Appealing to Shop-From-Home Consumers Through Video
Uncertainty in the retail industry is at an all-time high. One month, we’re watching sales plummet to never-before-seen lows, and almost as quickly, numbers rebound for the biggest monthly sales surge on record. What’s clear even with an ambiguous road ahead is that brands and retailers will need to more thoughtfully consider how to improve the e-commerce user experience, ensuring that consumers who opt to shop from home still enjoy a buying experience that meets their needs. In the absence of a physical shopping experience — or certainly with fewer in-store trips to leisurely browse — how can retailers bring products to life? Through video.
Video Delivers an Immersive and Lifelike Shopping Experience
Video is one of the most powerful tools available to retailers today, and it's becoming the content format of choice for many consumers. When asked how they would like to learn about a product, 66 percent of consumers said they’d prefer to watch a short video. And retailers, listen up: if a consumer watches a video during an online shopping trip, they’re almost twice as likely to make a purchase than those who don’t. Homepage video content visually communicates your brand’s story and identity, especially to first-time visitors. Video can bring a product to life on screen in a way that can’t be captured in a collection of high-quality images. The authenticity of loyal customer testimonials speaks more loudly by way of a compelling video than through a five-star rating or collection of comments on a product detail page. Video content can even be made interactive and shoppable, with the right expertise.
Technical Roadblocks Can Hinder a Retailer’s Video Strategy
While the possibilities of video may be endless, many marketing teams find themselves limited by the complexities of producing, editing and distributing video content at scale. Consider a major sports retailer that offers video content to go along with sneaker images on its product page, in a variety of colors and captured from a range of viewpoints. Talk about a massive undertaking. Beyond managing a large volume of videos, marketing teams must also account for the eventual channel and device the video will be viewed on, plus the technical intricacies of encoding, reframing, resizing, optimizing, and so on. Video content will be viewed on desktops, tablets and smartphones, and when on mobile devices, can also be viewed in portrait or landscape mode. Beyond the e-commerce storefront, retailers are also wise to leverage video on social media, and platforms like Instagram require videos to be shown in square aspect ratios. The enthusiasm for taking on video projects is often met by these technical barriers to entry.
AI Gives a Needed Efficiency Boost for Organizationwide Video Creation and Distribution
To best manage video assets and build momentum for an effective video marketing strategy, retailers need a centralized content management platform for all involved teams and departments to leverage. And more important than a simple repository for sharing files, this solution needs artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning infused to handle much of the heavy lifting otherwise done manually. The power of video is amplified when AI steps in to do the following:
- dynamically format, crop and resize video content, optimizing for any number of devices it will be viewed on;
- live crop for the main subject to always be the focus of the clip, ensuring the story is told most accurately;
- automatically transcribe audio to produce subtitles, which boosts search engine optimization and aids consumers who view without sound or are hearing impaired;
- auto-generate short previews to entice site visitors to click through and view more, ushering them along the shopping journey; and
- streamline workflows through AI-based auto-tagging, structured metadata and advanced search for real-time collaboration and on-the-fly content changes.
Consumer reluctance to shop again in stores is something brands can’t ignore as they soldier on through this tumultuous time in retail. In delivering engaging videos on e-commerce sites and other digital channels, and embracing AI technology to help them do so continuously, retailers will ensure that they’re prepared for whatever changes lie ahead.
Amit Shachak is head of video for Cloudinary. An experienced leader, Amit has vast development, management and product experience in different technologies and platforms, leading complex projects from idea to production, in startup companies and in global organizations.
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Amit Shachak is an experienced technology and product leader with vast experience and passion for building organizations and great products. He currently serves as head of video for Cloudinary. An experienced leader, Amit has vast development, management and product experience in different technologies and platforms, leading complex projects from idea to production, in start-up companies and in global organizations.