According to new stats from comScore, the number of US web shoppers watching videos on e-commerce sites has grown by 40% in a single year, as more retailers have started to use them as a sales tool.
A number of UK e-commerce sites are already using video on their product pages to promote items, but should more be doing this? And which sites are using product videos effectively?
The comScore stats, reported by eMarketer, show that more web shoppers are now viewing videos on e-commerce sites, with 23% of visitors viewing videos on product pages:
Other stats in the same article suggest that thanks to the potential benefits, with videos topping the wishlist of advanced features retailers would like to add to their sites, ahead of recommendations and product reviews.
With some products, video is much more useful than photography as it displays a product in motion, from a variety of angles, or with sound. A good video can be as useful as a product review, helping online retailers to imitate the instore experience, and persuading customers to make the decision to purchase.
Which UK retailers are using video well?
Firebox proves that adding video doesn't necessarily mean spending a lot of time or money. In this video for a remote controlled zero gravity car, the product is well demonstrated in the Firebox office with what seems to be a relatively cheap video camera. This means that customers can see the product in action and are reassured that it works properly. To make the offering even more appealing, Firebox also encourages customers to post their own videos showing them using the products.
KnickerPicker provides another good example, on a bigger budget than Firebox by using videos of models of various sizes to allow customers to see what products look like from different angles. It can be difficult to display clothing and fashion effectively online, and this is a good way of doing it, though showing a wide range of products like this could become expensive.
Mothercare has added videos of its 'travel systems' in action to show how they can be converted from prams to pushchairs, how car seats can be attached, and how easily they can be folded away, which is the next best thing to going into a store and seeing it demonstrated. The only drawback here is that a limited number of products have videos, and they can be slow to load up at times. Also, the link to view videos could easily be missed.
Amazon provides videos on many of its product pages, to demonstrate moving products like toys, showing trailers for films, or demos of computer games. All the videos are prominently displayed, quick to load and play, and are kept relatively brief.
Comet has a section providing video guides and information on potentially complex electronics, though these should really be linked to from product pages for maximum effect. The retailer also provides videos on some of its product pages, demonstrating the features of laptops or products like the iPod Touch.
When people are shopping online and don't have the chance to touch products or see them demonstrated in person, videos provide a useful substitute, and can potentially make the difference when deciding to buy or not. As the Firebox example shows, they don't necessarily have to be expensive either, so smaller online retailers can make full use of videos to promote their products.