What I’ve learned about webshop-video in the last 1.5 years: more revenue in eight steps.

Quality and consistency leads to increased revenue

Guest blog by Jelle Rood

 
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Original blog post was published in Dutch. You can find it here.

Do you also want the conversion of your webshop to increase by 5 times? The past 1,5 years I have dealt a lot with video, and specifically video for webshops. One client managed to increase the conversion from 1% to 5% by adding videos to the product page. I’d like to share my insights that will definitely help to increase your online sales and revenue.

Video is very popular; almost all brands and online retailers use online video in one way or another. Moving images trigger our prehistoric brain and therefore demand our attention. This stems from the time when humanity was still hunting. It’s no coincidence that social media platforms like Facebook pay so much attention and attach importance to video content. But how do you make optimal use of video in your webshop?

1. The right kind: E-Commerce video

E-Commerce videos are relatively short (on average ten to twenty seconds) and are used to sell the product. What’s important is that every video gives the same kind of feeling, creating a calm and recognizable image. Well-known webshops such as Asos.com show a video for each item and more and more companies do the same. Recently, the bikini brand Shiwi added a video for all products and the women's brand Josh V shows a large part of their collection through videos.

When creating webshop videos the quality in which your content is shot is key. Preferably you shoot the video in 4K or at least in Full HD so you can also use it on larger screens if needed. Think of bus shelters and in-store screens.

"So the chances that the product meets expectations are a lot bigger."

The advantages of e-commerce video are countless, but these are most important:
- 49% higher conversion rate
- 57% lower return percentage
- 96% better shopping experience

These results are mainly due to the fact that online shoppers get a better picture of the item and therefore make a purchase with more confidence. The chance becomes much greater that the received item meets the expectations of the customer. Hence, lower return rates.

2. Video as a marketing tool


Video has been increasing in popularity for several years now; primarily for marketing purposes, since video is ideal for conveying a feeling. In recent years, video has become widespread, such as Asos and Zalando, which show model videos of outfits, but also Bol.com that shows a detailed explanation of products by an employee.

The large social media platforms also see this trend and are responding accordingly. Each platform fights for the attention of the visitor and therefore want as much content as possible to keep you on the platform as long as possible. Video is perfect for this. With Instagram, video has been prioritized in your timeline by complicated algorithms, and even a more conservative platform like LinkedIn now makes it possible to share videos that pop up at the top of your feed.

Great examples of videos that contribute to your fashion brand experience are, lookbook videos, in which a model shows off a total outfit, and macro videos, in which details or functionalities of an item are shown from an extreme close up shot.


3. Video on the homepage to keep the visitor’s attention

Video has, like other forms of content, a specific goal: to generate conversions. When your goal is to increase the conversion rate of your webshop, think carefully about the placement of the video in the webshop. What you show in the video determines whether the visitor stays and looks further.

Atmospheric videos increase in popularity as a replacement for the slideshow. A good example of this is www.joshv.com. Another example of video on the homepage is the full page video as www.olvis-lace.com has. In this last example, the dresses are depicted in great detail, where the viewer gets to see the craftsmanship, the fabric, and the stitching. A completely different use of video on the homepage is of the Belgian beer brewer Martens (www.martens.be), in which the video tells what the brand stands for.

Of course, it is not just about increasing ‘Time on Site’. Much is being written about the usefulness (or uselessness) of ToS, and it is certainly not the ultimate goal to have visitors stay extremely long on your website or webshop. However, a rising visit time does indicate that the content of the page is relevant to the visitor. And apparently, visitors of apparel web shops (which I have the most experience with) experience seeing video as relevant, because videos are watched several times, and people actually stay longer on pages with video.


4. Make it easy for the visitor to buy

More and more brands and webshops use video in addition to, for example, model and product photos. Within fashion, the best known example is Asos.com. For every outfit, they show four model photos and a model video. Another well-known example from the United States is Zappos.com. After adding an explanatory video on the product page, they saw a conversion increase ranging from 6% to 30%.

"A good video answers the customer’s questions"

An good example in a different branch is CoolBlue. By adding videos to their product page, they give the visitor more information about articles in a personal way. This creates trust and strengthens the feeling among buyers that they are on the right web shop. CoolBlue is not per se the cheapest webshop, but they perform better than cheap webshops in the same segment. This is due to the service they offer, and adding their how-to videos is part of their service.

A good video answers the customer’s questions. In the clothing industry, customers want to know how smooth the fabric is or with what you can combine the showcased pants. When you sell more technical products, such as a television or espresso machine, you can use videos to explain how easy the device works, so that a manual is no longer needed. Videos should contribute to creating trust with the shopper. As a result, they reduce the threshold, making the purchase decision faster and with more confidence.

An additional benefit of using videos, is that they reduce the percentage of returns. If the viewer is not convinced after seeing the video, he or she will probably not buy the product. In a video you see the product as it is. Videos show the product from all angles so in the end, it’s pretty much ‘What You See Is What You Get’.

 
 
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5. First test 10 items?

Adding video to your webshop is a change that can yield positive results from, if it is done the right way. If you want to get started with using video, it is not recommended to just add a video and just see what happens. Compare it with writing a blog post, after you have written several blog posts you can slowly judge what appeals to your audience. So what you can do, is start with one type of video, for example model videos, on the product page. As a start, make some videos of your top 10 selling products. This allows you to test whether it leads to more purchases.

TIP: Beware of making videos for products where sales are left behind, in the hope that adding video will stimulate sales. Choose bestsellers instead. These items will give a good indication of what visitors want. Since many more people visit these pages, this also gives a better picture of the impact that video has on sales.


6. The right video for your webshop goals

"Determine in advance which area you want to grow"

Which type of video works best for your webshop? Does video work as well as it is said? How long can the video be? Do you show the face of the model or not? Do you use music in the video? Just a few questions that arise when you start with video. First you have to set goals and decide what you want to achieve. Think about rising sales, more visitors and a higher conversion rate. But video can also help to reduce the number of returns, increase the involvement of webshop visitors and improve the overall shopping experience. Make sure to determine in advance which area you want to grow.

The best way to find out what works and what not, is by testing. Due to the increasing number of videos being used, it is quite easy to form an idea of what is possible. For inspiration you can, for example, view well-known websites and determine which style appeals to you and your brand. The exact duration and content of the video can differ per brand, target group and message.

In general we can say that a video for marketing purposes creates an atmosphere, conveys the brand feeling and therefore should be a bit longer. A video for e-commerce purposes, on the other hand, will be shorter with focus on the product itself. If you want to get a higher conversion rate, choose a video of ten to twenty seconds in which the product is used or worn by a model. Naturally, this model must match the look of the brand or the webshop. However, if your goal is to boost your brand image or to offer visitors a pleasant experience, then a campaign video of 30 seconds suits much better.

“Researcher Alec Minnema concludes (...) that the average costs of a return shipment amount to 12.5% (...). "

For the reduction of the return rates, video works very well. Use of video results in up to 57% fewer returns. It’s easy to explain why. The buyer can see in the video how a product looks, how it fits a model or how it works. The chance that their purchase is disappointing is therefore limited and  fewer people send the item back. Researcher Alec Minnema concludes in his doctoral research of January 2017, that the average costs of a return shipment is 12.5% of the original invoice. As a result, virtually every return shipment ends up in loss-making. On average, webshops have 30% returns, which means that almost a third of the order results in a loss. For season-sensitive branches such as fashion and electronics, where the collections follow each other quickly and limited stocks are held, the financial impact is perhaps even greater. An item that is returned after a few weeks may already be outdated and can no longer be sold at full value. This is an extra incentive to try to keep the returns as low as possible and to add videos to the product page.

"This webshop makes 0.25% (...) loss, only as a result of the returns"

As a calculation example, I use a clothing store. On average, the net profit of such a store is between 2% and 5%. Let's say an average of 3.5%. The return shipments are so-called 'out of pocket costs' that decrease the profit. For all shipments calculated, these costs amount to 3.75% (12.5% costs x 30% returns). Ergo: this shop makes 0.25% (3.5% - 3.75%) loss, purely as a result of the returns.

 
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7. Is your website ready for video use

Magento, Wordpress, Shopify: Popular CMS’s that are widely used for web shops. They are stable, many applications and modules are available and ample technical support is available. Many of these CMS’s are designed to serve a broad target group and therefore they opt for 'one size fits all' solutions that are easy to use for everyone.

TIP: Many CMS’s offer a Youtube and/or Vimeo integration as standard, but they can only be shown on regular web pages and not on the product page. More information about whether or not to use YouTube videos can be found in chapter 8: Embed Codes. Other requirements apply to the use of video on the product page. It would be a shame if you have your beautiful videos that you cannot use on maybe the most important page of the webshop, the product page.

TIP: Beware of CMS’s with few users. There is a big chance that these are technically more limited and offer limited video options, for example only support Youtube or Vimeo. Do you have a CMS that is less known? Or that does not have universal video functionality, so it needs to be encrypted? Then it is advisable to first approach your webshop developer. Make sure that you are not fobbed off with a simple "that is not possible within this CMS". It often turns out that the web designer cannot properly encode and only uses standard plug-ins.

Fortunately, there are more and more plug ins. At the time of writing, there is only one plug for video available on the product page for Magento (1 & 2) and WooCommerce: Orangevine Connect.


8. Embed Codes

An embed code is nothing more than a short piece of text (code) that you place in the backend of a website and that refers to the location where the video is hosted. An option for adding video to your webshop that is offered as standard in many CMS’s,  is a link with Youtube and Vimeo. Apparently this is the perfect solution. A YouTube channel is free, quickly created, the hosting is almost always up and with an embed code the video can be easily integrated into a website. However, there are also disadvantages. The most important thing is perhaps the fact that you are promoting YouTube instead of your own site. This is because the search traffic from a search engine is routed to YouTube; even though it seems that the visitor is on your webshop, in fact he or she looks at the video on Youtube. Search engines count this visit for Youtube and not for your webshop.
"If you do not pay, you are the product"

So how should hosting video be done correctly? Well, one way to do it is by using professional hosting providers such as the Dutch Orangevine or the American Wistia and Vidyard. These providers offer various advantages over free providers:

1. Visitors go directly to your webshop
2. Higher ranking in search results
3. Make video shoppable with clickable buttons
4. Vertical, horizontal and square video
5. View Analytics and data
6. SEO optimized

In hosting, you don’t get owt for nowt. If you choose a free solution such as Youtube, you pay indirectly, because you do not attract visitors to your own site, while you invest in making the videos. The famous adage applies here: If you do not pay, you are the product. Choose for professional hosting, so you do attract visitors directly to your site. In both the short and the long term, you benefit from this, because your web shop gets better search results.


9. Slow website

Unlike uploading photos, uploading video to a CMS is unwise. A ten-second catwalk video of good quality, is soon 30MB. When you upload such a file to the product page, this will slow down the loading time of the page.

Research from Ericsson ConsumerLab has shown that a slow website leads to an increased stress level for the visitor, up to 16% with a delay of two seconds. The stress that these visitors experience is similar to, for example, waiting in line for the supermarket counter, watching a horror movie, or even standing on the edge of an abyss.

"Don’t. Do. This."

Apart from the fact that slow website leads to irritation among visitors, Google and Facebook also take slow websites into account. A slow loading website is therefore shown less high in Google's search results and Facebook's mobile feed, which in turn will bring less traffic to the websites or web shop. Due to the increasing speed of the internet and a general tendency that everything has to be done faster, visitors expect a webshop to load quickly. American Kissmetrics has done research on the impact of slow websites on the surfing behavior of visitors. The results are impressive: 7% of visitors quit when a website has to load for one second and no less than 25% (!) Drops after two seconds.

My tip is therefore clear. Are you thinking of uploading a video to CMS? Don’t. Do. This.


10. Beware of the Youtube effect

Have you ever experienced watching a video on YouTube and half an hour later, you are still watching YouTube videos. That is the power, yet the risk of this type of video hosting sites.

As a brand or retailer, you want visitors to watch your video and not a video of Grumpy Cat, or worse, the competitor’s. Yet this happens. In the right-hand column of a Youtube page, YouTube suggest other videos that a visitor might like based on his viewing behavior.

"The visitor is gone"

Imagine you are working for a jeans brand and you have made a nice campaign video. The visitor of your Youtube video is apparently interested in jeans, so Youtube offers him or her more similar videos. After playing your video another 'jeans video' starts from a competitor. The visitor is gone. So be careful when using Youtube for hosting.


11. Video SEO (VSEO): is being recognized by Google

"VSEO: Those who do it right, will benefit"

By using videos, you have a unique opportunity to distinguish yourself from other web shops. Google rewards video as a 'higher' form of content than photos or texts and gives priority to web shops and websites with video content. By giving a video the right information, Google understands what the video is about and can therefore better link it to searches. Google can 'see' what's in the video and link it to the Video SEO (VSEO) information for a perfect match with the search. Because not all brands and retailers optimize their VSEO, those who do it right will benefit. So make sure to hire a good SEO specialist who writes separate an meaningful texts for the videos..

TIP: Be careful with copy - pasting since Google really does not appreciate direct copy work. So be strong and resist the need to simply copy the SEO texts from the CMS and use VSEO text.


12. Measuring brings knowledge

There are two obvious ways to generate more revenue, attract more visitors and let them buy more. In the article about VSEO you can read how you can attract more visitors. In this paragraph you will learn more about how videos help to increase your conversion rate.

"... The difference between making profit and making loss"

Various studies indicate that adding videos to the webshop results in more sales. By adding a video to the product page, conversions increase by 49%. For example, in fashion, an average conversion of 2% is very common, so adding video can make it nearly 3%. An important reason for this is that, thanks to video, people can estimate better how clothing fits them and thus, videos lower the threshold to buy. An additional advantage of video is a reduction of returns. Not a big surprise, if you consider that in a video the garment is shown in a real way. The product that is sent meets the expectations of the buyer, and there is less reason to return it. On average, the returns are reduced by 57%! And as you can read in the calculation underneath Article 6, this is the difference between making a profit or a loss.

Measuring the results can sometimes be a challenge, so think carefully in advance how to do a pure measurement. A few things to keep in mind when doing tests as a fashion brand:

- Each collection contains unique articles that are not necessarily comparable with the previous collection.
- You can generally not compare a summer collection and winter collection.
- The stock of an item determines whether there is a sale or not and therefore has an impact on the conversion.
- The fit and size differ from brand to brand, a size M from brand A can be larger or smaller than size M from brand B. This can affect the returns.
- Take weather conditions into account. A winter coat does not sell well during high temperatures.

You can take prevent problems by taking products that are always available; so-called Never Out of Stock items. Due to the nature of such basic items - always available, limited seasonal influences, consistent fit, etc. - they are perfect for testing the impact on both the conversion rate and the number of returns.

 
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Conclusion

By following this flowchart / questionnaire, you know whether video fits your webshop and can help you achieve the objectives. Video offers sufficient opportunities for the turnover of web shops to grow. Both the number of webshop visitors and the sales percentage can increase due to adding videos. You can also reduce the number of return shipments, which immediately leads to a significant improvement in results as each return shipment is a direct loss item.

If you do not know exactly yet whether video works for your webshop or brand, start with testing around 10 videos and measure the result. Depending on the objectives you have with the webshop, you can determine whether video contributes to the realization of your ambitions.

"That is perhaps one of the biggest opportunities of video (...), so everyone, regardless of the size of the webshop or brand, can build a competitive advantage."

Make sure to use a CMS that is ready for adding video and associated embed codes. Do you need the help from the web developer? Do not be scared of if he/she says it’s not possible within this CSM, because technically everything is possible. Youtube may seem like a useful alternative, but it has some hidden disadvantages. The best solution is still a professional hosting programme. In addition to hosting, these parties also offer the possibility to add special video SEO, which makes it relatively easy to attract more visitors to the website than your competition. Because that is perhaps one of the biggest opportunities of video; it is slowly being used more, but it is not yet mainstream. So anyone, regardless of the size of the webshop or brand, can build a competitive advantage. Do not forget to keep measuring what the results are, because what works well in the beginning may not work as well in the long term. So continue to test new videos and see how video contributes to achieving your goals.

Do you have questions about this article? Please contact me by sending a PM (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jellerood/)

 
 
 
 
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About Jelle

Jelle Rood is an entrepreneurial growth coach
and speaker. You can find more about him on
his LinkedIn profile.