7 Holiday Marketing Tips for Retailers Using Video

Ho! Ho! Ho! ‘Tis I, Granta Claus! I recently interviewed Shop.org’s Head of Research, Fiona Swerdlow, to learn more about the annual Shop.org eHoliday Study.  Of note for VCC readers, this study contains some special insights on video! Below are some great video stats and trends from Shop.org alongside seven of my own video tips to help online retailers have a merry 2011 holiday.  Enjoy!

Product videos upward

According to the Shop.org eHoliday study, 43% of retailers cited product videos as a top investment in their holiday marketing budget. This investment in retail product videos, not only signifies more retailers are accepting that consumers are influenced by product videos, but that they now expect to see video as part of the online shopping experience.

2011 Holiday Video Marketing Tips

Tip 1: Ensure HTML5 Compatibility

HTML5 video has become essential to reaching a large part of the fast-growing mobile audience – especially on the iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch) and newer Android devices. For this reason alone, you need to make sure all of your videos are HTML5-compatible since there will be a lot of people researching products using mobile phones and tablets.

The challenge with HTML5 integration is that it can be more complicated than Flash to set up. Mark Pilgrim, author of the book, HTML5: Up and Running, says, “There is no single combination of containers and codecs that works in all HTML5 browsers. This is not likely to change in the near future. To make your video watchable across all of these devices and platforms, you’re going to need to encode your video more than once.”

For decent HTML5 compatibility, it’s recommended that you make at least make one version of your video that uses the WebM (VP8) codec, and one version that uses the H.264 codec.  You can also use a Video Commerce Solution like Liveclicker which will automatically encode every asset with multiple codecs to ensure HTML5 video compatibility.

Tip 2: Have Clear Product Descriptions in your Videos

In the Shop.org eHoliday survey, “having clear product descriptions” was among the most valued site features consumers cited when making online holiday purchases.  Fiona shared, “When well executed, product videos can add so much to enhance a product description, which in turn increases customer confidence and – hopefully – their likelihood to actually buy.”

Fiona goes on to say in a follow-up post on the Shop.org blog, “Site merchandising now also benefits from the explosion of product videos available to consumers. Executed well, product video can significantly enhance the clarity and depth of the product description – a fact not lost on close to half of retailers surveyed who invested significantly this year in product videos. Indeed, Golfsmith’s commitment to using video to explain technical details and ease of use features for products has resulted in increases for both conversion and SEO rankings.”

Zappos.com has a great way of incorporating video into their product pages. The shoe retailer has a “View the Video Description for this product!” link listed for each of their product pages with an accompanying video.

Tip 3: Utilize Video QR codes with video

QR codes have not only become a natural fit for both in-store and outdoor media; the coupling of this technology with video creates a new marketing opportunity for retailers.  Associating QR codes with video allows marketers to feature videos with messaging for featured products, sales, or brand experiences that bring the offline world to life.  (Important note: I recommend making sure your in-store QR codes are active by testing them out with paid shoppers. I’ve come across a lot of QR codes at department stores in my own local malls that have broken links!)

Example uses:

  • Have an incentive placed next to the video QR code offering a coupon or other special offer (even a freebie) for watching the video it leads to.
  • Have it link to its own video page – not just one video, but a video category or playlist dedicated to that QR code. This can include demos, how-to’s, testimonials, or even a page dedicated to encouraging consumers to submit their own videos of their in-store experiences.

Tip 4: Feature a video panorama

People will naturally want to be able to see the item as much as they can before purchasing. Zappos is an excellent example of a company that showcases a video of people holding and using the product, while allowing people to select photos of the product from all angles.

Tip 5: Feature your videos on your social media circles

This makes perfect sense considering Shop.org cited increased use of Facebook and Twitter by retailers as the #1 and #3 changes to company plans for this holiday season. You can also encourage consumers to submit their own videos of your product or related brand experience to your Facebook site or any other places your company hosts user-generated videos.

Want to learn about social video commerce? Check out this upcoming webinar by Liveclicker featuring Advance Auto Parts and Crutchfield: The New Social Video – How to Build Relationships with Shoppers through Video

Tip 6: Include “sale” keywords

Many consumers say that the U.S. economy has impacted their holiday spending plans.  According to the National Retail Federation 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey press release, “when consumers were asked which one factor will be most important when shopping this holiday season, sales or price discounts largely won out (41.6%), but customer service (6.0% vs. 5.3% in 2010) and quality of merchandise (14.6% vs. 12.7% in 2010) are continuing to become more vital components in consumers’ decision making processes, highlighting the growing importance of value when it comes to gift giving and everyday shopping.”

My takeaway? Consider including “sale” keywords in the title, description, and tags of video product pages.  Words like, “on sale,” “special,” and “discount” could work in some cases.

Tip 7: Consider Live Customer Service Video Chat

For shoppers that aren’t actually at a retail store (or are not getting great customer help), we’ve covered how some retailers are finding a competitive advantage by offering live video chat.   Successful retailers using live video chat are helping consumers with their purchase decisions by pairing support specialists with consumers conducting product research.  For even the smallest retailer, this can be scaled down to a simple Skype-for-Business plan.  All merchants can use video to build face-to-face relationships with customers in real-time while driving conversions and reducing returns.