25+ ways to ace ecommerce product videos

Ecommerce product videos are here to stay. While a few years ago they might have been just another “nice-to-have” accessory on your online store, today product videos are an important ingredient to conversion optimization strategy.

Video is the most engaging form of content in ecommerce. Done correctly, product videos can contribute to 30–80% lift in ecommerce conversion rate. Here are a few best practices to have in mind when you’re working on a video strategy for conversion optimization for your online store.

Getting started with ecommerce video strategy

1. Define what you want to accomplish with product videos. Product videos can help you create awareness for your merchandise and/or increase conversions. Before laying out plans for hiring a top-notch video production agency, define the goals for your product video strategy. Set the expectations from your video efforts early on to help shape your plan.

Handpresso’s video strategy is to use videos to educate consumers about the endless possibilities of brewing coffee on the go

2. Determine where and how you want to use product videos. Depending on your goals, your video strategy could include ecommerce product videos for your site, your social media channels or email campaigns. No matter how you plan to use videos, outline the channels in which they will appear. This will help you plan your actions and set out what kind of resources you need to actualize your strategy.

3. Measure what’s important. Metrics such as video views and shares are important for tracking customer engagement. But if your goal is to use product videos to stimulate purchases or get higher order value, then you need to track additional things such as conversion rate or average order value as a result of watching videos. 86% of marketers typically track video engagement metrics, while only 14% track how video attributes to sales. Determine what’s important for your store.

4. Set conversion goals. When using videos in conversion rate optimization, it’s crucial to determine what the conversion is. It could be the clicks on the video to watch the content, clicks on the “buy now” button after watching videos, or purchase completion (arriving to “thank you” page after watching videos). Set your goals early on in the process, so as to track what’s relevant to you.

5. Be cautious with benchmarking. Multiple brands and retailers report on varying results with using product videos in ecommerce. While online retailer Stacks and Stacks reported a stunning 144% increase in consumer likelihood to purchase thanks to videos, others have reported more modest improvements of 6–30%. It’s good to be aware of the results that similar brands and stores achieve with product videos, but bear in mind that no two stores are exactly the same. Your conversion rate is likely to variate, depending on other factors such as your store’s setup, your pricing and delivery policies etc.

Crafting your ecommerce product video strategy

6. Decide which products need videos. While each product listed on your store is there to bring you sales, not all of them might require videos to push the conversion goal. For instance, if you’re selling consumer electronics, the latest line of smart TVs would definitely require product videos to introduce new features. But the extension cord that you also sell on your store might not need videos. Invest in getting product videos for your best-selling, high-priced, signature products, and novelties.

The Body Shop features product videos on the pages of its best selling items

7. Choose the type of videos that will resonate with your goals. If the goal of your product video is to educate consumers about product’s benefits than a short product demo video will suffice. However, if your goal is to convert shoppers already deep in the purchasing funnel, you need to include product review videos and how-to videos in your strategy. Consider also unboxing, haul, try on or comparison videos if you want to engage shoppers unfamiliar with your brand and get them to consider ordering your products.

Tassimo shows how to brew its specialty hot drinks for shoppers who have already made up their mind about the coffee machine and are now exploring the drinks range

8. Create your own product videos to strengthen your brand. This is a great strategy for online retailers selling multiple brands on their store across different product categories. Having your own branded videos helps highlight the expertise in the category and demonstrate your in-depth knowledge in the latest market trends, design or technology. Video creation is also a good strategy for upscale brands who use video to accentuate their brand’s unique offering.

High-end beauty retailer Beauty Bay creates its own tutorial videos to recommend products

9. Curate product videos from social media for a fast content turnover. If you are an online retailer selling fast-moving consumer products in multiple categories and by multiple brands, creating your own product videos might not always be feasible. This is especially true for ecommerce stores competing on price, with fast-moving inventory and moderate margins. In this case, curating videos from social media is a viable strategy.

For retailers selling fast-moving discounted products, sourcing videos from social media is a good alternative

Social media offers the abundance of video content shared by brands, experts, and consumers. Most of these videos are available for embedding on other sites. This ecommerce video strategy eliminates the issues of long video production lead times or high production costs. It also gives the flexibility to update videos at a quick pace as new ones are published on social media.

10. Collect user-generated product videos to inspire trust. It’s not a secret that consumers often feel cynical about overly stylized branded content, especially when it comes to product videos. They prefer more down-to-earth authentic content created by other shoppers because they can relate better to their experiences. To inspire trust in shoppers, incorporate user-generated product videos in your video strategy. This strategy is especially applicable to online retailers who are still building their reputation and want to assure customers their products are worthy of attention.

User-generated product review videos are valued for their authenticity

11. Encourage customers to share their own product videos. Fostering relationships with customers is just as important in ecommerce as it is in physical retail. Establish the ground for reciprocity by allowing customers to share their own product review videos on your ecommerce store in the product review section. This allows customers satisfied with products to promote them to others. It also communicates to new visitors that the product is worthy of their time and money.

Beauty brand Coastal Scents encourages customers to submit their own product review videos on its site

12. Involve influencers in your product niche. Research who are the top influencers in your product category and whose opinion shoppers value. Reach out to them and ask them to do videos about your products that you can feature on your site. Take cues from the beauty industry, where brands and retailers often collaborate with influencers on product videos to share reviews and tips that inspire others to purchase.

L’Oreal Paris works closely with popular YouTube beauty vloggers to produce product videos

Getting the best ecommerce product videos for your store

13. Product video should tell a story. Product images shot against a scenic background tell a story. So do crafty product descriptions that depict the adventure, the coziness or the comfort that product brings. Product videos should do the same. No matter whether it’s a product review video, unboxing or how-to tutorial, the videos on your ecommerce store should be well-structured and have a flow. The narrative should be aligned with your goals and each video shot should be meaningful.

This product videos about Sketchers golf shoes follows “golf school” storyline

14. Choose the right video for each product. Different products might have different video requirements. For example, we buy clothing for comfort and style, so opt for videos that show a model wearing the garment so that online shoppers can see how the fabric fits and fold while in motion (e.g. catwalk videos). If you’re selling cosmetics and makeup, using videos to show how to achieve various beauty looks might be more useful than featuring unboxing videos.

Makeup brand Bobbi Brown features how-to videos on its ecommerce site to show how its products are used to create different looks

Opt for the tutorial and how-to videos for makeup, DIY tools, pushchairs or just about any product that requires learning to do proper application and setup. Use 360-degree videos for the items where you want to show attention to details, such as shoes or jewelry. Get creative and add recipe and tips videos if you’re selling snacks, health food, beverages or kitchen appliances.

This watch store uses 360 degree videos to showcase the detail of each timepiece

15. Get more than one video per product. Whenever possible, try to offer multiple videos about a product. The versatility of content broadens shopper’s understanding of the item and engages them to consider it as a purchase. A combination of review, demo, how-to, and unboxing videos will help cover all the main questions shoppers typically have about a product.

Beauty Blender’s ecommerce site might be built around one key product, but it features dozens of videos showing different looks that can be achieved using its signature sponge

16. Make sure video quality is high. Regardless of whether you’re producing your own product videos or curating content from social media, you should deliver only the highest quality videos on your online store. This means videos shot with a steady camera, quality lighting, clear audio, multiple product shots from different angles and sharp focus on product details.

This user-generated review video is high quality just like any professionally produced video

17. Show product in context. While shooting product images against a blank white background is a norm in ecommerce, product videos benefit from more creativity. After all, you want to help shoppers visualize the item better. 49% of online shoppers say that not being able to physically touch a product is one of the main setbacks in ecommerce. Use product videos to engage their senses. Opt for videos where a product is shot in the setting it would normally be used. If it’s a blender, the video should show it chop and mix fruits in the kitchen. If it’s a surfboard, the video should show it on lying on the beach. The goal is to portray the product realistically so that shoppers can imagine owning it and using it. Shoot videos that show product’s size, texture and weight relative to other items in a typical setting.

18. Keep it brief. Shoppers landing on your ecommerce store will hardly be impressed with 15-min infomercial-style videos (unless the product is extremely complex and requires a lot of convincing to sell it). Depending on the type of product, your product presentation videos should last around one minute, but you can go for slightly longer content for the product review or how-to videos which cover the product in-depth. For instance, while a 10-second catwalk video is pretty standard for online retailers selling clothes, 1 or 2-min video showing how to assemble a stroller might make more sense for online stores selling baby equipment.

Catwalk videos like this one are typically 10–15 sec long

Bear in mind 39.2% of consumers prefer product overview videos to be 30–60 sec in length, while 32% prefer how-to videos to be up to 3 minutes long.

Travis Perkins uses product videos longer than 1 minute in order to show all the features of the DIY tools

19. Be consistent. While having a variety of product videos on your site is definitely a good thing, stick to a distinct style that suits your store and brand the most. Think about Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos — they are easy to recognize in a pool of content. Harmony is important in ecommerce just as much as it is in traditional retail. Apply equal quality criteria for all product videos on your store and curate the experience.

Optimizing your product videos to bring results

20. Pick a video placement that brings the most results. When it comes to ecommerce product videos, the rule of a thumb is to place them in spots where shoppers can easily spot them while browsing. The ideal video placement would be above the page fold. But when you already have too much content there, try adding videos close to other important elements such as call-to-action or product images. When picking your ecommerce store theme opt for the one that leaves enough space for videos. Avoid placing videos behind menu tabs or deep down the page scroll — the more “hidden” the content is, the less likely are visitors to engage with it.

Olympus featured videos on the individual product pages just above the page fold

21. Add videos to product pages. If your goal is to use product videos to lift the conversion rate and stimulate purchases, then adding them on product pages in one of the best practices. Research reports that 57% of online retailers see at least 50% increase in the average order value when customers engage with videos on product pages. Conversion rate and AOV rise when multiple product pages are enhanced with videos.

22. Use video thumbnails. You might want to opt to display only a play button on your pages for a cleaner look. However, if you want to get shoppers to engage more, add video thumbnails. They entice shoppers to click on the content and give a preview of what’s to come.

Displaying videos in a gallery with attractive thumbnails is more effective than just adding a plain play button to a page

23. Choose the right call-to-action. If you’re creating your own videos, you might want to include a call-to-action via in-video links in order to give instructions to the viewers how they can purchase the product shown in the video. But that’s not the only place for a CTA. Add “watch video” or “see the product in action” call-to-action next to your product videos in order to encourage shoppers to click on the content.

24. Get the right video player. Make sure the video player you’re using on your ecommerce store is attractive and aligned with your brand. But don’t go too overboard with customization. Opt for a simple and sleek player that won’t look awkward on your pages and won’t distract viewers from the content.

Choose video player that fits your store’s branding but is not too distracting from the content

25. Don’t forget the SEO. It’s not news anymore that search engines prefer websites with videos relevant to search queries. Make sure you’re using video metadata (title, tags) to allow search engines to index video content on your pages. Test how adding videos affects the page load time on your site. If you embed videos from YouTube, make periodic checks for any content that is no longer available online and remove the dead links or replace them with alternative videos.

26. Prepare for mobile shoppers. Shoppers on the go are quick to abandon their shopping sessions if the ecommerce experience is not user-friendly. Optimizing how product videos display on small screens is not too small of a detail, so don’t overlook this. Check if videos are properly sized for mobile shoppers and play buttons and CTA messages are big enough to click without disrupting the browsing session.

Tassimo UK has product video gallery perfectly optimized for the mobile experience

27. Run split tests. Not all types of product videos will work equally well on your ecommerce store. Not all of the best practices will apply to your unique brand. Lay out video strategy that will allow you to test over time different video elements on your store in order to maximize results. These could include testing different video position, video length, types of videos, video player etc. Track how changes in these elements affect customer behavior on the site and the bottom line.

These are just some of the most important best practices you need to know before you start working on the ecommerce product video strategy for your online store.

Check out Goodvidio’s blog for more tips on videos for ecommerce.

Originally published on Goodvidio blog