Today’s shoppers are keenly aware of advertisements and sales pitches, and they do their best to avoid them.

Yet they actively seek out informative, lifestyle-related video content and choose to spend their free time consuming it. This content is an important marketing channel.

For example, just this year alone over more than 100 million hours of how-to videos were watched and one in three millennials have made a purchase as a result of watching a tutorial. 

Many organizations that have incorporated video into their marketing strategy are now starting to experiment with making their videos ‘shoppable.’

This means that when customers watch a video, they can click on the products shown in the video to view product detail, and ultimately purchase them. However, most shoppable videos that we have seen are typically moving ads rather than a helpful shopping experience.

Clicking on the product takes the shopper away from the video to a different part of the site, where it may not be clear what to do to purchase the item or how to get back to the video.

For shoppable video to be a more effective tool, marketers need to incorporate it into their broader content marketing strategy and use it as an assistant help the customer in their buying journey.

Here are three ways to start from the customer’s point of view when developing video content and incorporate shoppability as a key component when designing an experience that leads to higher conversion.

1. Video as an overview guide to products and services

Take a look at this video from The Fairmont San Francisco. It’s a great example of engaging video content that helps the shopper envision the experience they will have when staying at the hotel, while showing off the hotel’s amenities and services.

This type of video is ideal for a first-time visitor who needs to know how to find what they want and it is an opportunity for you as a marketer to help them find what you want them to find.

You will be showing some products or services during this video, so if a viewer sees something they like, why not provide a way for them to find it directly, but without compromising the video experience? At the end of the video show the customer what products and services were featured and where to get more information on them.

The Fairmont SF’s video overview can employ some of these tactics by adding links to more information in this video, for example, let us get more information about the rooftop garden, restaurants, spa services, and conference and meeting room options. 

Be sure that these videos surface in site searches and are prominently featured on category and detail pages. Don’t limit them to a separate part of your site.

2. Video as a catalog for browsing new styles and shopping the look

Instead of an image-based catalog, make a video of the trends; perhaps have a brand ambassador, model, or stylist discuss what’s hot this season.

Let the shopper see people using and wearing your product. If an item grabs their attention, shoppable video makes it easy for them to find product detail and purchase information.

The key is to deliver engaging video that can showcase your product ensembles and services in a natural way that doesn’t interrupt the viewing experience.

This Burberry runway video is an elegant example of incorporating new looks with the shopping experience. As you watch the video, you can scroll down to view stills of each look. When you click on the look, you are taken to a page with details about the product, as well as personalization and ordering options. The video pauses and automatically resumes when you scroll back up. 

BestBuy has a guide to buying laptops that is also a good fit for this approach. It is a clear guide to laptops using sales associates as brand ambassadors.

There are several opportunities to link to category pages in this video.

3. Video as a how-to

Turn titles such as “How to shop for the perfect suit,” “What to look for in a perfect diamond,” or “How to hang curtains perfectly straight” into shopping experiences.

Provide the viewer with a link to purchase the products they see being used in the video. They have just seen what they need to get the job done, so make it easy for them to purchase what they need while their interest is high. 

Marks and Spencer does this with a promstyle guide video. By incorporating this video into their main category pages featuring suits, they are more likely to drive conversion with those who are shopping for prom suits. Similarly, this faucet installation video from Lowe’s is a good example of a how-to video with embedded links to related videos and links to category and product pages right beneath the video player.

Remember to have a clear call to action after a video, whether it is to review products and services featured or view more related content. The Lowe’s video does this well. Allow customers to save particular products to a “favorites” list and share it with their friends on social networks.

Make shoppable video part of your overall marketing plan

Shoppable video has great potential as products and services are linked elegantly to those featured in a video as part of an overall marketing campaign.

However, we have yet to see widespread adoption of shoppable video. One reason is that marketers have trouble quantifying the return on investment. Typically, shoppable video is created as an expensive experiment, or one-off, produced and delivered by a creative agency or production studio.

This makes it challenging to produce at scale and to adopt within the organization’s standard content management and delivery processes. This lack of standardization makes it difficult to capture data about what links are clicked on during or after watching the video and then to be able to know whether they subsequently led to a purchase.

To ensure adoption, find a technology partner that will help your organization own creation, management, and delivery of shoppable video content for any video on your site and that will allow for seamless capture and reporting of meaningful metrics such as video views, drop off, what links were clicked on, and how they drove conversion.

This will ensure that shoppable video becomes a more routinely used tool, and thus a more valuable tool in your overall marketing plan.

Video content focused on the needs and interests of your customers, combined with intuitive shoppability and ease of implementation, will give your digital marketing strategy a boost this year.

Instead of being ignored as just another ad, your videos will stand out as engaging content worthy of anyone’s free time.