Video Commerce: A Video Commerce Roundtable
ROI: Can you share with us some video e-commerce best practices?
JF: The first thing is that video doesn’t have to be difficult. I have an HD camera, editing software, a white backdrop and some lights right in my office that I think I bought for $250 that work great. Second, it’s really important to focus on scaling content. I think the third best practice is to not just use video on product detail pages. In fact, video is a great asset to leverage across channels, including social channels like Facebook and YouTube and its programs. YouTube can be used to drive traffic back to retail sites.
JL: My advice is to test a few small YouTube videos with a link back to your site to see if consumers are engaged. In this scenario you can get a little bit of experience for a small investment. From there you can start making a business case for a larger investment. I also agree with Justin about leveraging video throughout your site. We have three videos on the bottom of our homepage focused around pets. We’re always trying to bring videos a litle closer to consumers. If they’re buried in the detail pages, they’ll obviously have a lower engagement level. Finally, leverage email. We’ve had great success putting videos in emails. Consumers open the email and are directed to click on the video. We’ve seen high engagement levels from that.
JS: My first best practice would be to let the video become as authentic as possible. There’s a kind of inherent dishonesty to an overproduced video. Always try to let your brand breathe through your videos. My second piece of advice would be that when you do have videos out on different channels like YouTube and Facebook, always have a link back to the product page and your homepage. Last but not least, make as many videos as you can and try to cover as many SKUs as you can. That’s something we’re always trying to do here at Crutchfield — beat the previous month’s video total and keep building that up. We’ve been on that upward path for about 18 months now.
ROI: What are some of the challenges you've encountered with video commerce?
JS: One challenge we had that we acted upon almost two years ago was that our videos were taking too long to produce and were a little bit too slick. We had a studio with lots of lights set up, we did a lot of motion graphics and some of the videos were up to 10 minutes long. In an effort to make more videos in the same amount of time, we decided to ratchet down the production value a bit and make them shorter, more improvised and less scripted. Since we’ve made that paradigm shift we've found that we get a lot more views and a lot more comments on all of our videos.
JL: Similar to what Jon mentioned, we try and keep it so that our videos aren't too polished. One thing we read and heard a lot about from other retailers was that you don't need an overly polished video for what you’re trying to do here. Consumers are completely accepting of something that’s a little more rough than you might do for something you’re publishing commercially, in a traditional sense.
ROI: Have you considered repurposing your videos for television commercials or is that a totally different area?
JS: We have another company completely separate from our video team that produces all of our television commercials. We keep them totally separate.
JL: We’re the same way, completely separate. I think it’s a different venue. For us, TV commercials are all about a campaign around the brand or selling something. Web video is more how-to or solution based. And there’s a big difference between a 15-second to 30-second TV commercial clip and a two-minute how-to video for a product.
ROI: Do you find videos help increase your organic search ranking?
JF: Definitely. Video search engine optimization is a primary reason why many retailers get into video. One best practice around video SEO is to make sure you’re submitting a Google video site so that a video thumbnail can be indexed in the search results on Google. It’s really easy to check if your site has videos that have been submitted to Google. Just go to Google.com and click on the “Video” link at the top of the page and type in your site's domain. If you have videos being indexed by Google, they’ll show up there. If you haven’t properly submitted a video site to Google, then they won’t show up.