Product videos are proven to correlate with higher online conversion rates, yet video remains an underused feature in ecommerce.

One of the reasons for this is likely the fact that it’s difficult to know where to start.

Once you’ve decided whether or not to do the videos in-house or through an agency, you’re faced with the fact that there are a huge variety of ways you can demo a product.

The easiest way to avoid this headache is to simply not bother.

But the benefits of using product videos are too great to ignore, with some brands achieving a 25% increase in conversions.

To try and give some inspiration for your own efforts I thought it would be useful to compare and contrast videos from two competitors – Cotswold Outdoor and Simplyhike.

Both retailers sell a variety of products related to outdoor activities, such as hiking boots, backpacks and tents.

It’s the latter product that I’ll use in this example. Tents are complicated and people likely do a lot of research before buying one.

It’s these types of products that require demo videos if ecommerce retailers are going to compete with brick-and-mortar stores, as images don’t really give a full overview of the features and dimensions.

Cotswold Outdoor and Simplyhike both use product videos for a selection of tents, but their approaches are notably different.

Here’s quick look at one example from each site, but for more on this topic read our posts on six creative examples of product videos and an overview of where to begin with your video strategy.

Simplyhike

Simplyhike’s videos are hosted by an enthusiastic young man who you could imagine working as a sales assistant in a camping shop.

He demos the product in a woodland area, initially sitting outside and then inside the tent.

However the camera remains static so the viewer doesn’t get a full view of the dimensions of the tent, the size of the porch, how the doors work, etc.

The presenter describes the important information, such as the size, weight and materials, and also highlights the benefits alongside the technical information (e.g. it's light, will keep you dry, has good ventilation).

From a branding point of view, the company logo and product name appear in the left of the screen.

Cotswold Outdoor

Cotswold Outdoor has a slightly slicker approach, though that’s not to say it’s superior to Simplyhike’s.

Instead of having someone present to camera, a narrator describes the tent while someone else erects it. The camera then moves around it, giving a great overview of the product.

The narrator upsells the benefits of the products as well as the technical specifications, but also uses graphics to reiterate the important details, such as the berth and weight. 

This is useful for people who might be watching with the sound off, but is also a handy visual summary for everyone else.

At the end the narrator summarises the key features - which include a durable groundsheet, stronger guy ropes, and a small carrycase – while someone on screen points them out.

Which is best?

Both of these product videos are excellent and give a decent overview of the tent.

However in my opinion, Cotswold Outdoor gives a more thorough look around the tent and its different features due to the greater range of camera angles.

In the Simplyhike video the camera remains static in two positions – inside and outside the tent.

But in the Cotswold version we see someone erecting the tent, several different views of the product, and a visual summary of the key features at the end.

I also like the graphics that Cotswold uses to summarise the important specifications and feel it does a better job of upselling the benefits alongside detailing the technical specifications.

For example, this quote shows how it gives context around who might buy this tent:

It’s ideal for backpackers who don’t want to be weighed down, but who refuse to compromise on performance.

However, I don’t want to appear that I’m being overly harsh on Simplyhike.

Its video gives a good overview of the product and I think the presenter helps bring to life the brand’s image and tone of voice.

In conclusion...

Hopefully these two videos help to highlight some of the different factors you need to consider when creating your own product demos.

Unfortunately it’s not as simple as pointing a camera at the product and giving a run-through of its key features.

Demo videos need to sell the product while also staying true to the brand’s values and tone of voice.

I feel that the Simplyhike and Cotswold Outdoor videos tick both of these boxes, but the latter is slightly superior in terms of the execution.

David Moth

Published 3 February, 2015 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (1)

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sean randles, Director at Interactive video labs

Belated contribution from me-but really liked this overview and it prompted me to say you can also do A/B split testing of competitor videos using different techniques to quantify which of the 2 videos resonates most with target audiences. This can be done using eye tracking techniques along with a feedback questionnaire that target audiences complete to provide qualitative and quantitative insight - both for existing videos and to inform future video production. With video now such an integral part of b2c and b2b campaigns, testing your videos both pre and post campaign is becoming increasingly important .

over 1 year ago

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