Zappos.com Rolls Out Clickable Product Videos

Online shoe retailer Zappos.com is testing interactive video on its site for Nike products. The company has launched interactive product videos that allow viewers to click on items in the clips before landing on product detail pages.

So far, Zappos.com has put up 10 videos in its Nike products section following a beta period this summer. The clickable videos, powered by Overlay.TV’s video commerce platform, have been tied to the site’s backend, and can signal to consumers if an item is out-of-stock, discontinued, or part of a special offer.

If the viewer mouses over a shoe in a video, it becomes highlighted, alerting the person that the item is clickable. Users are then taken to a product detail page in a separate browser window where the item can be added to a shopping cart.

Zappos.com’s media player also allows shoppers to post the videos to their Facebook and Twitter profiles while the clip continues to roll. The 10 product videos currently on the site are each around one minute long.

Brian Kalma, a director of Web strategy for Zappos.com, said the firm is planning a bigger rollout in 2010 of the interactive videos that will cover nearly all of the site’s products. He added that the content is ready to go; however, integrating the interactive technology for the rest of the product pages will have to wait until after the holidays.

Additionally, the Henderson, NV-based company plans to leverage the interactive videos by incorporating them into its ambitious user-generated-content program. (Its “Daily Shoe Digest” is one of the few e-mail newsletters — in any niche — featuring UGC 100 percent of the time.) Kalma said site visitors will be encouraged through future marketing messages to create product video reviews that will also have the interactive features.

“Sales conversions are not really our focus with these videos,” he said. “Right now, we are just learning how our customers are going to interact with them….We are not only trying to sell product, but we are attempting to convey culture as well.”

Selling products directly from online video content, known as “hot-spotting,” is an advertising niche that’s growing slowly but surely. For instance, earlier this year, H&R Block began utilizing YouTube’s annotations allowing viewers to click on specific items in a video linking to a landing page or another video. And last year, clothing brand Express sponsored Vogue magazine’s online reality show, Models.Live, which featured clickable overlays in a manner combining product placement and direct response marketing.

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