Are “Smart” Videos the Key to Online Retail Growth?

Aug 31, 2012

As we have discussed in this space before, online retailers can and have used various types of videos to improve sales.  Now comes definitive word that consumers are responding to these videos, plus a new development that could make these videos even more effective.

A recent article on eMarketer says that the effect of video in the online purchase cycle may be strengthening, especially in apparel.  According to eMarketer, a Google/Compete study found that four in ten online shoppers went to a physical store or retail website because they watched an apparel video online, for example.

According to the study, 36 percent of online shoppers watched customer testimonial/review videos while shopping; 29 percent watched marketing videos within e-mails; 26 percent saw consumer generated videos; and 25 percent saw ads that appeared elsewhere on the Internet, which is the same percentage who watched ads appearing on TV network sites.

In terms of categories, the eMarketer article detailed results of an Invodo study from late March, which said the most popular category for online product videos was automotive/automobiles (31 percent of respondents watched), followed closely behind by consumer electronics (30 percent), music/DVD/videos (26 percent), toys/video games (24 percent), and computer hardware/software (22 percent). The poorest performing category was financial/insurance/real estate (1 percent), followed by gifts/flowers (6 percent), luxury items (7 percent), and gift cards/certificates (7 percent).

Meanwhile, Jim Dicso, president and chief revenue officer of SundaySky, in an interview with RetailWire, touted the benefits of "smart video."

These are videos generated for individual viewers while they are on the web, he elaborated. They are based on pre-built templates, many hours of recorded video, and data.  As the individual browses, they are offered videos that are instantly personalized according to the consumer’s behavior/history and the retailer’s goals.  Videos can be shown on a retailer’s own site, or used to re-target to shoppers as they visit other sites.  The ads can be based on the last product viewed or purchased, and site visit metrics can also be incorporated to determine the value of the potential customer, and what to show them.  These videos are built through libraries of brief video clips or scenes, along with narration, that can all be tailored based on analytics.  Office Depot and AT&T are marquee clients for SundaySky.

So, while we have all been followed around the Internet by the "pair of khaki pants" we looked at once, it seems that Internet ads and product videos in particular are getting smarter, and that this could lead to an improved experience for the consumer, where they will actually want to watch more advertiser/retailer videos, because those they have seen have been tailored to their wants and needs.

Do you see online videos becoming an increasingly important marketing tool for retailers?  Are personalized “smart” videos a game changer?

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4 Comments on "Are “Smart” Videos the Key to Online Retail Growth?"

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Nikki Baird
Nikki Baird
9 years 8 months ago

Video works — of that, I have no doubt. And I’m intrigued by the notion of smart videos. My only caution is that not everyone wants video — and retailers shouldn’t forget that. It is but one of many options that should be available to consumers as they shop online — a piece in the portfolio, rather than the be-all, end-all.

Ken Lonyai
9 years 8 months ago

Having created my first web site in the prehistoric 1995 era, I’ve witnessed a slow but steady advancement of smart and personalization technologies. Sometimes they work and sometimes they are too overarching. “Smart” videos need the same scrutiny as any other technology or they can backfire for their invasiveness.

That said, the ease of making personal videos and the ubiquity of high speed bandwidth has made video watching practical/desirable for the majority of Americans. So, we are moving ever faster to consumer expectations that there’s a video to watch rather than content to read when shopping or keeping up with trends. Using video effectively/cleverly will align with consumer thinking, but as Nikki said, it’s not the only way to capture consumer interest.

Adrian Weidmann
9 years 8 months ago

Online videos are, and will most definitely increasingly become, a vital communication medium for marketers. We live in a ‘nanosecond’ and ‘Hollywood’ world where we expect instant results and gratification. Reading anything simply takes too long. We want our information in visual ‘sound bites’. The ease of producing and publishing video is making it a universally accessible medium. Managing and delivering these videos into a omni-channel marketing and communication environment is still emerging. Knowing how to ensure brand consistency and compliance of publishing those video assets to a host of different display devices — mobile, internet, in-store, broadcast and print and the capability to track and measure their efficacy is an exciting opportunity for brands and retailers alike.

Tony Pullen
Tony Pullen
9 years 6 months ago

I can see videos playing a bigger role in the near future and this holiday season. Videos tend to bridge the gap between offline and online consumers with how and when they make their decision to buy. Brandlive is a live video tool that focuses on keeping the integrity of the brand in the forefront of the consumers mind while encourage real time feedback. I strongly urge you to check it out….it is changing the way people think about buying.


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