Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, RSR Research's weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers, presented here for discussion.
At the Internet Retail Conference and Expo (IRCE), I gave a presentation on how retailers are using video to create richer experiences. I took on the topic as something of a personal challenge since I generally prefer reading a transcript to video so I can skim over the details faster.
But I learned a couple of things at IRCE, both from my own research and from sitting in on the rest of the presenters at the video day (pre-conference) at IRCE. I also recognized that video works. It converts more shoppers, and it converts them with larger basket sizes ... when you do it right.
Here's what I learned:
Video is not for amateurs: While a sound stage a la MGM or Warner Brothers isn't always necessary, some real tools of the trade are. Sound and image quality significantly change depending on the equipment used. Lighting also plays an important role. But a professional speaker/actor is almost a must. While a company may seek to "let its hair down" when it comes to presenting a face to the customer, that only works if the person in question missed their calling as an actor.
Video can make something super-dull become wildly engaging: Product videos have to show off the product but they don't have to be boring. I like Zappos' shoe demos because they show me what a shoe looks like on a real person's feet. But the videos get formulaic and predictable after four or five. Compare that to Volvo, which dug up Jean Claude Van Damme to show off its dynamic steering. The 1:17 video has been viewed over 73 million times on YouTube. An epic split, indeed.
Video can be serious but really should be entertaining: For retail, video has a job to do (help sell stuff, or at least help customers figure out answers to questions that take some pressure off the call center) and most consumers are expecting that job to be entertainment. And honestly, it's the entertaining videos that stick with us and that get shared. To me, Old Spice's interactive campaign is the pinnacle of achievement in using online video — and I was shocked, just absolutely shocked how many people in the room during video day at IRCE had not heard of this. To really understand what can happen when a brand relaxes, has fun, and thinks about how to use the internet in conjunction with video, check out a case study like this.
Mature doesn't have to mean boring. And now, more than ever, a retail needs to be thinking about how to be more than relevant. We need to be entertaining.
Do online videos for brands work better as a branding or demonstration tool?