Google wants to have its Pages program really be effective for both e-commerce and business needs in general, it should allow for embedding videos from other platforms not affiliated with Google.
- Allow people to search for Hangouts by business name. Right now it appears Google’s Hangouts directory does have a category for “Business” in its Permanent Hangouts page, but nothing specific to retail or e-commerce, and nothing with an actual search function beyond typing in an exact URL.