More than ever before, media-savvy consumers expect your company's e-commerce program to deliver online shopping experiences that feature engaging video content.

But creating top quality videos and incorporating them into your multichannel commerce program is easier said than done. Though a well-executed video project can boost online sales and improve customer experiences, poorly made videos can drive consumers away from your products and negatively affect your e-commerce site.

For most e-commerce providers, the question isn't whether video content should be a part of the brand's e-commerce strategy, but how to harness video content effectively and efficiently, and in a way that generates measurable returns to the brand.

The Video Imperative in E-Commerce

High-quality video content improves the look, feel, and functionality of e-commerce websites. But beyond aesthetics, Web-based video assets have an impact on customer behavior, motivating site visitors to make more frequent and larger purchases.

According to a recent study by Invodo and the e-tailing group, half of all online consumers are more confident about their purchase decisions after viewing a product video. The conversion power of video is further demonstrated by the fact that two-thirds of consumers who watch product videos multiple times ultimately buy the product. As for the size of the sale, quality videos and site images have been shown to increase cart size an impressive 174%.

The presence of video content on an e-commerce website won't automatically generate higher conversion rates or larger cart sizes. Although the temptation to save money by producing videos in-house sounds appealing, internally generated video content often fails to meet consumers' expectations and incurs higher costs due to lost sales opportunities.

According to comScore, professionally produced e-commerce videos outperform user-generated videos 30%.

Video Strategies for E-Commerce Providers

First-rate video content promotes customer behaviors that have real, bottom line impact. But to maximize the benefits, online retailers need to focus on strategies that improve the quality and multichannel performance of video assets without breaking the brand's budget.

  • E-commerce infrastructure. Effective product videos require capable e-commerce infrastructure. In addition to quickly loading and delivering rich media elements, your e-commerce website should include analytics, personalization, mobile, and other features that are currently being used in combination with e-commerce video content.
  • Video outsourcing. Despite your best intentions, it's unlikely that your operation can cost-effectively produce high-quality video content in-house. A professional studio with e-commerce experience can shoot still photos and HD videos quickly, turn around high-quality images for use across multiple platforms (Web, mobile, tablet) and deliver cost savings by applying economies of scale to your e-commerce video projects.
  • Brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors increase the value of product presentations and how-to videos because they promote trust between the brand and customers. Although the customer knows that the ambassador is being paid, the message comes across as unbiased; customers feel like they're engaging with a real person—an outcome that can't be achieved with static content or voiceovers.
  • Multipurpose use. The successful use of video in e-commerce is tied to the use of quality video content across your multichannel commerce program. After you have invested in the creation of first-rate video content, you can extend its value by capturing still images, 360s, and other applications—generating multiple product presentations and messaging opportunities from a single shoot.
  • Sharing. The inherent power of social media demands that impactful e-commerce video content be shareable. In addition to sharing your content on popular social networking sites and Vimeo, consider how your branded video content can be distributed to wider networks of viewers on promotional pages and other Web-based locations.
  • Emotional connections. Good e-commerce videos forge emotional bonds with consumers. It's important to consider how to extend the use of your video content through QR codes and other technology-based applications, but don't dismiss the value of storytelling and strategies designed to nurture emotional bonds to your products.

Video capabilities currently outpace the actual use of video content in the online marketplace. Although e-tailers have an incredible range of video production and promotion opportunities at their disposal, relatively few have invested the time and resources to properly integrate video into their e-commerce agendas.

As a result, small and medium-sized e-commerce providers can make high-quality video a competitive advantage. By intentionally prioritizing the creation of exceptional video content and determining how it fits with the brand's larger e-commerce strategy, your company can take an important step forward and provide your customers with an experience they won't find anywhere else.

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How Retailers Can Use Video for E-Commerce

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image of Mike Molinari

Mike Molinari is director of new business development at KSC Kreate and has more than 10 years of experience in the creative industry.

LinkedIn: Michael Molinari