How retailers can use video for their e-commerce sites

By exploring three different approaches to video purpose, marketers can understand how to best employ the right content style to the appropriate brands.

By exploring three different approaches to video purpose, marketers can understand how to best employ the right content style to the appropriate brands.

Video can help brands increase sales, conversions, and promotion, but few retailers know how to take full advantage of video to scale their business.

A report from research company L2 shows that companies across nine markets –  the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Germany, Canada, France, Japan, Russia, and South Korea – spent 43 percent more on video advertising in 2015 compared to a year prior, while TV spend only saw an increase of roughly three percent.

Despite the increasing popularity, brands seem to lack confidence in producing their own video content. L2 noted that 46 percent of marketers surveyed in their research found creating compelling content as a primary obstacle for video marketing. This was followed by lack of budget (41 percent), difficulty attributing return on investment to video (36 percent), lack of in-house resources (34 percent), and lack of effective strategy (28 percent).

In order to solve retailers’ pain points, we took a look at different video types to explain how brands can use video for e-commerce and where they should place video content.

E-tailers use video for different purposes

Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, who was cited by Video Brewery, found that 90 percent of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website believed video to be helpful in making shopping and buying decisions.

It seems that e-tailers use video for the following three major reasons:

1. Product demonstration

E-tailers like AO World, Labella Mafia Clothing, and Playing Cards – Theory 1, use animated list images and product video clips to show 360-degree angles and shape for their products.


2. Entertaining

Dollar Shave Club managed to make the boring subject of razor blades seem fun through video. Titled Sick, the repurposed TV spot on the brand’s homepage features a nasty, overused razor blade, to show the value of replacing and reloading.

dollar shave club

This TV commercial, along with other entertaining branded YouTube videos, makes Dollar Shave Club a young playful brand. After all, who wouldn’t want to invest in a cheap razor blade and the fun that comes with it?

3. Instructional tutorials

Many retailers also produce “how to” videos that relate to their products, without the hard sell. For example, online outdoor gear seller, The House, provides a few text-based and visual guides under the “How To” tab.

The platform’s evergreen content is informative and shareable, setting up the brand as an expert in its field.

Where to place video content?

As the above examples indicate, retailers serve video content all over the place: some on landing pages and some on product pages.

A 2015 study from video company Liveclicker shows that the average order value (AOV) for customers that watch video on a product page is at least 50 percent higher than a site’s overall AOV. And retailers with video on most of their product pages have a 68 percent higher AOV than retailers that have video on just a few of their product pages.

different study from EyeView reveals that using video on landing pages can increase conversions by 80 percent.


“Landing page video provides visitors the chance to hear your message. It gives users the opportunity to get to know about the company. Product page video is the point of sale. It lets the user see the product from all points of view, and it puts the product in real-world settings,” explains Drew Berkowitz, senior vice president of partnerships at online video creation platform Wochit.

“We’ve found that both landing page and product page placements are valuable and should be used together,” he adds.

Others believe that retailers should run A/B tests to decide the optimal video place. Joel Holland, founder and chief executive (CEO) of VideoBlocks found that when his company placed video on its landing page, its conversions decreased by 15 percent.

“The reason is that video on the landing page distracts site visitors from what you are trying to get them to do. Without testing, if you have to choose video or no video on the landing page, I suggest the latter. But if you can conduct A/B tests, I suggest you follow the results,” comments Holland.

Different video production approaches

There are two major types of video production. One way to create content is to make professionally produced videos like Dollar Shave Club’s Sick and Our Blades Are F***ing Great. The other way is to use user-generated content (UGC).

User-generated content creates an authentic environment. While the camera could be a little shaky and the script not exactly perfectly tailored for Hollywood, it can work really well in particular instances, as consumers like the fact that the content is genuine. In particular, UGC taken on a mobile device works for the short, 15 to 30 second product illustration videos.

If you are trying to create longer brand videos for your website to advocate the message of your company, like Dollar Shave Club’s videos, a better, more polished approach via a professional production is more ideal.

Regardless of different approaches, Wochit’s Berkowitz adds that product video should be short and to the point, while a more complex product or DIY explanation can run longer. Most importantly, the style of a brand’s video should be geared towards its end user and go beyond a focus on the product itself.

“Text on screen and voice-overs can also help build emotional connections and drive key points home,” says Berkowitz.

Finally, you should share your video on your social channels for optimum exposure.


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