Video: Improving Ecommerce Performance for Retailers

Making More Original Video Content Will Fuel E-commerce Growth

We’ve noticed a pattern in the shift toward online video indicating that the top 5 trends surrounding the importance of video for Etailers are as follows, and research agrees:

  1. The world is no longer just going mobile – it is mobile.
  2. Shoppers are reading less and watching more.
  3. Google is rewarding sites that integrate relevant and original video content.
  4. Successful ecommerce companies are committing to video on a massive scale.
  5. YouTube is becoming the most important shopping research engine.

The data is conclusive: web pages with video content attract, inform, and convert better than web pages without it.

Evidence arguing that video is becoming more important than text is mounting rapidly, and any brand that isn’t keeping up with the changing environment is sure to be swallowed by those that are. You would be hard-pressed to find a web developer nowadays that couldn’t confidently say that video is the most important type of content to develop for the future of e-commerce performance. There are new online stories popping up every day that prioritize a video as their featured content. For come examples, check out this post from Mr. Porter , or this video-rich blog from Outdoor Research filled with How-To’s, stories, and product demos, all creating an informative and compelling shopping experience.

Sure, you can say we’re biased, given that we’re in the business of creating content – but it isn’t simply our passion for video that’s driving us to report on these trends. We’ve got the research to back it all up. As a team, we’ve been analyzing trends in digital marketing, specifically for improving e-commerce performance, for over 15 years, and we can assure you that we are entirely data-driven. The evidence truly is overwhelming – read on to learn all about the key findings regarding this shift in the relationship between e-commerce and video content.

1. The world is no longer just going mobile – it is mobile.

In developing countries, more people have cell phones than those who have running water, so it was also not surprising when the data released earlier this month from IDC (International Data Corporation) showed that 50% of consumers consider it ‘vital’ to have phone access while driving. Most people value their cell phones over their laptop computers, if they even use laptop computers. reports that this year, smart phone penetration in the United States will hit 80%, tablets will overtake sales of PCs, and already about half of online traffic is taking place on the mobile web. With mobile network connection speeds more than doubling in both 2012 and again in 2013, mobile data traffic has grown more than 70%. More importantly, more than 50% of that mobile traffic was video.

Networks such as VH1 grew their primetime television viewing audience by 34% by improving the mobility of its shows and content and making full episodes available through a mobile app, with extended video content encouraging audiences to share details and video amongst their social circles.

It is undeniable that people are watching video on their mobile devices, however it may come as a surprise that studies are showing that an overwhelming number of people are shopping with their mobile as well. Global mobile traffic now represents roughly 13% of all Internet traffic. Just three years ago, in 2010, that statistic was at a measly 1%. It edged up to 4% in 2011, and it hit 13% in November 2012, according to StatCounter Global Stats. The reason: more people are buying things through their mobile phones, using them in the store to validate coupons, or social networking, or using GPS-enabled apps. Shopping is the big driving force, though. On Black Friday 2012, the day after Thanksgiving that marks that frenzied start to the Christmas shopping season in the U.S., 24% of all online shopping took place on mobiles and tablet devices, up from 6% in 2010. In India, mobile Internet traffic has already surpassed desktop traffic as of May 2012.

PayPal, an eBay-owned company, saw a 91% increase in consumers shopping through PayPal Mobile over the 2013 holiday season, resulting in an increase of eBay Enterprise orders by upwards of 127%. Furthermore, a consumer reports poll claims that almost 30% of holiday shoppers never stepped foot into a physical store. Thanks to the access to product videos, NBC reports that “showrooming” is a thing of the past. Consumers now feel comfortable watching product reviews and ordering directly online. E-commerce companies are capitalizing on this by reserving big budgets to make their shopping experiences more mobile friendly.

If you have any doubts, consider the numbers. ABI Research estimates that mobile online shopping in the U.S. more than tripled from 2010 to 2011, reaching $20.4 billion. The firm projects that globally, consumers will spend $119 billion by 2015 shopping from their mobile phones, accounting for about 8% of all e-commerce activity. Juniper Research is even more bullish, projecting that the total value of mobile payments will quadruple from $170 billion in 2014 to $630 billion by 2015.

Ponder this when it comes to mobile devices: Forbes reports that nearly a third of all American adults own a tablet or an e-reader. Take that a step further and realize that 50% of users watch video content on their mobile devices, and 20% do so regularly (source).

It is also interesting to note that shoppers don’t abandon their online product research when they enter a store. 38% of all customers said they are likely to use their mobile phone to find promotional coupons that can be redeemed when they are in that retail store. Another 36% said they would consider conducting a price check on Amazon and 35% would scan a barcode in order to compare prices offered by other retailers.

Perhaps the most significant finding was that 25% would purchase a product from an online retailer while standing in the aisles of a bricks-and-mortar store, suggesting that e-tailers can secure a sale up until the point that a competitor starts processing a customer’s purchases (source).

“To be successful, retailers must be able to satisfy consumers who, more than ever, want to shop on their terms and expect every step in the journey to be a seamless one, whether they are online, shopping in a store or using their phones,” says Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice.

2. Shoppers are reading less and watching more.

Research shows that when people online have a choice to read text or watch a video, they Just choose to watch. think about your own activity. If while shopping online you were given the option to read a long text description, or just watch a short video that not only conveyed the same information but also offered visuals of the product, which would be more compelling to you?

The following are a few case studies and statistics on this trend that we found highly informative and interesting:

  • This presentation from Daniel Neukomm, CEO of La Jolla Group: Neukomm emphasizes that social media will be the key to coming out on top in e-commerce, and we couldn’t agree more. In order to bring your audience into the buying funnel, you first need to engage them with authentic content. Especially when it comes to purchase decisions, consumers are always looking for more information on the products they’re interested in or the companies they’re thinking of buying from. By using user-generated content instead of your standard high-production value TV commercial, consumers are more likely to trust your brand and form a loyal relationship. In the case of La Jolla Group’s work with Metal Mulisha, the use of this UGC content helped them hit all of their goal KPI numbers and ultimately increase bottom line revenue.
  • Statistics on online video content from Invodo: Invodo According to a recent ComScore report, retail site visitors who view video stay two minutes longer on average and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors. This evidence isn’t surprising as it supports the trend that users feel more comfortable purchasing after watching videos about the product, service, or company in question. Additionally, according to Internet Retailer, over 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their online purchase decisions. In their earlier research with online retailer Living Direct, they found that videos not only boosted conversion, but also increased the time consumers spent on their site by 9%.
  • A Google search of “guide to buying a smart TV”: The growing dominance of video content relating to TV/Electronics pre-shopping research is readily apparent even on Google searches. Consider search phrases like “guide to buying a smart TV” or “tips for buying a smart TV” in Google: the first and third natural results are pages that included videos about how to buy the right Smart TV! They include the video thumbnail, making them more attractive to click on than any text based result. If a retailer had either of these results, it would be a massive win for a year or more.


3. Google is rewarding sites that integrate relevant and original video content.

Daniel Neukomm, CEO of La Jolla Group, gave a presentation last year on sharing the results of incorporating video into Metal Mulisha’s website and social channels. They initially decided that e-commerce needed to become a strategic priority, so they set out with a goal of increasing web traffic and enhancing engagement using social testimonials and videos. They integrated UGC into everything thing on their website, from category to product pages, and the results were astounding. Users spent more time on their site, page views increased, email bounce rates decreased, and the campaign ultimately resulted in more revenue and increased incremental sales.

The benefits of using video in e-commerce are endless — increased engagement, higher conversion rates, increased incremental sales – but let’s not forget about possibly one of the biggest benefits of all: Google will love you. With Video SEO, things like the age of your website or the number of pages on the sites don’t matter. This shift means that small businesses and newer websites stand a chance against larger more established brands as long as they incorporate video into their website.

Google disproportionately rates user generated content over static content, resulting in higher natural search rankings for sites that incorporate lots of videos. According to ReelSEO, upwards of 39% of videos watched are found via Google searches. Additional data from TubeMogul and BrightCove reported that Google generates the highest volume of referral traffic to online videos. In order to be competitive in today’s online retail market, video SEO needs to be a top priority.

Video is SEO friendly, and with Google’s new algorithm placing an emphasis on the length of time viewers spend on a page, it is absolutely crucial to hold their attention for as long as possible. A Forrester study noted that “even though 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, a product page with a video on it is 53 times more likely to achieve a page one listing on Google.” According to another study by aimClear from March 2011, more people tend to click on these video results over text results. “Videos in universal search results have a 41% higher click through rate than plain text“, said aimClear’s Manny Rivas.

Brand marketers and SEO experts know first-hand how seemingly impossible it can be to get a first-page Google ranking, but with just a few videos, brands can begin seeing real changes.

4. The stars of e-commerce are committing to video on a massive scale.

Major online retailers are stocking up on video to keep a leg up on the competition. Overstock, for example, has upwards of 200,000 videos on their site, and that number is constantly growing. As of 2011, Amazon had roughly 70,000, and eBay is changing the game entirely. eBay’s innovative “community buying guide” videos are being hosted on microsites based on different key terms –in this example, it’s furniture. These videos are UGC-style short clips to assist consumers in the buying process with helpful tips and guidance on buying the products in question.

It’s clear that e-commerce companies know the statistics and are embracing them in their online retail environments. Consumers respond to video more strongly than to traditional text-based retail shopping as videos give a more in-depth view of the products, often showing how to use the item and other helpful tips. Etailers are using this knowledge to their advantage by creating more videos that include the content consumers deem valuable in hopes that the videos increase the odds of a purchase. Videos are becoming an increasingly popular tactic for e-commerce sites to gain attention, with over 79% of retailers in this study including them on product pages and 70% adding product-related videos to their Facebook pages., a video shopping platform, recently centered their e-commerce strategy entirely around great video content because of the data they found supporting these trends. Joyus just received another round for $11M, but what is most interesting is the fact that one of the key people from Google, with strong SEO knowledge in his back pocket, left Google to lead this startup. The company recently conducted a study called “Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Brands Can Directly Monetize Video through Direct Response Product Sales” that shows how the performance metrics back up the investment in high-quality video. They genuinely believe in the power of the type of video that is at our core: authentic stories that are well produced. If you look at their website and view their video content, you will see why it is so critical to commit and invest in volume and in better video executions overall. Quality matters.

With 48 of the top 50 internet retailers hosting on-site videos, and 23 of those 50 retailers with more than 1,000 on-site videos, it’s safe to say that online retailers without video content are at a major disadvantage.

5. YouTube is becoming the most important shopping research engine.

The days of Amazon being the go-to site for product reviews are coming to an end as YouTube becomes shoppers’ first stop for pre-purchase research. More users are flocking to YouTube every day for product demos, research, and reviews. (Source)

The beauty of YouTube is that any person in the world can post any video they want about anything they want then go on to share said video with anyone they want, and then some. Unlike Amazon or other standard go-to product review sites that are limited to only the products they sell, YouTube is simply a platform for people’s thoughts and ideas on whatever they choose to start a discussion about.

If you’re on the hunt for a new guitar, for example, you have a few options. The first is to go from brand site to brand site, reading product reviews and looking at static images. You can also visit the store, but then your reviews are limited to the people trying to sell you on the guitar in the first place. And what if they’re out of stock? Doesn’t seem like the ideal situation. Your third option is to hop on to YouTube and search for other users who have played or currently own the guitar you’re looking to buy. You can hear how it sounds, discuss with the original poster how easy it is to play, and what they like and dislike about it. This provides you with the ultimate comprehensive review.

YouTube allows for not only informative, but engaging and entertaining content, which is certainly more than can be said about traditional review sites like Amazon. Specifically related to TV/Electronics video potential and YouTube, consider that the #1 result on YouTube right now for the search phrase “buying a new smart TV” delivers an unboxing video of a Samsung TV from this time last year, and it has received 704,900+ views and counting and  astonishingly another 10,600+ likes! People trust this platform, and the format makes it easy for them to share the information with their friends, family, and followers.

On YouTube, people also have the opportunity to review and learn about products that aren’t even on the market yet. If a YouTube is an early adopter of a new laptop, for example, they can share their opinions and experience on the laptop with hundreds of thousands of people before it’s even mentioned on a single e-commerce site. YouTube will not only attract these early adopters, but it’ll attract anyone looking to get an inside scoop on products before they can get the information anywhere else.

The following excerpt from an AdWeek article on the subject explains another unique benefit of YouTube’s platform for e-commerce:

It’s not just about the volume and depth of YouTube reviews; it’s about the quality and the experience. Products like the GoPro camera make it easy to post highly engaging video reviews, and allow potential buyers to live vicariously through the reviewer. With a first-person vantage point, you can imagine yourself with the product before you actually make a purchase. Those video reviews get viewed, commented on and shared on YouTube more than any other platform, which then sparks immediate discussion and product buzz for brands.

The article goes on to mention that YouTube’s biggest selling point in this regard is the human element. Videos posted to YouTube “showcase authenticity, and seeing and hearing the passion and sincerity in the eyes and words of a reviewer provides a unique experience that a written review simply can’t match.” Brands can take advantage of this trend by connecting with YouTube users to create influencer marketing campaigns to create discussions and excitement about their products.

As you already know, video content has always been important, but the evidence is clear that it is now becoming essential to making significant improvements to your e-commerce, SEO, or social strategy. One of the biggest challenges most online marketers will face next year in the e-commerce space is the need to create more video more affordably than ever before. It’s the age old question, how can you do more with less? How can you get more video for less money in the coming years? That’s where we come in. We were created specifically to solve this problem because we believe the old ways of making video content can no longer give marketers what they need. These outdated methods are too expensive, don’t provide content in high enough volume, and can often be far too time consuming. Video in the future needs to be made differently and that’s what our content marketing agency, Releventure, is all about.