Traditional shopping patterns went out the window, e-commerce loomed large, and concerns about product availability and fulfillment were some of the themes that emerged during the 2020 holiday shopping season. In-store browsing and comparison shopping are moving online, and the emotions and values traditionally embraced by consumers have been intensified. Omnichannel video advertising can help retailers and product marketers meet all of these challenges.
With a resurgence of COVID-19 putting the kibosh on in-store browsing, video can serve as a showcase for new products and a platform for comparison shopping. While research confirms that social media is the channel leader when it comes to capturing consumers’ attention, TV is a close second.
Video is the preferred medium in both channels, and 60 percent of consumers look for detailed digital content that contains information about products and brands they're interested in. The expanding reach of connected TV (penetration is projected to grow to 82 percent of households by 2023) provides a strong opportunity for retailers and brands to use video to reach consumers interested in new products being rolled out.
Video advertising will evolve into a more multidimensional and multifunctional medium in 2021. Overlays or wrappers around videos will give consumers an opportunity to dig deeper and glean more information — e.g., product demos, product carousels, color palettes — just as if they were shopping in a store. Adding functionality to video, and perhaps leveraging emerging technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality and QR codes, can move shoppers forward on their buying journeys.
An Antidote to Shopping FOMO
With memories of pandemic-induced product shortages still fresh in consumers’ minds, retailers and product marketers can use omnichannel video to assuage shoppers’ concerns about product availability. They can give consumers multiple options such as ordering online and picking up at a brick-and-mortar outlet or guaranteed product availability with a confirmed shipping date.
Emotions always run high during the holiday season, a phenomenon enhanced this past year because of the added burdens many consumers are shouldering due to the pandemic. A recent poll found that 83 percent of holiday shoppers were likely to buy from brands that inspire an emotional bond, and that empathy is especially important to convert Gen Z and high-income shoppers. More than half of survey respondents making $100,000-plus are much more likely to purchase when they make an emotional connection with a brand. Video is the perfect medium to add value in this way.
Retailers and brands can also use video to leverage the strong consumer sentiment toward shopping local that has surfaced during the pandemic. Almost a quarter of shoppers in the poll feel strongly about supporting small and local businesses that might be struggling due to the pandemic. Big chains and consumer brands can use video and their owned customer data to add elements of localization to their primary marketing messaging, especially in CTV, OTT and social channels. They can use dynamic personalization to call out the proximity of local stores and assure customers that specific products in which they've expressed an interest are in stock.
Video’s sound and motion capabilities enable a level of emotional appeal that's more important than ever. However, the opportunity video presents for retailers and brand marketers to actualize this medium in practical ways is just as significant. Whether the goal is to enable a virtual comparison-shopping experience, expand product research opportunities, or provide guidance on fulfillment options, omnichannel video gets it done.
Jim Johnson is vice president of account planning at VDX.tv, a global advertising technology company that is transforming the way brands connect with relevant consumers through video.
As Vice President of Account Planning, Jim is responsible for leveraging VDX.tv’s consumer research and insights to develop holistic digital marketing strategies aimed at guiding clients toward their desired outcomes. Prior to joining VDX.tv (formerly Exponential), Jim worked as a Media Planner with Carat on brands including Reebok, VH1, RadioShack and Motorola. He has also worked at Boston University as an event planner and financial advisor, roles he held while simultaneously earning an M.S in Advertising from the College of Communication. Jim earned his B.A in Journalism from Keene State College, splitting time between undergraduate studies and the United States Marine Corps Reserve.