4 Tips for Using Video to Influence Shoppers in Retail

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Last week, I attended IRCE 2014 which is the world’s largest annual retail and e-commerce event.  Through various breakout sessions and workshops, the multi-day event brought together senior level executives from brands such as: eBay, Staples, FedEx, Macy’s, Sephora and other retailers to weigh in on the role digital and social media continues to play in retail.

Several “Ah-ha” moments for me were centered on video and its impact around influencing shopping behavior through visual, live content. While social media is often highly regarded as a medium to influence, video content is widely overlooked.  

Today, consumers watch more than 40 billion online videos a month and spend an average of 20 hours each month watching them. There is no doubt the Internet has become a video medium for consumers as video allows online users to visualize what they want to buy.

By 2017, 74% of all Internet traffic will be video. Retail executives rank video as a TOP THREE marketing priority.

There’s also little doubt that consumers, who are watching videos all over the Internet, will soon expect videos when they shop at retail web sites. Retailers have been slower on moving ahead when it comes to video content, but that is about to change as video technology becomes easier to use.  Online shoppers who view video are 1.8x more likely to buy. 

Here are 4 simple tips for integrating video into your brands digital marketing strategy: 

1. Embrace YouTube’s Power of Search

As the second most popular search engine, posting videos on YouTube, with a link from a retail site to the video’s description, is the easiest way to get videos online. Embedding your TV commercial onto a retailers website, from YouTube, helps amplify engagement and drive overall brand awareness as YouTube videos are indexed within Google search results.  “How-to”, or instructional videos, are some of the most commonly searched for videos on YouTube.  

2. Integrate Short-Form Social Video

Video’s influence on purchases is 18% higher on mobile devices. Using video content publishing tools like Vine and Instagram helps tell your brands story in short micro-ads designed to be access on a mobile device. 

3. Start Gathering User Generated Content:

Stop thinking about consumers as “customers” and start viewing them as “story tellers”.  According to John Lawson, Author of “Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs”, UGC is the “holy grail” of online marketing – it’s having others advertise your brand for you. When someone else promotes your brand, it offers more value than in-house or agency marketing. Try integrating hash-tags on in-store signage, receipts, and actual product (like Dunkin Donuts, #MyDunkin) to turn your brands loyal followers into storytellers. 

UGC is making brands look at “engaged” consumers as being relevant to their marketing strategy. Advocate programs such as Sephora’s “Beauty Insider” provides its brand evangelists with an exclusive community and the chance to earn unique experiences while mobile applications such as Loot! incentivize consumers to post about your brand.  

4. Keep Your Videos Short 

The average US consumer spends 24 minutes a day watching online video. Therefore, the length of your brands video content should be short and focused on retaining the users short attention span. 

65% of video viewers watch more than ¾ of a video, 52% of videos viewed on a PC are under 3 minutes long and 42% of videos viewed on a tablet are over 10 minutes.

Finally don’t forget your message! Every company is a media company; every brand has a story to tell, however, video marketing isn’t about going “viral” it’s about being persuasive. Video has become one of the most effective ways to motivate people towards certain behaviors by showing them rather than telling them. 

With the rise of “Always on” Millennials, brands need to keep in mind that social media is not about advertising but rather it’s about building relationships with consumers through engaging content and meaningful dialogue. The future of retail marketing is all about the consumer – embrace them and they will come.

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