Video is not a new addition to on-line retail. In fact, brands have been using it for years to increase the depth and add stickiness to their websites.
ASOS are industry leaders in their use of catwalk imagery and have had video on every single garment for a long time, but interestingly few retailers have followed suit.
However, with the launch of marksandspencer.tv earlier this year and the announcement that Next will be launching Next.tv shortly, it would seem this medium is finally gaining mainstream acceptance.
Video content is no longer seen as just a branding exercise, but a search engine optimisation (SEO) tool, and a revenue generator too.
As the ecommerce market place becomes busier, retailers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and customers are demanding more from their online experience.
While online can never replicate the tactile, in-store experience, video gives you the opportunity to engage with, and excite your customers.
Not only that, but it can also aid customer retention and be used as a branding tool. Give your customers a reason to visit your site and show them something they can’t find elsewhere. Even something as simple as an enhanced product page can leave customers wishing for the same level of detail when they visit another site. What better reason for them to come back again?
The recently launched www.annoushka-jewellery.com has already begun to use video effectively in their wardrobe.tv section. A great branding exercise that adds warmth to the site, it is used as a customer communication tool to explain their stackable rings concept. It gives you an insight into the brand philosophy that written content could never emulate.
Also worthy of note is the great use of catwalk video on designer website www.matchesfashion.com. Here you can select your favourite designer, watch their catwalk shows and shop directly from this video content.
Before now little consideration has been given to how video content can improve SEO. Without a doubt the richer and more relevant content your website has, the better.
However, don’t forget you can now search on Google by images, videos, maps, news, mail, books and blogs to name just a few. So the way brands think about search engine optimisation needs to change.
Let’s take the word ‘dress’ as an example, a highly sought after search term on Google listings. If you search for this word under the traditional Google web search, the page is awash with big brand names. Now take the same word and search on Google’s video search and you will find not one fashion brand come up. It’s most certainly not virgin space, but does show a clear opportunity.
In short, video content is used in three ways:
1. Generate traffic - give customers something they cannot see elsewhere: a reason to visit your website.
2. Drive up site conversion & reduce return rates – engage with your customer, let the customer see exactly what they are going to be buying. Inspire them & show them your vision.
3. Enhance SEO – optimise your site on multiple levels, because if you don’t, soon your competitors will.
Given the current climate it is doubtful that many smaller retailers can, for the moment at least, follow in Marks and Spencer’s and Next’s footsteps and create a new online channel, but brands need to embrace video now or risk being left behind.
Author: Laura Summers, Online Marketing Services Manager, BT Fresca