After I mentioned adding videos to ecommerce websites in a recent article, a client asked about specific types of video they might use on their website.
In this article, I’ll outline several types of videos you could add to your ecommerce site to help increase sales. I’ll also cover where to host videos for the best search results and talk about how you can produce your videos.
Benefits Of Video Content On Ecommerce Sites
Here are just some of the benefits of employing video content on ecommerce sites:
• Videos can help shoppers make buying decisions leading to increased sales.
• Your own videos can help convey your added value such as your expertise, high level of service, etc.
• Videos along with their accompanying text can help make website pages more unique; a common issue for ecommerce sites many of which use primarily the descriptions and images provided by manufacturers.
• Videos are ideal content to promote in most social media venues.
Branding Or Testimonial Videos
Company overview or testimonial videos can convey messages that help make shoppers feel more comfortable buying from you.
For example, you might produce a video at a customer’s location demonstrating your professional installation service, showing the customer using the product, talking about how you helped them select the right product or how they saved money.
Take a look at some of the videos Zappos has developed about the company and its culture (Internet retailers: You can learn more from Zappos in this article.)
Videos Help Shoppers Learn About Product Areas
I’ve mentioned Crutchfield Electronics a couple of times in past articles. They include videos and articles that can help people learn about a product area such as this video, What to Look for in Portable GPS.
Crutchfield links to these videos from appropriate product category pages where they may help shoppers narrow down buying decisions. At the same time, these videos (which almost always include Crutchfield’s own employees) help convey their expertise.
Note how they often include a transcript of the video in a search engine friendly tab system. This helps search results and gives people the option to scan the transcript.
Your Own Product Videos
Producing your own product videos can help increase sales in a few ways. They can help shoppers make buying decisions and help convey your expertise, helpfulness, etc., at the same time.
Plus, your own product videos can help make your product pages more unique and useful than the competition, improving the user experience and often improving search results.
You can demonstrate the product, highlight product details, show how to use it, how to assemble or install it, and you can show “what’s in the box”.
If you sell luggage, for example, you could demonstrate key features, highlight the high quality hinges, show how it rolls, have a gorilla jump up and down on it and throw it around. (Oh right; that one’s been done.)
“How To” & Expert Advice Videos
You can create videos that provide expert advice on how to use the products you carry. Here’s a video from REI, the outfitter, on “How to Load a Backpack”
These types of video articles often do well in search engine results for the types of questions people ask such as “how to load a backpack”.
Searchers may find your video in the search results, click to view it, and learn more about what you have to offer.
Product Review Videos
You can create your own reviews of products. Showing what’s good and not so good can help convey your credibility and show your expertise.
You may have seen some of these types of videos in your own shopping. Recently, I watched some when I was shopping for a digital camera; for example, I searched on “Nikon d5000 review”. The video reviews I watched helped convinced me to buy it.
Here’s a video on ebags.com of an apparently known outdoors person talking about how he uses a North Face duffel bag. You could do something similar and it doesn’t have to be an expensive celebrity.
For example, if you sell motorcycle racing products, you may already be sponsoring some racers. How about developing a video using one of them?
The eBags video about the North Face duffel bag appeared in the blended/universal search results in Google.com when I searched on the product name. Some of your videos might too. See the “Where to Host Videos” section below for more about this.
Ask Clients For Videos
Zappos asks its shoppers to submit their own testimonial videos. You could too. Ask your shoppers to tell their story and put their videos up on your YouTube channel. Put the best videos – the ones that convey your great customer service, delivery, etc, on your ecommerce site where shoppers will see them.
Product Videos From Your Manufacturers
Some manufacturers make product videos available to their resellers to use on their websites such as this Timbuk2 luggage video on eBags. This is a reasonable solution if you can’t make your own videos. They’ll likely help sell your products.
However, they aren’t going to help convey your added value as much as your own videos can. Plus, the videos provided by your manufacturers will also be used on other resellers’ websites so your site will not be as unique as with your own videos.
Where To Host Ecommerce Videos For Best Search Results
YouTube is a decent choice for video hosting especially for ecommerce sites without a lot of link equity. Websites with strong link equity such as eBags have the best chance of having videos they host themselves or appear to host themselves. (See below for more on this.)
If you host your videos on YouTube and promote them using your social media venues, you might get some of your videos to appear in the blended search results on Google.com and yes, even Bing.com. Plus your videos will be available for searches conducted directly at YouTube.com.
Note that Google currently includes a YouTube link in the top tool bar on Google.com. If someone wants to search specifically for videos not hosted on YouTube while on google.com, they’ll have to click “More” in the top tool bar where they’ll find a Video search in a fly out menu.
A Sub-domain Dedicated To Hosting Videos
Notice that most of the big players appear to host their videos on their own websites such as within a sub-domain like video.ebags.com.
However, in many cases these sub-domains are actually located on third party video hosting servers such as Wistia or servers provided by video production and hosting companies that specialize in ecommerce video (See Producing E-commerce Videos below for links to some video production and hosting companies that specialize in eCommerce videos.)
There are advantages to hosting your videos using Wistia or other third party services. You’ll have much more control over the page that includes your video than say a video on YouTube.
Notice how this product video page on eBags includes a static product image, a Buy Now link, a product features section with a link to the product page, and some more product images.
Some video production and/or hosting services have their own video players you can use on your site that incorporate features such as “Add to Cart” buttons, conversion tracking, etc. In addition, some automate or semi automate the creation of a video sitemap.
Best Practices For Video Hosting On Your Own Site
Take a look at some of the videos that appear in the search results on google.com or bing.com for some ecommerce related searches.
Notice how almost all of them, even the ones “privately” hosted on sub-domains of an ecommerce site (like eBags), are laid out so that the video is up high on the page and it’s the most dominant element; similar to the layout on the video hosting sites like YouTube.
You are not likely to see videos that are a relatively small element of a product page appearing within the blended search results or even specific video searches.
So, if you do host your own videos or use a third party video hosting solution, consider developing separate webpages for most of your videos where the video is the main focus, as you’ll see at video.petco.com.
This should give your videos the best chance of appearing within search results. You can then embed the video within other pages on the site.
Producing Ecommerce Videos
In-house Video Production
You could setup your own video production capability. Perhaps you have a videographer working for you just waiting to be born. You may not be able to reach the high production quality of companies that specialize in producing videos, but most ecommerce videos don’t have to be Academy Award quality.
You can produce decent quality videos with a video camera, some lighting, a back drop or two, and perhaps a bench with a solid colored cover.
Ecommerce Video Production & Hosting Services
There are companies that specialize in ecommerce videos. Many of the videos that you’ll see on the big ecommerce sites are produced by service companies that produce and usually host the videos for their clients.
In my research, I found LiveClicker and invodo. I talked to the folks at invodo. They create, develop and host all the types of ecommerce videos outlined in this article and more. A typical engagement with them can start in the low five figures.
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